Appearance and Income

Appearance and Income

Studies show links between personal appearance, employment and income that I find fascinating. Google personal appearance and income and you will find some interesting articles.

Malcolm Gladwell did a survey on the height of Fortune 500 CEO’s and found that the average CEO is about 3 inches taller than the average American man. (And you note that he was studying men).

This article discusses results of some of those studies and ponders what that means.

This study from 2006  https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/3043406  came up with three transmission channels for the beauty premium.

  1. Physically attractive workers are more confident and higher confidence increases wages.
  2. For a given level of confidence physically attractive workers are (wrongly) considered more able by employers.
  3. Controlling for worker confidence, physically attractive workers have oral skills (such as communication and social skills) that raise their wages when they interact with employers.

Don’t be discouraged or blame our looks for our luck in life. There are tricks you can use to create appearances that match society’s ideal even if you are more towards the average (which is all of us) appearance. You can dress to appear taller and more slender. You can wear clothes that fit. You can learn to create confidence from the inside out that will make anything you wear look better.

The mind perceives (even our own) before logical thinking takes over. Test yourself throughout the day today and observe those background thoughts that you don’t usually notice about the people you meet, see on TV or in the media.

Were you surprised?

As much as you may wish to fight this and stay the way you are if you have dreams and goals, being able to confidently make a good impression visually, with your actions and with your words (including voice) is so important.

Who do you want to be? How much do you want to make? I encourage you to dress as if you are already there.

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?

Three jackets

Three jackets

This week I went through fabrics I bought last summer and have never gotten around to using. One of them was a reversible mid weight knit with a lovely smooth texture that is perfect for a jacket.  Since it is a reversible fabric I needed a simple pattern where I would not need to make too many seams. I briefly considered finishing my bodice sloper I started and then making a pattern from there but I am in the mood for a faster process than that right now. Instead I went through patterns I had and found a McCalls pattern that I had picked up at a thrift store.

McCalls 4093

I made the first version as directed to make sure I liked the style on me. I loved the color of this woven fabric I picked up at Goodwill. I had a button I had picked up maybe 25 years ago in Canada that is made from arbutus.  I added patch pockets on the outside and I am happy with the results. It is quite a roomy jacket so I need to make sure to wear it with slim fit bottoms or a pencil skirt.  This process helped me see and think about what I would need to do to make it out of reversible fabric.

To make the test garment I pulled a knit out of my stash (I love the color of it but it doesn’t love me) that had a similar stretch to my final fabric.

I took the extra step of tracing the size I wanted off the tissue paper pattern so I could use all the sizes available later if I wanted.

Tracing paper to trace the size I want

I chose a size down from the size I used in the woven because the knit would make it even roomier than the first jacket. This exercise stretched my brain as I tried to make it look good from both sides. I used a flat fell seam so it would look finished from both sides. This also required me to sew my seams as straight as I could to keep it all neat looking. The pockets were a puzzle. I felt patch pockets on both sides would be too bulky so I made a welt on one side that went through into the pocket on the other side. This knit was not thick enough to leave the edge unfinished so I added a narrow stand up collar at the neck and bound the front edge.  The finished product is a bit clunky but it helped me think out the steps to make the final jacket.

Testing Testing

The final product! I narrowed the welt and made it a little higher because the other one almost felt like I was dropping whatever I put in the patch pocket out through the welt on the other side.

I smoothed out any jagged cuts I had on the unfinished front edges and hems and left them as is. Added one of my favorite vintage buttons and I now have a reversible jacket in one of my basic colors that I look forward to wearing!

Have you tried creating a reversible garment lately?

Vintage

Vintage

When I visited my dad in Michigan in January I found myself with not a lot to do. I had seriously injured my hamstring while ice skating and it was snowing so driving wasn’t an option. I was starting to get a case of cabin fever so I decided to dig through the drawers and closets to see what I might discover.

I found a bag of patterns in the closet. Some were things I had sewn when I was in high school. Some were dresses my mother had sewn for herself at some point in her life. Needless to say none were my current size. I found some fabric that wouldn’t have been my first choice for just about anything but the rose and grey colors were good and the print was fairly small. I picked the dress pattern with the least alteration needed and began to measure and make the changes I hoped would create a dress/long open top that would fit me. I took the waist darts out and moved them to try to make it large enough for me around the waist. My other issue was a sewing machine that had only basic stitches. This meant I had to use an overcast  stitch on my ravelly seams. And the needle could have been a little newer so the inside of the dress was a mess. Once I took everything home it was better with new needles and a serger.

