Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Connecting The Dots & The Great Stash Clearout

Remember earlier this month when I wondered what would happen if I scooped up my entire wardrobe and tossed it out? As you know, I did - sort of -toss it out - although not everything went but most everything and especially the garments I wasn't wearing. That left not much and now that I'm feeling reconnected with my essence well... hmm... not a lot of that matches any more either.

I'm thankful for the wardrobe plan that I'm working with. I doubt I'll take all those clothes on the cruise but just the fact that they all work well together will fill in the blanks of my rather empty closet with a cohesive wardrobe not only for my holiday but for every day. I won't end up walking around n-k-d. This is good.

This feeling is FABULOUS - to recognize my style again and to have the confidence to say yes that works and no that doesn't. I've been connecting the dots and making sense of things that I once knew but had let go of. I can see the path forward with a vibrating inner confidence that I'm really enjoying.

Above is my "type four" windbreaker with my new make-up and earrings. I haven't worn earrings in over twenty years. It's so strange and yet feels just right. In this image, I'd just returned from a walk so my hair is a little windblown and even so one takeaway from the DYT info was why I prefer smoother hair around my face, texture toward the back, and straight pointed as opposed to curly texture. This is the windbreaker that I referred to yesterday - type four color, a center opening with mirrored parts, parallel lines, and black with silver teeth zipper accents. It took me three years to find this windbreaker at a price I was willing to pay. I was being VERY picky.

The Great Stash Clearout
spontaneously happened while I was pulling the fabrics for the wardrobe plan. Focusing on finding the intense or shaded colors that worked best for me simultaneously separated out the toasted, tinted, or toned ones that didn't. The four bags above left are on their way to the second hand store and the basket above right is of natural fibers that can be over-dyed and painted. The looks red but is really a rust-orange fabric at left - that is really a linen curtain panel - is saying pull me back out and try over-dyeing me. I will but it's the only one getting back in stash. I'll throw it in a purple dye bath along with the lilac denim shirting on top of the basket and see what happens. I'm hoping the denim will end up workable with the wardrobe plan.

For the last couple years, I've been struggling with how to blend my preference for wearing clean, simple, clothing with my love of creating detailed pieces and desire for uniqueness. It feels like I've made that click. The t-shirt above is simple, clean, basic. It's what I would call an essential that would be part of a core wardrobe. I have way too many of these types of t-shirts and they are far from creative or exciting. There are ways to shake that up without going beyond what works for me.


This knit top really appeals to me and yet I haven't sewn the pattern. The dot that connected with this one is that it's too busy for me - too much fabric, too much movement, and too "frilly" if I can use that word. Smooth is better on my body.

This version is much better. I'd do a few things differently to make it even more appropriate like eliminating the gathers at the shoulder and evolving the ones at the waist into pleats. The information I listened to advised against asymmetrical designs for type fours. I disagree. It's about what kind of lines that are present and how they mirror and run parallel to the other lines in the garment and about balance and proportion. Asymmetric and dramatic seem to me words that would go in the same category.

The top above left is fitted, asymmetric, simple, smooth, and dramatic. It matches my energy by being all of those and one-of-a-kind-ish and non-cookie cutter. The straight design lines in the neckline are mirrored at the hem and the focus on one side is balanced by the openness on the other. A pleated waist detail would create straight, parallel and mirrored lines. The top is too long for the model. Carrying off something like this requires proportion and balance. Only fours are this dramatic.

Two of the questions going forward for me will be is there too much shape or detail and is there not enough shape or detail. This design of Marcy's above is probably more than I could carry off without eliminating some of the drape and...

... these ones are a step beyond the basic t-shirt with some room for individuality but not an overwhelming presence. These are ideas I could play with.

While working on the tucking the grey t-shirt last week I enjoyed he process of creating the tucks - the artistry - but when I stood back and looked at the results, I couldn't imagine myself wearing the garment plus I felt that the curving tucks took away from the asymmetry of the hemline. They were too busy in contrast to it's simplicity.

