Closet clarity, Disco Collars and Retail openings

Closet clarity, Disco Collars and Retail openings

When you don’t know your goal it is hard to get there

Have you had a hard time getting that closet cleaned out even though you have more time than usual?

This was my problem for years. I didn’t have a clear stated end goal to a closet clearing or clothing purchases. I only had some vague and gulity thoughts about why and some loosy -goosy information on how. I would get rid of things but I never played with making outfits with what was left and I never had a plan to fill the holes that would allow me to create outfits. I had lots of party dresses but no good workout clothes. My  clothing purchases were whatever was near the checkout stand. And clothing budget? What is that?
Then I realized what I wanted was clarity.  I wanted to reach in my closet and pull out the perfect outfit, I wanted to shop with a purpose not shop when I had a minute.
It is such a joy to make that first activity (OK maybe second – after a cup of coffee) of going into my closet to find something to wear a quick and easy and CLEAR. I have saved so much time. I wonder how much easier my success would have been if I had set  that goal  of finding clarity and ending confusion about what to wear much earlier in the process.
Are you struggling to find clarity in your closet (life)? Start with these tools to get some clarity and drop me a line if you need help. 

My favorite look this coat from Lanvin (Vogue photo)

A vintage shirt from Poshmark is a sustainable way to get this trend. (Photo from Poshmark seller mishmark)

And this disco collar takes it literally and figuratively. (Photo from thisilk.)

This week’s fashion term and trend is the disco collar. They were all the rage on the runway back when we had fashion shows (not so long ago) and they were the rage (apparently) during my youth although I can’t recall owning any. A disco collar is a collar on a shirt or jacket that is normal size in the back but has an exaggerated silhouette in the front with enormous points of 3 + inches. It sort of looks like an origami bird. The ones I enjoyed seeing the most were on shirts with some feminine curvy details elsewhere. And there were a couple jackets with colorful collars that also looked flattering. Many of the others looked trendy and actually focused the attention away from the beautiful faces of the models. According to my style philosophy this is a no no.  Remember you should wear the clothes, the clothes shouldn’t wear you. If this is the trend you want to embrace this year, find just one exquisite disco collar shirt or jacket that flatters you. Remember anything new you buy should be able to be combined into at least three outfits using items you already own. You shouldn’t have to buy a whole new outfit just to incorporate one new item.

Retail News

 Here in Washington state all nonessential businesses (and that includes all my favorite consignment and thrift stores have been closed since mid-March. Phase 2 of our state’s business reopening includes retail stores being able to allow shoppers inside.

 Here is a link to the rules they must follow during this phase of re-opening. https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Phase2InStoreRetailGuidance.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

These rules include cleaning dressing rooms after each customer, spacing customers and having a holding area where clothing that is returned or tried on can be stored for 24 hours. Have some empathy for store owners and retail clerks during these times. While I am sure they are delighted to be open and back to work this new way of doing business brings a new set of headaches and everyone is under just a little more stress whether they want to admit it or not.

With these shopping rules in place having a plan for what you need to buy, knowing your size in various brands, and having the knowledge about your best fit, colors and silhouettes will be crucial to a successful in person shopping experience. You might even call the store you want to visit ahead of time with list in hand of exactly what you are looking for. See if they can pull the items and have them ready for you. If you do this make sure you show up and are courteous. I would anticipate some stores will be setting appointments for shopping.

You should also be clear on policies for returns. Stores may change policies they have had in place to eliminate the trouble returns could bring now.

On the positive side, I would anticipate smoking deals on whatever inventory is around as well as potential limited inventory in coming seasons. Have a plan and a list so you don’t get sidetracked by those deals.

If you need help planning drop me a line. Let’s talk about it.

Support your favorite stores so they will be around for us in the future. I miss their great clothing displays and smiling faces.

Button Repair

Having grown up in an era when Home-Ec was offered I know my way around the sewing room. When I make myself a new piece of clothing I often hear comments like “Wow” “I don’t even know how to sew on a button.  Well with that in mind today I want to share how to sew on a button.  I also want to mention that doing this as soon as you notice a loose button and before it falls off will make step 1 a lot easier.

Step 1 would be to locate the button, as well as a needle and thread. Some clothing comes with extra buttons but then you have to remember where you stashed those.

Step 2 Cut a piece of thread roughly 24” long and thread it through the needle so the needle is halfway down the thread and the cut ends are even.

Step 3 – on the backside of the garment push the needle into the fabric between the layers about ½” away from where you want to come up. When you come up pull the thread through so that there is just a tiny bit showing where you first went in.

Step 4 – Go through the fabric 3 times in the same spot to create a lock so the thread won’t pull out.

Step 5 – put the button on the needle and let it drop down to the right side of the garment.  Bring the needle and thread back down through the hole in the button and come back up another hole. If the button has a shank (no holes but an attachment on the back of the button), go through that.

Step 6 – Repeat at least 6 times to make sure the button is secure.

Step 7 – Wrap the thread around the back of the button between the fabric and the button 3 or 4 times and then go down to the wrong side of the garment.

Step 8 – Go up and down in the same spot 3 times to lock the thread, push the needle in between the layers and come up about ½” away and cut the thread.

Options- If your button has more than 2 holes you can do a criss cross pattern. You can use a thread color that stands out for an attention getting detail. You can replace all the buttons with more interesting buttons.

Have some fun with this basic repair that can salvage a great piece of clothing instead of sending it to the donation or garbage bin.

