Friday, April 20, 2018

Jellyfish Skirt


Another skirt I recently found and fell in love with on Swap.com is this purple and blue one with a watercolor design. Something about it reminds me of jellyfish...and even though I'm sure it's not supposed to be representational of jellyfish in any way, I nonetheless have dubbed it my "jellyfish skirt."

When I got around to wearing it today, I was tempted to try and give an aquatic theme to the other garments in my getup, but I was unsuccessful in finding anything that worked. Probably all for the best, since I am pretty happy with what I came up with, despite the absence of anything remotely oceanic.

I got to break in a new pair of purple thigh-high boots, and I wore a sweater in another shade of purple. The disparate hues were bothering me, until I thought to add a (new!) pastel blue scarf as a sort of distraction.

My final addition was a blue carnation brooch, which adds a subtly different but still coordinating color to the mix. And as a bonus, it also helps hold all the layers of the scarf together, which means less adjusting throughout the day!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sweater with straps






You may recall this sweater from last year, when it was new to me and I sang the virtues of its comfortable length and appealing pastel sheen. I've worn it a few times since then, but I found that it was rarely my first choice—being put off by the oversized asymmetrical collar. Or is it a cowl? Half-cowl? Whatever it is, it didn't work for me.

It had the usual problem of making my big shoulders look bigger, it would never lie flat where it folded, and it added an uncomfortable layer of bulk that tended to get bunched up under coats, to my great annoyance. It had to go.

I experimented, as best I could without rashly snipping it off, to reshape it in various configurations, but at last I decided the only thing to do was just remove it entirely.

Cutting off cowls is fast becoming my specialty, but I tried a new technique this time.

My first attempt at finishing the neckline saw me sewing it under with a long continuous hem. Of course, as always happens to me with stretch material, this resulted in the neckline becoming stretched-out and wavy. I removed all my stitchery and tried again, this time just tacking down the collar every few inches.


Once I was satisfied with the lay of things, I gingerly cut off the rest of the cowl. No matter how many times I cut up my clothing, I am always terrified by this part, because it means you can never go back!

Fortunately, everything looked fine, but I discovered I needed to tack down the fabric in more places. I ended up with a stitch approximately every inch.

The sweater was done (at least, done enough to wear, although it's questionable whether it would stand up to washing, as I hadn't bothered to finish the cut-off edge).
But when I wore it, I was mildly irritated to see that the neckline was so wide, my bra straps were on full display.

I could do a number of things to mitigate this – constantly push the straps out onto my shoulders all day, or wear a strapless bra – but since my vision for this sweater was something I could throw on and go to work without having to worry about things like my bra, I decided to add decorative straps to the sweater, which would cover up my bra.

Fortunately, I had a lot of cowl left over!

I folded over one edge of it by about an inch and a half, stitched down the edges, and turned it inside-out so it formed a tube shape.

Then I did the same again, to make a second strap.

After a bunch of finicky fittings and readjustments, I had decided on the perfect placement and length for my straps.

Using the same technique as I had to form the neckline, I now tacked down each strap in four places.
Here's how it now looks on the inside!

...And the outside!

I stayed up an hour past my bedtime to finish this project, so I could wear it the very next day. It's still in the 50's outside here in Maryland, but it looks like spring temperatures might finally arrive this weekend, so I wanted to make sure I could wear this heavy sweater before it gets warm. I succeeded!

For a grey and rainy Thursday, I proudly wore my new DIY sweater with my new DIY haircut (and that's a whole 'nother story still in progress!), brown skinny jeans, and pink booties.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Straight skirt and mustard shirt

Straight skirts have never been my favorite style. However, I was forced to revise my opinion on them when I came across this graphic skirt on Swap.com. [Shop from my referral link!] The floral print was bright and bold, and I'm always a sucker for anything with birds on it!


I could have worn many different tops with this skirt, but after trying a couple of sweaters and feeling top-heavy in them, I decided I needed a lightweight shirt that I could tuck into the waistband and show off the red ribbon belt.

Enter my mustard-yellow long-sleeved tee!

