Accessorizing & Layering

It’s been a little while since I did a style post that wasn’t ballet focused. Assuming I’m not traveling I think I probably spend more time out of the house in ballet clothes than in “real” clothes. But I do still love brainstorming real outfits. Lately I’ve been feeling frustrated. You see, I don’t own some of the most important basics a person should own. Well, I do, but they don’t fit, naturally. I desperately want just a basic cable knit sweater. Something like this one.

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But the problem is what is always is. The sleeves. Every last sweater I seem to buy has sleeves that are just barely long enough, and that’s if I’m lucky. Companies that carry extended sizes usually don’t bother to make things like sweaters in those sizes, they stick to basics like t-shirts and maybe button downs. If they do make sweaters they’re the foolish baggy things The Gap seems to think I need to hide myself in because not being petite is shameful. Sorry Gap, but I don’t want your sack. They literally have 52 sweaters to pick from in their regular sizes but only 11 in their Tall shop. Seriously? J Crew was even worse, they had none at all. Sure they had some jackets and blazers, but not a single sweater in their Tall section. Apparently tall women don’t get cold. I guess I was mistaken.

Then there’s button down shirts. Some stores have them, most do not. Obviously your average woman can just go into a store, buy a shirt and go home. I do not have that luxury. Tall shirts are often cut differently so I can go into the store to try to get an idea of what the fit will be like before I buy, so I know what size to order but it’s still a guess. I know whenever I buy these things I’ll probably still be making returns. Then there’s the shoulder issue. I have broad shoulders. So even if I finally get the sleeve length right, the shoulders might still be too tight. And the body, oh the body…. I’ve mentioned before I have disproportionate limbs before right? Yeah, so most Tall sized shirts need to be cut down in the body otherwise they look hilarious on my torso. That said, I think I’m done with shopping in stores for my shirts. I’m going to be making my own from here on out.

I bought this pattern years ago and loved it.

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I think with some minor modifications I could turn this into the perfect button-down shirt. Amy Butler is quite tall and not very curvy herself, so her patterns really suit me. All I had to do was add a half inch (maybe less?) to the center back and it was literally perfect in the shoulders. It goes together very quickly too. I think making the muslin will be time consuming just because I may want to make a number of tweaks, but it shouldn’t be difficult work at all. Perhaps I’ll do a tutorial? If nothing else there will be photos of the finished product if it works out. I bought some really pretty fabric on impulse at Jo-Ann’s not too long ago. It was peach, teal, and grey with butterflies and flowers. I think it’d make a really pretty button-down for spring. And that great purple print I shared some months back? The Liberty-esque one? I bought that thinking I needed to save it for something really special. Well, I think this is it. Jo-Ann’s cottons aren’t always the best cottons, but they’ve come a long way and I’d be proud to wear some of them. And I will be soon enough!

If the Amy Butler pattern doesn’t work out the other one I’m considering is Granville Shirt from Sewaholic.

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Cute right? These patterns are designed for pear shapes and I’m defiantly not a pear shape. I’m more of a ruler, just straight lines no curves. Whatever. That’s okay, less work for me with all the darts and stuff. My silver lining I suppose. I’m thinking this will probably be the direction I take over the Amy Butler pattern but you never know. This is a very popular shirt and there’s no shortage of reviews on it. It actually won the number one spot for “Best Woven Top” in 2015’s Pattern Review “Best Of” roundup. You can check out that post here. Definitely worth the read if you’re looking to see which patterns were best reviewed by other home sewists. Sewaholic actually had four patterns win this past year. I’m actually probably going to buy their Minoru Jacket pattern. It’s super popular as well, and as you might imagine. Finding jackets with long enough sleeves is also a hassle. At some point making everything myself just seems like the smarter choice.

