Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!

Leave a comment

Chicago Wardrobe Follow-up #4: My Mom’s Edition!

As promised, here’s one last follow-up on my Chicago (ORD) travel wardrobe experience— but this time, it’s all about my mother! It was her trip, after all; I just accompanied her to help with driving, etc., so I really can’t finish up my post-trip reports without covering at least a little of her experience!

Note: If you’d like to get caught up on this whole experience, there’s a list of links at the end of this post.

Silly of me, but I just didn’t think to take pictures specifically of Mom’s travel wardrobe while we were together on this trip, but at least I have some photos of her during various activities and events. (We live in different states.) And she’s been kind enough to send me a list of what she packed, with notes on what she’d do differently next time, so we should be able to get an overall sense of her experience, clothes-wise.

Here’s what Mom packed: Continue reading


Chicago Travel Wardrobe: Follow-up #3

In my previous Chicago Travel Wardrobe follow-up posts, I told you about the last-minute print-top switch, and then got started on the follow-up proper, reporting first on what I wore during the trip from home to Chicago (ORD). Now I’ll give you the details: what I did on my trip, what I wore for each event, and how my travel wardrobe worked out overall.

Fair warning: This post will be an extra-large ORDer, served up by your helpful CYC assistant (me).

First, here’s an ultra-brief recap: I met my mother at ORD (O’Hare airport in Chicago), then spent the next 8 days driving her all over Illinois to visit various relatives and friends. Other than her 60th high school reunion, I had no idea until after I arrived what kinds of events to pack for, so my strategy was, quite simply, to opt for versatility over quantity.

There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get right to it, journal-style!

Day 1, Outfit #2: Dinner, evening. Arrived late afternoon at ORD Terminal 3, met mom at Terminal 1. Procured rental car, found way out of ORD maze, and drove north to Libertyville, where we would spend most of our nights with my aunt and uncle (Tom’s my mom’s brother). Was obviously still wearing airport ensemble (Outfit #1), but made slight changes before dinner: removed cardi, added green necklace.

Outfit #2: Dinner, Day 1

Day 1, Outfit #2: Dinner. This is what I came from the airport in, minus the scarf and green cardi, and plus the green multi-strand necklace.

Day 2, Outfit #3: Museum, morning. Aunt and uncle suggested at breakfast that we drive up to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to see a Civil War museum they had spotted while on a bike ride. Turned out to be located right on Lake Michigan, on a slightly chilly, muggy day. I wore my jeans (with cuffs up), and the print top layered over the sage-green tank, with flat ankle-tie sandals:

Day 2, Outfit #3: Museum

Day 2, Outfit #3: Museum trip. Although the flat sandals were the logical choice for a lot of walking around the museum, I wished I had brought my cardigan for a little extra warmth; it was chilly outside with wind coming off Lake Michigan, and inside, the AC was on full-strength.

Tip: Want to see how I changed my jeans to have the convertible cuffs? Click here for Part 1, and Part 2!

Day 2, Outfit #4: Mom’s 60th high school reunion, evening. Mom had said this was being held at a place called The Onion Pub, which on the face of it, doesn’t sound as though it has a formal dress code. So in trying to strike a balance between being simultaneously comfortable, festive, and appropriate, I wore this dress:

Day 2, Outfit #4: Reunion

Day 2, Outfit #4: Mom’s reunion. Since this dress is essentially a long tank top, I thought it would strike the right note, combining interesting fabrics with a comfortable, casual silhouette. I brought the silk scarf in case the AC was overwhelming (a tendency in the Midwest).

Day 3, Outfit #5: 4th of July parade, morning. We drove to a neighboring town for this, then had to walk a fair distance from where we parked. And of course we were on our feet continuously for a couple of hours, so even my extremely comfortable wedge shoes started feeling the strain towards the end. But thanks to an extra dose of sunblock, I managed quite well in this:

Day 3, Outfit #5: Parade

Day 3, Outfit #5: Parade. It was a hot, sunny day, so my asymmetrical bamboo top and jeans (worn with cuffs up again), plus sunglasses, kept me reasonably comfortable.

Day 3, Outfit #6: Barbecue, afternoon. After a quick lunch at aunt/uncle’s house, we drove to their friends’ home for a barbecue get-together, with about a dozen people. I kept it simple, wearing the same thing as for the parade, just changing into my flat ankle-tie sandals (as in Outfit #3).

Day 3, Outfit #7: Fireworks, evening. I was unprepared for the mosquito onslaught after sunset. All I could do was roll down the cuffs of my jeans, in the hope that at least my ankles would escape unscathed. (Sadly, no.)

Day 3, Outfit #7: Fireworks

Day 3, Outfit #7: Fireworks. It was nice to have the option of rolling down the cuffs of my jeans, but I would have been completely taken over by mosquitoes if not for my aunt offering me a fleece pullover jacket. And the fireworks were magnificent!

