Archives for category: Inspiration

There’s nothing I love better than the approach of a new season.  It means I get to start a very important process all over again:  capturing the essence of my wardrobe plan for the season.  I do it twice a year:  Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.  Some people use Pinterest and create pins for their wardrobe.  Some use Polyvore to create a visual of an outfit or capsule wardrobe.  I do use both as sources of information, but I create my own PowerPoint presentation to capture my inspiration.

Each presentation has several parts:

Inspiration, which is a section that I use for photos of looks that I find inspiring or that I’d like to duplicate. It’s a bigger picture section where I try to find visuals that depict the look I aspire to.  Usually that means sophisticated, chic, relaxed, stylish put-together 50-something.  Sigh…don’t always get there.

Outfits, which is often things I put together on Polyvore specifically to identify what kind of items I will make or buy to achieve my look. Or if I have a piece in my wardrobe, I can play around with how to mix & match it for maximum use.  We all end up with orphan pieces that don’t have anything to go with, so this is an easy way to get some ideas.

A section each on Tops, Bottoms, Dresses, Coats etc. that have more specific visuals of things I like or things I’d like to try making.

Charcoal cardi slacks

Here’s an inspiration slide that I’m relating to stuff in my stash. Not sure where I grabbed this photo from – likely Pinterest.

These presentations can get large – Fall/Winter 2015 had 136 slides in it.  But reviewing them regularly is absolutely inspiring, and really helps me figure out what I want to make for the season.  I’ll spend a good couple of months researching, looking at my favorite designers (Ralph Lauren and Worth) and Chicos for casual wear. I’ll also check out what the people I follow on Polyvore are doing (they have way better style than me), and I’ll even search Pinterest for ideas. I’ll also check out Vogue Magazine runway shows. What happens after a little time is that you can get a sense for where fashion is going, and what is trend versus longer-term style. It helps me identify what trendy things I might like to make, and what quality pieces I’d like to invest in for the longer term (still making them of course, but with better fabric and more care & attention to construction).  It gives me such a boost to dream about what I’ll do – and if I’m procrastinating about sewing it’s a great way to rev up my motivation to get back at it!

Cardi and jeans

Here’s a slide that’s identifying how I can duplicate the cardigan in this outfit that I like (grabbed it from one of the people I follow on Polyvore).  I also have the striped fabric for a tee, and some shorter brown boots.  So the yarn goes on my “to buy” list, and the tee on my “to make from stash” list.

So that’s how I get my list of things to make or buy.  How about you?


Seems like the older I get, the more obsessed I become with style. I think there are many drivers – I’m sure some of them are true for other baby boomers too.

  1. We live in a youth-obsessed society, and that’s certainly true in the fashion industry. Many clothes in stores these days feel too young for me, and are definitely styled for younger body shapes.
  2. Many Baby Boomers like me are planning to work for many years yet, which means we need to maintain a certain youthful attitude and look, in order to be taken seriously in the workplace. Clothing has a huge impact on how you project yourself to others, so as we age, we need to give careful consideration to how we dress.  And, going back to #1 above, it can be hard to find appropriate clothing.
  3. As you age, you also feel a bit freer to express who you are. We are no longer as strictly bound by norms that dictate we behave in a certain way – for instance to climb the corporate ladder. Many of us have achieved goals we’d set for ourselves, and are now ready to revel in “fitting our skin.” That creates a desire to express ourselves a bit more openly than in the past – and for many women, that also equates to adapting our clothing to suit that expression of ourselves.
  4. We’ve either already transitioned to retirement, or are getting closer to it, and may be starting to think about budget management.  Retirement doesn’t have to mean we give up on having great looking clothing. In fact, it can be a really enjoyable project to create a great capsule wardrobe with good quality clothing that allows us to reflect our personal style, and always look good – while carefully managing our clothing budget.

But wait! Now that I want to express myself through style, I don’t have a clue what that style is! I’ve been at 2 ends of the spectrum: wearing business suits, or working at home in my fuzzy slippers.  But trying to look chic in casual clothes – that are age-appropriate and fit – is proving to be a challenge. Hence the obsession.

Some of my favorite sources of style inspiration and learning are on the web:

Polyvore – a great place to play, and also find lots of inspiration.

Style blogs for mature women – here’s a listing from a blogger whose posts I really enjoy!

A Pinterest search for baby boomer style.

Image consultant Diana Pemberton Sikes – her products are amazing!  I have purchased quite a lot of her courses and workshops and find them very informative.  I recently purchased her Ageless Style workshop and have really enjoyed it.

As I continue my quest for knowledge, I’ll share what I find.  If you’ve got suggestions, please do leave a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!

