How much is enough? Sweethearts, sheers and bras

How much is enough? Sweethearts, sheers and bras

What is your Enough?

Seeking inspiration for today I typed in “How much stuff is enough” to see what came up. And I found this from thefrugalgirl.com

Enough = the amount you can fully and regularly use.

Her actual quote was the right amount of stuff = the amount you can fully and regularly use.

What if you applied this thought to your wardrobe? How much easier would it be to make the cull?

How much easier would it be if you thought this thought while you were browsing online or shopping in a store?

Enough = the amount you can fully and regularly use.

Can you really  fully and regularly use 7 pairs of black pants or blue jeans?

This would vary from person to person based on your lifestyle. If you regularly attended fancy parties but never did your own yard work, your party dress section would be fuller than your old raggy clothes section and vice versa.

The only thought I would add to this is enough=the amount you can fully and regularly use with enthusiasm.

If you fully embrace it this thought could set you free! Apply it to everything. Imagine applying it to your spice cupboard, your grocery shopping cart, your thoughts!

Clothing detail – the sweetheart neckline

The sweetheart neckline is a very feminine looking neckline that combines a v neck with a swoopy curve. It can be as wide or narrow or deep or shallow as you like. This would create a look that could be sweet, sexy or prim and proper.

It is flattering on most everyone. It can be combined with straps of many types, sleeves or no sleeves. It is a common choice for a neckline on a wedding dress like the Justin Alexander dress from Sincerity Bridal.

Which of these sweetheart necklines would you try?

2020 Trends

Sheer layers

A see through look that like the sweetheart neckline can be presented to the world in a way that equals sexy, sweet or prim and proper.

The cut of the piece, where the sheerness lies and what you wear underneath all contribute to that final look.  I had a vintage 50’s dress with a full skirt and a large portrait collar that was made of a thin peach organza. The underlayer was a full coverage  slip with similar lines but no transparency. This dress was prim and proper but invited a certain come hither look.

Here are some variations on that look. One piece could accomplish all sorts of messages!

Molly GoddardCosmo Ruched Tulle Midi Dress from Moda Operandi worn over a dress

The same Molly Goddard dress as it is sold – I love the possibilities

This sheer fog dress from Universal Standard can go casual like this one over leggings or dress up over a slip dress with heels

This sheer sleeved blouse over an inner layer from macy’s offers the layered look in a demure fashion

Style tip

The undergarments have it

What you wear under your clothes is as important as what the outside world sees. Although if you choose to wear one of these sheer layers with only your undergarments the outside world will see all.

Let’s start today with a proper fitting bra. A great fitting bra can really help with body balance. It puts your boobs in a place where your ready to wear clothes expect them to be.

Do you know how to measure? Let’s talk about it.

Get out your tape measure. Put on an unpadded, unlined bra that doesn’t bind or isn’t a push up bra or measure nude (when nude you may not get a great measurement across your bust if you have gotten droopy – in this case make sure you are wearing the bra).

While standing straight measure around your whole body across the fullest part of your chest. Write this down.

Now measure around your whole body just under your breasts. Write this down.  This is your band size. Bras come in even numbers so if you are an odd number round up.

Subtract your band measurement from  the measurement you got across the fullest part of your chest. Use the chart below to determine your cup size. This chart is for US sizes. 

This is your starting point at the store or online. When you get it try it on. The perfect bra will include these fitting items

When you hook it, it should fit well on the first set of hooks. This helps you adjust as the bra stretches over time.

 

The straps shouldn’t slip or cut into your shoulders

Your breasts should fit in the cups without spilling over or having excess fabric in the cup.

It will feel good and support you.

Still having trouble? Try ordering through a web site like Third Love that offers all kinds of videos, tips and tricks or go to a store that only sells bras and get fitted.

What bra tips and tricks can you add to the conversation?

 

 

Difference

Cup size

1”

A

2”

B

3”

C

4”

D

5”

DD

6”

DDD

7”

F

8”

G

9”

H

10”

I

11”

J

12”

K

People will stare – make it good

People will stare – make it good

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.” —Harry Winston

 

I love learning more about the people who are quoted. Harry Winston was an American jeweler that supplied some of the worlds most famous people with some of the world’s most famous diamonds and jewels.

I do love this quote because I have always shunned attention instead of embracing it. I can’t imagine putting on a giant diamond and being comfortable. Why would I want the attention? I also know that diamonds don’t have the cleanest labor and human rights records. But imagine having the confidence to put on one of the world’s most famous diamonds and an outfit to match. That is a goal worth achieving. That kind of confidence.

