Web Chronicles: October

I always enjoy link round-ups from my favorite bloggers so I thought I’d try it out myself…

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No matter how separate runway fashion is from my real life and closet, I just cannot get enough of the fantasy and limitless creativity of the art form.


Between spending a little time getting my fall closet in order, I’ve also been enjoying reading about different methods for putting together wardrobes. A few favorites:

  • 5 Piece French Wardrobe: I’d heard of the concept on Pinterest but Archana’s well written article on the topic made me seriously consider trying it out for myself. I can relate to the progression of her mind-set and wardrobe and the idea of adding only 5 items per season also aligns with my goals for a handmade wardrobe. I really can’t see myself sewing more than 10 quality pieces in a year anyway. More importantly, this would force me to keep my thrifting in check!
  • 4×4 Capsule Wardrobe: I’m happy with the size of my closet, but not all of my pieces mix and match quite as well as I’d like them to in the future. This formula from The Vivienne Files makes the process feel really approachable and flexible to any style.
  • Modules: Another formula that feels useful for someone like myself who loves color and statement pieces is discussed in this video made by a stylist. 1 outer layer + 3 tops + 2 bottoms = 1 Module (or 6-12 potential outfits). Add a second module that works with the first, then a third…ridiculous numbers of outfits!

This colorful capsule reads like a watered down Gucci runway (I mean that in the best possible way) and I’m kind of in love with it. That red suit!!


It rained just long enough for me to justify lounging around to listen to this podcast interview with Karen Templer while the kiddo played a video game. The wardrobe planning posts on her blog Fringe Association are my love language and she discusses that and more in the interview.


“If you think style is superficial, then Stasia’s personal story of how she redefined style might just change your mind.” Such a great TED talk, glad I stayed up a little late to listen to the whole thing. I often question my own preoccupation with style, and obviously there’s so much more to life, but it’s always nice to hear compelling reasons why it does matter.

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Summer Wardrobe

Having had some success with building a Winter capsule using only items I owned to help weed out the pieces not earning their space, I took the same approach for summer. I put everything I owned that I thought I might be able to wear during the season into my closet and packed away the rest. As the weeks went by and I spent my time enjoying every ounce of fun I could with kiddo before school started, I slowly removed the things that never made the rotation, exposing a capsule guide for myself for next year.

Summer Staples

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17 pieces!! I find it hilarious that I once scoffed at Project 333. The outfit combos with just these items worked for the beach, forest school and camping, library trips, wine tasting with the girls, concerts and date nights, weekends away, casual meet ups with friends and chill days at home working on projects, doing chores, gardening or just lounging around with a movie or good book. Most outfits were simply a top and bottom plus a few pieces of my everyday jewelry, but the dress did give me some extra layering options.

Minimal Wear

Summer-Rarely-Worn

For the sake of keeping an accurate record for myself, most of these items were worn once, a few two or three times, but were either thrift finds that didn’t work out (I’m looking at you beautiful caftan made of gross sweaty polyester) or things it was always too hot for. The good news is, with a couple exceptions, these are keepers for other seasons. I just know to leave them out of my summer closet next year.


Some notes to self:

  1. Although lots of my tops and bottoms match, the fits don’t always mesh well. Something to remember when adding new tops.
  2. Think about the color of new pieces beyond summer. ANY top can go with denim shorts, but if it goes with my dresses, different colored bottoms and fall/winter layers it will get more mileage throughout the year.
  3. ^ That being said, a handful of “summer only” pieces is necessary. My style isn’t beachy, but I live at the beach and spend time in the sand and water all summer. My wardrobe must work with this reality.
  4. As of summer 2018, I wear shorts when it’s hot! My one pair was thrifted in desperation after the heat hit. Next year I’d be wise to add two more pairs.
  5. ALL of my summer bottoms were neutral and I did tire of that after 2 months. Those shorts for next year…one color and one print would be good.
  6. Embracing a little “athleisure” went a long way since that’s my actual lifestyle during the summer with a kid. Bamboo joggers with a knotted tee topped with jewelry was a go too look that easily took me through days filled with varied activities without feeling like I was in gym clothes or pajamas.