Mustard is another departure from the norm for me, as it has never been one of my favorite colors. I've slowly warmed up to it over a course of years, during which several mustard items arrived in my possession by way of bulk lots and hand-me-downs. But the first mustard thing that I actually chose for myself (knowingly, and not just because I thought it was a straight yellow, like these boots) is this shirt. I've decided that long sleeved T-shirts are a versatile addition to any wardrobe, providing color and coverage without bulk. So I stocked up on several over the winter and am currently working to expand my collection to every color, much like my campaign to acquire short-sleeved T-shirts last spring.

The problem with most of my long-sleeved T-shirts is they are way too thin and tight to be appropriate for the office. I could see my bra through the back of this one, so I decided to cover it up with a neutral vest. Although the vest does hide the awesome ribbon belt a little, it adds a level of complexity that turns this 2-piece outfit into a 3-piece layered work of art.

I thought about wearing my art with colorful boots in a variety of hues, but ultimately, I decided there was so much going on up top, I should keep the bottom simple. I chose flesh-toned boots because they made my legs look extra long!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

These pants are Fire

 
One of my early purchases from Swap.com was a pair of palazzo pants that I thought, from the picture, would be red. When they arrived, I was somewhat astonished to find they were actually orange, wound through with glittery gold thread. Clearly far too flashy for everyday use, even for an Unfashionista, they sat in my closet for months. I spent several of those months buying and rejecting tops to wear with them, as I'd decided only a gold top without too much sparkle of its own would do (the top I wore with my gold star boots was one that didn't quite make the cut). 
 
Once I finally had a gold top that I liked, I had to find an occasion to wear the pants. They seemed too glittery for serious occasions, but too formal for bars and clubs, so it was a while before circumstances were right.

The circumstances were: the afterparty for the opening of the Burning-Man-themed Smithsonian exhibit. The palazzo-pants-based outfit seemed to me like just the sort of thing an eccentric rich old lady would wear to a gallery opening. Of course, then I learned that the friend who had invited me planned to wear his skin-tight tie-dye pants. Clearly "too flashy" wasn't going to be an issue, but I began to question whether I should redirect my vibe more towards "partying artist" than "flamboyant arts patron"...until suddenly, I had a revelation.

Flamboyant – root flam – suspiciously similar to flame was exactly what I needed to bring to this gathering of Burners (the creative community responsible for the Burning Man festival as well as the night's festivities). What better pair of pants could I choose than the ones that veritably glowed like fire!?

Apparently I was not the only one to decide on orange pants that night.


Despite my lack of originality in the clothing department, I made up for it in the posing department. After I took one last parting shot with this enormous bear sculpture, apparently a whole group of other people were inspired to do the same....That's the rumor I heard at least—far be it from me to bask in the glow of my own brilliant ideas.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Lavender fields

 
I hear tell that lavender is a pretty trendy color for this spring. Fortunately, my wardrobe came prepared with a cute sweater I got back in October.

For a springtimey look even though the weather's still wintry, I paired my lavender sweater with pastel pink pants, white boots, and a lace camisole that provided pops of white around the neck and hemlines. White floral earrings finished off the look.

 
I thought my outfit was a cute use of pastels for the day before Easter, but it turned even more appropriate when my boyfriend and I ended up, quite without planning, at a lavender farm and winery! We drank lavender-infused wine and ate lavender-infused ice cream before having the obligatory photo shoot in front of the still-winterized rows of lavender.
 

Monday, April 2, 2018

So lucky they get to wear pants

Once upon a time, in college, a girl I only sort of knew became associated with the catchphrase, "They're so lucky, they get to wear pants!" I only sort of knew the reason for this, which is silly and boring anyway, but for some reason I could never get out of my head. So I'm pleased to finally be able to use it as the title of a blog post. And why is it the title of this blog post? Well, this blog post marks a special occasion: an entire week of pants at work! While I usually wear pants at least once a week, I never wear pants every day of the week, so I decided to do just that! Hello, fashion challenge!



Monday


Before I had even conceived of a whole week of pants-wearing, I planned this simple outfit to reintroduce the jade-and-gold pants I first wore last month. This time, I paired it with a black sweater with balloon sleeves. I wasn't feeling particularly creative, being especially ready for bed on a Sunday night, but I do like the combination of big legs with big sleeves.