 If you want to learn more about diamonds – their manufacture, marketing, history and value, you will enjoy this podcast from 99% invisible.

Clothing detail – The V neck

V necks have a lot going for them. They automatically create a long lean look for most body types. About the only exception I can think of is if you have an abnormally long neck because this would accentuate it.  (But hey you know my motto – if you love it wear it).  Watch how deep your v goes or you may be sending a message you didn’t intend to (either way).

You can create your own V by unbuttoning the top button of a button down or simply slashing a v in your crew neck t shirt.

V necks have the potential to be a valuable staple in your wardrobe.

Knowing the proper terminology for clothing detail will make online and in store shopping for clothes easier.

layered v neck

Photo from Nordstrom Rack

Style ideas – Balance your body with color

Color plays an important role in balancing an outfit. Where the colors change in an outfit can have an impact on whether the outfit is balanced or not. The saturation and hue affect  also come into play. This is why monochromatic color schemes are the easiest to put together.

How can you use color to create the balanced look you want?  

Triangles could use a lighter, brighter or print top to draw attention up.

Inverted triangles would use that lighter or brighter color or print on the bottom.

Photo from Nordstrom

Hourglasses could use attention focusing details on the top and bottom with a dark middle to emphasize their waist . Photo from Nordstrom

Rounds could use body skimming fit, slightly higher waistline and  monochrome dressing with a brighter scarf or necklace to draw attention up.

 

This color block dress would be great for columns because it adds shape and a waist Photo from JC Penney

What is your favorite trick for body balance? Don’t have one yet? Drop me a line Let’s create some body balance.

Use your nose, mandarin collars, 2020 greens and Rectangles

Use your nose, mandarin collars, 2020 greens and Rectangles

How Using your nose can save the planet

“I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don’t have any clean laundry, because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life?” –Anonymous-

And guess what? Washing less also equals less impact from your clothing on the environment. Since I rarely do out and out dirty work in my job anymore I have started to give my outer clothes the sniff test before tossing them in the laundry basket automatically.  If they pass back in the closet or drawer they go.

According to this article in Treehugger 75 to 80% of our clothing’s lifestyle impact comes from laundry. The average household uses 13,500 gallons of water a year doing laundry. Front loading machines cut that back significantly by using 7000 gallons less. Now imagine if you cut your number of loads per week in half just by doing the sniff test.  Hanging your clothes instead of using a dryer will cut down on electricity use (but maybe crowd your minimal living space).

Use the coolest temperature water you can. Heating water accounts for a large amount of energy use when it comes to laundry.

To avoid ironing, hang your clothing up immediately instead of letting it sit around balled up.

Reconsider dry cleaning. Avoid buying things that say dry clean only. If you are open to experimenting, many sweaters and delicates that say dry clean only can be hand washed.

Another bonus? Your clothing will last longer when you wash less often, don’t use the dryer or an iron and use cooler water.

And now if you run into me on the street I hope you will know me because I am smiling about not doing laundry and not because my sniffer isn’t as good as it used to be.

Clothing detail of the week -Mandarin collar

A mandarin collar is a subtle little  stand up collar that is  basically the stand for a collar without the collar part attached. It is typically narrow but can be wider. It is typically thought of as an Asian look because it was used on Chinese military uniforms. Related styles are the Nehru collar and the band collar. What memories or feelings do the Mandarin collar create for you?

These girl’s costumes have a mandarin collar

2020 Greens Biscay Green and Chive

Have you tried either of these colors? I could see myself in a pair of chive green hiking pants on the trail!

Body Shape for the week – Rectangle

In a rectangular body shape the hips and shoulders are equal in measurement and the waist is not clearly defined. This body shape benefits most from defining a waist. This can be done with a design line, belt or other detail that creates a waist. This shape benefits from adding width to the shoulders and hips so that the waist appears narrower. A peplum top with additional shoulder details would do this well.

 

Rectangle body shape line drawing
Traceability Report, Portrait Collar and Summer Yellows

Traceability Report, Portrait Collar and Summer Yellows

“I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet.” – Carrie Bradshaw 

What do you think of this quote? First instincts? It sounds joyous especially at first glance. That is part of what made the show so fun. Unfettered joy and drama in getting dressed up and shopping. A retailer’s dream show and shopper. Confetti. I wish I could feel it. But there is too much undercurrent in my thoughts to allow this to be my motto. More power to you if you can enjoy this much consumption. And if these companies that make these expensive clothes are providing quality and supporting all employees at all levels of the process from maker to seller with a supportive lifestyle including health care, a safe work environment and enough income to provide good safe food and shelter for themselves and their families then I am all in for paying the price.