Chanel plaid jacket early fall 2013When I saw this photo from the Chanel early fall 2013 collection, I was very excited as I have some fabric that’s the same colour and plaid pattern.  My fabric is a brushed wool with a beautiful drape and feel.  I can’t tell what the Chanel fabric is, but by the picture, it looks like it must have enough texture that the lining is quilted to the face fabric, creating the characteristic Chanel cardigan look and feel.  My fabric’s been in my stash for years, and I think I bought it for a skirt.  It’s going to take some fancy work to get a jacket out of it and there’s really not quite enough to duplicate the jacket exactly. I’ll be working on this jacket this weekend, as I’d love to get it made and wear it next weekend.

The jacket can’t be quilted like many Chanel jackets, as the weave won’t hide the quilting lines.  I also don’t have enough fabric for self-facing.  So I’ll either be bringing the lining almost to the finished edge, or facing with a different fabric.

Vogue 7975

Vogue 7975

Butterick 5927

Butterick 5927

Butterick 5927

Butterick 5927

When dealing with the issue of not enough fabric, you need to think outside the box a little.  Here are some of the things that could be considered:

  • Subdivide one or more of the pattern pieces into 2 pieces and create a decorative seam.  The yellow diagram of the Butterick pattern does that on the jacket front.  The lower front piece could be done on the bias, or I can try to match the plaid pattern.  I could also try to do something similar to the sleeve, as it’s the longest pattern piece. Or I could try shortening the sleeve to bracelet length, which might shave enough off.
  • Either do away with facings or do the facings in a different colour.  By going with a collarless jacket, it means that facings won’t show, so a coordinating facing will work just fine.
  • Incorporate a second fabric – for instance using a princess seam pattern and doing the small side front and side back pieces in a coordinating fabric.  With plaid, a faux suede or pleather might give a “moto” feel.  Or do the sleeves out of a different fabric. (Here’s an example of a jacket I pulled off Polyvore – plaid and leather mix.)   I thought about doing the sleeves in some leftover black boiled wool, but it would be a last resort.
Plaid moto jacket

Plaid moto jacket

Off to the drawing board!  I wish you all a great weekend!

Capsule Wardrobe: Casual

Adding one more bottom could extend this wardrobe to 21 outfits!

Capsule Wardrobe: Casual by melaniemac featuring a cable knit crew neck sweater

M Patmos metallic silver shirt
$255 –

Dries van noten cardigan
$335 –

Glamorous top
$40 –

Balmain wool blazer
$3,140 –

MiH Jeans olive green jeans
$155 –

Mango dark jeans

Steve Madden combat booties
$145 –

Over at the Stitchers Guild Sewing Forum, lots of us are committing to a 6-PAC – a 6 piece autumn collection, which is running from August to October. I’ve decided to focus on a chartreuse stretch cotton blazer with a few pieces to coordinate with it.

Fall 2013 6-PAC

The rawhide faux suede jacket is almost finished: it just languished in the unfinished pile from last winter. And the chartreuse blazer will give way to the woven wool blazer in November.

There are a lot of really talented people out there thinking and writing about how to create a coordinated wardrobe. A big benefit is that you never have “nothing to wear” and always look put together. A good keyword to search on would be “Capsule Wardrobe”. Check out Imogen Lamport’s web site at – she offers a 5 step formula to a fabulous wardrobe, which is a great place to start. And I love Diana Pemberton-Sikes products and blog – she really has intelligent wardrobe and fashion down to a science. I’ve got many of her products and would highly recommend them.

Fall is such a great time to dream up a new wardrobe. Time to take a glass of wine to the patio and do some dreaming!

Corporate Edge

Corporate Edge by melaniemac featuring a tweed skirt


Tweed skirt
$61 –

Christian louboutin pumps
$575 –

Prada zipper bag

Kate Spade oversized scarve

Autumn-winter 2013 Collection #1

Autumn-winter 2013 Collection #1 by melaniemac featuring dolce gabbana

Mango jacket

Dolce Gabbana dolce gabbana
$305 –

Tory Burch wide shoes
$210 –

Leather purse

Like this t-shirt a lot – thinking of making something similar. Have several different colours of cotton/poly knit that would look great together.

Laid back summer

Laid back summer by melaniemac featuring a floppy hat



Bangle bracelet
$5.37 –

Silver charm

Floppy hat

Although I’ve been sewing all my life, my love for sewing and fashion has been revitalized now that I’m in my 50’s.  I’m learning by leaps and bounds, and wanting to push further and experiment more.

I think it was originally driven by the fact that current fashions and clothing don’t suit and don’t fit!  There are some amazing women blogging on the web about growing older gracefully and with style; and there are some great blogs about sewing too.  I hope I can contribute something as interesting and exciting.


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