The linen dress above left caught my interest with its clean, linear simplicity. It reminds me of the Vogue pattern design that is linear, mirrored, diagonal, and very type four dramatic which is interesting since the dress has an innocence about it. I recognize that I am drawn to linear tucks but not so much to curved ones. That's good information.

If the finished garment hung just like the illustration, the above waterfall jacket could fit into my style. I have several sweaters like this that I really enjoy but - as I said to Neufy in the comments yesterday - I think it depends how much waterfall there is as in is there too much fabric and on having correct proportion and balance. In the illustration there are horizontal, parallel, and mirrored lines and the danger of being just a bit too much. As simple as it looks, wearing something like this successfully is a lot harder than wearing something like...

... this which still has that waterfall aspect but not nearly as much fabric. This is great pattern for playing with when a four is feeling boxed in and wants to expand their horizons a little. I could get away with the above BUT... definitely not...something like...

... this Issey Miyake piece. WAY TOO MUCH FABRIC. Too much fabric is something I need to pay more attention to. Often when I'm fitting a garment what I'm doing is taking away excess ease and length because they overwhelm me. LOL - it's so fascinating and I could go on and on and on because I'm on my favourite topic but that's probably enough to let you know that I'm SO EXCITED about the dots I'm connecting.

I checked into the guarantee to see if I could return the on-line course and besides the frustrating return policy of mailing something back across the border at my own expense, the criteria includes did the course impact you. It'd be hard to say it didn't impact me because I feel like I'm vibrating with energy in the right direction and - for the first time in a long time - back in line with myself. I'm so excited to sew not only the basic essential pieces in my wardrobe plan but also to learn how to be my most creative within the simplicity that appeals to me. YES YES.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - sunshine several days in a row

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. 
- Leonardo Da Vinci


  1. If you are not interested in exploring the online course further, send back the materials and get the refund. It's great that the intro materials resonated with you, but if the paid part didn't excite you, take the loss on the shipping (consider it the fee for the part of the materials you liked) and use the refund of the rest on something you will use and enjoy.

    1. I tried to find the on-line return page again to get the correct wording but it was difficult to find the first time and impossible right now. Part of wording to qualify to return the on-line course was around did the course material impact you. If that's a yes or no question, the answer would have to be yes. If I had to argue my point around quality versus impact that would just add more stress than I want to deal with right now so I'd rather just not go there. Taking that approach isn't something I'd have done years ago but life right now has me picking my battles.

  2. I missed your post yesterday so my comment is really in reference to that one. I, too, went to the DYT site and viewed the free postings and was disappointed, first, that I came up a type 2 which i consider pretty bland and , second, the lack of specifics. Maybe I am a type 2 but I dress in clear, bold colors and have red hair. Many years ago I discovered that I garnered many compliments when I wore these colors so I've continued to wear them even if they were "out-of-current-fashion". And, since I sew most of my clothes as an advanced sewist, I have no difficulty doing this. Like most sewists I have experimented sewing many styles on my ageing body and have learned what works and what doesn't. So, like you, I believe we already have a volume of information and expect a lot from these sites and when they are too broad we feel cheated or unimpressed. I say return and get your money back. Yes, the stash busting and seeing the need for new makeup is valuable but certainly not worth $99!
    I so enjoy reading your thought provoking posts! Karen

    1. SO true - when you're interested in this topic, you do collect a volume of information some of which is more effective than the rest. I have my favourite resources that have significantly impacted me and they all have in common quantity and quality of information that works for me. I pulled out a few books and have started re-reading them. This is good.

