Thursday, February 26, 2015

Less is More: In my Closet

I posted back in January that my motto for this year is "Less is More" and I've been trying to work towards this goal. I've been doing some research into minimalism and started following some minimalist blogs to get some ideas. I doubt I'll ever be a true minimalist because I like stuff but it's been really encouraging me to think about what I have and if it adds value to my life or if it is just taking up space. Trying to buy less also helps too!

So today was the day I finally decided to tackle my closet! I did some reading on the Project 333 blog and one thing I found there was a link to this article which had great tips to declutter your closet as well as other rooms around the house. The article suggested taking all of the clothes out of your closet and sort them into piles-I love it, I don't love it but I still want to keep it for some reason, donate and trash. So I pulled all of the clothes out of my closet and found this:

Oh dear! I do not need this much clothes! And this isn't even everything. Winter clothes were packed up in two boxes in the bedroom. Evening wear was in the guest bedroom closet with the costumes. Outwear was in the hall closet. And there were even a couple of things laying around the sewing room for one reason or another. Plus, I had a stash of things I was thinking of letting go already but hadn't had the guts to say goodbye yet.

So I did a really quick first sort. Alas, the biggest pile was the I don't love it but I still want to keep it for some reason pile. Why did I still want to keep all of this stuff? So I pulled that pile back on the bed and sorted by type of garment and went through it again. It was hard to let go of a lot of me-mades but I'm tired of so much clutter in my life. If it's not working for me, it had to go. Sort, sort, sort. Bye, bye, bye.

Here's the final donate pile. I've been feeling lately that my wardrobe needs a bit of a shift. I still love vintage but especially for work, I really need some nice modern pieces so out went lots vintage me-mades that I didn't absolutely love. I tried to be a bit conservative with the donate pile because a) I've only been in Florida two months so I'm not sure how the rest of the year will make me want to shape my wardrobe and b) I'm sure I'm going to wake up one day and really miss my vintage so I kept more than the in the moment purging Stephanie really wanted to keep.

And, seriously, I'd rather have just a few pieces that I love that I wear all the time rather than a mountain of things I'm meh about that get worn once or twice a year because I have so many things.

Three garbage bags full of stuff to go to Goodwill! Eeep! I also threw a few purses in there but shoes, hats, and accessories didn't even get touched!

Then I got to load all of the keep stuff back into the closet. And I had space for everything! My fall/spring weight jackets got upgraded from the hall closet to the actual closet. Florida appropriate winter clothes got hung up and the in case we visit Ohio in the winter clothes were boxed up and stored in the back of the closet.

This rack contains my more modern work appropriate pieces. Plus, check out all of those empty hangers in the back! Yay!

 Straight in the back are my more casual vintage dresses. Fancy things are still in the other closet because a lot of them have significant sentimental value and I was tired by this point.

On the other side, my hubby has the top rack so I put all of my vintage blouses, skirts and pants.

Ahhh. My closet feels so much nicer now! It's going to be much easier getting ready for work and other functions because everything is sorted by style rather than type of garment. The closet clean out has also brought some gaps to my attention so I'll be working to fill those up and also replace a few things that are getting sort of sad looking.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Hats of Downton Abbey Season 5

It's been a while since I did a good Downton Abbey post. So it's about time for one! I've warmed considerably towards 20s fashions lately. And I adore hats so hat's it is today.

I've always adored the cute 20s close fitting cloche hats. I think that they are flattering on just about anyone.

Plus they tend to be rather easy to find in modern reproductions. You can always retrim a store bought hat to look more period or to match your outfit.

And, of course, a bob goes perfectly with a cloche!

Don't have short hair? Never fear! Plenty of ladies faked the fashionably bob by pulling their hair into a low bun at the back of the neck. Wear with or without fingerwaves for a smashing 20s look!

While wool cloches were rather popular, straw ones are perfect for summer.

Don't be afraid of fabulous trims! A multicolored ribbon on a neutral colored hat will go with so many outfits.

 Neutrals like black or dark red will go with many different outfits. The idea of a pop of color is not new.

Go with a matching hat for a classically put together look too!

Do you have a favorite hat from season 5?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Trying new things

You all know that I have been growing my pixie out for about 9 months or so. And this week, I was finally ready to go to the salon and have a professional do something to it. It was getting rather crazy with all of the unequally growing out bits so out came the scissors!

Snip! Snip! If you follow on Instagram, you've already seen this but I got a lot of length chopped off of the back.

I have always, always wanted a 1920s flapper bob and now I have one! I almost cut my hair into on the last time I grew out a pixie but I chickened out. I'm so glad I went for it this time because I love it.

 As for the outfit, I don't exactly have a lot of 20s appropriate pieces in my wardrobe so I just threw this together from what I had. The sweater is one from Ann Taylor that I hardly ever wear because white sweaters and crazy birds flying around tend not to end well. But it's long enough to look 20s when not tucked in. And the skirt is one I made from a 50s pattern but it's pretty basic. And for the extra pow factor- American Duchess 23 Skidoos.

