September 5, 2012

the Everyday Wardrobe: Game Plan

As it happens, this whole Everyday Wardrobe thing came about as I was sewing whilst at home. I was stitching at my machine soaking it all up in my half baked polyester sweatpants and a ratty see-through tank top (sans bra, of course!) when all of a sudden, the doorbell rang. This is not the first time this has ever happened either. But this time, something inside of me just clicked and I thought to myself of the irony of my position. I make beautiful clothing  - lots of items I rarely wear because they are either too fussy or too fragile or I have nothing to go with them - and I bum around in digusting RTW pieces that have lived their full life and then some and then the doorbell rings and I'm just supposed to answer.

To be honest, I could care less what whoever at the door thinks of me and what I'm wearing, but the weird thing is that I care about me and what I'm wearing and how I present myself to anyone. I don't feel that great when I'm at home alone and bumming around in crummy clothes that I wouldn't dream of being seen in. Sure, there are days when all I want to do is lay around in pjs. I think everyone has those. But I'm talking about every single day wear. Getting up on a daily basis and just getting dressed either for work or for play or for just plain old that's what we do as human beings.

So after the doorbell rang and I answered it and there was the UPS man delivering a package, I decided that I needed to figure out why I wasn't dressed. So I went to my closet and started trying to put an outfit together that I wanted to wear to do things like get orders from the shop ready and shipped and such. What I found is that I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear to an everyday event like life. Instead, I have a closet full of clothing that either is too uncomfortable to wear to my everyday life or needs to be altered to be worn in the everyday or would be a great everyday piece but I have nothing to wear with it. No wonder I'm always wearing my pj's around the house!

So here's the Everyday Wardrobe Game Plan that I came up with:

Step 1 ~ Go to your closet. Pick out one article of clothing. ONLY one. Don't overwhelm yourself to start with - you can defeat yourself before you even begin (I do this alllllll the time). The article of clothing can be a blouse, a skirt, a dress, jacket, etc. Anything that is an actual article of clothing. No accessories. We'll worry about those later. This garment should be something that you love, can't bear to get rid of but never wear. It should also be something that is comfortable and that you feel is worthy of wearing everyday. This is a big part of it! Don't pick that strapless dress that you have to pour yourself into! Pick something you want to wear everyday, can see yourself wearing everyday and actually will wear everyday. We're going to call this garment the Never Worn Garment or NWG for short.

Step 2 ~ Ask and answer yourself these questions about your NWG:

  • Why don't I wear this?

  • What would make this garment more wearable? Can I alter it?

  • What colors and styles can I pair this garment with to make it wearable?

  • What shoes and accessories can I pair this garment with to make it wearable in the everyday?

One very important point in this step is deciding on what type of shoes you plan to wear with your NWG. This can make or break an everyday outfit for me. If I plan to wear my NWG in the everyday, I have to have a comfortable shoe to go with it.

Step 3 ~ If you need to alter the NWG, now is the time to start that process. If you don't need to alter your NWG, take the garment to your fabric and sewing pattern stash and now its time to start pairing patterns and fabrics with the NWG to try and make an outfit. For instance, take a skirt and go to your stash and find 2 fabrics and 2 blouse patterns to go with it. Again, start small. Decide on one or two sewing patterns to work with (doesn't mean they have to be easy or hard), then pick your fabric. Don't have the right fabric? Head on over to your local fabric store, taking your NWG with you and pick some up!

Step 4 ~ Make the garment that you've picked to go with the NWG - we're going to call this the Everyday Wardrobe Garment or EWG for short. Next accessorize. You've already thought of the shoes, so now have fun with belts, scarves (maybe you can even make a matching one!) and jewelry. And just like that, you've made magic happen - you have an outfit instead of a Never Worn Garment!

Step 5 ~ Once an entire outfit has been made, utilizing the NWG from your closet, now its up to you if you want to:

  • make something more to go with your NWG

  • start the process again, but this time use your new EWG

  • or, start with another NWG from your closet

Here's the crazy thing: Once you start the process, you find that your new EWGs start coordinating with more NWGs in your closet! It's addictive and this type of wardrobe planning gives you a wonderful sense of accomplishment, makes you feel like a rockstar because you're actually wearing clothes that go together and that you love and you can wear them everyday and feel comfortable. I've also found that this helps destash your fabric stash (who would've thunk?) and utilizes garments you already have!

Please note that I'm not saying that you have to throw out glamorous pieces of clothing (or any piece of clothing) that you want to wear for a special event. Keep them. I'm also not saying that I would just stop sewing those types of garments altogether either. I might sew them, but a whole lot less (if at all). I'm also not saying that you can't wear dresses and silk and wool and other such upscale types (on the contrary, in fact - you know I love natural fibers), but maybe its time to rethink how these types of things are worn in the everyday. I'll be showing many many ways to incorporate beautiful fabrics into your everyday. That's what I'm doing. I'm working with what I've got first and thinking up brand new garments second. This is actual wardrobing instead of making a closet full of white elephants which is exactly what I tend to do. I'm not saying that you have to have a closet full of knits either, because I still love wovens and will be utilizing both over the course of my journey. I'll be going over each of the above steps more in depth over the next little while showing you exactly how this has worked for me.

What do you make of all this? I would love to hear your thoughts! My first attempt at this strategy and its outcome will be up tomorrow!

Later Taters,

PS ~ the above photos are actually of something I'll be showing you in the future (though not tomorrow) - a real bona fide NWG!
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