Wardrobe Architect: Week 12

UntitledWeek 12 of Wardrobe Architect was probably posted a month ago, but it coincided with what felt like the busiest month of the year so far. This week we’re talking about accessories, which are pretty much my favorite. As I’ve gone through these exercises over the past few months, I think it’s pretty obvious that I like to keep my style really simple. I want my closet to be filled with classic pieces that I can wear year round by changing up the layers. Of course, that can get a little boring sometimes, so I keep everything fresh with accessories. From a maker stand point, I love accessories because they are almost always quick and easy projects to execute. From a consumer standpoint, I look at my accessories as investment pieces. Your clothes may not always fit but your bags, scarves, and shoes usually will. Accessories are also way more portable than clothes, and as someone who has to move every 3 years, they make the packing process a little easier.

Accessories can be a little dangerous though. It’s really easy to just walk into any fast fashion store and get everything from scarves to earrings to shoes for under $20 a piece and the next thing you know, you’ve got a closet full of uncomfortable shoes and a box full of earrings that make your lobes itch every time you wear them. Their low price point makes them attractive to folks who want to try out trends but don’t want to drop a lot of coin doing so, and as a result we have landfills full of this poorly made crap. Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox because I am totally guilty of having tons of crappy shoes and costume jewelry, ect ect. In recent years, I have gotten rid of most of those cheaper things and started to favor buying quality pieces that will last for years. To that end, last summer I noticed that I’m missing a lot of staples, like a nice pair of dressy sandals, a good leather tote, and some lightweight cotton scarves for nights like tonight where it’s cool, but not wooly cool. So, this year I’m investing in my accessories. This means nicer shoes, leather handbags, and some lightweight scarves. I’m going for things that I really love and will keep and wear for years to come.

The scarf in the lede photo is from Blockshop Textiles. I had spotted it on a couple of blogs before Christmas, and it was definitely on my wish list, but I wasn’t quite ready to commit to the price tag. Then it sold out, and I realized that I missed out on a really great piece that I would get so much use out of. It came back and then sold out again almost immediately. Finally, around my birthday it was available for preorder and I pounced. Blockshop hand prints these scarves in India and each one is little unique. I love mine, and now that their spring collection is out, I may have my sites set on another great pattern. The belt is from Banana Republic back when I worked there, and it’s hiding a multitude of postpartum body sins. I’ve also become a big fan of wearing glasses. I’ve gotten my last 3 pairs from Warby Parker (I’m wearing the Linwood). I have two that I switch out from time and time, and I’m thinking of getting a pair of sunglasses.

I also recently bought this tote from Annie Williams. I love it! It’s similar to one Madewell makes, but the leather has a beautiful hand, and it has a zipper. It was definitely my major accessory purchase for the year and I know I’ll have it forever and ever.

 

Wardrobe Architect: Weeks 10 & 11

I feel like the further I get into Wardrobe Architect, the more clothes I find myself pulling out of my closet to get rid of (maybe I’ll get around to photographing them and getting them up on Threadflip this weekend). Even though I like to think I maintain a minimalist closet, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have some magpie tendencies that drag my eye and my wallet towards details and silhouettes that are beautiful but just not me for one reason or another. Amongst the things I’ve pulled out of the closet, there is lace (totally not me), dirndl skirts (so not flattering), and other experimental pieces either in shape, hemline, or color that I could just never get to work. I definitely won’t miss their absence in my closet.

For week 10, we revisited the palettes we made in week 6. I kind of already did this in the week 9 exercise, where I decided to focus my spring and summer wardrobes with crisp white, black, heather grays, navy, and red. It occurred to me that the palette is a bit nautical, but I don’t intend to go out in lots of stripes and bateau tops. I’m going for a more active, comfortable mom look than a preppy yacht club one. I plan on sticking with this and maybe adding lighter shades of blue to the mix. So this week, we’re talking about what clothes we want to make or buy based off the silhouettes and color palettes of the preceding weeks.

For the most part, I created my capsule collection based off things I already have in my wardrobe. I’d love to make myself a new skirt and some tops, but given that my size is a still a variable, I don’t really want to spend the time or materials on making things that won’t fit in a few months. I have bought a vintage denim wrap skirt (adjustable waist is key!), and I’ll likely one or both of the shirts pictured above. I’m also on the prowl for dark brown leather sandals (Any suggestions? I haven’t found any that have really wow-ed me yet). I’m really loving these eyelet dresses from Madewell and Boden, but I’m not sure about those dirndl skirts, or the expense, or the size…hoping for a big end of season sale on one of them.