My biggest takeaway is my lifestyle during the summer is so different than the rest of the year, I truly need a small 10-12 piece summer capsule that blends with around 10 other pieces I own to get me through the two hottest months. Now that school has started and some days are cooling off, I’ve begun to transition my closet to Fall. I’m pretty excited because with what I learned in winter and summer, I think it will be my first successful attempt at putting one together in advance using inspiration from my own style journal here on the blog rather than looking to Pinterest. I’m also hoping to finally reign in the thrifting this season because I’ve added a lot of clothes to my closet this year…a post for another day.

I’ve set a personal goal for myself to post here once a week, which I’ve maybe said before, but I’ve officially got a preschooler which means 6 glorious uninterrupted hours a week. Be back soon!!

M7445 Cropped Wide Leg Pants

What do you know, all my obsessive planning has at last resulted in a completed sewing project that instantly became a beloved wardrobe staple. It’s taken a couple weeks to get this post up and I’ve worn them no less than 7 times already! Behold my new McCalls 7445 cropped wide leg pants for which I shamelessly copied Katie’s modifications because I love how flattering and comfortable a completely flat front pant is.

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In addition to replacing the front closure with a hidden back zip, I added one inch to each side at the hem and blended up to the hip notch to widen the leg without affecting the nice snug fit through the hip and waist. Since my frame is it’s widest at the hip, I find the proportions more attractive on me and closer to the look on the models on the envelope. Aside from those changes, I sewed everything up according to the instructions and it was so quick and easy I can’t believe I didn’t start making my own pants sooner! I did a little unpicking to adjust the front crotch curve after trying them on, but found the fitting instructions that came with the pattern really helpful and applicable to any pants making project so the money spent on the pattern was an especially good value.

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The fabric is a light-weight denim with a slight 4 way stretch making the fit snug yet comfy without ever sagging after wear…confirmed because I wore them for 4 full days before washing them the first time. Since this fabric has been stored in my stash since working at JoAnn’s over 15 years ago (a bad habit I’ve broken), I was unsure of the fabric content or quality, so I went into the project hoping for a wearable muslin. It was a pleasant surprise to come out with pants I absolutely love. Considering the decline in quality of so many other things in that same period of time, the age of the fabric may have been to my benefit, come to think of it.

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My sewing project list is long at the moment so I’m not going to sew these up again right away but I definitely want another pair in a colored or printed fabric and with my traced off and modified pattern pieces it will be a breezy afternoon project next time, yay!!

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I wish I’d taken a photo wearing these on my trip to Santa Fe, but didn’t think of it. They were so perfect for the 90 degree heat since skirts tend to cause sweat/chaffing issues underneath if you know what I mean and these were light and swishy enough to keep my skin protected but not overheat like a standard pair of jeans. I know these will get lots of love in my summer rotation and beyond!

Spring Wardrobe

When I wrapped up Part I of my Spring Summer Wardrobe Inspiration, looking at the Runway, I was anxious to throw together the street style and sewing pattern portion but was quickly overwhelmed by all the ideas I had saved and decided to get  back to The Curated Closet and work through a few more chapters to narrow my scope…and 1,000 hours later, here we are!

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The combined result of multiple chapters is a small collection of images that represent specific details about my personal style and capture the eclectic blend of all my favorite things. It includes things I already love and wear as well as pointing to pieces that will be true wardrobe treasures. Printing and sorting everything out on the table was the most fun and helpful part. Grouping the images in various ways made it clear which fabrics to use for basics, which key pieces are needed to create my repeated silhouettes, and how to incorporate color, print and embellishment in ways that will truly be versatile. So lets get into the details…

Favorite Silhouettes

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fitted top + wide leg pant // softly tailored tucked top + high waist midi skirt

As much as I tried to narrow down redundant outfits, I could not bring myself to delete any of these because I’m in love with all of these colors and I realize that my collection of tops can be pretty small because I crave variety in bottoms a lot more. This explains why buying a cute new top every time my wardrobe got boring never worked!

The Patterns

  • True Bias Lander Pants: I love the exposed button front and pockets on these pants but I think I’ll end up widening the end of the leg on the full length view.
  • Simplicity 8058 by Cynthia Rowley: I waited for a pattern sale at JoAnn’s and then it was out of stock so I’ve just ordered it from Etsy. The sewn up versions online look promising.
  • Sailor front pant: I’m on the hunt so if you’re reading and have a pattern suggestion, please do share!
  • High waist midi skirt: I’m planning on drafting this one myself, which should be pretty simple.
  • Simplicity 8019: I picked this up in a $1 sale then days later found a vintage (80’s) version that could easily be restyled into this exact style. I’ll be blogging it soon and not sewing this up right away, but might go for a second one eventually.

