Saturday, September 01, 2012

Outfit post: summer dress into fall (plus some ramblings)

Around this time of year, the weather around here vacillates between summer and fall.  The San Francisco bay area is notorious for its Indian summer come September and October (really, the best time of year to visit the area), but between the fog and the shortening days, we also have our share of cooler days as well.

Awhile ago I commented to Scruffy Badger that my wardrobe planning/purchasing/making tends to go by my rules of "5"s which are my personal guidelines for a wardrobe that is cohesive, functional, minimal "enough," with a little room for spontaneity.  Will I get $5/wear out of this?  Does it go with at least 5 other items of clothing that I already own (items in the "to make" list don't count)?  Can I wear it through 5 months (or 3 seasons)?

This outfit is a classic example (wouldn't it look great with a skinny mustard belt for a wee bit of color?).  I try to make or buy summer dresses that can also layer into spring and fall, and if I can't think up at least a couple ways to layer a summer dress so that it can bleed into the months that bread-end summer, I don't make it.  I call this my "eager intern" blazer because I thrifted it while sourcing wardrobe for a short film I was working on, and though the actress who played our eager intern didn't wind up using it, I kept it in my wardrobe because it was a neutral, cropped (therefore pairing well with dresses), and a bit funky.  For me, I find that a few carefully selected layering pieces can go a long ways.  Cardigans, little jackets, leggings or tights, scarves and boots all fall into this category, and really, you only need 1 or 2 of each.

This morning as I lay in bed I reread parts of Your Money or Your Life, and just as I reached the part about "enough" and the peak of the fulfillment curve I happened to glance up at my open closet, and I thought, "I have a nice closet of dresses.  Most certainly enough."

(As an aside, it's interesting to note the composition of this suite of dresses.  5 are handmade, 5 come from China, 3 are thrifted, 1 comes from a boutique in Oakland, and 1 was handmade by an Etsy seller.  I am fine with this ratio.  Also interesting, for somebody who doesn't claim to like black very much, I have a lot of black dresses.  Brown and red/orange, too.  What's funny is that my favorite color is blue.  I'd love to add yellow or purple into the mix.  Is 15 too many summer dresses?  Probably, but I'm OK with it.  By the end of next summer, I imagine at least 2 or 3 of these will be gone from the mix.)

Now that my crafting mojo has returned, I have this impossibly long list of makes that I've been itching to get at, but this morning I realized that really, I don't need most of them.  And the mental stress of ploughing through the list doesn't seem very satisfactory, somehow.  This is even more true come fall, since between my love for knitting sweaters and making/refashioning skirts, I already have more than "enough."

So I lay down the book and mentally reevaluated the list to winnow out the "lark" projects and focus in on what fit that sweet spot of wardrobe "gaps" (taking the word loosely) and projects that excite me.  The list is now about half as long, which feels good.  Yes, I still plan to knit sweaters and sew skirts because those are my indulgence handmades, the things I love to make and thus will not deny myself because we all need a couple indulgences in life.  Just not quite so many. 


Nixkickin said...

I'm a loyal lurker, but had to come out with a high-five on this entry! Totally what I've been thinking about, and I'm reading that book!! Thanks for your thoughtful blog. Nikki

Roobeedoo said...

A very thoughtful post!
I know I have reached a state of "enough"-ness too, and yet I am on a bit of a roll with my sewing, so I have decided to just go with it while I am feeling the inspiration. I have great hopes for the forthcoming book "Happier At Home" which has a chapter on "enough" as well as others on relationships, time - oh you know, all that LIFE stuff!

Minnado said...

I love the dress with the jacket - great combination. I have been feeling that I have enough clothes recently - due mainly to the overstuffed wardrobe, clothes spilling out and falling everywhere. Also I feel we have enough stuff generally as the house just feels full. Three bin bags have gone to the chairty shop but still I feel overwhelmed by stuff! Yet I am still sewing...I think you have influenced me as I am sewing a floral dress! x

Alessa said...

Good thoughts, I really like your approach. I have felt in the last few weeks that somehow, my rather big stash and long list of projects on my to-sew list have kept me from sewing, because I just have no clue what to start with. A prioritized list with "enough" projects sounds just like what I need...

:) Lovely outfit, too.