Wardrobe Architect: Week 9

This week the gals are all talking about creating capsule collection. For me, this translates to the foundation pieces that create the building blocks for the rest of my wardrobe. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know at this point that I love my basics. I like to keep my wardrobe concise and augment it with colorful accessories like scarves, jewelry, bags and shoes. When I worked in retail I was surrounded by clothes and I bought them all the time. I always had too much, and I always was wearing the same 3 skirts, 1 pair of jeans, and layered v-neck t shirts every day. Now that I’ve moved away from that life, and grown up a bit, I really see the value in investing in high quality, reliable basics. When it comes to things like jeans and t-shirts I strive to buy American made because you can really find great quality made by folks who are paid fairly and care about what they do. It’s easy to run to your big box retailer and buy 10 shirts for $5 a pop, but we all know they don’t last and if it only cost you $5, think about what it cost the person who made it…yikes. Ok, stepping down from the podium.

I really enjoyed this week’s exercise because it gave me some pause to think about what I want to buy and how I truly want my wardrobe and myself to look. My body is still going through a major transition, so I’m not likely to invest in too many pieces for at least another 5-6 months, but for now I think it’s important to dress the body I have, and still look and feel good about myself, even while going through this phase.

Truth be told, I hate summer (though, I’d like a break form the frigid cold!). We live in a terribly humid place and summer signals the return of flies in the house, ants in the kitchen, black widow spiders in the back yard, and that really special feeling of walking out of your house and getting smacked in the face with a really dirty sauna. Ugh. And since I’m a gal who likes to layer and is not a huge fan of shorts, this can be a challenging time for me. So, I kept things really easy. 3 silhouettes. Cropped leggings with loose and layered tanks, Slim fitting cropped jeans with a tomboy style plaid shirt and Vans, and a full skirt with a crisp white t-shirt and strappy sandals.

Summer

 

I also kept the color palette in with my favorite heather grey, black, and crisp white combo with red accents. I do so love red, but I can always trade it out for something else bold. I’d bring in color more with cotton scarves and a bold handbag.

Summer2

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago not being a fan of super loose or boxy clothes, but in this case I like things that will show my shape without feeling clingy. I also, tried to think about things I already have and like wearing for summer, like my lighter weight Vans, cropped leggings, and ribbed tanks. I’ll also be cycling through my old jeans as I fit into each smaller size. So now that just leaves me to buy some looser tanks (I really love this one), a short sleeve shirt, and a full denim skirt which I’m hoping to either find a nice vintage one or find some time to make one myself.

Spring

 

So there you have it, a nice little collection to build off of as the weather (hopefully) turns away from the polar vortex and (unfortunately) into the sweat vortex.

Wardrobe Architect: Week 8

IMG_5287

Week 8 of Wardrobe Architect focuses on hair and makeup. Just like with my wardrobe, I like things to be streamlined and simple. Since I stay at home and have two babies, I know I could totally let my beauty routine fall to the wayside and no one would think less of me. However, I find that taking a little time to make myself feel good allows me to take better care of all the wild bears in this house.

P1040023

When I was back in Philly a couple weeks ago, I stopped by to see my hairdresser and get a bit of a trim. Basically, it was just getting the dead ends off and reestablishing some bangs (which are already growing out and being sideswept). Before I walked in there I was teetering between getting a big chop or just a little trim, and about a month later I’m still thinking  about it. Hair is a tough one for me. For work it helps to have it long so I can easily pull it back in a bun. With two tiny one and little time to shower or style, longer hair makes sense. See also, grabby hands. I like having short hair, but you can’t get away with leaving it messy. On the other hand, since there isn’t as much of it, it really doesn’t take too long to style. And then again, it’s a pain to deal with at the gym, always flopping around and what not. So for now, it’ll stay long and simple. I think what I don’t like is that it’s at an in-between length right now. Kind of just past my shoulder when it should either be up around my chin or or a few inches past my shoulders. Another issue: I’ve been going grey since I was 14, so the texture of my hair is changing. It’s still soft and fine, there’s still a lot of it, but it behaves differently so I’m still trying to figure it all out. Still, in spite of all this consternation I do like my hair. In fact, I love the color, I’m just still trying to find which style suits it and me best. Most days I just wash, fix my bangs, and go, but if I have more time I do have a routine. I recently got a fancy Drybar blowdryer and it came with the brush so I use those in with Bumble and Bumble’s Blow Dry and maybe a bit of volumizing mousse. Then I’ll run the curling or flat iron through the ends depending on what I’m going for (usually big), and a quick spray with Bumble and Bumble’s Dryspun Finish. Pretty simple. I would like to use more natural products and a find a good shampoo. My hair…a work in progress. (Side note: I love love love my Mason Pearson hairbrush. Expensive, but 100% worth the investment. I’ve had mine for years!)

