Monday, February 29, 2016

marginally minimal - my core pre-spring collection


Yellow Plaid vintage 80s (cotton)
White tunic (cotton)
Navy/White dots tunic (chiffon)
Navy/red hearts peasant blouse (rayon)
Kelly Green/Navy horses w/tie (chiffon)
Black/Ivory/Red/Gold vintage 80s (silk)

Black mini (denim)
Black skater (jersey)
Burgundy skater (jersey)
Dark indigo pleated (denim)
Black pleated (wool)
Red Plaid pleated (poly)
Navy/Grey Plaid pleated (poly)
Navy pencil (denim)

Work Dresses:
Black floral vintage 90s maxi tank (rayon)
Shortsleeve Black/white horses shirt dress (poly)
Navy/White sea unicorn sleeveless (rayon)
Black tank LBD (cotton - w/satin trim & belt)
Navy/Coral longsleeve trapeze (jersey)

Misc Tops:
Black tunic
Black/white stripe tunic
Black/red Buffalo check tunic
Cap-sleeve taupe lattice top (me-made)
Charcoal grey shawl-collar tunic vest (knit)
Southwest Draped Cardigan (rust, navy, black, ivory)

Red Plaid nightgown (flannel)
Blue/Green/Gold/Black caftan (satin)


Casual Dresses:
Navy sleeveless maxi (knit)
Black and white abstract tank (knit)
Black tank (knit)
Shortsleeve black a-line tee dress
Shortsleeve black/white stripe a-line tee dress
Navy/white stripe longsleeve a-line tee dress

Casual Skirts:
Black/White striped a-line maxi (knit)
Black stretch pencil (knit)

Shell Tanks:
Navy Stretch
Black Stretch 

Flowy Tanks:
Royal Heather
Charcoal Heather
Burgundy Heather
Black/Royal houndstooth

Lounge Tees:
Black longsleeve
Olive longsleeve
Plum longsleeve

Dark Skinny Jeans
Charcoal side-zip cigarette pants
Royal high-waisted zipper leggings
Burgundy running tights
Black high-waisted yoga leggings
Printed yoga leggings
Navy fleece tights

Work/Layering Tees:
Black shortsleeve
White shortsleeve
Navy shortsleeve
Ivory/navy anchors shortsleeve
Black/ivory peplum shortsleeve
Navy/white longsleeve
Black longsleeve 
Black turtleneck

Black fitted cable (cotton)
Black slouchy rib (cotton)
Navy fitted (cotton)
Citron cropped 3/4 sleeve (cotton)
Kelly green (cashmere)

Grey/Ivory/Citron vintage large silk square
Ivory/Navy vintage large silk square
Navy/Citron dot vintage large silk square
Black/Red/White vintage Dior small silk square
Black/Ivory vintage small silk square
Navy/Rust/Green/Blue vintage small silk square
Small grey long scarf
Large black long scarf
Outerwear acrylic red/black/white plaid
Outerwear vintage lambswool blackwatch plaid

curated wardrobe experiment.

My interest has been piqued, as of late, by the concept of the capsule wardrobe. 

Recently, I was packing for a long weekend trip to LA, and I realized that I had a big hole in my wardrobe when it came to stylish and presentable casual clothing. This coincided with purchasing the most perfect yoga leggings of all time and wanting to wear them for athleisure/casual but having nothing to go with them.  I started trying to shop very consciously for some things to pair with the leggings and stumbled upon the concept of a capsule wardrobe.  The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became.

At the New Year, I had KonMari'ed my closet and got rid of a lot things that weren't "sparking joy".  Here's what was left after the initial culling.

I still had a weird mix of formal wear, sentimental items (like me-made dresses & skirts!) and non-cohesive work separates that made it hard to put together an outfit in the morning. Lots of pieces that I really liked in theory were just not getting worn, even though they brought joy. So I was wondering - how can I get more joy out of the things that bring me joy?!

I'm a sucker for systems and structures of doing things... but they also stress me out. The idea of the capsule wardrobe is, thus, simultaneously appealing and terrifying to me. Which is why I like the idea of Project 333... just trying out a capusle wardrobe of 33 items for 3 months at a time.

But I also noticed that the vast majority the example capsule wardrobes showcased in blogs are primarily denim, black, white, grey, and other neutrals.  It's easy to manage when everything just blends together uniform-style... but that is not my style. I'm more inspired by the likes of Frieda Khalo than Jackson Pollack, if you get my drift. A wardrobe of all solids and neutrals would not suit me in the least.

