Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Are Subtle Variations Satisfying to You?

Hi everybody! I thought i'd show you some looks i wore over the course of two or three days (it wasn't a week, honest!). I really like the basic formula of skirt/blouse/structured jacket, even more these particular pieces. The warmth in the washed-out khakis really pops the denim blue, everything's comfy and eminently practical for my life.

So i get to play with accessories, wearing different pieces and the same pieces different ways to create little varieties. I'm continually fiddling with what i wear, buttoning and unbuttoning, switching up scarves and so on. I'm actually very sensitive to subtle changes and differences - to me, that skirt is actually a COLOR, not a neutral; so this amount of variety and difference feels just right to me. I get to maintain a very cohesive style identity (one of my highest priorities) whilst still feeling my look is fresh.

This whole question of what is enough, how much variety do you enjoy and what type seems to be a major stumbling block in many style plans. My only advice is to simply pay attention as you experiment, keeping these issues in mind and making some kind of notes on how you feel as you try different scenarios. 

I don't see this idea addressed in much depth these days on the style blogosphere, though those 30 for 30 challenges were hot a couple of years ago. That idea was to choose 30 pieces, wear only them for 30 days and to create a new look every day. This is awesome for exercising your remixin' chops, but here i'm thinking about how to structure your wardrobe in a way that gives you pleasure and satisfaction, that gives you enough without overwhelming.In other words, a more personal and long term strategy and/or structure.

 I'm thinking it would be fantastically helpful (to folks like myself who need things spelled out letter by letter, slowly....) to have a few examples of sample closets and how they play out in terms of a three month season. You could have the bare bones minimal, the 250 item maximal, and a couple of spots in between. But what a project!!! The logistics!  I'm really bad at keeping up with the blogosphere, so if anyone knows of any good resources along these lines please be kind and share in the comments :)

Now, a couple of follow ups to last post. helenko left some great ideas about mending and copying jeans you love in the comments section. Happily for me, i obtained a pair of sxy byfrnd jeans in a medium denim wash at over half off regular price and have been wearing them since. I'm keeping an eye out for a good deal on a light wash as well as a good ivory (hello summer!). I have nothing against sewing one's own jeans, i've done it myself, i just don't enjoy it and would rather sew other things - especially since i'm such a slow sempstress :) Thank you Helen!

And in defense of Dr. B's 'little skirt' comment. He only saw me wearing a hospital 'gown', not in the dress i'd worn to the ER, so he didn't have that context. And current fashion, especially among the young and especially around these parts, features a lot of lingerie-inspired elements.  A lot of people, even our age (which he was), think of a slip as being of beige or black nylon, not baby-blue silk.

And frankly he sounded so charmed he could have called it a little spacesuit and still put a smile on my face.  So, do any of you feel like you have a good handle on how much variety you really do well with, and how to reflect this in your wardrobe? I am all ears!


  1. This is an interesting point. I think that somewhere I told myself I need lots of variety but in reality I think this is how I end up with pieces that receive little to no wear. I like the idea of having stars and supporting cast in my wardrobe. I do however tend to own too many stars and the supporting cast looks a little bedraggled. I often play with the idea of figuring out a seasonal wardrobe for lets say 4 months that would be 120 days.(plus or minus). Then I imagined what would be the weather extremes for those months and then to pick out uniforms for those types of days. My daily activities don't vary that much since I have retired so I mostly need very casual clothing. Then I figured if I came up with 14 stellar outfits I could just mix and match them for the 4 months. BUT this never happens. I just get bored with the outfits after 2 weeks. So to answer your question I think I like a lot of variety and that is why I turn to sewing to make really outlandish weird stuff because I just might come up with something that will be wearable and novel without blowing my budget.Jeans that I might make have been in the to do bin for a while I just keep finding sales on ones that fit for $39.00 so why go to all of the trouble. I love to flirt with my doctor so why not?

  2. Adrienne, what a fun and interesting comment! :) You've got me thinking about how so many times in these types of discussions a person will present a situation like you do here, then someone else has the perfect strategy or exercise to 'fix' it....