I was actually quite happy with how this look turned out. I have avoided the 20s so far because it's ideal body shape is about as opposite from mine as you can get. And while I will say other decades are more flattering, I didn't feel fat in this outfit at all. I rather feel like a 20s lady golfer, actually! Just need some clubs.

I'm still getting used to the shorter length, but I love it! I had a bob all through out high school and I've always kind of wanted to go back to that. But that super critical *youmustbeaperfectvintagefashionblogger* voice would always whine "But then you can't do pin curls!" and so I resisted. 

But now I get to shut that voice up and say I can rock it! This do looks surprisingly good with modern clothes and I'm sure will be just darling with 40s and 50s styles too.

I don't have any current plans to actively add 20s pieces to my wardrobe but who knows. I'm trying not to be so plan oriented with fashion and just let it be fun for a while. And this is the second fun new look I've tried this year along with the 40s suit.

Right now, I'm having fun with the new do and enjoying the short hair lifestyle again! Plus I can't wait to play around with some 20s make up for day and evening.

 Have you ever tried a fun and crazy hair do before? Is there one you've been dying to try but haven't had the courage to?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Classic Red and Blue

One of the great things about suits is that they are so versatile! So, here's my 40s "suit" another way.

I actually made this skirt to wear with my Wearing History Ruthie blouse. I have a lot of navy blue neutrals in the bottoms half of my wardrobe. So I needed something to wear with a blue top!

And I guess blue could go with anything, but it looks awesome with red.

I'm finding that layers in Florida are key. Cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. Cold in the shadows but warm in the sun. Warm outside but frigidly air conditioned inside.

I've actually been wearing my Ruthie blouse a lot since I got it. It is so comfortable! Lauren really hit it out of the park with the fabric choice here. So soft!

It's blousey yet still fitted enough to show off a waist. Plus I can move in the sleeves!

It's a blouse you can live in. There are some things in my closet that I'll wear for photos or a specific outing but then want to take of and put on comfy clothes when I get home. Not with this blouse.

On the other had, it looks so classic! Pair it with pearls and a cute shoe and I can wear it to work. It's just an amazing basic for my wardrobe.

I hope there are other colors of this blouse available in the future because I would totally by another (or three!).

 Do you have a favorite basic piece in your wardrobe?

Friday, February 6, 2015

40s Fashion Calendar: January

If you haven't noticed, the theme for this week is something along the lines of oh, wait, it's February already? Guess I should post the rest of my January things!! So here's my January 40s Fashion Calendar entry.

Last week, the hubby and I took an impromptu day trip to St. Augustine, FL. I had just finished my crafting adventures for the January project so I decided to wear them out.

The January project involved making two faux flower brooches-one for your winter coat and one for your purse. It was chilly but not cold enough for a winter jacket so I just wore my pin with my "suit".

We were also supposed to accessorize with a pair of gloves. While it would have been easy to go with a safe neutral or even a green pair, I decided to coordinate with the lavender flowers in my brooch and go with a light purple pair.

And I wore my green hat! I adore the fact that this outfit is basically red and green but does not read Christmas at all! I guess it's all of the pretty flowers.

I was a bit nervous about this brooch making. I'm not usually good with anything that is "crafty" in nature. Sewing yes, crafty no. But it turned out really great!

But it turned out really great! And this outfit turned out amazing! I seriously doubt I would have put it together on my own but it was so much fun.

Since I don't own an actual suit, I don't usually go for the suit look but this turned out great. The sweater and skirt don't quite match in color and that's something that normally drives me bonkers but once I actually put the outfit on, you really can't tell. And it didn't bother me at all the entire day.

I didn't have a cloth purse to pin the second brooch on but I just pinned it to the decorative tassel and called it a day.

I got tons of compliments on my outfit! And it made me remember how much I adore wearing gloves and a hat. Accessories are so important to an outfit.

All of the pieces I'm wearing are solid basics but the interest is in the accessories and combinations of colors. 

 Are you participating in the 40s Fashion Calendar? What's your favorite attention grabbing accessory?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Life Lessons from "What Not to Wear"

I have watched a lot of What Not to Wear. It has taught me a lot of things-how to dress my body type, how to objectively decide if a style is flattering on myself, how to let go of clothes that just aren't working for me, how a bit of effort in the make up and hair department can make a big difference in how you look, and how the right clothes can make any woman confident and beautiful. But it has one other message that is perhaps the most valuable.

What you wear says something about yourself to the world. Whether you think about it or not and whether you mean it or not.

So what do your clothes say about you?

The fact is that people are visual creatures and we judge each other based on appearance, especially initially. It's been that way since the beginning of time and I don't think it's ever going to change. Here's why: In order to make decisions, we need information. And the quickest source of information we can get from another person is their appearance. When that's all you have to work with, that's all you have to work with. And sure, with time and a relationship with another person we can reach beyond that initial judgement and change our opinion of someone but a lot of times, we don't get that far.

