Wardrobe Contest

I can’t stay out of it.  I’m working on my colors and fabrics right now, and playing with a few different cuts.  I want to use this as a time to

  1. Sew for myself which hasn’t been happening much lately and
  2. Draft a little

Now, last year’s rules were very straightforward, I suppose I expected something similar this year.  I find myself gritting my teeth over this one:

“”Wardrobe Contest” Rules: On Trend Wardrobe
June 1 to August 31, 2010

Sew yourself a wardrobe!

Total pieces required: 10

Breakdown of the 10 items to be sewn:
4 bottoms
4 tops
1 topper
1 Free Choice

All tops must go with all bottoms. A topper is something worn over other garments (eg, shrug, jacket, cardigan); it must go with all outfits (including the ‘Free Choice’, unless the free choice is a 2nd topper).

At least one item needs to incorporate a current fashion trend. You can ‘prove’ this via a 2010 article, a picture of a runway or RTW item with the key feature, or reference to a current fashion related website that shows the trend being used. (Examples: The season’s color forecast; retail website; runway shots.) Only one item has to fit the trend being used, although as many as desired can.”


Trend? Fan-tastic.

I do not usually go there.  

For one thing, I used to be a hipster- one of the poverty-stricken, pushing the boundaries of what to wear, waitress type of hipster, not an “I live on daddy’s money and fancy myself an artist because I smoke and live in a dirty part of town” hipster.  The people I knew would play off each other for their style inspiration, new ways to put things together, hunting thrift stores, etc…  Trends?  Who had the money to follow them?  We used creativity to make our own trends and had a great time with it.  The word “trendy” was an anathema.  Old habits die hard.

Second reason for shunning trends- I don’t read women’s magazines, I don’t watch pop-tv and movies as a general rule.  I stay out of it.  I do this to maintain clarity in my mind.  If I constantly consume materials that tell me I’m not skinny enough or pretty enough or fashionable enough (in the name of selling me shit I don’t need), then I will start to believe it.  Advertising is mental pollution.  So I stay right out of it.  I feel really good about my body; I protect my positive body image.  It is too easy to believe advertising that plays on insecurities.

Now that I’ve whined about how much the rules of the contest suck, it’s out of my system and I’ll shut up about it. 

I bought a Paris Vogue for style inspiration.  Who is more stylish than the French?  I limit my very occasional women’s mag purchases to those in other languages.  In a way, it de-claws the bad kitty and brings the focus back on the clothes.  

Paris Vogue is full of army inspiration.  Lots of chicks wearing army fatigues.  Bleh.  I do like this skirt, especially the length and the pockets:

And this skirt, again for the pocket details (and the blouse is good though after The Foofiness Post I wouldn’t go there):

I had to show you this one.  The model is so beautiful, the dress interesting (bow alert, sarah!), what’s the deal with her hair?

I like everything about this outfit, one day I’ll dress like this all the time.  The sandals are a little much perhaps:

Shorts!  I see so many cute shorts in this issue, I haven’t worn them in years but these look ok:

This makes me want to keep growing my hair:

I like the sleeveless trench and the top, but do I like them enough to bother making them?

For once, Paris Vogue leaves me generally uninspired.  I turned to the internets and found this color chart for fall/winter 2010 (northern hemisphere).  I’m living fall/winter 2010, why use summer’s colors when it’s winter?  Once again:

My colors already draw on the purple ochid (though mine is perhaps a little more blue) and the woodbine.  I think my colors are close enough to qualify.  I could add a shot of Living Coral and some Rose Dust and be in business.

(Aviation Chic, according to fashionising)
Dang.  If only I kept the fur collar on my coat.  I see some potential here:

Jodhpurs tucked into boots are the perfect masculine yet sexy female dandy look when paired with a bomber jacket”

Follow that with
“Jodhpurs: how to wear them

Wearing this style for Spring 2010 can be difficult, but achievable.  For the fashion trend setter, wearing the style with high-necked collar blouse and cropped jacket will look very smart and chic.”

I can do a high necked blouse and cropped jacket… They’re already in my wardrobe plan…  

“The female dandy trend is of course a natural partner to everything equestrian. Add riding boots or lace-up brogues, and flourishes like fob chains, pocket handkerchiefs and brooches for a dandy look.”

I could do that.  Hello wardrobe theme.

