Sunday, July 20, 2014

From Scratch Wardrobe ala The Vivienne Files

I've been enjoying Janice's posts about her Starting from Scratch wardrobes.  If you have missed these great posts, I suggest visiting Sewingplums blog post where Lisanne gives a great overview of the series as well as an ordered list of links back to The Vivienne Files.  There has been an ongoing discussion of these posts at Stitcher's Guild  too.  What really got me going on wanting to organize one of these wardrobes myself was seeing Saashka's.  I always get motivated to improve my next season's wardrobe about this time of the year.  What a great tool this is for spotting holes in the wardrobe and seeing that I really don't need any more black short sleeved tops.

I started in Powerpoint, but quickly switched to, my preferred image software.  It compares favorably to Photoshop, which I've used, but it's a free download.  I started out by borrowing the pants and t-shirt from Saashka's blog, but most of the rest of the garments are ones I own.  I already had photos on GCOGH and they were organized on a board.  Luckily I started out removing the background on black garments where it's super easy with the magic wand tool.  That doesn't work as well on some of the others, but by the time they came along I was committed.  

I started with the black, grey and red, but had a hard time deciding what other two colors to include.  I never wear solid bright white clothes and rarely other whites like cream.  What I do occasionally wear is naturally colored linen, so that's what I went with.  To decide on the fifth color I looked through my GCOGH outfit board to see what I most often wear with black and red or grey.  This brown color came up several times.  Janice calls it caramel.  When it's shoes or another leather item, I see it called cognac.  I guess it just depends on whether you prefer to be hungry or thirsty when you talk about the color.  I'm going with cognac.  I didn't actually get the colors filled in until step 6.  I really like having the color chart.  It helps to keep me on track.

Step 1 was easy.  I have a great pair of rayon dressy pants that I love.  I had a pair in a larger size and was sad to see them go when I lost weight.  You can imagine how tickled I was to find the exact same pair at the thrift store in my current size.  I am really hard to fit in pants. Combine a short waist, long legs, flat butt and a high hip and it's a fitting nightmare.  Some day I'm going to actually break down and make myself a TNT pattern.  In the meantime, I mostly wear skirts or capris.

Step 2 is going to be harder for me.  I have a pair of well loved Maryjanes, but they are on their last leg.  Wish me luck in finding a great replacement - maybe these.

Black t-shirts are easy.  I never met one I didn't like and I have a drawer full to prove it.  I had a black cardigan that I loved and wore and wore.  It was getting pretty grungy looking, but I was still wearing it and then it disappeared.  Who knows if it will turn up, but I found a great replacement earlier this summer, one I like even better.

I have a pair of black jeans that fit fairly well, but they aren't a favorite.  They are talls which I need for the length, but then the waist winds up hitting a little under my bra, not ideal.  I put them in the plan anyway thinking I might find a better replacement.  Janice's plans have a version of a white shirt for step 4, but I wasn't ready to deal with that yet, so I went with my grey one.  

Accessories are fun for me.  Before joining the GCOGH community, I rarely wore much besides some gold hoop earrings.  I've expanded my collection in the past year so that I feel underdressed if I don't have at least two or three accessories, usually earrings and a necklace and maybe a belt.  I'm getting more used to wearing scarves too and like the punch they add to an outfit.  In the past my only metal was gold, but since I'm getting more white in my hair, silver is starting to be more appealing than it used to.  I decided that for this wardrobe it's going to be the metal of choice.  Janice's plans include watches and bracelets.  I don't wear either so I added a belt and necklace instead both of which I wear a lot.

Once I added the accessories, I had to play around a bit with ensembles. This was just a start.  It would be fun to see how many different looks I could come up with for just step four.

Starting to look good.  I love the addition of the two accent color tops and the second scarf.  It doesn't show that well, but there is cognac in the scarf and also a really light grey.  It's one of my favorites to wear.

I got a lot of use out of this grey knit skirt last year.  The only thing I'm not sure about adding it here is that I didn't ever wear it with woven tops.  I'm not sure how well it will work with them comfort-wise.  IRL that's not a problem because I also have a grey tweed straight skirt and a grey wool circle skirt that looks a lot like this one.  Hello, my name is Dawn and Í'm a skirt-aholic.  The sweater was an easy decision too.  I reach for this one often and it goes well with the skirt.  The shoes were a different story.  Janice wants us to pick ballet flats.  I've never worn ballet flats for more than a few minutes in a store.  They just don't feel that great on my feet.  Maybe I just haven't tried on the right pair.  I've also never had a pair of grey shoes, but I'm convinced that I would love them.  I'm betting they will be harder to find than the black ones.  I would love these oxford ones, but they are from eBay and not leather.  

At this point Janice suggests a brief pause to check the map and make sure you're happy with the direction you're going.  What she does is look at some ensembles.  Well that was fun and really easy with and its layers.  Here's what I came up with.

The shirts and accessories are on two different layers with the bottoms on a third.  That makes it really easy to just add a different layer for the new bottoms and hide the old one.  It should work well when we add new tops too.

This next set should technically be the black jeans as a bottom, but at this point I decided that I didn't really want to see them in the ensembles.  What I really wanted to check out was the black denim skirt that I get lots of wear out of.  I guess that's why Janice had us pause and check the map.  Everything looks good to me with this one adjustment.  

I have always loved these kind of capsule wardrobe graphics and have Pinterest boards to prove it.  Now I have them with my very own clothes.  How cool is that?

One last step and I'm done for today.  I finally got around to dealing with the "white" blouse and found this linen one.  I have a similar short sleeved one that I wear a lot.  I even have fabric that I could make one from.  The second top was a no-brainer.  In my early capsule wardrobe planning days I would have started with this print top and there would be skirt to match it.  I love bridge garments that include several of the wardrobe colors.  I've marked the things I don't currently have in my wardrobe with a big red Need .  That's pretty strong.  Want to look for, would have probably been better wording, except for that necklace.  When I googled red and silver necklace, this was the second one I saw.  I need this necklace.  The only thing that kept me from ordering it last night was concern over how heavy it might be.  I can't wear heavy necklaces.

Now what was step 9? 


  1. This is fun. I love seeing these boards with someone's real clothes. What a great wardrobe. Thanks for explaining how you've done this, it looks terrific.

  2. Brilliant! I love the way you've thought things through and made certain that your wardrobe is right for you!


  3. Thanks so much for the comment. I try to put together my learning and experiece in terms of blog and feel great if this helps others.

    Wardrobe Accessories