  3. As a former academic researcher who has explored the free DYT materials, my feedback/comment is that there is no construct validity to the 4 types presented -- which is to say there is inadequate data to support the idea that these four categories actually exist as legitimate ways to organize folks. Colour categorizing is one thing (you may or may not find the colour me beautiful constructs useful -- but it is simply based on skin tone being cool or warm, which is an observable characteristic) and personality categorizing is another (and again, whether or not you find personality testing useful, there is at least research to show that certain systems are legitimate in the sense that the categories collect folks who actually are similar in a particular range of characteristics). Combining "energy", personality typing, fashion style, etc, sounds like an exciting possibility, but where is the actual research to indicate that the 4 types exist as she describes them. It's kind of fun to review consider ourselves in light of her materials, but I would really caution against categorizing oneself as a particular type and following the proposed style suggestions. I know myself that I am not one of theese types, that none of them describe me, because they are bogus! In addition, the idea that anyone who suggests the system doesn't work is actually a type four is just plain crazy. I am not type four by any stretch of the imagination, except that yes, I do want to question the authority of anyone who proposes that "this is the way life is"!!!! It's a scam, in my view.

    I do really enjoy your blog Myrna. Susan

    1. LOL - I've always found some element of truth in the type tests I've done. I think if you don't buy into them 100%, they can provide a good starting point for discovery into our uniqueness and individuality. Discovering who I am is good even when it's from the perspective of saying that's not true, I'm not like that, I'm like this. When that happens, I've identified something about myself that then becomes useful. Although there is no construct validity as you say, there is impact. The information - valid or not - has improved the confidence of some of the women and their approach to life. It's experiential rather than statistical but good none-the-less. I love to see woman come alive and feel confident and positive about who they are. YES YES.

  4. I love your blog. I love reading your thought process....curved tucks versus straight tucks. Who knew? :-)

    I always glance at the photos first, idly thinking, oh that isn't going to work. Often times I don't really know why I'm thinking no. I just am. I love the way you explain exactly *why* it doesn't work. And then I can relate that to whatever I'm working on for myself.

    For example, I knew waterfall things look better on me than some other things, and that they couldn't be too voluminous. And that they look better with high heels than flats. But I hadn't thought about parallel lines. Ah.

    And I agree....you seem to have made a substantial jump in understanding. Many, many dots have connected for you. Happiness!!

    It's interesting also how things come and go throughout your life.
    I used to wear heels all the time when I was younger. But times changed, jobs changed, styles changed, finances changed, health changed. As I was busier with a young family, flats made sense. But now I've realized that flats look terrible on me. The worst! I need at least a 1" heel, preferable 2". Wedges are good, strappy light weight heels not so much. So heels have come back to me. And I'm loving it!

    The same with earrings. I used to have a lot of pretty earring, but then evolved to one pair, small gold balls. I eventually realized that I look better in larger earrings, preferably 1" dangly ones. I need the sense of movement by my face. And now I have a lovely collection of earrings. :-)

    Interesting about the web site you were mentioning the other day....their blog hasn't been updated since Feb 2012. It seems like the web site is fairly old, not updated and fresh. Maybe they're moved on to other priorities.

    1. This is good. I do a lot of thinking. Yes... who knew with the tucks. I always thought I liked little tucks but I didn't really note that I liked little straight tucks. Don't you love it when one though like parallel lines can connect so many dots for you. YES YES. My mind buzzes.

      I am enjoying feeling connected and confident at the moment and like I know what direction I'm going in. After feeling quite lost for a long time, it's wonderful and a nice balance to the stress of the rest of my life.

      I thought the same thing about heels and earrings. Perhaps some of it is just practical. I know I stopped wearing earrings when my youngest was a baby and flats are definitely easier to throw on with kids as you say. And why did I think rounded toes worked but now I think they NEVER work and why did I NEVER tuck anything in and now I'm contemplating belts. I know other people's eyes glaze over and roll back over stuff like this but I really find it fascinating - how our minds work, how we express ourselves, how we support ourselves. Clothes and looks can so often be viewed as shallow when IMHO they have tremendous impact.

      Which web do you mean? DYT? I've noticed that websites don't always keep their copyright date up to date even when there is new content.

  5. The group of three tops above (rust / blue / grey), with the inset piece that extends below the hem - you could use that piece for an accent piece. Remember my comment about an inset piece at the waist last week (I think it was last week! lol), that you could play up? Same idea, just vertical instead of horizontal...

