Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Thoughtful Dresser

In a recession there is the temptation to stop buying clothes, and at first this can be superficially soothing, for the soul can sicken on consumerism, shopping and spending. There is a mother lode of comfort in making your own soups at home instead of going out to a mediocre restaurant to pick over the lukewarm starter slapped on a table by a waiter who is adding up in his head how much he's going to make in tips. With fewer occasions to go out, who needs to dress up anyway? The simpler life of jeans and T-shirt can seem a radical new approach to living, the clothing equivalent of moving out of the city to the country. - Linda Grant

I'm re-reading The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter by Linda Grant. Every time I read it, I'm struck by the quote above perhaps because jeans and a t-shirt are NOT a radical new approach for me, they are the norm I'm attempting to change. A radical new approach would be to abandon jeans in favour of something else, or at least to abandon them more often than I presently do. But then again. Maybe not.

In response to young contestants on a modeling show who were attempting to dress sexy without truly understanding what sexy is, Linda quotes Simon Doonan as saying - All over America, people are making kamikaze choices about what to wear. They are misrepresenting the goods. They are letting their clothes write checks that their personalities cannot cash.  What if...

... the radical new approach - for me - was actually to embrace jeans and a t-shirt in a great BIG all encompassing hug and instead have polka dot jeans and pink jeans and paisley jeans and all kinds of jeans, a whole collection of fun and flirty, looks like Myrna, jeans.

I LOVE IT! With 
t-shirts and jewelry to up the fun ante, what an enticing thought.

The mind races. What about hand painted jeans? Or a skirt. I'd take a hand painted skirt. I wear them quite often in summer. 

In a recent posting - What Is Style? - Ari Seth Cohen wrote:
Style means something different to each person who gets up in the morning and decides how they are going to look. While some may consider it a means of celebrating the self, a fight against invisibility, or an act of creative expression, others may simply get dressed without putting much thought into it. Motivation aside, for the people I photograph, style is a reflection and example of the care, passion, and energy that they invest and express in their daily lives.

I'm so thankful that I sew, that I can keep working toward writing a check that represents the true me, and invest my energy in expressing myself daily. YES YES.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - I can sew. I can sew jeans. I can sew fun, flirty, Myrna jeans.

P.S. - click on the picture to visit the jeans at


  1. I think you're onto something exciting there. It took me a long time to realize I favor classic styles but in unusual colors and fabrications; once I figured that out it's started to narrow my pattern/style choices and broaden my choices at the fabric markets and in stores. Looking forward to see what you create.

  2. Although I started sewing fashions in the early seventies, there was a long gap in the middle where I sewed quilts and textile art and a lot of catching up to do when I returned to garments. Lately, it feels as if I'm connecting the dots better, that I've put enough time in to know which fabrics I prefer, which style suit, the techniques I enjoy, the garments that will and the garments that won't be worn, and so on. With all the samples and muslins I have been making, my productivity is way down but my success ratio is increasing steadily. An ah ha like the fact that if I wear jeans all the time, why not sew fun jeans seems so obvious but enough dots have to connect to make that connection. Like yours. What a fabulous awareness to know that you like classics with a twist and to be able to move confidently in that direction. I agree that shopping is more purposeful the more you learn about yourself. I was looking through my stash the other day and nothing seemed glaringly discordant. That's a good feeling.

  3. Yes! This IS exciting! My lifestyle is very casual, so jeans and a tee are the perfect outfit for most of my days. Plus, I love wearing them. What I don't love is the sameness of it all. I've been trying to figure out how to kick my style up a notch without moving away from casual. Colorful, even printed jeans would be one way of achieving my goal. The trick is to not look clownish, as I do want to be taken seriously.
    A noble challenge. Thanks for waking me up!

    1. LOL - yes it IS! How fun to have company.

  4. About a year ago, maybe longer, you wrote a post about this book, and it captivated me. I finally bought it last summer, after renewing it from the library umpteen times! Slowly but surely I'm getting through it, and it has been one of the most amazing reads for me. Just wanted to thank you!
    Funnily, I'm in a similar boat with jeans and T-shirts. It's been my SAHM uniform for 8 years, and I'm so in need of something new. The colourful/patterned jeans idea sounds marvelous!!!

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying the book. I've recommended it to so many people. It's such an answer to the perceived shallowness of fashion and makes you think about yourself and your clothing in a completely different light.

      You and me and Dixie for the jeans. Maybe more will join in. LOVE that.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.