Tuesday

 
I wanted to wear one of my three new pairs of thigh-high boots, but I feel like thigh-highs and jeans might just be a little too punk for work, so I chose to wear them instead with leggings and a tunic (since the tunic has the shape of a dress, I like to think it reads as more professional). Since I last pictured this tunic, I decided I hated the fit—no waist, looked like a toddler dress. After resizing it to a more body-skimming shape, I decided it was ready for one more wear. I matched my earrings to my pink boots (and my hair, a coworker noted). For the pants portion of the outfit, I wore black leggings. Are leggings pants? The debate rages on, but for the purpose of this blog post, I have to say they are.


Wednesday


The first two days of this week saw me in flowy, pajama-like pants and leggings in turn, so I decided Wednesday was the day to buckle down and start dressing like a professional. I put on my most conservative of khakis and combined them with my most classic of cardigans. Of course, I was positively compelled to balance out the boring style of my clothes with exciting colors, so I chose lemon yellow for the cardigan and kelly green for my camisole and shoes.



Thursday


The forecast was 74 degrees, so I really wanted to wear a summery shirt, in case it would be warm enough to bike home unencumbered by a coat. Conveniently, I'd just refashioned an old silver sleeveless top, which had been out of commission for over a year, and now was ready to start its new life! Inconveniently, a miscalculation on my part left the arm holes too big, revealing my bra, so I still had to cover it up all day with the red open-front cardigan I wore to keep me warm in the morning. I also wore red shoes, and the pants today were a pair of grey skinny jeans.

Friday


There was one type of pants that had been conspicuously absent from my week of pants at work, so for my fifth and final day, I wore blue jeans! I went with the most wide-legged pair I have, since 1) they were new, and 2) the prior day I'd worn skinny jeans. I had planned on wearing my black and white striped sweater since the weather was supposed to get drastically colder by the end of the day, but when I got up in the morning, it was still too warm outside to bike to work in such a heavy top. So I switched at the last moment to this thin aqua long sleeved T-shirt, which ended up looking better with the jeans anyway!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Swiss-cheese sweater


I was always a fan of my boyfriend's rust-orange sweater. Sadly, something else must have been a fan too—of its taste! He passed the sweater on to me after finding a number of small holes (which might have been from moths) dotting its surface. Now, I'll repair one hole. I might even repair two holes. But get to three or four holes, and it's time to let that garment go! Except, I was such a fan...and there was so much usable surface left on the sweater, I couldn't bear to just throw it away.

The sweater was a little big on me; I thought about trying to sew a few vertical seams to make it tighter and simultaneously hide the holes inside, but I kept finding shopping websites featuring sweaters absolutely riddled with holes. Big holes, small holes, huge rips, it seemed like distressed sweaters were trending.

So I decided to make one of my own.

I enlarged most of the moth holes and then scattered a few other new holes throughout the rest of the front.

I wanted a ragged "accidentally unraveled" look, but couldn't quite achieve it with the tight knit, so I settled for cutting out more or less perfect circles in varying sizes. I used nail scissors because the blades are better suited for cutting curves. 


I did a lot of trying on, re-cutting, enlarging, and adding more holes. They look random, but they are actually very deliberately arranged to achieve what I hoped was an aesthetic balance.

One controversial decision I made was to not put any holes in the back of the sweater. In fact, the one hole that was already there, I very carefully patched with a piece I'd cut from the front.
Before patching
After patching

My last step was to take in the sides a little bit to make the sweater fit me better. I removed a bit of fabric from the armpit area, and flared the seams towards the bottom so it would still fit over my hips as a tunic.


For its first wear, I decided to let the sweater do the talking, and paired it with mostly neutral pieces—a pair of unobtrusive jeans, beige thigh-high boots, and gold earrings. Underneath the sweater, I went with a flesh-toned camisole, because I found that anything more colorful looked weird up at the top where you could see the straps through some of the holes.



In looking over the pictures, I noticed that, from some angles, only one of the holes shows—in a rather unfortunate location. Some gutter-bound minds would have a field day with that, so I think I might enlarge some of the holes closer to the neckline to make the currently biggest one stand out less.