on getting dressed: some helpful things

I cannot say enough good things about the sadly defunct Academichic in general, but I really like their take on colour theory, which you can see here.

Courtesy of a lovely Twitter Knitter comes a vote for the Vivienne Files. Gosh, couldn’t you just lose yourself?

Last but not least, Putting Me Together. Audrey has a lovely eye, and I’ve great time for her (just beginning) Wardrobe from Scratch series and her take on remixable items. More items does not necessarily mean a better wardrobe.


how timely!

I had barely hit ‘post’ on the previous entry, and I run across this lovely, wise piece from Tuppence Ha’penny Vintage:

I had something of an epiphany and realised that no “courage” was required. I could wear vintage, I could wear twirly dresses and frothy petticoats and satin pencil skirts and dress like a pin-up if I wanted, there was actually nothing stopping me. And, well, as you know I’ve never looked back since! That’s why I so want to encourage anyone who feels drawn to vintage not to be held back by a lack of confidence – because it doesn’t require confidence, all it takes is the decision to wear the clothes you love.

If you love it, wear it, and it will bring you happiness.

on getting dressed; a first step

Silk to chiffon to ponte, cotton to jersey; swirling botanical patterns and block colour. Deep reds and blues and greens, a surprisingly lovely and gentle navy, teals and purples, a great amount of black. These are my beautiful dresses that never get an airing. They are a silent reproach to my inertia, the somnolent grab for the clothes that I am used to, the ones that politely apologise for the visual space I might take up.

In the course of a great wardrobe clearout yesterday (read: one bag for the charity shop, an emptied wardrobe and three large mugs of tea later), it occurred to me; I have stopped dressing like myself. I can easily tell you how, but the why of it is rather tangled.

This does not seem like a particularly great way to go through life. I am no longer satisfied with leaving all the colour and playfulness for my sketchbooks and my finished work.

Yesterday I told myself, take a deep breath, and wear that dress. The earth will continue working away on its axis, the sky will not fall, people will not stare in horror and cover the eyes of small children. The likelihood is nobody will notice, or someone on the street will remark to themselves on what a lovely colour or pattern it is in between coffee-coffee-coffeethoughts and oh-god-the-email-is-mounting-upthoughts and go on their way.

the clever wardrobe, part two

In the previous CW post, it was all about the clothes- knowing what you have and getting rid of what doesn’t work. But your sterling work is not yet done. There are a few things we may have overlooked along the way.. brace yourselves folks, it’s part two. Man, where’s there a dramatic moment video when I need one?

Ah, there we go. First off, it’s time to look at the overlooked- accessories.

Continue reading “the clever wardrobe, part two”

the keepers, or notes on material culture*

I maintain that no matter what, there should be a few items in one’s possession not there merely for utility- the kind of things that make one’s heart sing for their sheer beauty and form.

This is a rule that dominates my craft supplies purchases. With the foundations taken care of (the best wire, the stuff that never fails; the best s/s findings), I can run riot. Well, a little bit. It’s my rule not to buy supplies that don’t do it for me, whether on colour, form or feel. I reckon that by following my instincts on these matters, people will respond, and they generally do.

Of course, there are disadvantages to this approach. It means I almost never work with some colours or materials, or use some techniques because the materials just don’t work, somehow. There’s something to work on.

The reason I write this is that, as I pack up my things and declutter and whatever else in preparation for this great big move, I am again and again coming across things that make my heart sing- and things that really don’t.

On throwing open the doors of my wardrobe, I see one dress that is what they call a ‘keeper’. I ordered this dress last year from the eeeevil genius (now plural) behind Fifi Le Rue. So far, it has seen me through every occasion you can imagine- graduations, office dos (oh, don’t get me started on that sartorial minefield), open nights, birthdays. It’s my Magic Dress, the one that foofs out and cinches in at the right places and goes with practically every pair of shoes I have. I have never had anything like it- even on the grim days, it shimmers in the wardrobe reminding me of dodgy 90s voguing, witnessing people’s triumphs, lovely surprises, all sorts.

I have recently been wearing a brooch from another Cow’s Lane-based designer. There is something in its simplicity and form that means I’ll be wearing this for years yet. I have a huge thing about brooches now, and it started with this woman right here. If you find me curled up in a gutter in Prague, whimpering about not getting enough for that second kidney, it will be Deirdre Griffin’s fault. Seriously.

Garnet and marcasite earrings from Ghent, a CZ silver bracelet from Maman, beads from my sister.. these are my keepers. What are yours?

(*Psyche! Got all the way to the end and not a single mention of good ol’ Thorstein ;))

the clever wardrobe, part one

If I mention the phrase ‘wardrobe crisis’, about 95pc will know instantly what I mean and will nod with weary recognition. (The other 5pc, being armed with a drill sergeant-esque personal stylist, a walk-in wardrobe the size of Panama or both, will probably not benefit much from the following. Lucky sods.)

Which of the following applies to you?

(a) You have a groaning wardrobe filled with shiny jumpsuits from the first time around/ 30 pairs of parsnip-legged black trousers/ other things that fill you with despair just by looking at them. Sample quote: “I have nothing to wearrrrr!” followed by sobbing.

(b) A sustained case of the blahs every time you think that dreaded question, “What to wear?” which leads to 20pc of the clothes getting 80pc of the airtime and all those fabulous sparkling lovelies you’ve picked up being completely neglected. A corruption of the Pareto principle, if you will. Sample quote: “Meh.” followed by an ennui-laden shrug that Sartre himself would applaud.

(c) The spondulicks are not what they once were, for whatever reason. When you open your wallet, bats fly out, so that rather rules out a spree of any sort for the next while. Sample quote: “If only..” followed by secretive, lustful browsing at the Outnet.

Oh, I’ve been there. All of them apply, as it happens (only, replace the jumpsuit horror with a cape/ shawl/ wrap habit that hasn’t been seen since Victoria shuffled off this mortal coil).

Whatever the case, whatever your budget/ state of your wardrobe at present/ gender, I think you will find something useful in the following posts. This post isn’t telling to get rid of everything, or nothing, or to buy lots of expensive organising-ware to keep your clothes immaculate (half of the best tricks are dead cheap or free, after all). It’s just a bit of a nudge, coming from someone who has been there and is there right now.

Continue reading “the clever wardrobe, part one”