Day 4, Outfit #8: Drive to Champaign, early morning. This was nearly 200 miles each way, so we would be spending the night at a family friend’s house. We left early, since the plan was to arrive in time for lunch, at the home of the woman who had for years been the director of a museum founded in the late 1960s by my grandfather. She has recently retired, but lives very near the museum, and she wanted to take us on a tour to show us all the changes and improvements being made.

After lunch and seeing the museum, we would be driving to the other side of Champaign to the house where we’d spend the night.

With the drive, lunch, and museum tour in mind, not to mention that I had to pack for an overnight trip, I wore this:

Day 4, Outfit #8: Drive

Day 4, Outfit #8: Drive to Champaign. I planned my outfits for this overnight trip for maximum versatility, minimum packing: my bag had only night things, toiletries, and my print top.

Day 5, Outfit #9: Drive to Chicago, early morning. The plan was to stop to visit my godmother in Chicago on our way back to Libertyville. Since I had packed as little as possible for the Champaign overnight trip, here’s what I did to Outfit #8 to switch it up: I rolled up the jeans cuffs, put on the print top over the tank top, and packed the cardigan. Done.

Day 5, Outfit #9: Drive

Day 5, Outfit #9: Drive to Chicago. A few simple tweaks to yesterday’s outfit gave me a different look with minimal packing. Note to self: bring small overnight bag next time!

Day 6, Outfit #10: Church, early morning. Steamy day. Wanted to be comfortable yet appropriate (uncle said people would be in shorts, something I would never do in public). Result:

Day 6, Outfit #10: Church

Day 6, Outfit #10: Church. This seemed tasteful (i.e. covered), and it was reasonably comfortable considering the steamy heat.

Day 6, Outfit #11: Hike in woods, late morning. Okay, I didn’t bring anything that resembled hiking gear, but I thought I’d be okay as long as I covered up with my cardigan (having learned the mosquito lesson). The only problem was my shoes— they were comfortable until we got somewhere around the second mile, then I started developing a blister where the part goes between the toes. Not fun. But it was a beautiful walk.

Day 6, Outfit #11: Hike

Day 6, Outfit #11: Hike. The cardigan did indeed save me from the mosquitoes in the somewhat marshy woods, but nothing prevented me from getting a blister. Well, these aren’t exactly hiking sandals…

Day 6, Outfit #12: Visit another uncle, afternoon. This involved driving to a nearby town, where we joined my mom’s youngest brother and his new wife (whom I hadn’t met) at their house for a barbecue. After freshening up post-hike, I decided I had just enough energy to change shoes, take off my now-sticky cardi, and put on my turquoise necklace.

Day 6, Outfit #12: Barbecue

Day 6, Outfit #12: Barbecue at another uncle’s house involved only minimal changes from #11.

Day 7, Outfit #13: Drive/visit, morning-early afternoon. This time we were heading to another small country town to visit the widow of the former pastor of my mother’s church. I decided for the first time to wear the skirt I had brought; I make it a rule to wear everything I bring at least once on a trip, if at all possible, but this particular skirt, I realized too late, was not the perfect choice. However, it worked on this occasion— the lady we visited was living in a retirement community that was a lot more like a luxury hotel, so I, rather surprisingly, did not feel overdressed in this:

Day 7, Outfit #13: Visit

Day 7, Outfit #13: Drive and visit. Weather was progressively hotter and muggier, but this ensemble kept me cool during the 40-minute-each-way drive and various detours on the way back; we stopped at the house Mom lived in as a child, the farmhouse they moved to later, and the luxury-home development built on her family’s former property. Oh, and we also saw the one-room schoolhouse (now a residence) Mom attended!

Day 7, Outfit #14: Out to dinner, evening. Aunt and uncle took us to dinner, where we met their 2 sons (my cousins) and their wives. Skirt outfit seemed appropriate, with some tweaks:

Day 7, Outfit #14: Out to dinner

Day 7, Outfit #14: Out to dinner. I changed my top and shoes, and added the green necklace.

Day 8, Outfit #15: Leaving for home, early afternoon. After a refreshingly quiet morning,  another cousin came for a quick lunch, then Mom and I drove back to ORD, returned the rental car, and made our way to separate terminals (she was going to Seattle, I was headed back to Portland). My traveling outfit this time was actually almost the same as when I left Portland, the major change being into the jeans:

Day 8, Outfit #15: Leaving!

Day 8, Outfit #15: Leaving for home! I decided to wear the jeans this time, something I usually don’t do when flying, and it all worked out very well, including through a substantially delayed departure from ORD.

Now it’s time (finally) for the final verdict on my ORD travel wardrobe!

