Sunday, April 29, 2012

FBFF: Outfit Planning

For my post today linking up to Fashion Beauty Friend Friday (more like, Fashion Beauty Friend Sunday, but thus goes the weekend...) we're looking at outfit planning, discussing how we put together what we wear every day.

1. How do you go about picking your outfit for the day? (Do you lay stuff out the night before? Do you plan a whole week's worth of looks Sunday night? Do you wing it every morning?)

Generally I wing it, at least partway. Sometimes I'll have a dress or a skirt picked out to wear the night before, but first improvise with the shoes/accessories/layers in the morning. Other times, I'll completely change my mind when I try things on and see what works or doesn't work together.

2. Do you try stuff on and then take pics to see how it looks, like Cher in Clueless?

My mirror is fine for me when it comes to trying things on. Generally I don't care so much about what things look like in pictures -- if it works fine for me on my body as I'm looking at it, that's good enough for me. Though occasionally frustrating when I go to document an outfit and then find it doesn't photograph nearly as well as I'd like it to.

3. And are you consistent in your planning or lack thereof, or is your planning limited to special events?

I do step up the planning for special events, particularly in terms of thinking about what in my closet might give the sort of effect I want. I also plan more when I'm going to be traveling, not necessarily to the extent of planning out all my outfits but at least thinking about what sort of outfits I can make with different options.

4. Do you have a way of keeping track of which outfits you wore when?

If it's not something I documented on the blog, probably not. That's my best source so far. (which really makes me want to get back to posting more outfit photos...)

5. How do you come up with new clothing combinations? (An app? Computer program? Trial and error?)

Ah, don't phrase the question this way to a programmer. Now I am incredibly tempted to write a program to give me different clothing combinations. Hmm. Build a few simple rules of style into it (a shirt needs pants or a skirt), add options for weather-suitability...well, this would get complicated, even if we mostly leave out the aesthetic components. Though it might be interesting even to have an app that would just tell me something like, "The weather will be 50 and raining. Perhaps you should wear a top, skirt, tights, a sweater, and rain boots"...and then have me mix and match from those pieces. Or maybe randomly serving up combinations of colors, or images to inspire an outfit? What would you want in an outfit inspiration program?

To answer this question realistically: trial and error, mostly. Sometimes seeing things together when doing laundry or hanging them up in the closet. Serendipity. Instinct when the skirt I was originally intending to go with that top ends up really not working together and I have to grab something out of the closet in a hurry.


On a related note to outfit planning: I've taken the pledge for Zoe's Me-Made-May challenge.

I, Elly of Adventures in Refashioning, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade or refashioned garment (not just accessories) each day for the duration of May 2012.

Granted, when I signed up I didn't really think through the fact that I'm going to be traveling for work for about 2 1/2 weeks in May. So my fairly sparse me-made wardrobe is going to have to deal with living out of a suitcase, working in the theater (including at least some labor cable-running and such), probably variable temperatures as it is going to be May on the east coast, and not getting to do laundry. Hmm. I think I need some more tops that aren't intended for winter. It'll be a challenge, certainly!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunshine and Skirt from Sheet

This skirt was my refashioning project this weekend. It started out as an old bedsheet from the dollar-a-pound that I'd gotten for my fabric stash probably two years ago and then promptly never done anything with. I have a bunch of other vintage sheets that I want to dive into soon! The cotton is really easy to work with, and it's easy to find sheets with fun prints. (I also signed up for So Zo's Me Made May, so am going to want to add a few more spring pieces to my self-made collection before then.)


I used this 1969 Simplicity pattern. I'd definitely make this one again, as it came together fairly quickly but still has some nice details like the darts on the front and the waistband that makes the top very neat.

Funny story...I was really pleased when I finished this with how I'm improving the construction quality of what I'm sewing and perhaps it doesn't immediately look homemade. So I wore this today to go walk around Harvard Square (needed to get new running shoes), and while I was there I walked through a couple of stores looking for a new white shirt. I was in American Apparel and one of the saleswomen there comes up to me and says, "I know this is going to sound funny, but I could swear I had a pillowcase and sheets in that pattern when I was a kid!" (She was confused that the same pattern would have been sold to a clothing company as least I cleared that up for her!) So I suppose it is obvious that this might have been a sheet, at least to those who recognize it.

I hope everyone's had a nice weekend! I was glad to get some time outside today...the weather's acting more like the end of May than the middle of April. Even though we've had a fairly mild winter, I'm still really happy that spring seems to be here! This is the first time I've actually gone out in short sleeves and bare legs for months...certainly enjoying the moment of time before it moves into the heat of the summer. Which...well, tomorrow and Tuesday are supposed to be in the high 80's. So that could be soon.

Other than that, I've been keeping busy with work and such. We've got our big demo week coming up the week after next, so a lot of coding and creating that has to happen before then. Then my group's next big project launches in a month, so that's been keeping me busy as well. It's been great to watch things come together, though...always exciting when code works!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

FBFF: One-Time-Use Outfits?

I wear this dress basically...all the time since I got it last February. Works for every season, fits well, and I wear it as often as I think I can get away with it (which ends up being every couple of weeks, primarily because that's my laundry cycle).