I’ve also been trying to diversify in terms of my accessories. Traditionally I wouldn’t wear anything unless it was small, and real. I do have some larger real pieces, but those are certainly not for every day. And even then, they’re still delicate. I actually had one pendant made for me that was more or less a replica of an Edwardian brooch, just on a much smaller scale (maybe about a fifth of the size). It’s hard to find things I like in stores to be honest, I love things you see in antique stores but that’s about it. I’ve never been into the chunky, bold, modern stuff you often see in the stores. I’m a big fan of Sarah Vickers blog Classy Girls Wear Pearls. She is like me, a New England girl and I love her style. Every now and then I see her wearing something I actually own, so it makes sense her blog and sense of style appeal to me. Something I’d seen on her, as well as other bloggers, are the J. Crew necklaces. Take a look at this shot from her blog from last Christmas.

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All the necklaces she’s wearing are from the J. Crew outlet. Every time I’m in that store (or the regular retail one) I find myself staring at their costume jewelry and debating it. Still, I never bought a single piece. Even after I saw this post, where two out of the three necklaces she’s wearing I pick up and put down every time I go in. I’ve also seen these necklaces and others from the same place on her in other photos and you know I loved them and everything else she was wearing. Did I mention I actually tried on this sweater before I even saw this post (guess what happened with the sleeves)? Yet somehow I couldn’t figure out these were something that really did appeal to me and I might actually wear. Clearly I’m dense.

I saw some other really pretty photos on Pintrest that caught my attention and things just sort of snowballed.

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Isn’t this whole outfit just lovely? It was suggested for me as a “Fall Outfit” because I have a board for those and this was labeled as such. But this is just perfect for spring. I have that coat in Navy (it’s J Crew’s Lady Day Coat), and those flats are very Kate Spade-esque so you know I’m in love. I’m not normally an animal print kind of person, but here I actually kind of like it. And what do you see by the collar? Yep, another J. Crew necklace. This girl even has my hair. You’d think I could take a hint. But no.

Don’t worry, eventually I got with the program and I started searching them out. Look at this one!

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This necklace is actually Forever 21 and not J. Crew but we’ll forgive them cause it’s just so pretty. It looks like jelly beans! And there’s that sweater, button-down, necklace combo I didn’t know I definitely love again. It’s a very easy look, put on jeans or a skirt and you’re done. If you need to be fancy, dress slacks instead.

Just today I was driving to pick up my son and I was thinking of the comments you always hear women make when they say they don’t want to get dressed, ever. That it’s not worth it to put on a “real” shirt or pants because if it gets dirty they’ll have to take it off. What, cause you don’t have to take a booger crusted t-shirt off? That’s only if it’s a “good” shirt? Nope, they all come off in my house. Booger, vomit, spit, pee, basically anything gross. Especially if it’s from another human. I don’t care if that pocket human is mine, I don’t want his crud on me! And if you’re layering, well then maybe you’re actually doing yourself a favor right? Cause the grossness won’t actually soak through to your skin? We can hope/dream/pray…

Seriously, swap the heels for ballet flats or even sneakers (assuming heels aren’t your thing) and this is a look that works for anyone, going anywhere. It could definitely work for a Mum.

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You have the hair up out of the way. The pants aren’t too tight so you’ll be able to get on the floor without the circulation being cut off in your legs and you won’t be flashing your bum at everyone when you try to get back up. But they’re not too baggy so you still have shape and you won’t look frumpy or heavy. The patterned shirt is interesting and will help hide any marks you might get on the cuffs from sticky fingers grabbing at you. And the necklace is really cute, but it’s not so long it’ll be in your way or bonking your kid in the head when you bend over to pick them up. The spikey bracelet might have to go, but just swap it out for a wide bangle and you’re good to go. Really, this is a fantastic look and it’s one I’d be pleased to add to my rotation.

