The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Overdressed – the book

If you’ve been here for a while, you know that I’m an advocate of “investment dressing”, although I’m not sure that’s a good title.  What I really like is a closet full of clothes that I use so that when I open the closet door…..this is what happens!

Well, you know what I mean – my clothes don’t actually talk to me!  But they sorta do, and this is what you’re closet should do for you – no matter what you’ve been told or what you have settled for in the past.

I’m reading an excellent read right now that makes the case for this big time. Overdressed:  The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.  If the title doesn’t get you the inside will.  It is an in-your-face of the author’s struggle to come to terms with the way we Americans, in particular, buy clothes.  Marketers and designers alike want the Americans to buy clothes a lot, so they have sought out to cheapen and so undermine the quality of the clothing that it’s a miracle that it lasts enough to be shipped and put on a hanger in the store.

In my current class, one of my students is copying a dress that her daughter likes, but wants mom to copy it for her.  Why?  The dress has shrunk and the seams are a grandiose 3/16″ to 1/8″ – now what’s up with that?  It’s a miracle it held together.  But here’s the kicker – it’s from a major American designer.  My student’s daughter was thrilled to get the dress – now really….what’s up with that?

That’s what this book is all about – how we have been taught to expect sub-standard quality for the sake of having fashion at the drop of a hat that lasts about as long.

I’ve often made the point here that I encourage my sewing students to not to compare themselves to the lesser quality garments, but rather to the higher quality garments.  Now that sounds like I’m asking my students to be egotistical about their sewing, but I’m actually asking them to be more frugal than the lesser quality item.  Yeah, that sounds like I’ve really gone off the deep end.

Again – do some simple math…you buy a pair of shoes for $35  – sounds like a bargain doesn’t it…well you wear them each about 2 or 3 times, or maybe not at all, and then you buy another pair later for another 35 in another 2 months….so that means you’re getting about $11/a wearing.  Or you buy a great pair of Prada’s (or equally nice pair of shoes) for $550 and you wear them for 10 years, about 30 times a year at minimum – that’s $55/year – or about $1.84 a wearing.  In the meantime every time you wear the Prada’s you enjoy them, you feel good in them.  They are well made so they last for 20+ years.  Which one is cheaper.

This is what is call investment wardrobe.  What this means is that you don’t add multitude of clothing each season, you add pieces.  This means you’re organized about what you need and what you like to wear, and this means that your closet begins to talk back to you:  “Wear Me!”  “I’m the best for today!” “I’m perfect!”  “You’ve always loved me and had a great time when you wear me!”  “Wear me PULHEASE!!!”

But how do you do this?  You can sit down and work through this yourself, and take hours and hours of time, or you can have a cheater’s list to get you to the meat of what you need fast.  I wrote a wonderful guideline and worksheet that helps you figure out not only what you need, but how to transform your closet into that wonderful area and filled with clothes that fit your lifestyle, not the you fitting into the clothes or what you thought the clothes were supposed to mean.  This is the base of what makes your wardrobe a wonderful tool for you, whether you’re conducting presentations for corporate American, or retired spending time between volunteering at the local library to perusing the local farmer’s market for the best in produce in season!

This is just one part of the library that’s available to members and with the deadline extended till Sunday for the introductory pricing, now is a great time to sign up.  As more product is added, you get to see it at this low introductory rate.

Why is this anywhere close to what we sewist need or for that matter want?…because if you know what you need, then your time sewing is spent working on what you really will use – not on what looks pretty in the flash of a moment.  As well, you will have a great idea about what works well for you and not be at the mercy of store buyers, designers and marketers who try to tell you what you should have or need.

To me this is the best form of empowerment – not only to choose what you can wear, but also to know that choice will work for you for many years down the road.

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