Stagnant or creative? Standard collars, summer reds and inverted triangles

Stagnant or creative? Standard collars, summer reds and inverted triangles

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” -Sydney J. Harris

Photo by Mauricio Livio on Unsplash

Has your life changed in the last 20 years? How about your ideas? Your residence? What’s hanging in your closet?

Is everything you believe true? I keep exploring my “beliefs” and discover they are just my thoughts but not everyone would believe what I think (especially my husband). Here is a deep down one I didn’t even realize I had: “Fashion doesn’t matter.” Now I know that is not true because not everyone would agree it is true.  Only things everyone can agree on are true facts. I now realize it helped me justify not investing time in self care and it helped me justify not caring about what I wore or how I looked.

It kept me stagnant. And what I wore 20 years ago does not help me look the way I feel now. It actually makes me look like I am stuck in the past and it makes me look old. Even though I am technically “old” I don’t feel old and I don’t necessarily want to look old (although it could be useful when I’m trying to cross the street).

To me old is stagnant, not creating new thoughts, ideas or actions.  I was headed down that path- doing the same thing every day the way I have always done it. Including wearing the same thing I had worn for 20 years.  It isn’t comfortable to try to find new paths and my brain resists it just like society seems to resist real change. How about you? Are you stagnant or are you creating new ideas, activities and brain paths?

Need help breaking out of your style stagnation?

Clothing Detail this week – A standard collar

One way Merriam Webster defines a collar is as a band that serves to finish or decorate the neckline of a garment. A collared shirt is simply a shirt with a collar. It can be any of the collar types we have already talked about or it can be the type of collar that is commonly thought of on a man’s shirt.  Medium in width with points in the front and attached to the garment by a stand (a piece of intermediary fabric) .  When you do an online search for a collared shirt you get a variety of shirts with either buttons down the front (button down) or polos (a v-neck opening that may or may not have buttons).  If your boss has asked you to wear a collared shirt, they typically mean a button down collared shirt.

Collars are a face framing feature and one way to make them stand out is to make them from a different fabric or color fabric than the body of the shirt. Collars are decorative although they may also have a function of keeping the neck warm. Collars typically make a shirt more professional and formal than an open neckline. A polo shirt is often considered business casual even though it has a collar.

Do you enjoy the look and feel of collared shirts?

man's button down shirt

Fashion trends

Pantone 2020  versions of red

Flame scarlet, orange peel, cinnamon stick, coral pink –They sound luscious.

Do any of these colors complement you? They are your red if they match the color of your fingertip when you squeeze it, the color of your cheeks when you blush or the color of your lips. 

Reds that blend with you will be the most attractive. Which one is yours?

line drawing of inverted triangle

Style lesson

Body shape – Inverted Triangle is the opposite of a triangle (imagine that). The shoulders are larger than the hips and the waist is only slightly defined as it tapers down to narrow hips and a typically flat butt.  The guidelines for balancing out this body type is to make the hips look equal to the shoulders and make the waist visible. Ways to experiment creating this illusion include brighter or lighter or print pants with more subdued tops. You would want to avoid styles that emphasize the shoulders such as halter tops, ruffles at the shoulders, cap sleeves or a color block that had a lighter color defining the shoulders. Flared skirts and pants would also help the illusion. V neck lines, narrow lapels and items that create a vertical line down the front of the body are flattering for most.

If this is your body type which of these guidelines have you found helpful and which ones do you break on a regular basis with success? Remember these guidelines are just a place to start and breaking the rules can create some splendid results.

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
Details, Body Types and the Crochet trend

Details, Body Types and the Crochet trend

Grandma Gets Real Creator Tonya Ruiz dressed up these quarantine barbies. I think you will enjoy them.

Clothing detail of the week

Knowing how certain details of clothing are described can help make online ordering and searching easier. Todays detail is the peter pan collar.

The Peter Pan collar is a shirt collar that lays flat and is rounded on the edges instead of pointed. It screams feminine and girly, flirtatious and fun. It can also be viewed as a juvenile or youthful look which may not be helpful if you need to project authority but could be great fun on a date night or girl’s night.

