Practical Side of Fitness Fashion

2015-12-29 15.46.16Looking good may be your motivation to start a workout, but comfort during your workout will ensure that you will want to do it again.

I am fairly brand loyal when it comes to clothes and shoes, except for fitness fashion.  When it comes to exercise clothes it is all about fit and fabrics!  I do not care what celebrity is endorsing the brand, or even what brand it is.

Since there is specialized equipment for many sports (golf cleats, soccer shin guards, etc), I am going to focus this discussion on gym athletic wear.   There is plenty of crossover into other sports, so this is a good foundation to build a practical workout wardrobe. Continue reading

Stay Cool in Natural Fibers

Living in Arizona, we learn all the tricks to stay cool in summer; drink plenty of water, wear sunblock, hats & parasols are lifesavers, avoid heat absorbing dark colors, and most of all wear natural fibers!

Fabric contentLight weight cotton, linen, and silk outfits are your best friend in the summer heat.  100% natural fibers are the coolest option.  Double check the fabric content labels when shopping for better options in your closet.  High natural fiber content blends are still a good option.  Cotton and cotton blends are great options and usually lower priced than linen or silk.  Linen has a bad habit of wrinkling, so I tend to avoid linen pants anyway. Continue reading

New Dress a Day

I have found a kindred spirit!  Marisa Lynch, author and creator of the Book and Website New Dress a Day, is brilliant!  I bought her book a few months ago and devoured it in a few glorious hours.  Now I follow her on Facebook and on her website.

Basically, this amazing lady spent an entire year re-purposing thrift store finds for a new dress or outfit everyday.  There are multiple before photos, an exact description of what and how she did it, more photos, then the after result photos.  She shows various techniques for sewing and non-sewing at various skill-levels.  Her book has a section describing sewing machine basics for beginners.

Now that the year is up, she still takes unique pieces and converts them to wearable, up-to-the-minute fashion.  I have added her site to my blogroll, and I highly recommend picking up her book and browsing the site!

Add Pockets

Pockets are great!  They are built-in compartments that can supplement or replace a handbag or purse.  Here is a previous post about the hidden treasure of sewn pockets, but what about the majority of fabulous dresses & skirts without pockets?  Let’s add them!

The easiest garments to add pockets are non-stretchy fabric (cotton is my favorite) with a tight weave to “hold” the pocket.  Try to match the pocket fabric for similar or coordinating color and fabric type, then plan out your pocket location.

Top pocketHere is a super easy pocket that is sewn to the outside of the garment.

This is a great pocket for sheath dresses, tight fit, or straight skirts for beginners.  Select your pocket-less garment and fabric for the pocket, then follow the steps below.

  1. Print this Top Pocket Pattern and trim at the solid black line.
  2. Fold pocket fabric, align the pattern at the fold, and cut 1 for each pocket.  For heavier fabric, fold 1 inch at the fold line and leave the majority of the pocket single layer.
  3. Mark the pocket location on the outside on the garment.  For dark fabrics, mark the fabric with bar soap (use it like a crayon).
  4. Turn under the outside edges and sew under.
  5. With the fold at the top, pin the pocket to the garment and sew the sides and bottom

IMG_3929IMG_3945Don’t sew?  An alternative for sewing is to use iron-on adhesive tape or liquid.  Use a fabric that does not fray, such as felt, and simply glue the sides and bottom of the pocket to the garment.

For pocket practice, try adding simple pockets to an older comfy garment.  I wear knit dresses around the house and by the pool, so this grey dress was a perfect candidate for pockets.  For children’s clothes, ribbon or bias tape could go on the outside.  Or, add decorative buttons on the corners.

Pinned Pockets

 

IMG_3935

Effective Strategies for a Closet Purge

As the temperature cools down for fall, I have purchased a wardrobe refresh and now I need to clear out some old & outdated items to make room for it all.

I encourage a wardrobe “check-up” at the beginning of each season.  Trying to go through an entire closet all at once is quite daunting.  I prefer to tackle one season at a time.  Start with the upcoming season and pull everything out.  If that is still too much, then divide into smaller categories.  Try stuff on, skirts, pants, shoes, tops, everything.  Be honest with your self, and solicit input from friends if you are just not sure.  Ask yourself (and a friend if necessary):

  • Is the fit and cut of the garment flattering?
  • Is this age appropriate (applies to everything; work-out gear, professional attire, date-night clothes, etc)?
  • Is it a classic style or totally on-trend right now?
  • Is the garment in great condition with no signs of wear or distress?

When all of the questions above are YES, then Keep it!  These are your wardrobe staples so consider reorganizing these items to the best viewed section (usually the front) of your closet or drawer.  If the item is a smidge too big or small (one size up or down), AND it is high quality, classic style, then I keep it and put it towards the back of my closet or drawer.  My weight fluctuates enough that I like to keep smaller sizes around when I am having a “thin” day, and I still have great options for my “fat” days.

If you are crafty, or know someone who is, consider creating a re-purpose or recycle pile for those items that just break your heart to get rid of.  For any unfortunately shrunken items, before you decide which pile consider this “unshrink” method.  Would the item make a great Halloween costume for next year?  If the fabric is super cute, consider making a fabric scrap covered picture frame, scarf, headband, gift wrap, craft projects, or other accessory.  Choose your projects and be fearless – what is the worst that can happen to a garment you were going to get rid of anyway?

Consider an alterations or repair pile for those high quality items that just need a little love and attention.  Items with missing buttons or broken zippers are often less expensive to have repaired than to replace.  Long skirts that are ripped or damaged at the bottom can be hemmed to a shorter skirt.  Dresses can be converted to a fabulous top or great skirt (depending on what is wrong or bad fit with the item).

Now, you are ready for the Purge process!Closet Purge

Even if the item is the correct size, if it is a bad fit get rid of it!  If you honestly look at the items and ask yourself “what was I thinking?” it needs to go.  If it was on-trend or funky years ago and the style has not held up over time, then it needs to find a new home.  If the item is way too big or small (more than 1 size up or down), then free up that space for clothes that you will actually wear.

High quality or designer brands can be taken to resale or consignment shops.  Resale or consignment shops will give you more money for items in season, and may not accept out-of season clothes.  eBay is also a good item for designer clothes, but tends to be more time consuming than dropping off for consignment.

If the item is not a candidate for resale, then group for donation to charity shops. Charities and thrift shops appreciate in season donations, which benefit people right away rather than being stored for months.  Many of these charities will pick up your donation at your house.  This is a great opportunity to donate household goods (decor, mis-match dishes, etc).

The seasonal purge will keep your closet from being too cluttered, and may help you “remember” all the great clothes in your wardrobe.