Wardrobe Planning: Inspiration, Comfort + Compromise

There has been many a meaningful discussion of late around what we sew and why. Sewaholic’s take on frosting vs. cake and Colette Patterns’ practical wardrobe posts both put into words the thoughts I’d had about Wardrobe Planning the second time around.

For the fall Palette challenge I’d gotten excited and begun collecting images that evoked the mood of melancholy chill in the air (I’d just been to the Dianne Arbus exhibition at the Tate Modern and may have been melodramatic).

Then I found images of clothing I’d like to make and own – on the surface, a dream wardrobe.

Vintage inspired clothes that made me drool – the only problem was that when I really tried to imagine myself wearing these clothes, I couldn’t. Circle skirts that feel costumey, high waisted sweaters that choke and give uni-boob, pencil skirts that cut mid cankle and hobble anyone daring to walk more than two feet – I did not want to wear these clothes.

The reality was that on a scale between comfort and figure flattery my own balancing point falls more on the comfort side than the other.

So with the stars aligning the Spring/Summer Palette Challenge and Me-Made-May I’ve decided to bring a little more reality to the table.

Like Caitlin from the Coletterie, I’m quite a homebody and when I broke down my time into a simple pie-graph it was clear that to make it through MMM I need to plug the lounge-wear shaped hole in my wardrobe.

The next gap is with the work wardrobe. I began the new job last week (thanks for all the good wishes – I’m loving it so far!) and for the first two weeks I don’t need to worry about it but after that management training starts. I’m looking for a compromise between smart/professional but still comfortable enough to move around in. I think double-knit dresses may be my saviour.

And finally a little frosting for sight-seeing with shirt-dresses, trouser-jeans and pretty prints.

So rather than a concrete plan, this time around I  have a palette of colours and a general idea of where the gaps are which seems as good a starting point as any!


  • Stevie May 07, 2012

    Thats pretty similar to what i’ve been doing recently! I just don’t live in full skirted 50s dresses and fitted sheath’s. Its just not my life. Double knit and jersey sewing is so the way forward. Compared to last year Me Made May has been so easy because I have clothes that are comfy and that I want to actually wear! Good luck with your palette. I can see some similar colours in there to me! Can’t wait to see what you come up with lovely xx

  • Shona May 07, 2012

    Very thoughtful post. I think our charts would look very similar, except mine might say “nighttime outtings”. Nothing wrong with being a homebody 🙂

  • Danielle May 07, 2012

    This is so smart. I’ve though about this a bit recently too. As a beginner, each garment I make takes a fair bit of time and effort. No point making things that are pretty but just don’t work or feel comfortable on me. Great post!

  • Ginger May 08, 2012

    Love these colors! This looks like a very smart (and fun) plan! Really looking forward to seeing what you make!

  • Carly May 08, 2012

    Great post, if you can do vintage right you can make yourself look amazing!

  • sallie May 08, 2012

    This is such a nice comprehensive look at the wardrobe challenge! Yes there is definitely something in the air about sewing more things that will get wear than the pretty dresses we all like to sew! Good luck with your quest! I think your images show a nice balance between lounge and comfortable/professional.

  • Rachel May 09, 2012

    great plans and conceptual wardrobe: all this pre-thought will pay dividends. I love your graphics too, they are so smart!

  • Suzie May 09, 2012

    Fantastic post Alana. This is a really inspiring and sensible approach to wardrobe planning and something I should think about next time I go to plan my sewing!!! Good luck with it all. And congrats on the job – so glad you are loving it!

  • Roobeedoo May 10, 2012

    You are so wise! I am working on weaning myself away from the vintage wiggle-tastic look, because in the end it is really uncomfortable and can so easily look totally frumpy! Knit fabrics are just so much more modern and comfortable and require less ironing – the tricky thing is to make them work-appropriate. But why not have nice home clothes too?

  • Sølvi May 11, 2012

    What a lovely blog post! I love how you´ve divided your activities into three, and I love your color scheme. I hope you´ll be able to fill in those gaps, and I am so happy for you that you´re new job is working out! 🙂

  • Freddie July 08, 2012

    I love vintage clothes too, but on me they end up looking frumpy. Great idea to divvy up the wardrobe – I love your choices! Definitely going to do this for my autumn/winter sewing & knitting.

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