What we say with our clothes is important because researchers have found that most communication is nonverbal (though they can't seem to agree on exact percentages). If clothing really says nothing about ourselves, why bother dressing up for things like an interview or meeting your future in-laws for the first time? Why bother with fashion at all?

The business world really understands this principle. They say dress for the job you want not the job you have. Dressing in a professional manner at work says I care about my job, it is important to me and I am willing to put forth the effort. Dressing unprofessionally says quite the opposite.

Unfortunately, the way most women dress today sends quite a negative message to the world about themselves and women in general.

I don't care.

I have no value.

I've given up.

I'm insecure about myself.

I am a sex object.

I don't deserve better.

I'm desperate for attention.

I'm just looking for a "good time".

I am not more than my body.

Are these really the things we want the world to think about us and about women? Yet women are time and time again wondering why they are treated the way they are treated, why they are invisible or only visible from the neck down. In the real world, actions have consequences even unconscious actions. And people are much more apt to believe how you act and what you do rather than what you say.

We can say that people shouldn't judge other people but that doesn't fix the problem. I can't change other people. I can only change myself.

So I ask again, what do your clothes say about you? If you don't like the message you are sending, why not try sending a different one?

I respect myself.

I am important enough to myself to take care of me.

I live life purposefully.

I am a strong confident woman.

I am a human being with feelings.

I am working to improve my life.

I love myself.

I want relationships built on trust and respect.

I have thoughts that have value to the world.

Who knows, maybe if women demanded respect from the world not just with our mouths but with how we dress and how we conduct ourselves, maybe the world will finally listen.

Or maybe I just think way too much about clothes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

HSM January: Foundations

This year's Historical Sew Monthly started out with the Foundation Challenge. So for my foundation, I decided to make an Italian Chemise. To me, a foundation is the thing you build your entire outfit upon. Mess it up, and nothing else will work correctly. The Chemise (or camicia if you are Italian) is the layer closest to the skin that not only keeps your pretty garments free of body grossness but also is a comfortable, breathable layer. Unfortunately, it's one of those things the film industry has decided are mostly unnecessary!

The Challenge: #1: Foundations
Fabric: 3.5 ys Linen ($11/yd)
Pattern: I used this great tutorial by Jen of Festive Attyre.
Year: Renaissance-ish (1500s)
Notions: thread
How historically accurate is it? It's mostly machine sewn and I surged my seams but the overall shape is correct. And it's yummy linen!
Hours to complete: 4-5
First worn: not yet. This linen is quite fine so I don't feel comfortable modeling it for you!
Total cost: ~$38

It's got this great cartridge pleating detail at the neckline. And it's super comfy to wear!

While we're at it, I decided to photography the corset I made for the 2014 #20: Alternative Universe Challenge but never photographed.

It's made of one layer of coutile and bound with store bought bias tape.

I hand sewed the eyelets but the rest of it is sewn by machine. Coutile is hard to sew by hand!

The seams are all finished nicely for maximum comfort.

I started with the pattern for my kirtle bodice and shortened it. Then I tweaked the fit until I got the shape I wanted. To draft your own kirtle bodice, go to for a drafting guide.

And now that I have the corset and chemise done, it's time to get started on the dress!!!

Monday, February 2, 2015

My 40s Fashion Calendar

I am so excited about the 40s Fashion Calendar project hosted by Brittany of Va-Voom Vintage. It goes along so well with my "less is more" motto for 2015 plus goes so well with the make do and mend mentality of the war era 40s. If you haven't heard of the project, pop over to Brittany's blog and check it out. Then come back and I'll show you my wardrobe for the project.

1. Winter Coat

Ok, so I have winter coats but I don't really need them much in Florida so I'll just leave this one blank for now.

2. A Suit

I don't have a 1940s suit so I'm using this red sweater and skirt combo. Red is not a traditional neutral but it goes with loads of other colors and it's the closest thing I have to a suit.

The skirt I just made from Simplicity 1659. I have plans to make a matching suit jacket using Simplicity 4013. It's technically from 1939 but a resourceful lady would use this great suit pattern anyways.

3. A Small Brimmed Hat

 Hat! I just adore this green hat. It's one of the first vintage hats I ever bought and it doesn't get worn enough.

4. A Dark Bolero

I also adore this knitted bolero. Plus read and blue are the perfect combo.

5. Pillbox Hat

Brittany's promised to have a tutorial for this so I'm waiting on it.

6. A Basic Dress in a Solid

So I'm kind of cheating on this one. I have a great pink solid dress but I'm thinking one of the month's challenge is going to be wear the suit jacket with your dress and pink and red really don't work together unless it's Valentine's Day. Of course, red and green screams Christmas so...

7. One or Two Pair of Simple Shoes

Check! I have tons of simple shoes.

And here's a sneak peak at the January Challenge which will go up on the blog latter this week.