    1. It would be great with an accent piece - a nice strong vertical focal point. Great idea.

  6. I've had that Donna Karan pattern for ages and I've loved it just never made it up. Maybe now is the time. I like the one on the left with the narrow pants. I've also got the Issey Miyake sitting in my stash and long ago decided that it was way too much fabric for my body. I am enjoying your journey since so many of your decisions are similar to mine. I've saved a lot of money on patterns by understanding what works for me.

    1. I'd say let's do it together only I won't have time until the fall so... why don't you sew it and inspire me. I'd love that. We do have strong similarities in our choices. That's fun. I love how women can have not only similarities but uniqueness.

  7. " I won't end up walking around n-k-d. " You won't even spell out the word, hilarious and charming! I've spent so much time in hospitals/doctors offices that i have to be careful about now flashing people absentmindedly, ha!

    Like you, i feel so uncomfortable wearing clothing that isn't 'right' for me. The type of analysis you're doing here is exactly what will help you develop your own style vocabulary over time - what precise silhouettes work for you; what details, colors, prints, etc.

    For example i look and feel best in warm colors which are toned (mixed with shades of grey) in low to medium contrast palettes. I prefer my surface interest to come in details over prints. I like those details to be multiples in small scale - for example twelve 3/8" wide buttons each placed half an inch apart from the other rather than six 1.25" buttons placed an inch apart each. re: Tucks, i prefer pintucks with around a quarter or three eights of an inch between them rather than larger scale tucks.

    You can develop preferred neckline shape and placement, the precise places you like horizontal lines to it on your body (hems, seamlines, etc.), width of collars and cuffs, particular location of details (i like pintucks around the neckline or just below the yoke, not so much anywhere else).....nail down your preferences in enough of these areas and you got yourself a cohesive, easy to work with style.

    Myrna, have you ever taken a look at my Outfit Analysis Checklist?

    You have the analytical approach which may find it a useful framework for approaching your own style preferences....if naught else, you will not feel so alone in your obsession ;)

    It's so fun to see you so excited about this, and really fun and instructive to follow along thru your thought process. Thank you for sharing!!!!

    1. LOL - well... when we meet you'll know that it wasn't a hesitation to say the word. It was a desire to not be flooded with spam.

      This journey is fun and I've been on it before. It's an ebb and flow, roller coaster thing. You learn something, you forget it, you learn it again, you learn something new, the new learning connects a dot, and then other dots line up, and then you wander off in the wrong direction, and then you re-learn what you learned and return to the path, and then....

      I've looked at your outfit analysis checklist before but now seems a good time to review it. What I find the most intriguing is the emotional fit. It's relatively easy to figure out what works physically but emotionally is a moving target. Right now, I can't handle anything too intense because of what's going on in the rest of my life. I need calm in my clothing with perhaps a touch of drama but calm can be rather boring to sew and I like creative sewing so finding the right mix is... challenging - interesting - frustrating - exciting. Pick a word. It depends what day it is.

      It's interesting that we have different coloring and similar choices. Right there is that interesting mix of figure type, personality, and mood.

    2. VBG - I should have said and I'm always on it - the journey - rather than I've been on it before - because it's never ending.

    3. hahaha, yep the spam! oh i've had a few scary/weird experiences online so i do not doubt the wisdom of your choice.

      And glad i'm not the only potty mouth here - what can i do, i talk to a grown male cat all daylong! ;)

      "It's relatively easy to figure out what works physically but emotionally is a moving target. " EXACTLY. Which is why i find the checklist useful - in your case i would take a look at an outfit or three which you feel really good about on an emotional level, then try using the various categories to bring those emotionally-right aspects to the surface/conscious mind.

      Instead of starting from your own physical body, you start with a positive aesthetic/emotional response and work backwards, as it were, to find out what will 'trigger' that response in you. Anyways, it has been pretty helpful for me, esp. when i'm stuck, and like i say in the post i don't see this particular approach out there elsewhere so i thought i'd mention it.

      As you say, i find it's definitely ongoing and it's necessary to have many tools up your sleeve in order to keep up with it!


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