Sunday, July 29, 2012

I gave up!

I have been working very hard on Danny's Project and the end is looming. I need to have it complete to deliver to his parents when I attend a wedding out of state in two weeks so that has been the total focus of my sewing lately. It is not so interesting posting about something that evolves in ways I hadn't planned. As it is being completed I am getting pleased with what it will look like, I hope. I want this to be so special for his parents.

Oh, that dress I was making for the wedding taking place in two weeks? Fugetabotit! It just isn't going to happen and I so wanted to make it but it's definitely not the priority right now. Once I officially decided I couldn't pull it off I made plans to go shopping for a dress instead.

I live in the boondocks, the land of plaid and denim, cowboy weddings, and Kmart Couture. I am attending a wedding that will be just the opposite out of state. Oh, what to wear?

If you are a sewist, and I know you are, you have to do what I did yesterday, even if you don't need a dress for a wedding. It was enlightening to say the least and I think will greatly contribute to the success of your sewing endeavors. Hear me, Newbies?

I went to the big city yesterday, pop. 15,000,  and hit our gold standard of retail, TJMaxx and JC Penneys. Ok, you can stop laughing now, but it's true. It's also the only two places where I can pick up petite clothing. At Penney's I struck out dress wise, just mostly too old lady-ish or street chic looking. I needed something more in between. It was off to TJ's.  I had no plan in mind for my outfit. I went to the racks and pulled out every dress that would fit, no matter what the style,  a la Stacy and Clinton. Then I took my heap and started trying on in front of the the 360ยบ  mirror. Very, very informative experience, vacillating between near tears of disappointment  and wow, that really looks pretty good. This went on for 2 1/2 hours! There were dresses that were totally wrong on me like the very full horizontal stripe number with long puffy sleeves. I did figure out that my arms weren't that bad since I lost a few pounds the past few months so decided to give sleeveless a go. That helped broaden the offerings. Here's a few things I figured out:

* Try on everything in your size, even if ugly or you think it won't work.  You will be totally surprised by what does and doesn't look good.  If I made my judgements on the rack I never would have ended up with my final choice or the bit of education I got.

* I can get away with a short skirt and it actually looks much better proportionwise than the longer length this aging hippie tends to favor. Try the short skirts. It will look much more youthful and your legs don't have to be long and perfect. Mine sure aren't.  Five years taken off there!

* Be amazed by color. This was the most enlightening aspect of the whole game. I tried on a dress that stylewise was totally inappropriate for my body. Think of Carmen and the cigarette girls in Verdi's opera. But man, the colors made my face literally light up. My hair coloring is different now so this refresher course needed to happen.  I have learned that a combo of turquoise, pale grey and white is probably better with my hair and skin coloring than anything any seasonal swatch has ever told me. If I were doing a SWAP, and I won't be, those would be the colors. I didn't know this before my try on binge.

* Lace is good. The sweet little lacy dresses with the gathered skirts looked cute and worked great style wise for a petite,  but alas, the scoop necks nearly guaranteed an accurate belly button measurement. That happens when you are five feet tall.

* I found great dresses that in a former life I would have bought in a heartbeat. They weren't formal enough for this wedding however. You have to get what you need, not what you want. Isn't that the problem with a lot of society today? People get what they want, not what they need. So this was an exercise in self restraint as well.

* Bring an admirer. The little teen leaning on the dressing room door helping her mom pick out a swim suit will be of no use to you if you are alone. She could care. Now that admirer must be someone who will totally tell you if it is a go or no go. I almost always shop alone but felt like my bff  Jocelyn would have been a great help. I told her so last night.

My final choice was a sleeveless red knit with this great draping thing off the deep v neck back, rather plain as seen head on. It made my butt shrink and the scoop neck would have been Pope approved. So now it is time to find some great jewelry to jazz it up a bit.

Treat yourself to a day of fun and enlightenment. Bring a good friend. Try on everything that fits, not just what you like. The next time you pick out a pattern or fabric you will be much more educated. Going on line to fashion sites help but nothing works like actually trying on clothing. Make no judgements. No diet or weight thoughts are allowed, spoken or thought. Just look at what is working on you. Have a ball...Bunny

17 comments:

  1. Great advice! And I totally agree that as we age and our shape and skin/hair coloring change, a refresher is definitely needed. Enjoy the wedding!

    Maris
    http://sewmaris.com

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  2. I do this occasionally and it always changes the direction of my sewing. Glad you found a dress and can now fully concentrate on your Danny project!

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  3. I have tried to get this through to my daughter! She is surprised by how different things look on a body. Alas, we've had our failures - skinny red jeans, anyone? - but at the same time some of the failures were the very things that made us laugh so hard and see that there is nothing wrong with just trying something on!

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  4. I am going to do this at the beginning of the year before I start thinking about my wedding dress - try on lots of different shapes and colours (old gold, ivory etc) and see what I like before buying fabrics.

    I am sure you will look stunning in your red dress.

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  5. Yeah I agree a shorter skirt does give you a more youthful look. It's amazing the difference it makes, less mumsy.

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  6. Wow, that sounds like a lot of dress trying on, although from the sounds of it clearly a big success and learning experience for future shopping adventures! Always great to have a trusted shopping buddy you know will be completely honest, they're hard to find!

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  7. I totally agree! I recently lost some weight and am unsure of what looks good and what doesn't. I have started to go into stores and just try on anything I like that might fit (I don't really know what my size even is anymore!). I am starting to get a better idea of what looks good on my new shape and have even bought a few new patterns to test the theories. Thanks for the good advice!

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    1. Don't even try on just things you like. Go for the size you think will fit and try on ANYTHING. I never would have learned that turquoise is probably my best color if I hadn't tried on that Carmen Miranda outfit, or that shorter skirts have a better proportion on me. I also learned that a dress with a shirt tail hem, even at the knees is awful on me too.

      Congratulations, Pam, on your new shape. That definitely deserves some major snoop shopping.

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  8. Great advice. I feel like I was there with you! Good for you on going sleeveless and leggy!

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  9. Sounds like you had a good time. Glad you found something appropriate in the end!

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  10. The land of plaid and denim! hahaaaaa...we live in similar places. My town has NO clothing stores except for a resale boutique (quite good) and an overpriced shop for trendy pieces. So, over the mountain I go, just like you did. Your dress sounds perfect for you, and I'm glad you discovered some new colors and lengths etc.

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  11. I'm sure this is good advice. I have to admit that I don't like shopping much and hate trying things on even more. It's a major attraction of sewing for me! I am glad you found something. Sometimes there are not enough hours in the day for all the projects that we have in mind.

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    1. Karin, us sewists have a very isolating craft that we love. Self included, it is very easy to keep re making the wheel and I find a trip like this once or twice a year just totally refreshes my view of "what works" and therefore what I want to sew. It definitely takes time but the way I do it is sort of like speed dating, grab all that fits, take and try on what you can, go back and grab more till you've tried it all. Yup, it's work but I think it pays off in the end and it can be fun if you bring a friend.

      After it was all over I wondered if I should have taken pics with my camera. Some of those loser outfits would have made a very funny post!

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  12. Great advise, now when can we see you in that new red dress?

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  13. I totally agree with your advice. I did a bit of this several weeks ago at TJ Maxx, on a rainy, dismally gray Sunday. I found some unique styles of garments that looked very nice on me, And as a bonus they were on tne clearance rack. Because, I suspect, the styles on the hangers looked so unattractive, no one tried then on.

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  14. "Get what you need, not what you want" - words to live by!

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