I have never craved designer items – Quality might make my mouth water but not necessarily the name attached to it. And I certainly wouldn’t spend on a designer name unless it was quality or secondhand. Do you think new cars lose value as soon as you drive them off the lot? Well then the depreciation on a clothing item as soon as you take it out of the store would blow your mind.

I just did a quick search on the Real Real for Prada shoes. A low top Prada sneaker at Nordstrom retails for $590 to $620. On the Real Real a never worn leather sneaker is $225 and you can get a 20% off coupon.

Now let’s look at the traceability of their supply lines. I am not picking on Prada it just happens to be the first designer line that came to mind in my search. Before starting this article I really hadn’t done much research into them but now I am curious. I pulled up my copy of the  2020 Fashion Transparency Index and looked up Prada in the traceability scoring.

 

Traceability includes such things as:

Does the brand disclose where their final production factories are?

Do they disclose their processing facilities that are earlier in the game – ginning, spinning, embroidering, dying etc. ?

Do they disclose their suppliers of raw materials?

Do they do any tracing on their suppliers to make sure they are being told the truth? 

Then are they sharing verified information about these facilities including: 

The address of the facility

  • The types of products/services made in each supplier facility
  • Approximate number of workers
  • Sex-disaggregated breakdown of workers at each site
  • If the facility has a trade union
  • If the facility has an independent worker committee
  • % of migrant or contract workers
  • Name of parent company
  • The business relationship between facilities at different levels of their supply chain
  • If the list is available as a csv or Excel spreadsheet
  • If the list was updated within the past 6 months

I hope you can see why this information is so important to determining if a fashion supply house is just giving lip service to responsibility or really participating in making the world a better place.

Prada scored in the 11-20% range.  

You can get your own report and look up your favorite brand here: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/transparency/ 

So I’m sure none of this was on Carrie’s mind but if it was I am all in.

Photo from https://sexandthecity.fandom.com/

Organized dressing area

Do you have a clean organized closet?

Creating one is well worth your time. Doing so can help eliminate confusion in the morning, up your style game, give you a plan for shopping that will help eliminate duplicate purchases, fill holes in your closet, help you see what you really have and finally help save the earth. 

When it comes to closets I believe less is more. Evaluating your lifestyle in terms of what you really need to own in terms of clothing, evaluating your style in terms of how you want to be perceived,  and paying attention to what sorts of clothing brings a smile to your face when you put it on is the first step in culling. 

How many pairs of black pants or blue jeans do you really need? There are only 7 days in the week. If that was all you wore and you only did wash once a week then 7 would be the max (assuming you can’t wear them more than one day a week between washing). Do you keep going out and buying black pants? Why? Evaluate your lifestyle to see what you really need. 

Do the clothes you own reflect you the way you feel and want to be seen?  Having clothes with holes in them may be how you want to reflect if you are proud of the fact that you reuse and never buy new. A better choice might be to do an artistic mending job, alteration or remake so this wear looks planned and not inadvertent. If wearing clothes with holes in them is not a choice you are consciously making and you don’t want to repair, then get rid of them. Goodwill and other textile recycling organizations now take ripped and stained clothing and turn them into other items. They no longer need to go in the garbage. So get rid of them without guilt and try to buy better quality next time. 

When you look at the clothes in your closet, which items bring a smile to your face? Which items do you wear most often? Are there things hanging there that bring you grief instead of joy? (i.e. too small or last worn on divorce day?) Get rid of them. They are keeping you stuck. Life is short. Let’s have some forward motion. 

If you want to get started on your own, try my closet makeover plan for free. 

If you need help, drop me a line.

Fashion Trends

Summer 2020 yellows Saffron, lark and sunlight 

Yellow! Yellow! Yellow! Brings me joy. Please wear some.

Pleated Portrait Collar on 5th Ave Dress pattern

Clothing detail of the week- portrait collar

 

This vintage style collar is a face framing gem and attention getter. It is very large and wide. It is probably called a portrait collar because it frames your beautiful face and highlights your neck and upper chest. It can be sexy or subdued depending on styling.  The collar can be simple or ruffled. The same color or a contrasting color.