I wanted to use last Friday's Fashion Beauty Friend Friday post to jump back in on this whole blogging thing...all is fine, I've just been very busy with work (a lot of projects taking off at full speed, a trip for a week to SXSW with others from my lab, diving into piles and piles of reading before my general exams in June) and home (visiting friends, spending time with family, attempting to maintain some semblance of order in the apartment, whatever it is I do to waste time on the internet). I also definitely intended to post this last week.

But so, FBFF! Today we're looking at something that's come up around magazines/the internet about fashion/style bloggers, the idea that many wear outfits or items of clothing only once. (See Arash's post on the Wear It Once Disease for one of the pieces that sparked this discussion). Since there's a photographic record of their outfits, they apparently can feel pressured not to repeat an outfit. This has certainly been an issue at times for celebrities, with the paparazzi ready to jump on someone for wearing the same thing to multiple events, but is it true of regular people who take and post their own pictures? Or, in the age of social, doesn't everyone have some pressure, when they know the pictures of them at their cousin's wedding will end up on Facebook next to the pictures of the two other events they wore the same outfit to that month? I don't have much knowledge about the "general" opinions of women or style bloggers, but I thought it'd be interesting to explore my own relationship with repeating outfits/single-use outfits.

Basically the same outfit except for the shoes, but from January 2012.

  1. Are you a one-time wearer?
    I'd like to say "no," because I certainly don't buy anything intending to only wear it once. But the reality is that I do end up only wearing some things once (or have only worn them once so far, if I've worn them at all)...for the last couple of years, I'd been doing perhaps too much thrifting, going for a quantity of interesting things. So there are certainly clothing pieces that I've thrifted, worn, and then decided later that I don't really like enough to be worth the closet space. Every so often I try to push myself to wear things that are really languishing in my closet (like in my blazer challenge), and to be honest about getting rid of things I'm really not going to wear again.

    On the other hand, I don't think it's too bad for me to get a very cheap piece at the dollar-a-pound, wear it only once or twice, and then send it back to Goodwill. Almost like a clothing library. Speaking of a clothing library: does such a thing exist anywhere in the US? Because I think it'd be an awesome idea. I know there are rent-a-dress services, but personally I wouldn't pay $50-100 to borrow a dress for a weekend...

  2. Do you feel the need to purchase something new for an evening out or a special event?
    Generally not...I suppose I don't have enough special events or evenings out. If anything, I'm looking for reasons to wear pieces that I thrifted "in case of a special event." On occasion I'll have to buy something new if I don't think my current outfits hold anything appropriate. One example from a couple of years ago: a black-tie gala after the opening night of my group's opera in Monaco. NOT exactly something my closet was prepared for...I had a couple of fancy dresses, but nothing that was going to squish in a suitcase with three weeks worth of clothes and come out alive. Fortunately, the dollar-a-pound came to the rescue with a lovely navy long gown...but would I have gone out and bought something at the department stores if I hadn't found that? Nah, I'd probably have just packed something I already owned that maybe wasn't quite formal enough.

  3. Re-mixing is something a lot of bloggers are proud of being able to accomplish – are you a re-mixing pro or do you shy away from posting items frequently? Why?
    I wouldn't call myself a re-mixing "pro," though I definitely take advantage of my basics and favorite pieces. (Every winter I go through at least one pair of thrifted black boots, from wearing them over and over and over...) However, I don't post outfit shots often enough here that I would want to show too many outfits that look exactly the same. Most of the time I want to share some outfit that I found particularly exciting or fun. If I were a daily outfit blogger, you'd definitely see a bunch of the same things. And then not see a decent proportion of the rest of my closet.

    I've certainly worn this black wrap dress in many ways...

  4. Do you have a clothing budget or are you an impulse buyer?
    As a grad student on a stipend, I keep an overall monthly budget with a pool for basically everything that isn't a fixed monthly bill (food, toiletries, entertainment, clothing, gifts, etc.). I don't subdivide this much more than that, but any clothing I'm buying has to stay within that budget. This definitely means that I consider many of my clothing/shoes/accessories purchases very carefully, especially as I'm comparing them against what else I could fit in my budget for the month with that money. On the other hand, I'm definitely somewhat of an impulse buyer when it comes to thrift stores...I'll go to thrift stores without any particular piece in mind, just to see what's interesting (and will buy something great if I find it and think it's worth the few dollars to me).

  5. Do you find yourself bored when reading a blog in which clothing items are often remixed and appear frequently?

  6. No, I enjoy seeing how someone can take the same piece of clothing and create a variety of different (either subtly different or extremely different) outfits with that. It gives me inspiration on what I can do with clothing items that I normally only wear in one way. Though I admit to have occasionally gotten bored at times when seemingly everyone in the blogosphere was doing some variation on wearing only 30 things for 30 days...less because of the remixing and more because people perhaps tend to choose more straightforward clothing items when they know they have to make a number of outfits out of them.

How about you all? Do you have a closet of tried-and-true workhorse pieces of clothing, things you've only worn once, or somewhere in between? What do you think about one-time-use clothing? If you're interested to see what others have to say, check out the FBFF Roundup!
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