In a contrasting color it can bring attention up to your face (which is flattering to all). They can be jazzed up with sequins, beads or embroidery for an even more stand out look.

It is one of those clothing details that gets an immediate love it or hate it reaction.

2012 was the last time it was really on trend so I imagine we will see it come round again soon. Is the Peter Pan collar a clothing detail you love or hate?

Photo from Sew it With Love

If you are a seamstress you can draft your own Peter Pan collar with these instructions from Sew it with Love

I found it! This article reminded me I have an adorable detachable beaded one that I loved to wear in my 20’s. Maybe I will have to try it again soon and add a little glam to my quarantine outfit.

This crochet dress pattern from Garn Studio 

in Queensland is a lot like the dress my mom’s friend made for me.

 

Clothing Trend

Crochet was hot on the runways for spring. I will never forget when I was in middle school one of my mom’s friends crocheted me a soft pink dress. She must have spent hours on it. I never wore it. What self respecting middle school girl in the 70’s would wear a dress with holes in it. The boys were already trouble enough. Why would I encourage even more teasing?

I flirted  with a couple more crochet things over the years including a purple bell sleeved duster style sweater that looked fabulous but had me getting hooked on every edge I encountered. Into the Goodwill bin it went.  Could I be tempted again? Crocheted pants? Swimsuit cover up? It would definitely be stepping out of my comfort zone which is what I advise clients to do – so I can answer that with a solid maybe. Perhaps a crocheted tank or a swimsuit cover up could be a solid addition to my simple and practical style.

Here is a glimpse of some of the crochet trends that went down the runway for spring. Are any of them tempting you?

Style lesson – Your body shape

When I first started trying to figure out how to dress better I couldn’t believe the simple formula of body shape and how applying different suggestions based on my body shape were a great starting point to having my clothes look better on me.

An easy way to figure out your shape is to take a photo of yourself in tight fitting leggings and t shirt or tank top. Print this out and then with another piece of paper on top, trace around your outline. You can do this for front, back and profile but you really only need the front.

Then take a straight edge and hold it vertically straight down from your shoulders on the traced outline. Do your hips line up with your shoulders? Are your hips smaller or bigger than your shoulders? Does your waist indent a lot, a little or not at all? Making these observations will quickly and easily tell you your body type and get you started on learning the tricks of body balance.

Here are the body types:

Balanced hourglass – Hips and shoulders are equal and your waist is indented quite a bit

Triangle – Your hips are wider than your shoulders and your waist is indented a bit

Inverted triangle – your shoulders are wider than your hips and you have a waist

Rectangle – Your shoulders and hips are equal and your waist hardly indents at all

Round – your middle is your largest part. You usually have a larger bust and amazing legs.

The goal for all these body types is to create a look with clothing that creates the illusion of  hips and shoulders that are equal in width with a defined waist.

The goal for clothing for the balanced hourglass that already has this look is to not throw those proportions off.

Did this help you figure out your body shape? Do you still need help? Give me a call. I can help you sort out all the confusing guidelines and silhouettes to get you started on the path to giving yourself a style make over.

 

line drawing of triangle body shape

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.

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?

En Vogue event March 12

En Vogue event March 12

Next week is a local fundraiser for Friendship House in Mount Vernon.   The theme is Roaring 20’s. You may or may not know that I chose a vintage beaded flapper dress for my wedding dress because even 30 years ago I was all about reuse. I was super excited about wearing it again to this event because to date I have only worn it once besides the wedding. But then I started researching ideas for others to wear and I got excited about the thought of a new take on it.  Especially since I am really in love with (and realize I have been since middle school) menswear on women. Loved Jo’s look in Little Women. Get a ticket to the show here and see what I am wearing and see if I managed to inspire anyone else to embrace the theme.

You can see my Pintrest board of ideas  to get your own original outfit from today’s clothing. Tomorrow I am going to my favorite consignment store and perhaps a thrift store or two to give you some sustainable ideas for your En Vogue outfit.

Have some fun with this. How often do you get to play with your look? Should I go original flapper or menswear? Any thoughts?