Try one out and be framed.

Triangle guidelines – always a guide NEVER a rule 

The triangle body shape is larger on the bottom than the top. To achieve body balance which is a trompe l’oeil  that creates a top and bottom that are equal with a defined waist, make the upper body look larger. This can be done with color – (like one of the 2020 yellows worn with a darker bottom) or print or it can be done with design details like necklines, ruffles, sleeve styles, seam lines.  The portrait collar discussed today moves all the attention up! 

As a general rule for every body shape you want to avoid straight lines across the widest part of your body. This means don’t have a hemline or color break across your hips which are the widest part of a triangle. Instead move that hem up or down to a narrower part of your body. Another option would be to make that hemline a diagonal or vertical that moves the eye up and down not sideways.  The design lines should always lead the eye to where you want it not where you don’t. 

Play around, try something new and have fun experimenting. Look at the items in your closet with this in mind. Are there some items you like? Could any of these guides be part of the reason?

drawing of triangle body shape
Here comes summer!

Here comes summer!

My favorite season is around the corner. I love summer. I grew up in Michigan and was surrounded by lakes to swim in. As a youngster I would get to swim all day while my mother cleaned the homes of the “summer people”. It is surprising she let us because she was terrified of the water. We took our swimming lessons in the “ice tea” water of the river.

As a teenager I drove around with a swimsuit, floatie and towel in the trunk of my car and never missed a chance to jump in the lake. That swimsuit didn’t take up much room because it was a little orange bikini. When I was a teen it didn’t really matter what I wore, I thought it looked great. Now I find myself looking at bathing suits with a much different eye. I want a bit more coverage for lots of reasons. And I want some substance to it so there isn’t any jiggling! Funny how what we think about ourselves and our bodies changes over the years.

When I went to college one of my room mates wouldn’t go swimming because she couldn’t stand how she looked in a swimsuit. I felt so sorry for her but didn’t even realize that not going swimming because you hated how you looked was a possibility let alone have any idea how to help her

50 some years later, I have created a video about those messages we send ourselves. I believe hearing them is the first step to changing them. Next week I’ll share some tips on changing them.

For now I invite you to dream about what you will do in whatever swimsuit you get. Maybe you will just lounge by the pool in the warm sunshine, or kayak down the river, or waterski or actually swim! Those days are coming and finding a swimsuit that lets you comfortably do those activities you love is the first step. Did you know you can save some grief in the fitting room by knowing what style of suit will work best with your body type?

You can snag my guide to swimsuits by body type here.

Swimsuits are made from some of the least environmentally friendly fabrics there are so getting one that you love and would love to wear until it wears out is one way to save the earth. Taking care to rinse out the chlorine right after you use it and gentle washing will extend the life.

You may get lucky and find something at a thrift, vintage or consignment shop and if you do I admire your diligence.

I found this article from The Good Trade with links to several swim manufacturers using recycled plastics for swimwear. I plan to try Summersalt when my current suit wears out.

Summersalt also had a quiz to shop for certain features (including butt coverage and torso length) by size to help you choose a swimsuit.  And pricing was quite reasonable.

I hope to be in the water enough this summer to wear out my suit. How about you?

What are your favorite swimsuit memories?

Muscatine Iowa – Pearl button capitol

Muscatine Iowa – Pearl button capitol

Who would have guessed that buttons were the cause of the decline of fresh water clams in the Mississippi River? Or that Muscatine Iowa was known as the pearl button capitol of the world? Not me. This is what I find fascinating about travel. The opportunity to learn.

From the 1890’s to the 1900’s pearl buttons were made by cutting blanks from freshwater clams. These blanks were polished, sanded, and then drilled to create buttons which adorned many types of clothing. Harvesting the clams with rakes from the bottom of the river provided an income for many during these times. Unfortunately the demand for buttons caused over harvesting of the clams and the industry began to decline in the 1920’s. Around this time other materials also became available. The last factory closed in 1967.

The clams were just beginning to recover when they became a source of freshwater pearls. According to the Wisconsin DNR site “In 1995, more than one million pounds of shell were removed from the river in Wisconsin and shipped to Japan for use in the cultured pearl industry.”

 It is hard to not keep seeing the problems of over consuming clothing. The costs to our environment whether your items are made naturally or artificially are huge. Buy quality and wear it forever! Easier to say than do. Be conscious of what you want the future to look like but don’t beat yourself up over past choices. Move forward in a thinking way.