P1040019

For makeup I like to keep things really simple and natural, and as you can see, I love everything by Tarte. Since I’m in a big wear glasses everyday phase it’s important to me to have a bit of under eye concealer and mascara on my upper lashes. I also like a bold lip, which is a new thing that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by. I hate having a lot of bathroom clutter so keeping my makeup simple is key. I always make sure to stay on top of expiration periods, and replace everything once or twice a year to avoid bacteria. While I don’t wear a lot of perfume right now, my favorite scents are Stella McCartney and Diptyque L’ombre Dans Leau.

I’ve updated my Pinterest board with some natural makeup looks, as well as tips for wearing makeup with glasses that I’ve found helpful along the way.

Wardrobe Architect: Week 7

P1030993
Week 7 of Wardrobe Architect focuses on prints. You can probably guess that of all prints, plaid is my favorite. Most of the shirts and a couple of skirts and dresses in my closet are plaid. In the past I’ve even had plaid shoes. Why such a love affair? I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s a holdover from my mid-nineties grunge days, or summers of Girl Scout camp. I like plaids because they tend to combine the colors that comprise the foundation of my wardrobe (like greys and navies), with colors that I like to wear but not go overboard on (like mint and red). The neutrals tempers the bolder colors and provide a lot of visual interest with the pattern.  I also like how versatile plaids can be, rich, cozy, and wooly for winter, as well as light and breezy for spring and summer. I just can’t get enough plaid, period.

When it comes to prints that I wear, I go for the geometric and stay away from abstracts, florals, and whimsy. Interspersed with the plaid shirts you’ll find some polka dots, pinstripes, and a some herringbone tweed. If you open my t-shirt drawer it’s stripes on stripes. But then you go check out my craft closet and realize that what I’m wearing, isn’t necessarily what I’m buying. I have quite a few prints lingering in there that I bought with the intention of making shirts or skirts out of, only to get them home and realize they’re mostly a little too whimsical for me. I’m definitely going to be more mindful with my fabric purchases this year, just like I have become with my yarn stash. For a while I kept buying pink yarn, even though I hardly ever wear pink (it’s not really my color).

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 3.30.43 PM

I’ve updated my Wardrobe Architect board over on Pinterest with some of my favorite prints. In the process I fell down the rabbit hole over on Spoonflower. So many great stripes! I’m really inspired to start making my wardrobe as I get my body back into shape. How do you feel about prints? Are you plaid and stripe crazy like me, or maybe a little more floral and fanciful?

Hope you had a great weekend.

xo, S.

Wardrobe Architect: Weeks 3 & 4

These last two weeks of Wardrobe Architect have been about identifying the shapes and silhouettes we like and keep coming back to. It’s been both fun and informative for me to thinking about different shapes and how I feel when I wear them.  For instance, in high school, I love love loved to hide in my clothes. Everything was a size or two too big, and then I’d throw a cardigan on top for good measure. In college I started to wear clothes that were actually my size, but I still opted for looser silhouettes. It wasn’t until I got into my mid-twenties that I really started to play around with different shapes. I found that a slimmer bottom (usually a pencil skirt), and a tailored button down shirt was my most comfortable and confident option. Still, I never found myself favoring skinny jeans or leggings until I had kids and needed a slimmer bottom to free myself up for running around after tiny ones. I still love pencil skirts, but for every day wear I gravitate towards skinny jeans, a slim fitting t-shirt, and a cozy, boyfriend-style cardigan.