It’s about the woman in the suit

It’s about the woman in the suit

Thelma Cox in a suit

It’s not about the suit. It’s about the woman in the suit. Wearing a swimsuit no matter what your body size or whether you’ve reached your “ideal” weight or if you have varicose veins or your legs haven’t seen sunshine in years, or even if you aren’t twenty something anymore is a statement of power. It is an action (like the ones I talk about here) that says I’m going to enjoy my life and go to the beach or the pool or relax in my yard no matter what others may think about my body. The truth is everyone else is too worried about their own body to be judging yours. You are your own worst critic. So find a great suit that you love and go swimming! Or paddle boarding! Or canoeing! Or simply relax in a lounge chair. Here is my guide to swimsuits by body shape to help you get started.

Today I want to share some of my research on swimwear throughout time.

Of course the first swim attire was none. And if you haven’t gone skinny dipping it’s never too late – although finding the right locale may be a challenge depending on where you live. I am still jealous of a friend who was lucky enough to go skinny dipping with family when bioluminescence was happening in the water. So much smarter than me. The only time I saw bioluminescence I was too blown away to think about physically getting in the water. Let alone skinny dipping. So now I have another item on my bucket list.

I am not sure if we went straight from nothing to too much but according to  Insider.com in the 1800s and early 1900s proper women wore bathing gowns. These were long flowy robes that sometimes had weights sewn into the hem to keep the fabric from billowing up. I imagine it was quite a workout to move through the water wearing one of these. But not to worry, according to the week women weren’t allowed to “swim” only submerge themselves in the water. Beaches were segregated and women were “protected” from prying male eyes.

Around 1910 these gowns were abandoned for more form fitting (but still not very revealing) suits that were more functional for actual swimming. There were style police (like it always seems there are) that would call out women and punish them for wearing suits that showed too much skin. As far as it not being about the suit but about the woman in the suit, this same article talks about Annette Kellerman who broke swim records and attempted to swim the English Channel. She was arrested for wearing her practical suit but didn’t back down. Instead she kept on swimming and according to Wikipedia started her own line of swimwear – The Annette Kellerman’s. She did promise to wear a cover up until she got to the water and promised to put it back on as soon as she got out. Thank you Annette for being a strong woman in a suit.

In the 1920’s (again pulling from the Insider article) suits got more revealing and the swimsuit police were busier than ever.  There were rules and regulations and tape measures were sometimes used to measure distances (hmm).  According to an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer in Sept. 1921, novelist Louise Rosine was another strong woman in a suit. She rolled her required bathing stockings below her knees and was informed by Beach Policeman Shaw  that it was against the regulations at this beach to do so.  She was taken to jail and also refused bail. I presume to draw even more attention to the unfair plight of women. Thank you Louise!

One piece suits got more practical and revealing as time moved on and in the 1940’s the bikini was introduced by Louis Reard. Wartime rationing of cloth played a hand.

Suits got smaller and smaller and the choices expanded until today when you can find  everything from board shorts and practical one piece choices to tiny little pieces of fabric that are about as close to skinny dipping as you can get on a public beach.

I encourage you to be another strong woman in a suit to honor all those who came before us!

Part 2- Swimsuits and Body Image

Part 2- Swimsuits and Body Image

Last week I shared a video about those little voices in your head that stop you from being your best or can even stop you from thinking about putting a swimsuit on. If you missed it, you can find it here.

This week I  give you some ideas  for how to change those messages and a few more tips that I hope get you excited about finding that perfect swimsuit.

Finding a great swimsuit starts with the right attitude and the right silhouette. You can find my free guide to the best suit for your body type here.

You will also want to  consider the 7 items below when you are trying to find the perfect suit in the store or online.

  1. Fit – Get the right size. When ordering online make sure you know your measurements for bust, waist and hip and compare them to the store’s size chart. The sizing for women’s clothing is not standardized. You may have noticed that a size 14 from one store is not the same as a size 14 from another store. It is also helpful to know if your torso is shorter or longer than average. Your vertical proportions will help you with this and you can also check to see if the store’s sizing chart mentions a measurement from your neck to waist and compare it to yours. This measurement is taken from the base of your neck where it meets your spine to an imaginary horizontal line that crosses your waist. If you are buying a swimsuit like the Miracle suit, then you may want to go up one size from your normal dress size or you may end up looking like an overstuffed sausage.
  2. Coverage and breast support – Depending on your size and age you may appreciate a built in bra to hold your breasts up. I also appreciate not having my nipples show through the suit if the water happens to be a little chilly. I also want my butt cheeks covered so I look at how much coverage there is in that area of the suit. If the model’s butt isn’t covered it’s a sure bet mine won’t be
  3. Why am I buying a suit? Am I just going to be lounging around the sand or pool? Then I probably don’t need to worry about the straps or how it stays up. But obviously that changes if I plan to do any jumping, diving or lap swimming or even just play with the kids in the water.
  4. Quality really does matter in a suit. A swimsuit is subjected to sun, chlorine and damp situations- the perfect environment for textile destruction. Feel the fabric. I prefer a thicker fabric for my swimsuit. I also look inside at the stitching and make sure it is nice and solid with no skipped stitches. No need to have a wardrobe malfunction at the pool or beach. Some suits now come with built in UV protection so if that is a benefit to you look around for that in your search.
  5. Color – You might be tempted to go with black because it can be slimming but black can also be aging. If it’s not your color learn what is. Navy and purple are flattering to most skin colors and can also be slimming.
  6. Prints – If you are larger you can get away with a larger print. Small prints would look silly. And vice-versa, if you are smaller you can get lost with a larger print.
  7. Cover ups – Does it have a coordinating cover up or do you have something you can wear with it to get from home to the beach or if it gets chilly? An over sized white shirt and a coordinated sarong could be an easy answer especially if you already have them.