Pants, Pants and More Pants

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I wasn’t sure how some of these images fit into the big picture until sorting them into groups, but a 40’s style trouser, cropped wide leg pant and a statement fabric boyfriend style have now been added to my sewing list. Once again, variety in bottom colors and silhouettes will increase my outfit combo’s a lot quicker than throwing more tops at the same pair of blue jeans, so this list is particularly long!

The Patterns

  • Simplicity 8243: I picked this up for $1 at a JoAnn’s sale in hopes I can recreate the top left looks.
  • True Bias Lander Pants: I love the look of this pattern enough to plan on sewing up both the full length and cropped version, but the cropped will be a lower priority since I’ve already thrifted a similar style in denim.
  • McCalls M7445: I fell in love with these on Katie’s blog and plan to copy her modifications to make a flat front pair. (These are currently about halfway done)
  • French Navy Calyer Pant: These were an impulse buy the moment she released them. Luckily, I think if I consider statement fabrics like the bottom row above, they actually check a box on my wardrobe wish list.

Gray Basics

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I ended up with a medium gray piece in every single garment category which wasn’t shocking since it’s my preferred neutral so when I make the trip to LA, I know I can pick up jersey, linen, suiting or bottom weight materials and have a project to pair with any or all of them. As for the moon shirt, I’ve been wanting that for so long that I think I’ll just pull the trigger and order it on ETSY.

The Patterns

  • True Bias Lander Pants and/or Cynthia Rowley flares
  • Self drafted midi skirt or Simplicity 8019 70’s button front skirt
  • Alabama Stitch Book: The appliqued tank was on my 2017 Make Nine list and I never made it but still want to wear it and definitely still want to complete a project in this book I’ve owned for years.
  • Menswear inspired vest: This will be lower on the sewing list since I have a great little thrifted vest collection and may score one before I have the chance to sew one, but if I see a good looking pattern on sale I’m open to scooping it up.

Basic Tee’s with a Twist

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I love these simple, comfy, easy to wear but interesting styles and can see pairing them with all of my dream pants and skirts up above. I don’t have patterns paired up with any of them yet but I know there’s plenty of raglan’s to be had and I’m confident if I sat down and did it, I could also draft these using my old college drafting book. The gathered top on the left would best serve me in white but the other two would be amazing just as pictured. Guess I’ll just see what I find on my fabric hunt!

Long Layering Piece

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A lightweight long line layering piece is another item from my 2017 make nine that I never made and still had represented in my final collection of pictures. It’s also one of the few things that actually uses a printed fabric so that will be fun to shop for.

The Patterns

  • Simplicity 8553: Another $1 sale pattern. I’m hopeful View C and the right print will come together to create what I’m after.
  • Button down dress: I’m loving the idea of a dress to wear unbuttoned over jeans so this is on my radar if I see the right pattern, but no plans yet.

Military Inspired

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In time, a vest and jacket version of both the army green and black with gold trim details would be amazing to own, but for the current season I’ll aim for a vest. Guess I’ll decide which gets made first depending on whether I score an army fade garment to upcycle or the perfect gold trim first.

Embroidery

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Get in my closet, all of you! Just love the homespun vibe of these creative pieces.

The Projects

  •  Neckline Embroidery: The perfect accessory and I have a thrifted white tee hanging in my closet begging for the spotlight.
  • Sashiko mended jeans: These have been on my wishlist for quite a while but I don’t have the right jeans to start with…on the thrift list for now.
  • Embroidered white blouse: Those incredible crisp white button downs are by Tessa Perlow and I want to make my own! They combine a look I already wear and love with the handmade details I crave, just total perfection, and designing my own embroidery is something I’ve always wanted to do and never gotten around to.

Feminine Romantic

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I’m consistently drawn to these colors and fabrics and think tops are a practical way to wear them in my real life. I’m thinking one 40’s style blouse (which I’m open to buying in a vintage shop if the opportunity presents itself) and something like the upper left hand tank which is pretty but also very beachy and wearable.