Looking back on my personal style over the last decade, no matter what shapes I like, I always find myself picking out a few pieces that I absolutely love and wearing them to death. In other words, I’ve loved having a uniform far before I got paid to have one. I put together these silhouettes on Polyvore, which is a new to me tool for creating outfits and collages. For this exercise I wanted to keep things simple. I focused on finding shapes and kept the palette very neutral. I went for things that I could easily wear year round by changing up the layering. Adding sweaters, scarves, and boot for winter, and opting for sandals and minimal accessories for the warmer months. I always opt for my structured pieces that accentuate my shape without sticking to it. Apart from t-shirts, it’s rare that you’ll find me wearing a lot of jersey knits. I posted these outfits up on my Wardrobe Architect board on Pinterest. I’ve really enjoyed seeing what other gals are coming up with.

Here’s the most basic iteration. Skinny jeans, a crisp white tee, chunky knit cardigan, and work boots. I love dark denim and a white tee. It’s my most favorite thing to wear. The jeans have a higher rise which I find most comfortable and I like that they give my legs a longer line. I’ve always favored V-neck or U-neck shapes for my t shirts. If I want more coverage, I can just add a scarf. The sweater has a longer line, but still has shaping at the waist.

Look 1
This is basically the skirt version of the first silhouette. I like button down shirts because they provide structure. I like clothes to show the shape of my body without clinging to it.
Look 2

If I worked in an office, I would totally wear this type of outfit. I went with slim fitting cropped pants here, and tops that add structure.

Look 3

At times, I do like having a fuller skirt. I like how they draw attention to the waist, but are also comfortable and breezy. I’ll tuck in a t-shirt or button down top to show off my waist and avoid having too much volume up top.

Look 4

This is another version of the first look. As much as I like to be structured underneath, I’m a big sucker for swing coats.

Look 5
I’m not in love with the embellishment on the dress, but the lines on it are perfect. Fitted, but not super tight. It could stand on it’s own or be paired with a cardigan (long and chunky for winter, lightweight and cropped for spring and summer)
Look 6

Wardrobe Architect: Week 2

 

One of my favorite outfits 2009

One of my favorite outfits 2009

Week 2’s exercises help to match words and images to styles that make us feel most like ourselves. This was great because it gave me a chance to really identify the pieces of clothing that make me feel the most comfortable and confident. I like to think over the years I’ve managed to pare down my wardrobe to the pieces that really make me feel my best, but I know there’s still some clutter that can be cleared out, things that aren’t quite me and never make it out in public. It also gave me a chance to weed through the hundreds of images I’ve saved on Pinterest and refine them down to the looks that I keep gravitating towards  

When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy, poised, powerful, etc)?

I feel confident, happy, and ready to have fun.

 When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?

I always feel so self conscious, like I have to keep tugging on my clothes in the desperate hope that the fit will change. It really puts a damper on my whole mood and how I interact with others.

 Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

I really like Cate Blanchett. She loves fashion, and isn’t afraid to take risks. She also always looks so poised. I don’t necessarily want to dress like her, but I want to dress in a way that allows me to exude the same grace and confidence. As for retro icons, I’ve always admired Katherine Hepburn. She also did her own thing, taking menswear and making it work for her. She was able to be simultaneously feminine and powerful.

 What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?

Boxy, slouchy, floral or liberty print, colorful. I find I like all these things, but I keep myself more streamlined and opt for darker colors or neutrals.

Look over your answers from last week on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body. List at least 15 words that you associate with your answers. Think about descriptive words, moods, and feelings you associate with these things:

dark, refined, casual, simple, refined, luxe, functional, cozy, versatile, shapely, beautiful, special, sartorial, international, timeless, classic

Look over the answers to all of the questions above. If you had to narrow your list to only 3-5 words to describe you, which words would you choose?

classic, refined, cozy, beautiful, luxe

I think things that are classic, but cozy. A pair of jeans, a white t-shirt, and a cozy wool cardigan. At the same time I like myself and my clothes to be beautiful with interesting details and made from luxe materials like wool or silk. I try to keep things natural, and to me that means luxe or luxurious. In other words, I have expensive tastes.

I made a Pinterest board for some looks that I think represent these words. You can view (and follow  me!) here.