Female dandies:

“While androgynous, the 2009/2010 dandy trend is definitely feminine. If you’re thinking Diane Keaton as Annie Hall you’re a little off the mark. It’s a mixture of sharp tailoring and stereotypically masculine clothes, but all cut to accentuate and flatter the female body.  Away from the 2009/2010 catwalks we can find to the 1700’s dandy for inspiration for this trend. As the decadent Charles Baudelaire one highlighted of dandyism, it’s a frame of mind for a person who “elevates aesthetics to a living religion”.  Key elements include:

  • Britishness; particularly Regency era British fashion
  • High collars; ruffle and bow blouses
  • Cropped slim-cut jackets in both a double or single breast
  • Waist coats; tailored vests
  • Fob chains
  • Frock coats and tail coats
  • High-waisted jodhpurs

Cinched Waists
A cinched waist is one way of feminising a masculine outfit. Try adding a waist cinching belt or nipped-in jacked to neaten up an overall dandy look.

Neat.  Permission to use historical inspiration, and a philosophical hook.  A dandy believes in living life as art.  I can dig that.  I want some knickerbockers anyway; I’ll make them longer for jodhpurs.

Get rid of the weird coat and we’re in business.

Thank you, PR contest, for teaching me not to be such a snobby hipster bee-itch.  I’d never have heard of female dandyism otherwise.


  1. The word "trend" makes me squirm too, especially as here in London, by the time a trend has trickled all the way down from the runways to street level it tends to resemble toxic sludge. (The black leggings, they will not go away.) I also dislike fashion magazines, especially their contemptuous and manipulative approach to their readership and those depressing "splurge" and "save" articles with one nicely designed but stupidly priced article placed next to an affordable but unattractive knockoff, just to emphasize that not being rich sucks.But then I realized I was looking at the wrong sources. Magazines like Vogue have their place in the grand scheme of things, but they're mostly designed for passive consumers, people for whom couture is a fantasy, a dream beyond their reach. People for whom style = shopping.People who can make clothes, on the other hand, are limited only by our own skills and can afford to look long and hard at couture because we approach fashion with a technical interest, harvesting ideas for our own garments from what we see on the catwalks and in shops. I realized I shouldn't be looking at pictures of knockoffs or overstyled fantasy spreads — I should be looking at beautiful clothing in its purest form. So I decided to go straight to the source and see what this season's top-end design and styling looked like on the runways. It was a revelation. I realized I'd never actually seen much couture before, only couture's badly copied high-street derivatives. That is, I'd spent my life looking at substandard clothing and didn't know what top-quality clothing even looked like. I'm trying to change that now.Why not try looking at trend resources aimed at the fashion industry rather than shoppers? If you sign up for a free account at Style.com, you can accumulate hundreds of shots straight off the runways in a lookbook. It can be massively enlightening.

  2. I hear you on toxic sludge leggings. They had their time and place, let them die! You're so right about the spend and splurge juxtaposition, I never thought about it that way. Purest form… yummmm…. I rather like the whimsy that the fantasy spreads usually inject into fashion but this Vogue just didn't have it. I *almost* posted a picture from one of the army spreads that looked like an Auschwitz photo. I spent some time this week secret shopping with my little girl at Armani and so forth. They didn't bat an eye about the tiny girl in tow, I think it has something to do with how well my clothes fit? They assume I can afford their stuff? Anyway I was secret shopping for men's tailored details, I ended up talking shop with another tailor at a very high end tailoring shop. We both tried to out-snob the other and then ended up happily chatting… I like that sort of secret shopping, and yes very eye-opening. I am coming to realize that designer wear is designer wear for more reasons than snob appeal.

  3. Wow, that's a lot to consider for a wardrobe. I always end up getting sucked into competitions, but this one makes me wary. Could I be bothered being on trend? Does it matter in Mullumbimby?

  4. I wasn't really considering the wardrobe contest anyway (for one thing, I don't need 10 new items that coordinate, nor do I believe I could get them done in even two months), but that whole on-trend thing — eek! It definitely turned me right off the idea. I think you're onto something there though!!And Suzanne has the right idea, look at the actual runway photos for ideas — Fall rtw for 2010 is already up at style.com (and 2009 couture/rtw would still count as "on trend" easily if you like anything) Even the best editions of Vogue do edit and style lovely things into total ickiness at times.

  5. I love the way you have found inspiration for the contest that gels with your own creative process. My style is a lot different (aka boring) but I still really like to see what you do and have a huge respect for your approach.

  6. Here via the PR contest, if you're wondering who the random person is! I was also struck dumb by the trend item, and have been frantically trying to find something in this years trends that match something I'm doing in my wardrobe. I like how you found inspiration for yours through some off beat fashion trends that work for you. Good post, thanks for sharing!Heather (bare_bear)

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