I gathered together a lot of “dressed-up” ideas for my spring wardrobe and now I need some inspiration for casual clothes. This season there are dresses everywhere, but sometimes I just want something to throw on that I can wear to the grocery store! Alternatives to jeans and t-shirts for days when nothing special is going on. For these clothes, comfort is my first priority along with fabrics that I can throw into the washing machine. As I get older, it gets harder to dress down and look age appropriate.
Here are some outfits worth copying:
This is from Diane Von Furstenberg, available at Bloomindales. I’d have to wear the top tucked in–loose and flowy makes me look like a marshmallow. I like the shorts because they’re on the longer side. I can see the top in a cotton voile and the shorts in cotton poplin, fabrics that are relatively easy to find.
I like to wear shirts and shorts. Shirts are cool and comfortable, more so than t-shirts which are cut so skinny these days. I found a couple of copy-worthy shirts at J. Crew–with a classic American sportswear look:
This shirt in broadcloth or linen would be cute with some plaid Bermuda shorts. The only shorts I could find with the look I want are men’s, I like the muted pallet and all cotton fabric:
Here’s another nice shirt from J. Crew, in a Liberty print (I’ve always loved Liberty of London fabric–glad to see it re-surfacing. I probably have some in my stash!):
This will look comfortable but polished with these J. Crew linen shorts:
I’ll have to lengthen them a little.
T-shirt dresses are great to throw on in the summertime. This one looks pulled together with the belt. I’ve been wanting to try some the raw edge finishes I’ve seen in RTW garments, like this one:
After hours of surfing the web, this is all I’ve found that looks interesting. But it’s a good start–I’ll see if I can find fabrics to duplicate these looks.
I saw Staging Your Comeback on one of my favorite blogs, Fabulous After 40. I like this concept and can’t wait to get the book in May. One of my biggest complaints is that there are few good middle-aged role models. Either women seem to want to keep their college look or they give up completely and look matronly. This book looks like it promotes looking good, not trying to look younger.
Another recent book,How Not To Look Old is all about trying to look younger. From the author’s point of view, we live in a youth obsessed culture so smart women should try to look young. From what I’ve seen it has some good ideas but I just want to look good no matter what my age. Young doesn’t really have anything to do with it. I’m finally at a point in my life where I want give my look a little effort. I want to dress nicely instead of always grabbing for my favorite jeans. I want to do my hair and make-up every day. But I don’t mind looking my age (50). Ta-ta for now.
I’ve decided to do something a little different. Instead of planning my wardrobe a day or two before I’m in need of something and then sewing it with a pattern and fabric I have on hand (no time to shop) and finishing it an hour before I’m leaving (when I could be taking a leisurely shower and carefully doing my hair and make-up), this spring I’m going to sew a little in advance.
This has some advantages:
1) I’ll feel organized because I’ll have what I need hanging in my closet, ready to go
2) I’ll have time to find the perfect fabric (usually online), pattern, buttons, etc. to create exactly what I see in my mind’s eye
3) I can poke around the stores for the perfect accessories and coordinites for my outfits (shopping at the beginning of the season when the selection is best)
4) Hopefully I can inspire you with plenty of time to create similar fashions for yourselves
and some disadvantages:
1) I work best under pressure and when I have an event in mind it’s easy to plan exactly what I want to wear
2) What if I finally lose that last 10 lbs.? My clothes will be too big! (ha, ha–I’ve been using that excuse for years)
3) My stash will probably grow instead of shrink, after all, you have to grab it when you see it because great fabric is hard to find!
So, to start my experiment I will first look for inspiration. I’ll start by perusing the photos from the spring fashion shows on Style.com. In addition, I have files of pictures I’ve torn from magazines and although some are from previous seasons, sometimes the styles have caught on and feel more wearable than when they were brand new. And I have the current fashion magazines which will help me find the most wearable trends. When I’m out, I’ll stop by my favorite stores to see what’s new and pick up a piece or two to get me started.
So far, this is what I’ve found:
This is from the Brian Reyes’ 2006 collection. It would be good for early spring when the temperature is still cold, but you’re ready for lighter colors and fabrics.
This jacket is from my archive of pictures, I don’t know whose designed it. A jacket like this is one of the first things I’ll make–it will be warm with a sweater in early spring and then a good rain jacket.
Another good season spanner, this jacket and pants can be made in light weight wool that will feel less wintery when it’s snowing in April. It’s from my picture archive from Spring ’07. It’s hard to see the details in the jacket, but what I like is the silhouette, pulled in at the waist which creates a peplum look. I can see it in wool crepe or something with some stretch, like heavy wool jersey or double knit.
This outfit looks so modern–it’s from the Badgley Mischka Spring ’08 RTW collection. I always feel like some bright color and pattern in the early spring when it’s usually bleak and cloudy.
Finally, I have to put this green trench coat on my “to do” list as I’ve been craving it since last year. I don’t know the designer, but something about the color makes it wearable with anything from jeans to dresses in any season.
I’ll start looking for fabrics for these designs and in the meantime, I’m going to make the Nanette Lepore knock-off top to go with the black silk skirt I’m altering.