I've borrowed a little bit from all over the place for my fantasy wardrobe. It's a little bit based on Project 333, which I tried a modified form of last September but didn't really love. It's a little bit based on some ideas from The Vivienne Files, who also does a version of P333, but also posts capsule wardrobes. And it's a little bit based on some ideas from around the sewing community about how to put together capsule wardrobe and a couple of style bloggers I follow who seem marginally more like me and post marginally less content I would categorize as "utter bollocks" compared to other style bloggers (I shall name no names, since "you write less bullshit than most!" is hardly an endorsement).
It's still too cold and wet here in Ireland to really break out the spring clothes, so my imaginary wardrobe is for an imaginary life between May 1 and say about mid-September -- the exact date when summer ends is more determined by weather than anything. I say it's an imaginary life because in fact I finish my teaching contract, bar my marking requirements, at the end of April and I have literally no idea what will happen to me then. Certainly I won't need the kind of everyday work wardrobe I've laid out here. I also don't own these clothes and, because I chose to go looking for a lot of them on sites where I like to snoop window-shop the clothes rather than sites where I actually buy things, I definitely couldn't afford to buy them all in one year, and couldn't afford some of them at all, ever. (There's a dress on here that costs £650. There are bags that cost £2000. I don't even WANT to buy clothes or accessories that are that expensive.) Money and actual practical use this summer aside, this actually is a pretty good description of how I want to dress. These are my favourite summer colours (white, blue, turquoise, navy, green) and my preferred styles.
|This is REALLY MASSIVE, so click on it to see in more detail|
That all seemed like fun, so then I made an example four weeks of outfits:
|Example four weeks of outfits|
Some points to make about the difference between my imaginary wardrobe and my actual real wardrobe:
1. In real life, I carry the same ugly brown and black bag with every outfit and pair of shoes that I have for the last 5-6 years. I don't even like it, but it refuses to wear out and it was (a) a gift; and (b) expensive, so I carry on using it. I have sometimes briefly carried my own bags that I've made, but I actually don't love fabric bags because in the UK/Ireland they get wet and then so do the contents.
2. In real life, I'm not sure I own this many nice clothes.
3. In real life, I probably have normally worn trousers more often in summer despite finding them too hot, mainly because I have always historically been uncomfortable wearing skirts and haven't been able to wear dresses because buying them is such a trial given my body shape (1-2 sizes larger on top than bottom, depending on my weight at the time of purchase). More recently I've been wearing skirts a lot more for work and am growing more comfortable with it.
On the other hand, this is a reasonably good reflection of how I'd like to dress for work both in terms of overall style and level of formality suitable for my work environment (our dress code is "business casual" but the women dress much less informally than the men. The men wear jeans to work on days when they are not lecturing but none of the women are EVER in jeans). It's also a pretty good example of how many prints I'd like to own vs. solids -- which is to say, mainly solids with a few pretty prints in the mix here and there.
I have to be honest, I'd kind of love this wardrobe. If it all arrived magically in my apartment, in my size, with the fit the way I imagine it, I would be thrilled.
The more interesting question is though: if I really wanted this wardrobe, how much of it could I reasonably expect to sew for myself? How much would I WANT to sew for myself? I figure that ultimately, probably about two thirds of this I would want to sew for myself: in the work section, I'd have no concerns about making all of the tops, dresses and the non-suit skirts (although I'm handwaving the part where I've not yet got that much experience making a lot of the TYPES of tops in question, like button-down shirts. Those are skills I am actively working towards acquiring, so if next summer this were a less imaginary plan and more one that I wanted to put into action, I'd hope to be able to). Similarly in the casual section, I'd be happy to make shorts, skirts, a dress, and some tops.
Where I'd rely on RTW is: cardigans and other knitted items; suits (because I feel like I am YEARS away from having the skill level I need to make a really beautiful suit); trousers; jeans; polo t-shirts. I'm not saying never with trousers, and actually if I were going to make ANY of the trousers in my imaginary wardrobe, I'd probably start with a relatively easy type of trouser like a pair with a relaxed style in cotton/linen like I have included in the picture. Similarly, I am not saying never to making my own jeans, but definitely not any time soon. Then there are some marginal items that I think would be exciting and hugely challenging projects. For example, I have this amazing ex-Burberry shower-proof cotton fabric with which to make a trenchcoat, which I bought before I quite understood what I would be asking of myself with that project. I REALLY want to make one, but yeah, that would be a step up for me.
So there you have it: this is what I do when I am home sick.