Friday, October 1, 2010

Fashion Homework

I’ve been doing my fashion homework lately. Normally with clothing I would just buy the odd thing here and there and add it to my wardrobe. I always get a bit stuck in summer with what to wear (we’re just coming into spring in the southern hemisphere).

My autumn, winter and spring look of jeans, a fitted shirt and flats or heels doesn’t quite work when it’s too hot. I tend to move into jeans, a summery top and more open sandals (and am still a bit warm).

In trying to branch out in what I wear I have been doing two things:

- Actually reading the fashion pages in magazines, taking note of the looks I like and where the clothes come from (mostly I just skip the fashion pages), and

- Observing what other people are wearing. Whenever I see someone stylish, with clothing on that I think I would like to wear, if possible I compliment them on their look and ask them where they got a particular item from. So far people have been happy to tell me. I do this is a conversational way, not in a ‘whip out my clipboard’ way.

I am planning on doing a few shop visits where I take the time to check out their stock. Since I’ve been saving money for so long now and wearing what I have, this is new for me. Thanks to the stylish people that have come across my path I have some new places to browse through.

I have also considered of some favourite pieces in my wardrobe, taking a pattern from them and having a go at making my own. I have two blouses which are fitted and have bracelet-length sleeves. I love them to bits mainly because they give the look of a fitted shirt but are made of a fabric which doesn’t need ironing. The shop I bought them from doesn’t do them anymore. I’m going to wear one into a big fabric store and see if I can get something similar, then have a day with my sewing machine.

We’re not lucky enough to get Brooks Brothers in New Zealand, so I’m a bit reluctant to order online one of their wonder shirts (small considerations like knowing what size and style to order). Maybe I’ll get brave and risk it. Our dollar is quite good against the US at the moment.

For those of you who dress more casual (working in a shop I think I wear clothing like a stay-at-home or work-at-home mother, much less corporate than when I worked in an office), what do you wear when it’s really hot? I’m not so much into three-quarter pants, shorts or skirts, so that just leaves me with longs. I thought perhaps a lightweight denim or linen?

Should I be reconsidering skirts? I just never know what top to put them them.

Maybe I should be summer-ising my winter uniform?


  1. hi fiona,

    i live in a very hot summer climate and i really don't like wearing shorts in public places like restaurants and such. i've been living in white linen pants pretty much all summer long. also, a pair of lightweight levis that i roll the cuff. i don't like 3/4 pants either. i do like lightweight skirts that i usually wear a white shirt with. i know i'm not very trendy but i am predictable.


  2. I hate summer because it's extremely hot where i live and dressing is a challenge. Although, I do like the idea of casual dresses for summer as they seem to be the coolest (temperature wise) thing to wear. Maybe if you want to mix and match with your existing tops, a skirt or two would be a better option. And I like Janet's idea of linen pants.

  3. Janet and Stephanie, thank you for your ideas. I think I will look out for some linen pants and casual dresses on my shop travels. Merci!

  4. Hello Fiona
    I'm new to your blog and have been going through your archives this week reading and enjoying everything you've written. You have a nice way of expressing yourself.
    I live in London and we don't really enjoy much in the way of summer here but I'm lucky enough to have a summer holiday in France every year. And I can't help but take note of what those stylish French women are wearing:-)
    I always see LOTS of linen, trousers and skirts, always in light colours - mostly white but also beige. (Proper trousers, not 3/4 length.) My personal feeling is that if you don't feel right wearing skirts that you should forget about them.

  5. Hi,

    It seems I spend most of my time, between the gym and yoga, in workout clothes; the clothes I wear for gardening are beyond discription.(-: It is so hot here in the summer that otherwise I wear cropped pants and tank tops or sundresses and try to dress it all up a bit with acessories. Winter offers more opportunity for fashion. post tomorrow will be on having nothing to wear for a special occassion - it seems we are all in the same boat. LOL

  6. Hi Fiona,
    I'd second the idea for casual dresses. I especially like ones with an empire waist that aren't too fussy. They seem to be flattering for every figure and they're so comfortable. I wonder if you'd enjoy a denim skirt in a pencil or A-line shape that hits about knee length. I used to have one that I wore all the time. It paired well with almost any kind of top that you would wear with pants, but it was cooler and more comfortable. You could probably wear it year round with boots and tights in the winter or sandals and bare legs in the summer.

  7. Jo, thanks so much for your kind comments. And too for your French holiday observations. I'm most envious that France is so close to you.

    La Vie Q, I agree, winter is easier and more fun to dress for.

    Charlene, some empire line tops and dresses make the wearer look pregnant. Not the look I am going for! A denim skirt is a great idea for me to look into. Merci.

  8. Fiona,
    You're so right about how some empire tops make people look pregnant--not a great look unless you actually are. I was picturing the straighter ones with less gathering and bulk. That kind might be harder to find.

  9. Hi Fiona,

    My solution has been similar to the other commentators; lots of pale linen tailored trousers (white, beige, tan) that are still machine washable since I have two toddlers, and pencil skirts in either cotton sateen or denim as these pair well with all of my tops that I would wear with pants. I still have trouble with ultra casual, though. We are going to a big playground on friday with playgroup when it will be 35 degrees, and i know that my pencil skirts or linen won't be practical - what to do?!

  10. Fiona,
    As already mentioned, lightweight linen trousers should do the trick. Get a wide legged pair and a straight legged pair. And try not to rule out skirts--they have become my summertime fave! I bought two linen A-line skirts, one khaki, one dark blue, that have a kind of "sporty" look to them and I pair them with embellished t-shirts (I am not a fan of the tank because of a rather large chest that I tend to camouflage at all costs). I wore these skirts all summer. Stay cool!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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