What worked well:

1. The variety of tops

2. The cuffs-up-or-down jeans

3. The metallic wedges and ankle-tie sandals (voted most versatile and comfortable)

4. The silk scarf (great pop of color, and sun protection for my neck)

5. The linen trousers, especially in the humid weather

6. The blue-green earrings (worn with everything— see #3, below)

What didn’t work so well:

1. The skirt. I did wear it, but I could have done without it. The linen/cotton fabric was good for hot weather, but something about the combination of the color and style of this skirt just didn’t work as well with the tops as I’d hoped. A more summery, casual skirt would have been better, I think.

What I didn’t use at all:

1. The kimono sweater

2. The cotton cowl

3. The fancy earrings (only because I discovered after arrival in ORD that one of the earring backs was missing)

The bottom line:

Overall, I’d say this wardrobe was successful. I certainly never felt that I didn’t have something appropriate to wear for any of the wide variety of occasions I had to dress for on this trip. I used nearly everything I packed, and I never even had to iron anything, so it was low-maintenance and high-versatility— isn’t that like the Holy Grail of travel wardrobing?

In case you were wondering, yes, it was a very full trip! I’m really glad I got to go, though; my mom and I got to spend a lot of time together, since I was driving her around, I got reacquainted with many relatives I hadn’t seen in years, and it was fascinating getting to see some places from her childhood, many of which I’d not seen before.

At my request, Mom has sent me a list of what she packed/wore/didn’t wear on this trip (wish I’d thought to get photos of her clothes while we were together), and this will be in my next post, along with some wonderful photos of her at various locations and events. You’ll love it!


Chicago Travel Wardrobe: Follow-up #2 (in ORDer)

In my first follow-up report on my Chicago (ORD) travel wardrobe, I told you about a last-minute fix for a minor packing-related emergency. Now I want to get on to the follow-up proper, starting with showing you exactly what I took with me; as you’ll see, I made some switches from my original plan. I’ll show my outfits, in the order (ORDer?) in which I wore them, and also with details about what I wore them to do. (Just so this post won’t swell to epic proportions, I’ll split this part of my report into 2-3 posts, each covering a few days of my 8-day trip.)

Aside: I should tell you that the reason for my trip was to accompany my mother (after meeting her at the airport in Chicago) through 8 days of driving around a fairly big area of Illinois. I did all the driving, and basically acted as a personal assistant. However, other than my mom’s 60th high school reunion, I had no idea what types of events I’d need to dress for; all I knew was that we were going to spend a lot of time driving, alternated with visiting Mom’s relatives and family friends (most of whom I hadn’t seen for literally decades). I did have some idea of what to expect weather-wise, having lived in Ohio for almost 25 years before moving back to the Pacific Northwest (in a nutshell, humidity and mosquitoes). Since I was really just guessing as to what clothes I would need, I decided the best approach was to make each piece as versatile as possible, namely, separates, coordinated through the development of my wardrobe color palette. End of aside.

Before I flew off to the Great Midwest, this was my wardrobe plan:

Wardrobe with accessories

Travel wardrobe (theoretical). Clockwise from left: knit/sequin dress, turquoise wedges, chartreuse silk scarf, print jersey top, hand-knitted cotton cowl, asymmetrical bamboo jersey top, charcoal-grey jersey top, green necklace/bracelet, green pumps, chartreuse/teal/aqua kimono sweater, turquoise necklace, fancy earrings, linen tuxedo-striped trousers, flat ankle-tie sandals, cropped jeans, multi-color flat sandals. However…

Continue reading


Chicago Travel Wardrobe: A Follow-up (or 3) is in ORDer

Now that I’m back from Chicago, I’m slowly getting caught up on my e-mail, the Portland Argentine tango scene, blog reading, and laundry (not necessarily in that order). Next on my agenda: following up on my travel wardrobe with a comprehensive report (which promises to span several posts), including what I packed, what I actually wore, what I wish I hadn’t bothered taking, and what I was fervently glad to have with me.

Aside: Feeling pun-challenged today? ORD is the airport identifier code for Chicago’s O’Hare airport, and thus the rich source of my quasi-clever titles. End of aside.

First up, though, is the solution to the minor wardrobe emergency of which I wrote in my last post before heading to Chicago. Remember this printed top, a key player in my original wardrobe plan?

Asymmetrical print jersey top

Asymmetrical print jersey top. Lovely, comfortable, packable. But there was just one little problem…

Continue reading


ORDering Color from your Closet

This week on Makeover Monday, I showed you how I started with my turquoise necklace, then added various fabrics to it to build a color palette for my ORD (Chicago) trip coming up next week. Now I want to quickly follow up by showing how you can do the same thing (whether you sew or not), simply by pulling things out of your closet.