The Patterns

  • Simplicity 8462: The design of the button back blouse in this pattern has potential but I haven’t found any reviews online of it sewn up, so I’ll make a sample to test it out then decide if it’s worth using nice fabric for.
  • Simplicity 8216: I’m in love with this blouse and the many sewn up versions online make it very promising. I definitely want a sleeveless version with the bow but could see myself wearing multiple different views and combinations.
  • My self drafted tank will be a perfect base with a couple quick modifications

40’s Floral Dress

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This will be a lower priority since date nights / girls nights where I’d wear it are seldom, but I will keep my eyes open when fabric shopping for the right floral that feels completely “me.” No pattern yet and no rush, but if I had the need to dress up, I’m not prepared with what’s already in my closet, so it seems fair to include this in my longer term plans.

Accessories

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I have a cool piece of artisan made woven trim I picked up from a Scandinavian Festival that I wear as a necktie like this photo. I LOVE it and could add one or two different variations just to switch things up. I used to go for statement jewelry and I was surprised to see that there’s almost no jewelry in my images, but instead, a garment as a stand out piece with the exception of the occasional woven belt.

Colors

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These two non-outfit images made the cut for the mood and colors. Wes Anderson, how I love thee!

From the Runway

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Last but not least, I had to take a moment to compare my findings to my runway inspiration because I’m obsessive thorough and found plenty of overlap! The green and blue, pink and red, sleeveless crew neck, buttoned up, and St Laurent were all clearly translated to looks I can reach for on any given day. The one thing that didn’t come through in my street style inspo is the Coach 90’s vibe, so maybe I’ll just have to appreciate that from afar and not bring it into my closet just yet. I do question whether you’re too old to play with a trend that’s happening for the second time in your lifetime…maybe so? I haven’t completely ruled out Doc Martens though, so maybe not??


This whole exercise became more of a long term handmade wardrobe plan than simply a seasonal update, but I’m okay with that because I waste a lot of potential sewing time stalled out between projects not knowing what to do next. Also, since I plan to drive down to LA to shop for fabric, it will be nice to have a specific list to work with and stash materials for multiple planned projects at once.  Trekking down there with my 4 year old will be…interesting…better make it worth it!!

In other news, I ordered a tri-pod that allows my camera to shoot in portrait orientation and a cordless remote because my camera situation has been putting a real damper on my blogging abilities. When it arrives, I actually have two projects to share and would love to play around with some outfit round ups and things. Back soon…

SS Wardrobe Part I: Runway Inspiration

While industry insiders have moved right along to Fall, I’ve been looking back at S/S 2018 shows and pinning away onto my Editorial/Runway pin board. The looks I’m drawn to generally don’t directly translate to my real life, but a board filled with beautiful artistry has proven to be a great reference to borrow details from while beginning to think about my next seasonal closet and sewing project(s). I followed the widely recommended process of pinning freely without overthinking then combing through and looking for patterns. Here’s what I found and how I might apply it to my real closet.


Green & Blue

Mint, seafoam, pistachio, olive, sage, chartreuse, teal and a touch of baby blue! So beautiful, all of them. I already own pieces in many of these colors, so I’ll mostly be shopping my own closet to make combinations I’ve previously overlooked.

SS2018 Blue and Green

Delpozo, Anya Hindmarch, Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Fendi, Derek Lam


Pink & Red

This color combo, which was once favorite, disappeared entirely from my wardrobe for at least the last decade and now I’m suddenly pinning it ALOT. I own one red dress, but it’s more orangey than cherry and not a stitch of pink so I’ll be looking to pair these colors with one or more of the patterns I have planned to sew up for spring.

SS2018 pink and red collage

Boss, Coach, Alexander McQueen, Adam Selman, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Bottega Venetta, vivienne Westwood, Rojas, Alice + Olivia


Sleeveless Crewneck

This cut was represented repeatedly in a wide variety of styles and is one I’ve always felt really comfortable and attractive wearing. After nursing a child for much longer than I ever anticipated, it’s nice to look at tops without considering accessibility, if you know what I mean! I’d like this cut for a basic tank, statement tank and everyday dress so I’m thinking a blend of sewing and thrifting will be in order here.

