Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fall/Winter Wardrobe Thoughts

If what I wear can be called a wardrobe...

Sometimes it seems far too much of a mishmash to be worthy of such a term. My closet contains items left over from my professional days in Boston (now six years ago), things I have made and things either handed down to me or thrifted. For some years now there has not been much "shopping for basics".

That's not a bad thing; I'm thrilled to have the luxury of time and space to sew and thrift! Shopping in retail stores is super-boring, and shopping online is a real shot in the dark in terms of liking/sizing.

Speaking of which, check out my new thrifted brown velveteen jumper!

Another lucky, lucky part of my recent wardrobe history is that my sweet mother has taken me shopping for the one thing I can't make--yet--shoes. My feet are trouble, and they demand the best.

But I've been doing some thinking about how I need to do some thinking. I pulled out some fabrics today. Here are two of the many of them:

Green ("iguana") wool jersey from Fabric.com, 3 yards.

Gray wool jersey from Fabric.com, two yards.

I'm excited about these two knits. Too excited, as I am paralyzed with indecision about how best to use them.

So I'm brainstorming here.

What do I wear in summer?
  • Preferentially dresses
  • Skirts with woven or knit tops (usually pull-over wovens rather than button-up blouses)
  • Rarely pants
  • Almost never shorts
What do I wear as soon as there is a tiny hint of chill in the air?
  • Jeans with tops, cardigans, pullover sweaters and sweater jackets
  • Dresses with layers of long underwear and/or tights below and cardigans on top
  • Less frequently skirts, as getting all of the pieces and layers working together is hard
  • Infrequently, tailored jackets (of which I have quite a few left over from Boston)
  • My tan cashmere 3/4 length coat made two years ago
  • Boots!!
Colorwise, as I settle into my forties, I think I need to reduce the overall contrast and brightness of my color palette. Black, red, pink and bright blue were probably never great colors for me, but now I have to go all out with makeup, accessories and frequent hair colorings to keep these strong hues from washing me out. So although I've long intended to move more in the brown direction, I need to get serious about it. Must. stop. relying. on. black.

What is worn out (or missing altogether) and in need of replacing?
  • Jeans
  • Long sweater coats and cozy cardigans
  • Brown bag
  • Brown low heeled boots
  • "Color columns" in durable, washable medium warm brown and toasty caramel knits
  • What is in the color column? Not sure; is it a sleeved knit top and leggings or top and knit pant or top and full skirt?
  • Note to self: you rarely end up wearing knit pants or gathered waist skirts
  • Color columns to be topped with sweaters, cardigans and maybe jumpers
Additional dilemma: the color gray. I love gray. Actually, I love it much more than black. But when I see myself in photographs wearing gray, I generally think it looks sad and dreary and, dare I say it, frumpy.

But I love it and want to wear it and don't dislike it in the mirror on me. So I don't know. Maybe if I pair it with a warm color like toasty brown? With a bright color there is too much contrast.

I also created a Pinterest board to collect some fabrics and (it is to be hoped) other ideas from around the web.

This is all being very helpful. I think. Tomorrow I am going to pull the fall and winter clothes down from the attic and do more thinking/list making/photographing/planning/playing with Pinterest.

But I have the feeling it's all going to come down to new jeans and some fresh tops and sweaters.


  1. You have pretty soft colouring, and I agree black is probably too harsh on you. How are you with peachy pinks, teals etc? They work on lots of people and still have colours without being over the top.

  2. Thanks, Ruthie, for the input! Teal seems to have been rather out of favor for the last few years, so I'm happy that Pantone has declared it the color of fall 2010. You're right that it seems to be a good color for me. I'm going to think about peachy pink. I've been enjoying your wardrobe musings on your blog--very inspiring.

  3. On the note of teal and peachy pink; scarves would look lovely next to your face, bringing the colour back into your skin, with gray dresses!