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.

Slip ups

Slip ups

I should know better. I believe how you show up matters. But sometimes you just need to show up and I am embarrassed to say this is how I showed up for a 7 am zoom meeting this week. I could beat myself up but I won’t. I am also sure I won’t repeat this mistake. I didn’t get up in time to show up how I wanted but I showed up. I made a bad decision and will get up earlier next time as well as make sure the camera is off.

Have you had some slip ups? Don’t fall off the wagon.

Take a little trip with Stella from @letsgowithstella and learn why you shouldn’t give up your whole game plan with just 1 trip.

I LOVE my closet

I LOVE my closet

Have you tried the capsule wardrobe when traveling for an extended period? There is  nothing like extended traveling to remind you how much you appreciate certain things.

Last week we returned from 7 weeks on a road trip. We went from the colds of a fall in Glacier National Park to a milder fall in Michigan to the wet of a SE US fall to the humidity of Key West, 17 degrees and snow in Denver and back. A packing challenge to say the least. I put my cold weather outer and under layers in a small backpack since they were the least time of our travels. This outer gear consisted of a raincoat, long underwear, a packable down, hiking boots, wool socks and a hat and gloves.

Here is my list for the rest of the trip:

  • 2 pair shorts khaki
  • 7 pair underwear and an extra bra
  • 2 pair foot liners
  • 4 pair misc. socks
  • 2 shirts (one blue t shirt and one grey sleeveless)
  • One pair grey jeans
  • One knit lightweight jacket in heathered grey.
  • One blue and white sundress with scarf (which I never wore )
  • A wide belt in brown.
  • A small bag of jewelry (2” x 3”)
  • A swimsuit
  • Flip flops
  • Walking shoes
  • 2 pair lightweight somewhat dressier shoes

It worked but I am so glad to see my closet. This was so repetitive. It did make dressing easy but I know I couldn’t live with just one capsule wardrobe at this point in my life. Variety IS the spice of life. Life IS too short to wear boring clothes. At least there was variety in locales and some new thrift and consignment stores to browse along the way.

How do you throw some spice in that travel capsule?

How do you plan your rides?

While doing some online exploring looking for great bike rides I came across this fairly unique idea for mapping a ride.

If you don’t have time to check out the link, it describes a Perth man with some time on his hands as well as a creative thought process who mapped out a ride on Strava using a picture of a goat as a template to set way points and map his ride. He then went out and rode it. It took seven hours, 126 miles and had 5786 feet of climbing.

I will need a little more time on my hands to plot my bike route that way (as well as more training to complete that goat ride) but maybe in the near future………… For now I use my knowledge of where I am  along with Google’s maps app set on bicycling. I have also had some success with Ride with GPS.  My favorite rides are the ones where I don’t have to think too much and can just ride. Long country roads with no stop lights and light traffic fill my dreams of the ideal bike ride. I especially love bike rides someone else has planned and I just make the turns when told by the arrows on the road.

Where do you like to ride and how do you plan it?

The bike bag

The bike bag

I have your typical bike bags (purchased for me by my husband) but I wanted something more- something with a little more style and that could be used on and off the bike, had a spot for maps and that didn’t require a trip to the fabric store.

I ended up with this.

The fabric came from some wool overcoats I bought at Goodwill a couple years ago. I was trying to felt wool by throwing it in a hot wash and dryer. A wool sweater felted very well but I haven’t yet done anything with it. The coats shrank and the fabric is not ravelly after the process. It was quite a time consuming process pulling the coat pieces apart.

Wool coat with pieces pulled apart

At the time I wasn’t sure what I would do with them but over the last few months I have decided to try bags. I made this red one from this stash.

Red bag from used wool coat

I loved the idea of using the coats button tab as my fastener because of both how it looked AND the fact that I hadn’t yet figured out the buttonholer on my machine.

As a side note in the future I will be looking at the Goodwill pound store outlet first because the actual coats were on the spendy side at $10 to $15 each.

This bag started out floppy and I wanted it stiffer because I believed that would result in a cuter bag both on and off the bike. I took an empty vinegar jug and cut out the end pieces in this stiff plastic. I then ended up also using vinyl as an inner liner with a thin blue decorative lining.. I am also hoping it will keep the inner contents a bit drier. Can’t wait to try it out. – not the wet part but the riding with it part.

What do you think? Would you use this bag? My husband’s answer was a resounding no but I bet he changes his mind when he sees it in action.

 

Focus

Focus

This post was started two hours ago and I am just now starting the first sentence. So not only am I having trouble figuring out what to focus on, I am having trouble focusing on what I choose. Since I started I decided to have lunch, manage my airbnb listing and put the laundry in. Now I am back and I promise myself to focus till I finish.

My original thought on focus was that I feel scattered in almost all areas. It is true I have created some priorities: Health through nutritious eating and exercise, learning and travel. It has become obvious to me that outside these priorities I am having trouble deciding what is most important and also how to integrate other interests into these main focuses. I want to do it all!

OR am I using my lack of focus as an excuse for lack of forward movement OR I am sabotaging myself so I don’t “succeed” – whatever that may mean to me OR I just need anxiety in my life.

I say that I want to learn and practice my sewing skills and share them through this blog and sewing meetups. In reality I am so busy traveling, trying to stay in shape and learning about how to share my skills that I am lucky if I find a day a week to sew. Plus now that I have free time I have not said no to many social opportunities.

Then there is the problem of what should I be making? There are so many things I want to try and then there is the looming reality of a trip coming up that involves hiking and biking. And wanting my slopers to be perfect before I use them to create new things for myself. I am back to some of my old habits that lead to less focus.

Spurred on by those distracting % off coupons from fabric stores I decided I needed to go out and get fabric to make a new hiking/biking skirt, two pair of outdoor pants that don’t look like outdoor pants and a couple t shirts that will dry quick and have pockets! And a bike bag to carry misc in on the trip.

My latest shiny objects

Here is my latest pile. 2 yards of fabric in each of 5 colors. Two meant for tops and 3 meant for skirts or pants appropriate for outdoor adventure travel.

I have limited time before the trip. Writing is helping me focus. I am going to make a hiking/biking skirt and a shirt with pockets and a small handlebar bag. Stay tuned. I already am getting unfocused by some more travel opportunities in my inbox.

How do you focus on priorities – or even decide what they are? If you are reading this blog is it helpful or another way to procrastinate?