I ended up buying about five different J. Crew necklaces last week. The one I recommend the most is their Venus Flytrap design. The sales associate told me they don’t even get an employee discount on it it’s so popular. It goes with everything and if you like to layer your necklaces, it’s the perfect piece to have in your wardrobe. For reference it’s the top necklace in the Christmas photo above, the single strand of round crystals. I really think I’m going to get a lot of wear out of them. I’m not looking to buy many more just now. I want to see just how much I really wear these first then go from there. The all white one was a steal at just $12 on clearance, the others were on sale and we had their little booklet so we saved an additional 10%, that was nice. I suspect some of them will get year round wear (the Venus FlyTrap one for example) and the coral and teal one will be more of a summery thing. But that’s okay. I think these are going to look really cute with a lot of my Lilly Pulitzer dresses and I’m looking forward to pairing them with them. Same goes for my Popovers, they’re so casual these will really jazz them up.

That’s all for this week. I have a bunch of stuff going on, life here is never dull that’s for sure. I have another post I’ve been working on I just need the photos so with a little luck I’ll have that post up on time. My big goal for this month is to finish my friends sequin skirt. It’s a very intimidating fabric, the sequin covered mesh. But I am not going to let it defeat me, not again! I endeavor to have victory photos to prove it’s completion by the end of them month. And knowing me, it’ll be another six months before I managed to mail it off because mailing stuff is hard for me apparently. So all this forcing myself to get it done really is wasted effort. But still, I trudge on. I have to have something to obsess over, right? 😉

See you next week!

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2 thoughts on “Accessorizing & Layering

  1. Tasia (Sewaholic) did a tutorial for both the Granville and Minoru jacket patterns. I think the jacket is especially cute. Plus, if you need to make modifications to suit your liking, viewing the steps is helpful.

    I LOVE the Liverpool tunic by Amy Butler. I thought the tunics you made before were lovely. Nice length! I’m sure the pattern will make flattering blouses as well. I’m looking forward to seeing some great how-to photos.

    Re: the pink winter coat. I tried a few on, but for some reason haven’t found a light pink one that truly flattered me. I may be destined to own a winter coat in some shade of red for the remainder of time. Fortunately, I have a lot of great matching scarves.

    • Oh gosh, I’ve already seen them all. As well as what various other people have come up with. I’m in love with the pink version of the jacket she did in the official sew along. I think I need one myself. Her patterns are made for pear shape, but it’s an easy alteration. I hear the sleeves run long so that’s always a plus. The fewer modifications I need to make to the pattern the better. I’m thinking I’m just going to make a muslin straight from the pattern with no alterations then alter the muslin. I can’t be bothered to alter the pattern, make a muslin, then alter that. Obviously this is not a beginner thing, but it’s definitely easier for me.

      I loved that one too. I’m pretty sure I have them in storage bags in Hawaii. I may bring them here. Now sure yet. Although every last person who saw me in them said “OMG, I LOVE your jacket!”. I think they’d be less weird here. They look cute with jeans. And I may eventually make one out of a heavier fabric and line it to make a jacket.

      I bought a red duffle coat myself this year. http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/tommy-hilfiger-plaid-trim-wool-duffle-coat?ID=2187468
      I was freezing to death in CA over Christmas so Boy Wonder went and bought it for me. I have to say that I absolutely love it. The sleeves are good not great, but they’re better than most coats. It’s more just the arm holes are a little lower than I’d like (another issue I deal with). It’s super warm and the hood is very generous. Have you considered just doing searches online for pink coats that fit your specifications? I just did a quick search and found this, I think it’s lovely. http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/jessica-simpson-basket-weave-fit-flare-coat/4138373?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=1432
      There is always J Crew’s Lady Day Coat (pictured). End of the year they usually put them on big time sale. If I were you though I’d call them and give them your exact measurements, as well as tell them you’re specific concerns regarding fit. Bust, shoulders, overall length, etc. Let them know and they’ll help you find the right size, don’t guess. They’re good about taking anything that doesn’t fit back. It’s very warm, so it’s more than just a fashion piece. And I definitely get compliments every time I wear it, it was just acquiring one that frustrated me.

      You could also always make one…. 😉

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