learning with lacey

I think I’m making progress. I’ve been analyzing other gals’ styles to try to figure out why certain outfits look good. Photos from these three helped me. Blog posts, magazine articles, Polyvore, and co-workers helped me. I’m secretly spying on everyone, wondering how to boil down the concept of proportion into something practical. I’m no Coco Chanel, but I’ve gone from this…

pink lace skirt, lavender rosette top, brown belt & boots, tan cardigan

…to this…

pink lace skirt, blue & white striped top, cardigan, sandals

…and this.

lace skirt and knotted chambray shirt with flats

Neither of these looks is an extreme makeover; I get that.  But I think subtle changes often make a dramatic difference because I can stick to them.

Right now I’m getting to know my proportions.  That process is  helping me discover what works–sometimes through trial and error, I admit.  What I’ve learned from Lacey (the skirt, in case you were confused) is not to fear my “natural waist.”  It feels funny to me to let the bottom half of my clothes cross over onto what I think of as the top half of my body.waist and natural waist

But the whole “halves” concept was part of my problem.  I was breaking my outfits into two chunks a lot of the time.  (See the first photo where the thick belt across my hips draws a heavy line between torso and legs.)

This new insight into my proportions sent me to my closet yet again.  This time I removed everything that, if I’m honest, I have to admit isn’t flattering.  (Then, because I’m a real human and not an honest-to-goodness fashion plate, I put back one pair of sweatpants, one hoodie, and a free T-shirt from the library.  There are those days….)

I’ll save the closet purge for another post.  For now I’d like to know how you direct your own fashion evolution.  Does seeing yourself in photos help you recognize what works?  Do you feel inspired to remix your clothing when you flip through catalogs?  Have you crafted a signature look?  Do tell….

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this coral coil

If you’ve spent much time in the craft department of the internet, you’ve surely discovered the many uses for old T-shirts: bracelets, ruffles, and, um, underwear?  One of my favorites is the basic T-shirt scarf, the simplest hip creation I’ve discovered in–well, probably forever, now that I think about it.  I ask you: could one swipe with scissors create anything cooler than this?

You just take a T-shirt–the bigger the better–and hack it off under the arm holes.  (i.e. one horizontal cut across the chest)  The resulting loop of fabric makes a perfect jersey scarf, whether worn long or looped tighter as a cozy cowl.  If you want visuals, look here.  I made one by cutting the body of the shirt into strands that I pulled for a loopy look like the ones in the linked photos, but actually I prefer just using the large, unfringed piece as a scarf unto itself.

But what to do with the scraps?  I decided since this was such a sweet, girly color, and I have a sweet, girly new niece, I would make a diminutive headband.

coral-colored jersey material braided and knotted to form a circle

The only problem was deciding how to finish the ends.  They were a bit all over the place!

ends of jersey braid sticking out in different directions

A rosette would look cute there, I thought, but I didn’t know how to make a rosette…yet.  A quick search turned up this tutorial, and away I went, measuring…

scissors, ruler, and jersey material in front of laptop showing rosette tutorial

knotting…

long strip of jersey material folded in half and knotted at one end

and twisting my way to a little fabric flower.

jersey material rosette

There was only one problem.  It didn’t turn out as tiny as I expected!  Whoa, Nellie–that flower could bring the whole headband crashing down.  Not such a balanced look.

small braided circle of jersey material and rosette that's large in comparison

So I started over, made a much smaller version, and secured it in place.

circle of braided jersey material and small jersey rosette attached

In case you’re wondering how I managed the frayed ends, I folded them one at a time toward the center to create a little “platform” for the rosette.  Then I ran a threaded needle through all the layers of folded fabric to hold them in position.  This assured that the braid cannot come undone, and at the same time created a flat place to glue the flower.

frayed ends folded toward center with needle and thread going through all the layers

I don’t have a resident baby to try this on, so hopefully it works!  I think it would look sweet with the rosette positioned near her little ear, like she had the blossom tucked into her (non-existent) hair.  That’s it for now–I have to go scrounge up ideas for the rest of the remnants!

make mine a double

Repetition creates impact.  Repetition creates impact.  Repeti–no, not in writing.  That’s not a thing.  Visually, though….  I love to see multiples used to create one big statement.  Whether we’re talking about…

…Gerbera daisies in 5-gallon buckets…

…votives in a centerpiece…

…or miniature pots lined up on shelves, several of the same thing in a group can create one impressive look.  Does it translate to fashion?

You may not think so but I’ll tell you one thing: it sure was cozy!  And I’d do it again.  While we’re doing the “multiple” thing, here are two outfits I wore recently, both based on one amazingly comfy pair of pants.  (Thanks to my friend Natalie for helping me finally find the black leggings I’ve been searching for.)

And a dressier take…

Anybody else have ideas for styling leggings?  I prefer to avoid the following:

1. Ugg boots  (They are called “ugg” for a reason, at least according to the last sentence of the second paragraph of the “History” section of this article on Wikipedia.)

2. Collegiate sweatshirts.

3. Showing my bum.

Now that I’ve taken away most of the culturally popular options, do you still have any suggestions?  We can take comfy and make it classy, right?  Please tell me I’m right.