The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Make an Effort

A friend sent this to me the other day and I hadn’t had the chance to really look at it.  It’s a piece on the “nation of slobs” that we’ve become.  Many of my newer students are infatuated with the looks of the Mad Men or that more vintage look, and I have to wonder if they way these ladies dressed is part of the reason why.

From somthing like this:


Something happened along the way.

This is a great video sort of explaining how we got where we did with fashion, but for me, it’s just a matter of taking the bull by the horns and making a conscious decision to just dress up a little.

We could all easily dress down and be a little more casual, is sort of the message of the story, but dressing up means so much more.

Yes, it takes a little effort, but here’s the pay off.  And I really hate to be crass and down-and-dirty about this, but it IS the truth.

When you are out and about in something a little more formal that pajama pants (OK, let’s say our work-out gear, just to be nice), you get more respect, you get more attention (say at a store where you are looking for something), you get served faster, you get a better table at a restaurant, you get recognized (by those you want to) and not (by those you don’t want to), and this is just a fact of life.

A long time ago, I decided that there were a lot of things about this world I did not like.  And I figured I could spend my time righting all those wrongs and never get anything done I wanted to do, or I could learn to work with them and then change them as I went along.

I have never much like dressing down. When I’m invited someplace and not sure how to dress, I will ALWAYS over dress – this tells the hostess that I felt that her invitation was so special I had to dress up.  My idea of grubby is a nicely coordinated, more casual look than my normal everyday look.  Now, if I’m working around my home and doing chores, I will have on older, more worn-out clothes, but even when I’m hiking or biking, I’m wearing things that are well put together, and never, and folks I mean NEVER am I out in my biking shorts shopping or running by a store.  I will always have a skort, or nice wrap or something available to be more appropriately dressed, because as thin and in shape as I may get with my hiking and biking, I’m not interested in exposing EVERYTHING!

Let’s face it.  It’s better to keep some of it a secret!

But how do you do this?  What’s the secret between (as the news piece above says) a burka and going out nude?!

This is part of the fun and delight in developing your own style.  One of the things I like to use more than another is washed silk dupioni – I love making blouses, tops, capris, and all sorts of garments out of this stuff.  It’s elegant to a certain degree, but not too formal;  it’s very comfortable and fairly easy to care for (silk does not retain dye well, so you have to be careful and wash with like colors).

Try working on either a fabric type or a style (tunic/capri – top/skirt – over-blouse/pant) for a look for you that will work as an everyday comfortable look.  This doesn’t have to be out of some formal ball gown type look, but neither does it have to be that crawl-out-of-bed type look as well.

Play with this and have fun.  There are so many more options available to you when you start dressing a little bit than the grubbier, sloppier look.  Colors, styles, combinations can all be a lot of fun, and with the upcoming summer color – it’s time to have fun with this.


  1. I know I’m sick of skinney jeans. They look good on about 1% of the people that wear them.

  2. You are SO right! And it isn’t just an american ‘problem’, here in Germany it’s hard to look at people wearing their casual clothing even at work. It is usual. So hard to believe…
    Yes, dress up, PLEASE!!!

  3. I am totally with you on this. I feel complete if I look nice and you bet it does take extra effort. I’m an office manager in a manufacturing company and I could easily wear jeans and a sweatshirt every day but that is not me…I like to wear a dress or at least look attractive in casual. Unfortunately the person you most hope to influence doesn’t see life the way we do and probably won’t take heed in dressing up. They will continue throwing on what is available with little forthought and be just as happy. I guess sometimes I envy them for that.

  4. Do you have any favorite patterns for your silk dupioni?

    I’ve had 4 m of golden silk dupioni in my stash for a couple of years now, but I’ve been reluctant to use it. I’m worried I’ll pick the wrong pattern and/or style, wasting both its beauty and my investment (it’s not cheap).

    • Molly – I do – and this is a great question, so I’m going to put up another post for this.

Leave a Reply