Archives for category: Wardrobe planning

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?

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It can be very tricky to figure out what type of clothes you need in your closet.  And if you’re transitioning from formal to informal job, or from working to retirement, it can get even trickier as you’re starting from scratch.  Rather than taking a random approach, it can be very gratifying to plan your wardrobe, then populate it with higher quality clothing that will give you lots of great options. A “capsule” wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that will not go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be updated with seasonal pieces.

Here’s an Excel 2010 spreadsheet I created that walks you through defining your activities, and calculates how many capsule wardrobes you might need.  Comments would be appreciated!

Wardrobe planning

No Ready to WearI’ve joined over 200 other women in a Ready to Wear Fast, administered by the very talented Sarah at Goodbye Valentino.  This means I will not purchase any ready to wear clothing for the next 12 months – nada, nyet, zip, zilch!  Oh, except for undies, unless I get really motivated.

I’m sure everyone has reasons for deciding not to purchase RTW clothing.  For me, it started because I can’t find anything to fit, which I think is common for many of us.  I don’t fit Misses or Plus size:  maybe what I need is Meno-size to accommodate the measurements that shift to the strangest places :-).

The big advantage to custom clothing is that it fits – and there’s nothing that slims you down and makes you look put together more than well-fitting clothing. And with my continuing schooling in sewing, pattern making and fashion design, I am learning how to make clothing that looks as good, or better than RTW.

What’s on tap?

For January, my goal is to finish at least 1 coat, 1 pair jeans and a couple of tops.

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!

Ann Taylor Grisaille Suit

Ann Taylor Grisaille Suit by melaniemac featuring a knife pleated skirt

Ann Taylor sweater
anntaylor.com

Ann Taylor blouse
anntaylor.com

Ann Taylor top
anntaylor.com

Ann Taylor top
anntaylor.com

Ann taylor jacket
anntaylor.com

Ann Taylor pants
anntaylor.com

Ann Taylor jeans
anntaylor.com

Casual Outfit #2: Working at home

Casual Outfit #2: Working at home by melaniemac featuring a cable knit crew neck sweater

MiH Jeans army green jeans
$155 – matchesfashion.com

Dorothy Perkins earrings
dorothyperkins.com

Lancôme lilac perfume
bergdorfgoodman.com

Lancôme fragrance
lancome-usa.com

Casual outfit #1

Casual outfit #1 by melaniemac featuring orange scarves

Glamorous top
$40 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Balmain wool blazer
$3,140 – shopmrsh.com

MiH Jeans green jeans
$155 – matchesfashion.com

MINU Jewels earrings
maxandchloe.com

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 – brownsfashion.com

Dries van noten cardigan
$335 – brownsfashion.com

Glamorous top
$40 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Balmain wool blazer
$3,140 – shopmrsh.com

MiH Jeans olive green jeans
$155 – matchesfashion.com

Mango dark jeans
mango.com

Steve Madden combat booties
$145 – johnlewis.com

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