It has some nice details that you can’t see with this print. The collar is nice and large and could stand up if I used a thicker interfacing. The sleeve is not set in and makes a quick sew.

Collar could stand up

No set in sleeve

As you can see this first effort ended up being too big around the waist and looks pretty dowdy. I already feel most vintage looks dowdy on me as I become vintage.

Dowdy Dress

But now that I have a shape on a dress form I can start to play around and make changes to turn it into something a little more stylish. (I hope). My first step is to add some darts to the bodice so it is not so huge. I also noticed I am longer waisted than this dress form. Not sure how to fix that on the form.

I pin up my first change to the hemline. Oops a little too revealing. I would have to find another dress or leggings to wear under this one.

I set the opening a little lower and I am in business.

Lower opening

Now for my favorite part! I dig through the button tins – most of them from my mother’s stash and select some. I don’t pick my absolute favorites because I am not sure I will actually ever wear this dress (if I do I will share). I was also delighted to figure out how to use the buttonhole setting on my new machine. It was actually a joy instead of a pain to do buttonholes.

Final with buttons

And the best part is finishing a project that was clogging my flow. I put it on for Easter but couldn’t style it quite right to be comfortable wearing it. Will I ever wear it? Still not sure.

Can’t quite figure out how to pull off wearing it.

Do you sew vintage patterns? If so what do you find to be your biggest hurdle?

Learning from my mistakes

Learning from my mistakes

This marvelous green knit fabric has been in my stash every since I created a basic t shirt pattern for myself 6 or 7 years ago.
My first mistake was a lucky accident. I accidentally cut out two front pieces. (I didn’t even realize I had enough fabric to do this). I had been wanting to try a surplice style top for a while and this presented the perfect opportunity.
Then as I looked at my finished hem and neckilne I realized why the women in the sewing group were so curious about what stitch I woud be using on my knit fabric. My neckline stitching was very visible due to the thread I used and it was not even in the most noticeable part of the V. My hemline was wavey due to using that same tight stitch. It had stretched into a ruffled bottom.

I was ready to throw it in the Goodwill pile and write it off and then I realized I needed to learn how to do it right. For the neckline I defaulted to a band around the V neck. There are fabulous instructions for this at web site that make it easy.

http://www.mesewcrazy.com/2013/07/easy-v-neck-sewing-tutorial.html
since the fabric was so stretchy I was able to use one of my small scraps to make the band.
For the hemline I just took my newly repaired serger out and cut it off. I then used the blind stitch on my regular machine to finish it off. It also required a couple of well placed hand stitches because I was still impatient and didn’t catch the fabric everywhere.
The final product is soft and easy to wear and provides a little pop of color in my charcoal outfit.

Back on Track

These last few months have been busy as I transition out of owning a plant business and into the new joyous style business (whatever form that ends up taking). As part of the transition I had to change the name of the business I owned. I pondered it for quite a few days. Here are some of the thoughts and ideas that passed through my head:

The retired plant lady
Liberte’
Free Woman (my daughter nixed that one thinking I might send the wrong message and there is already a free woman site) Metamorphosis (when my accountant wanted to know what I was going to call the metamorphosis)

Going back to my vision board I remembered my goal of freedom- freedom in time, freedom in thought, freedom in place and freedom in choice. That led to the new name “A Woman Liberated”. It speaks to me and will be a guiding light as I make choices about how to shape life after being the plant lady.

I am not free of the old business until January of next year and I could use that excuse as a reason to stop pursuing freedom right now but that would be another form of putting off life (which I have done for 31 years). Instead I have pulled out my 12 week year planner to remind me to take action every day towards my goals. I find that if I don’t take time to do this I will spend each day repeating what I have done in the past. Puttering around doing things that need to get done but that keep me stuck in the same place. And saying “I don’t have time to take on another thing” – which is an exhausting way to live. This planning forces me to prioritize each day to move forward and makes me to look at what I have done (or not done) each week. Putting me back on track to living the life of a Woman Liberated!

I picked up the planner again after a hiatus. The last time I had worked on it was for an August 9 completion. I discovered I had completed some of the goals.

  1. I sold my current business and completed the paperwork to get it done.
  2. Goal 2 to stay (or get) in shape to hike my 100 miles on the Pacific Crest trail at the end of the summer. I had accomplished most of the tasks but need to add in more hills and stick to the 1 drink a day strategy to really get it done. On the positive side the strength training was curing the plantar fasciatis and I was able to start running again after 18 months off. And I did complete my hundred miles (120 was the final tally).
  3. Work on this blog and an online color and style course are the items I have let slide. Looks like it is time to pick up the planner and figure out where this blog is going!