SS2018 High Neckline Sleeveless

Delpozo, Marni, Loewe, Nicole Miller, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana


Buttoned Up

A couple years after eliminating all my corporate office attire back in 2014, I started craving some more grown up looks and reintroduced a collared shirt to my wardrobe by way of a vintage looking patterned blouse which I wear buttoned all the way to the top. I’d love a drapey short sleeve version for spring and summer and found lots of inspiration for layering them in interesting ways or achieving the look without the traditional button placket. I haven’t sewn a button down shirt since college so this would be a great project to take on in terms of improving specific skills and fun to fabric shop for, but I’ll also keep an eye out while thrifting in case a perfect item presents itself.

SS2018 buttoned up collage

Alena Akhmadullina, Prada, Delpozo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Ace & Jig, Anya Hindmarch


Coach 1941

This is one designer where I found myself pinning the entire show while wondering when they starting making anything other than handbags. They weren’t even on my radar before and here I’m seeing all my high school wardrobe dreams come true! It’s like a more luxe version of the layered thrifted slips and doc martens with black knee high socks combo I was sporting back in the early 90’s. This has me feeling crazy nostalgic and in need of a slip dress, STAT!

SS2018 Coach Collage


Saint Laurent

This is another show I just loved in general, the flowy cream blouses with structured jackets, incredible accessories and interesting but wearable shorts. I can actually imagine wearing all of these pieces in my real life but will mostly be taking styling inspiration unless I can find a piece of similar jewelry in my budget…and the detail and colors of that jacket might become a future sewing project as my skills improve!

Saint Laurent


You may (or may not) have noticed that Gucci was represented in every category…obsessed! I’m determined to build a thoughtful versatile wardrobe full of color, print and ornate details and there’s so much inspiration there.

My original vision for this post was to include both runway and street style inspiration along with the sewing patterns I’ve selected, plans for executing each one and pieces I already own that I’m excited about but it’s taking longer to put together than I anticipated and was getting way too long so I decided to split it into a short series. Be back soon!

Collection: Jackets

After considering my pullover sweaters as a collection last week, I decided to continue with a series of each category because I found it helpful in narrowing things down to those pieces I use and love as well as determining what would be a worthwhile addition, if any. This week was our coldest yet, 50 degrees! Haha, can you tell I’m from Southern California? It might as well have been snowing as far as I’m concerned. But anyway, I’ve actually needed to wear my jackets so it’s been a good test to see if I have exactly what I want to go over any outfit when I reach for one, and so far I have.

Neutral

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Celebrity Pink (thrifted, 2017), chinese jacket (thrifted, 2016), Mossimo (thrifted, 2017)

These are the easiest jackets to reach for since the colors go with pretty much anything and between the three styles, one of them always seems to work with whatever else I’m wearing. The military inspired coat was a recent addition (October of last year) and replaced my Patagonia puffer for the occasions I’d like to be warm and stylish. Now I can reserve the puffer for active wear. The Chinese style jacket meets a similar need but isn’t quite as warm so they each earn their space and after two fall/winters in heavy rotation I still love it as much as the day I scored it thrifting. The green doesn’t get worn as often as I expected because even though I love the bold shoulders and versatility, it always feels a little too dressed up and I end up changing my mind before leaving the house. The best part…they cost less than $25 combined!

Color

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Alberto Makali (New, 2004), Colorblock coat (Handmade, 2018)

This purple coat was one of those purchases I left behind because it really wasn’t in my budget at the time, but when I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I went back and put in on credit. I think it was around $70 on sale but that was a lot for my situation 13 years ago, and I’ve never regretted it. Not even when friends said it looked like something their grandma would knit or my husband reminds me for the 100th time that he thinks the shoulders look weird. I just love this jacket!! And I don’t wear purple, except for this. It’s my one purple garment and it’s the perfect one. Then of course, the colorblock jacket I just finished recently, which I’m happy to report is getting lots of love. I like how layering it over sweaters or button downs exposes the sleeves underneath but also look forward to throwing it on over tanks for breezy spring afternoons. It’s headed for it’s first wash so I’m anxious to see how it will come out. I’m hoping the linen starts to soften up with wash and wear.