    ...but, i don't know, as far as i can tell it seems like you're having a ball, you look better and better all the time, you're not running around nekkid and you have appropriate outfits for any unusual or more formal events.....

    ...so i don't see that anything needs fixing! I mean if something about this was really bugging you, or you constantly were staring in your closet with no idea what to wear, that type of thing of course i'd say try whatever idea to help sort it out. At the same time, i feel that different people feel very differently about how they like to dress, how systematized they like things to be, how much planning/implementing they prefer, and i'm all for it!

    If everyone dressed/wardrobed the same i'd pass out from sheer lack of stimulation. Just because i don't want to wear everything out there doesn't mean i want to impose that on anyone else. Hooray Adrienne!!

    heehee, i've been to this dermatologist in Oakland who is the biggest flirt every! Just a slight, older guy with a little mustache, also is a flipping artist at taking a medical history. His waiting room is always stuffed to the gills with people, including a lot of regular folks - little old asian grandmas, middle aged black 'church ladies, hispanic laborer type guys, and so on....which is especially refreshing out here in the land of the elective cosmetic procedure.

    Happy Day!!!! steph

  3. I suspect that I am way to the end of the variety bell curve, as I have a pretty minimal though not standard wardrobe. My goal is to have enough clothing to go a week without doing laundry. I'm not there yet. I definitely have a mix and match and layer style of clothing, and a limited color range, which allows the small number of garments to all work together. I also recently realised that there are a few areas missing from my plan, like outerwear (which needs refurbished) and trousers (which I almost never wear). Total number of garments that would allow me to have as much variety as I want year round would be around seventy. I use a few basic styles and change the details or the embellishment to get different "looks" I also wear accessories like scarves and hats

    I wrote a bit about my entire wardrobe plan here on this blog post

  4. Hi Alison! oh for heaven's sake, i read your comment yesterday morning, then followed your link, which led to your pinterest boards (blushing also APRONS!), then wandering around your site some more, then finally writing a 'look at this artist Alison!' email (filled with appropriate links) to my artist friend Shawn up in Idaho.....

    now that all that's taken care of (i have no excuse, really) i can respond to you here! I am totally with you on the importance of 'enough for laundry to not be a hassle'. I also tend to tear thru clothing also to have regrettable accidents ( oh ffs i just noticed a tea stain on my light lavender dress, for pity's sake why do i ever sew up a solid), so i like to have an amount of built in backup for those type of losses. Like you, i sew slowly (ha, i think even more slowly than you!) and it's very difficult for me to shop as well. I do have a bit of money i can put that way, and i have been slowly (ah, i sense a theme...) developing a few resources for leggings, jeans, tees, tanks. A certain amount of very plain clothing works with my style as well, so then i can concentrate on jackets, vests, etc. which have more of an impact.

    Interestingly i'm thinking i'd end up at around seventy as well, from the experimenting and such i've done so far. I'll be interested to see if i end up there in a couple of years, or if i've left out some very important factor.

    Man i just love your wardrobe charts. My fantasy is i'll develop the clarity, insight and discipline to work up one or two of those of my own! You're also like the PERFECT example of a more maximalist, embellished aesthetic working hand in hand with a very disciplined, minimalist *wardrobe* - and able to function well precisely BECAUSE of that discipline.

    I've noticed a certain amount of backlash against small closet and minimalist aesthetics in the 'fashion style blogoworld' recently. And just when i was getting excited about 'yay! some more minimalist blogs!'. I totally understand that not every style and strategy is for everyone, in fact i am very happy about that as a uniform world would be very very tedious. So i do not understand various self proclaimed style mavens' need to deride the more minimally inclined as 'boring' or in a 'style rut'.

    In short, i feel a rant coming on. Scorched earth alert! But not here, Alison thank you so much for commenting and i hope you have a glorious weekend - it's getting so gorgeous here with flowers and butterflies, i'm sending a bunch up to you STAT!!!! take care and have fun, steph