Once again, here’s my new palette:

My new ORDer palette

My new ORDer palette. (I created this palette at; click the palette to see it there!)

Continue reading


Makeover Monday: A New Wardrobe ORDer

Last week, after discovering that I would be heading to Chicago for 8 days, I told you about my initial travel-wardrobe thought process. (This boiled down to the types of pieces I thought I’d need, taking lodging, events, and weather into account.) Since I will be leaving in about a week, my priority now is to create a color palette, so that’s what I’ll focus on today.

Aside: In case my punny use of ORD is causing a raised eyebrow or two, let me explain: ORD is the airport identifier for Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. It will probably happen again. End of aside.

Changing Your Clothes is primarily about making the most out of what we already have, so that’s what I’ll do first: make over my Santa Fe Wardrobe from last fall. To my closet!

Oh. A funny thing happened on the way to my closet… I got distracted by this piece of fabric, bought just 2 days before I found out about this upcoming trip:

Cotton print fabric

Cotton print fabric. This is a medium-weight cotton with a bit of stretch, but it was the print I couldn’t pass up! (I’m extremely picky about prints.) It’s destined for a vintage-inspired dress.

Continue reading


Just Plane Chic: Travel in Style!

By the time I was traveling a fair amount as an adult, the days when even flight attendants wore stockings and heels were long past. Now, it’s not uncommon to see people shuffling around airport terminals in what looks like pajamas accessorized oh-so-charmingly with flip-flops and uncombed hair. (I do assume at least some of these people just got off a 16-hour transatlantic flight, and I make allowances accordingly, lest you think I judge too harshly.)

The constant refrain I hear is, “But I want to be comfortable!” (Well, obviously— so do I!) Considering all the griping I also hear about all the reasons air travel is less than pleasant these days, I’d like to offer this hypothesis: We’d all enjoy ourselves a little bit more if we (a) knew we looked amazing (read: effortlessly comfortable), and (b) had other stylish travelers around us to improve our view en route.

Travel in Style, from Refinery29

Travel in Style, from Refinery29. (Click the picture to go directly to the slideshow.)

To get us started on the surprisingly brief journey to travel chic, take a look at this slideshow, courtesy of Refinery29: How to Travel in Style, sans Sweats! From suitcases to socks, this guide is loaded with fun and practical ideas that will hopefully inspire us all to up our style ante the next time we head to the airport!


Doing a Warm-up: Winterizing Your Clothes

Here’s a great question from 24/7 in France: “What about really cold winter weather? I get tired of wearing turtlenecks and sweaters over them all the time— any ideas? I’m traveling soon to cold weather.”

I’ll do a more extensive follow-up on this later, but for now, I’ll offer this suggestion: silk long johns. When I was living in Ohio on a horse farm, I was down in the barn for the daily chores, which, in winter, involved trying to ward off frostbite in -20 F temperatures. I was uncomfortable in really heavy, thick clothes; I don’t like the feeling of being weighed down, not to mention that layer upon layer made it harder to move around.

Silk long john top from WinterSilks Silk long john top, Warmth Factor 5, from WinterSilks; this is just one style and color of many available. And they have styles for men, women, and children! (Click the photo to see all Warmth Factor 5 styles.) Continue reading


Packing Lists, Airport Info, & More: A Fantastic Blog!

Since my posts about travel wardrobe planning and creation are really all about the clothes, I wanted you to see this blog, AirportsMadeSimple. In addition to practical information about airports, including weather, international travel help, and even tips on traveling with your pets, they have some fantastic packing lists! Check out the “her” packing list; this has everything you could possibly want or need, starting from what should go in your carry-on (from reading material to face spritzer), up to and including antibacterial wipes for hotel room and jacuzzi. I do believe they’ve thought of everything!

Leave a comment

Santa Fe Wardrobe: P.S.

As a follow-up to my Santa Fe wardrobe follow-up, I thought you might be interested in a few stats about my Santa Fe travel wardrobe:

1. Out of the 9 main items I packed (not counting swimsuit, sleepwear, etc.), I made 6 of them myself:

a. The deep olive green silk twill Origami skirt;

b. The pale sage green wide-legged linen trousers with deep taupe herringbone racing stripes;

c. The print silk crepe de chine one-shouldered tunic;

d. The cap-sleeved sage-and-lavender-print knit top;

e. The print jersey V-neck dress;

f. The hand-knitted one-sleeved entrelac wrap (also my original design)

(The ones I did not make are the jeans, teal knit top, and asymmetrical print top.)

2. The only things I bought specifically for this wardrobe were the following (everything else I already had, including sewing patterns):

a. Fabrics for the linen trousers and cap-sleeved knit top;

b. The jeans

(I also bought the pewter jersey to line the bronze dress, which ultimately did not make it into my suitcase for this trip. All other fabrics came from my stash.) Continue reading