Personal Style Notes

I love that my jacket/coat collection is filled with statement pieces that are fun to wear but easy to layer over anything and I’d say for now it’s complete. Our cold season is short lived here at the beach but our evenings can be windy and chilly even in spring and summer so it’s great that a few are lightweight enough to carry me through the year and I don’t have too many bulky items to store off season.

I do see a couple opportunities for future updates though. First, the chinese jacket is already in need of mending and I can tell the padding inside is deteriorating. I truly love this piece, so I could see sewing a replacement in a silk or silk blend with longer sleeves or scooping up a replacement from the thrift if I were to be so lucky to find one again. Second, the military inspired coat is polyester, which is easy to throw in the wash, but I’d love to replace it with a perfectly tailored version in a more luxurious natural fiber. On that version I’d lose the back peplum as well. It’s kinda fun, but not “perfect” if I were starting from scratch. This is a project I’ll hold off on for a while though since it’s going to be pricey and I don’t trust my skill level to invest in it yet. What I have will hold the slot just fine for a number of years until I get there.

Aside from those future projects, nothing on the wishlist for this category!  I’m just going to work on styling the green jacket with my spring wardrobe so it’s get more wear because it hasn’t been a key player for winter like I expected it would and I really do like it.

I’m still working on my Spring/Summer runway inspiration post and figuring out what my next sewing project(s) will be but since it’s the coldest it’s been I haven’t started swapping anything out in my closet yet. Instead, I decided to start a 100 Day Project and make time for dollmaking every day, so that’s been consuming my sewing time for the time being. If you’re interested in checking that out I’m on Instagram @littlestreamstudio posting bits and pieces of my daily progress. I do look forward to some spring sewing though…soooon!!

 

 

Collection: Pullover Sweaters

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Top Row: Gap (New, 2015), Banana Republic (Thrifted, 2016), J.Crew (New, 2011)
Bottom Row: Banana Republic (Thrifted, 2017), Vintage Mervyn’s (Thrifted, 2017), Gap (Thrifted, 2016)

I’m already experiencing the benefits of creating a small seasonal wardrobe. With only select pieces in front of me, it’s easy to see what never gets worn and slowly edit down to my truly beloved items. What stood out in my winter wardrobe was that most of my unworn items were pull-over sweaters, so it was time to assess and purge.

Most Worn

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I’ll start with my favorites. The turtleneck is a gorgeous color, merino wool, soft and very warm, a silhouette I love on it’s own that’s also perfect for layering. When I need to stay warm and want to reach for something basic, this is my choice every time. The navy blue and white crew neck sweater is very unique, cropped to a flattering length which balances out the volume of the funky oversized sleeves nicely, and is basically indestructible considering it’s got to be between 20-30 years old. I reach for this when I’m in the mood to throw on one of my husbands hoodies but don’t want to look like a total slob. Both of these sweaters were love at first sight when I saw them and have earned their space.

Never Worn

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02-08-18 spring or fall

Now on to the sweaters that never left the shelf. The top left was purchased back in 2015 when I first attempted to plan out my wardrobe. Of course I needed a soft neutral basic sweater to mix and match…except, as it turns out, I find it boring and have no interest in wearing it. Ever. The top right was the one wool sweater I owned last winter and I wore it no less than 3 times a week all season. It once earned it’s spot and I even took time to mend it, but it’s been replaced by the green turtleneck above and I’ve learned that winter where I live only requires one great wool sweater to get through. Both of these pieces will be passed along. As for the bottom two, I think they’re just more suited to spring or fall because the gray one is nearly transparent and I like wearing it with the sleeves rolled and pushed up to 3/4 length and the cream one is also a bit breezy without a tank underneath and I prefer the ease of wearing it on its own. I’ll tuck these back into the storage box until it warms up a little.

Personal Style Notes

The biggest take-away in terms of my personal style is that I like statement pieces and nothing too basic works as a stand alone item for me. I require just enough basics to keep the fun stuff functional, like denim and a few tees, but the bulk of what I own should fall into the latter category. As I continue wearing my winter wardrobe and begin sorting out my spring wardrobe, I’ll be looking for new ways to combine my statement pieces with each other, a la the Gucci, Prada, Fendi or any number of other designer shows.

I found it useful looking at a collection of items together in this way and might work my way through each category as the year goes on. My outwear collection, in particular, is so dialed in right now I’d love to share a current snapshot!