Another thing I noticed was that the rules sound draconian, but actually a lot things weren't included - activewear, sleepwear, loungewear... some people count shoes and accessories, while others don't.  some people leave out outerwear... some have separate work and weekend capsule, others have mini-capsules for formalwear. There are weird theoretical rules like you can't wear the lounge or active wear blended with the 33 wardrobe items because its cheating... but then again, there's a lot of room for interpretation and adaptation & the proponents of Project 333 emphasize that it's not about suffering.

Still the numbers freaked me out. 

My takeaway was the careful planning that went into constructing the 333 capsule. This careful planning is sometimes referred to as curating your wardrobe.  Being an art history major, this resonated with me.  Museums have big collections of things, but they don't show them all at once - they organize smaller like-collections of things and showcase them for a finite amount of time and then lovingly pack them away and unearth new things to exhibit.  But somethings are just so great that they are part of permanent collections - always on display, year round. I started finding a lot joy and possibility in this idea.  Then I read this article, which mentions art museums too... and it clicked. 

I can create an intentionally-curated wardrobe and use the rotating seasonal capsule collection concept to plan modular groups of clothing that interact with each other in a cohesive way to get more joy out of what I have and have less clutter and confusion. It could also be a fun way to experiment with a few wild card pieces that have been sitting unworn, though potentially joy-sparking, for too long. But I don't have to get too hung up on a rigid numbers game challenge. 

I decided to try it this weekend. First, I did another really serious round of KonMari and set aside a big box of clothes and shoes.  I organized a "naked lady" party to share them with my friends before donating the left-overs. I took an unused shoe-organizer out of the hall closet to make space for some vintage formal dresses that I very rarely wear but am also not going to part with for the forseeable future & packed up some out-of-season items. 

Then, I examined what was left and picked a little collection out, stashing the rest of the items in the empty drawer space I created through all my paring down.  That stuff is out of sight, out of mind till the next season, at least. Meanwhile I am living out of this closet and 1/2 my previous dresser space.

Here is my closet after-picture. 

Including work clothes, weekend clothes, lounge & sleep clothes, formal clothes, and scarves.  I have 76 items.  60 core items comprise intersecting modules of work, weekend, and lounge wear. The remaining 16 items are an 8-piece mini-capsule of special occasion pieces, a nightgown, a caftan, and 6 scarves. 

Side-by-side here is the difference in my closet between KonMari & curated. Rather striking difference, isn't it?

I'll talk about what is in my core collection next time. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

new look

I've been away for a while - both from blogging and from making clothes for myself.

Part of it was being busy, but also, I had some ulnar nerve issues that were making my little fingers go numb, so I had to give them a rest.

I did a few projects here and there...

A knitted vest for my father-in-law for Christmas...

Some hand-sewn holiday ornaments for a fundraiser sale at my work...

And some hand-knotted silk beaded necklaces like this one...

I wasn't really inspired to sew or knit clothes for myself in 2015... it was too much to think about, too stressful.  My collection of fabric and yarn just felt like one more nagging thing on my too-long to-do list... so I let it sit in the closet and tended to other things.

Just last week, out of the blue, I got inspired again.  I was going on a trip to LA for a long weekend vacation.  I haven't been on a totally fun vacation for a long time and it was different weather than where I live - I was trying to think about what to wear to be comfortable, feel pretty, and be warm/cool enough for LA weather. I realized that I have not been collecting any comfortable, casual, fun clothes for a long time.

I used to teach yoga and practice in a non-heated studio... I stopped teaching in 2012 and started practicing at a hot yoga studio... so my yoga wardrobe needs changed.  I stopped collecting yoga-lifestyle clothes & gradually the ones I have have been wearing out or going out of style in the last few years.

I really like a sort of athleisure/yoga casual style for when I'm not at work. I have some pieces that would work and this week I bought a few fast-fashion items to perk up my casual wardrobe, but I also want to round it out with sewing - big comfy pullovers, tee shirt dresses, babydoll dresses to layer over leggings.  And knitting big oversized layering pieces.

I'm thinking along the lines of some of the unstructured knitted and woven tees that I've made in the past, but more oversized and boxy, to layer over leggings.

And a babydoll/smock dress that I made out of rayon a couple years ago that is still one of my favorites. 

I have some fabric already that would work for my ideas and it would be fun to work through my stash. I also want to experiment with making tee shirt dresses.

I found a great round-up blog from It's Always Autumn that has a bunch of tee shirts. I'm really looking forward to experimenting with this one from Skirt as Top, extending the hemline into a tee shirt dress for layer and I'm knitting a big pullover right now that is basically just a two huge squares.

My colors that I'm really liking at the moment are black, white, dark grey, navy, burgundy, hunter green, and plum. And stripes - like classic Breton.

It feels really lovely to be inspired again - both creatively to make clothes and personally to revitalize my sense of casual style.