As I make my way through Facebook posts on perfecting the tango, baking bread and learning Spanish, I thought about starting a closet clean out. When my sister called to ask me for tips, I decided to make it official and send something out...
1. START WITH YOU
What do you find yourself wearing all the time. Skirts, pants, sweats, flats, heels, jeans? Make a list and start there.
2. THE MARIE CONDO EFFECT
I get the idea of dumping everything out of your closet into a huge pile, but I prefer to go group by group.
TO BEGIN - I’ll start with the t-shirts but please repeat with each group.
Take all your t-shirts out. Separate the dinghy ones, holey ones, ratty ones - those are ready for the donation pile (maybe keep one for a painting day).
Try on the remaining shirts and see what fits. If it is a favorite but has a stain/hole, try the dry cleaner. Sometimes with a t-shirt it is best to move on, although the dry cleaner has saved a few favorites of mine.
Look for a trend in each group.
I find most people have a go-to shape and tend to see 5 or more of the same style in each group... for t-shirts, maybe short sleeved v-necks, maybe boxy and cropped crew necks? Try to pair down and keep only 1 or 2 of that favorite silhouette. We want your closet to maximize outfit options and add new combinations ... maybe a boatneck 3/4 sleeve t-shirt or a tank top could increase flexibility. Two similar silhouettes in each group should be plenty.
3. JOIN THE PRESENT
Keep what works for your life and your body. Maybe styles have shifted or your body has changed. Whatever the case, honor the life you have now.
Start with staples
A great t-shirt and jeans (or a simple skirt) can go a long way, especially when paired with a fitted blazer or coat. And you can use a long sleeved t-shirt to layer with a dress, sweater or vest.
A ballet flat (or something similar)
A black or gunmetal pump
A tennis shoe
A short sleeved (or sleeveless) simple black or navy, and white.
A long sleeved simple black or navy, and white.
4. CREATE A FOCUS
Don’t hide negatives, emphasize positives! Everyone focuses on hiding their least favorite part (remember the college sweatshirt pulled down low) instead, let’s highlight the best parts! Show them where to look!
Keep your outfit simple, then add:
A red lipstick
A fabulous belt
A stunning necklace
A colorful shoe
You can see some other ideas on my pinterest page for ‘Moms’.
Have fun and please email with any questions.
chalk+water spring 2015
I started seam to solve a fashion problem and continued to address new ones as my daughters got older. I was so excited to have a girl and wanted clothes for my daughter that were flattering and carefree. I went shopping, I was very excited about the knit floral legging and layette but when I put them on her, she looked like a stuffed sausage. I then found wonderful European pieces but they were line dry only and with 4 little ones that spit up constantly that didn't make much sense. So I started cutting and sewing.
Problem 1: A feminine outfit that she wouldn't trip on.
My first real success was a pair of ruffled pants and a tunic top. At ten months, Eliza was trying to stand and I loved dresses for her but they weren't practical. Every time she pulled up to stand she would step on the hemline and trip. I wanted to support her confidence and growth so I designed the Mary Top and the Rose Pant. It gave her the flexibility she needed to practice a new skill and still have a feminine look.
Problem 2: The fight to dress a one year old.
There is an age where most little ones hate to get dressed. The morning ritual turns into a battle, so I wanted to create clothes that I could put on my daughter very quickly. My designs mostly go over the head with no button or tiny snaps. And for jacket closures I stayed away from small buttons and instead use Velcro or large buttons/snaps to give tiny hands a chance. And if there is a closure, it is not in the back where they have no chance to reach it.
Problem 3: Itchy fabric and tags.
As a child I hated itchy fabrics and 12 years in a school uniform was an exercise in discomfort so I used fabrics and tags to maximize comfort. Our tags are 100 cotton and our logo is printed on a narrow satin ribbon. I also prewash all of our garments to make sure the beautiful pieces you own do not shrink. All seam pieces have been machine washed and machine dried.
Problem 4: Look like a girl and be able to play like a child.
I wanted clothes that would go from the park to the party and be care-free out of the dryer for mom. Clothes that allow a girl to look like a girl and move like a child. I wanted my girls to have the flexibility of running and climbing with the elegance of a well-designed piece. And I wanted seam to last, none of the fast fashion throw-away clothes. I have customers who use seam pieces for 3 years - a long skirt is worn until it is just above the knee and then passed onto siblings – heirloom longevity. I carefully choose fabrics and techniques, like pleated top stitched hemlines, to minimize any wrinkling out of the dryer.
Problem 5: Solving the preteen shift.
My daughter turned 11 and her body started to change. She needed a little more coverage up top but was not ready for a bra so I designed pieces to make that transition easier. The Belle t-shirt has a double layer on top and an asymmetrical hem to flatter her waist. The Christine t-shirt is designed with the same idea but a slightly different shape. The Sophie top drifts softly away from the body with dart details at the neckline. The Emma top is covered in tiny pleats to minimize any changes and flairs away from the body at her waist. I found that my kids would go out at the waist first and then grow taller but I never wanted them to feel uncomfortable about any of those changes.
Problem 6: The waist is worn under the waist.
The reality is that little ones wear pants just below their tummy which means that the pant rise and skirt length needed to be different. So I designed the rise and length with that in mind and added elastic waists that would grow with them and not stop fitting after 6 months.
Problem 8: Frequent newborn diaper changes.
Since I was not sewing when my daughter was born I backtracked to design the newborn Dara gown and based it on the Mary Top. I remember two distinct issues: Eliza ending up with fabric in her face from a top that would flip up when she was in the bouncy seat and the need to change her diaper every 5 minutes. So the Dara gown is designed with ribbon at the empire and and elastic hem to keep little toes warm but allow easy access to a diaper.
Problem 9: Being told I had to produce off-shore.
As a graphic designer I would visit a printer and check the project as it was coming off the printing press - it was a personal relationship and I wanted that with seam. I talked to a number of people and found a group of very committed cutters and sewers I could meet with and discuss my ideas and directions. They do beautiful work and since we know each other we are often able to catch mistakes before they happen. Relationships matter and now I am able to say "Made in the USA" and "Locally produced".
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Thank you