Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan
Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan
Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

I continue to feel incredibly self-conscious about all this wardrobe planning — especially since I’m doing it publicly — but dang it’s fun and useful! So I’m just gonna get over that. Like I said last week, simply isolating the key players and laying them out in a grid of photos is wildly beneficial for seeing what I have to work with and spotting combinations I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. There’s an extent to which you could look at that grid and just pick a top, a bottom and a pair of shoes, and I could probably sit and do that all day and come up with who knows how many outfits if I wanted to literally represent each and every one of them — I won’t go quite that far. One thing I’m finding with the summer group, though, is there are quite a few tops in the lineup that really only work with maybe 1-3 of the bottoms — limited usage, but hey, perfectly good outfits.

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

If this were me working on a packing list, there are pieces that would get cut for not being re-combinable enough. But this whole exercise is about finding ways to wear the things I already made/bought and have allotted space for in the closet. (And making sure I’m making wise decisions about where to spend my future making energy.) Plus many of them may also have a larger role in other seasons, so it’s fine for them to factor in more lightly for summer, for variety. (One thing to note, though: If it involves sandals, it’s not a work outfit, so I’m mentally looking at each of those and asking if there’s an excessive-A/C alternative. If it’s sleeveless, it has to accommodate a cardigan or jacket or it’s also not safe for work.)

Or take the case of this linen Fen top:

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

That’s really three versions of the same outfit, and while I like it/them and will wear it/them, it’s a tiny bit dour, even for me. (The first, the best one, can be seen in full outfit sketch form below.) There are other bottoms it technically goes with, but which I’m not including because I know I won’t wear them. For example, it works with the khaki pants but that’s even drearier. It’s perfectly fine with jeans, but just not me somehow. It’s a hair too short for wearing with the camo pants, since I’m not of midriff-bearing age. (Although I apparently am still of camo-wearing age! lol) It’s adorable with the full grey skirt — that’s probably its best outfit, objectively speaking — but on me that’s way too girly. So I’m limiting how much it gets used.

Then there are the really hard workers, starting with that soon-to-be go-to, my ash linen Sloper in progress, at the top of this post. As you can see, it will go over both of my skirts, all five pants and 3 out of 5 dresses — that’s an outfit a week for 10 weeks right there, at minimum. Knitting time and money well spent!

Likewise the sleeveless black tops I made last year (one hemp jersey, one silk gauze), and the two white tops I have at the top of the sewing list right now (white linen tee — also to be done in black linen — and white cotton sleeveless top—

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan
Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

The modified slip dress will also be a fabulous use of a little bit of time, since shortened and be-pocketed, it will be able to be worn many different ways, and will easily accommodate an outer layer for work. This little refashion is top-most priority.

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

And what about the pieces I’m trying to be more deliberate about wearing more often? You can see the black, 20-y-o Katayone Adeli skirt factoring in throughout this post, which is marvelous — and makes the full black linen skirt on my to-sew list a less pressing matter. Other pieces I wear only occasionally but love and want to bust out more are the little ivory Meg-made sweater and the black chambray top I sewed up from some scraps back in 2014, just before we moved.

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan
Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

Possibly the smartest addition to my closet in recent months (of which there have been precious few) was one I thought might be the opposite. When I bought the Nade Studio tunic on impulse at Porter Flea in December, I thought it might be a mistake: I love supporting Maggie’s business and love the piece, but worried that it simply wouldn’t get a lot of use — that it wasn’t very versatile. Once I started playing summer closet rummy, though, I realized it’s actually the star of the show. It looks amazing worn open over a dress or buttoned over a skirt — the skirt just peeking out from that arc in the front hem. These are actually the outfits I’m most excited to get to wear.

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan
Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

To my great astonishment, going through the process of these Summer 2017 Wardrobe posts has transformed my lifelong dread of summer dressing into something resembling optimism or maybe even excitement. Never thought that was possible. Which isn’t to say I’ll ever feel as at-home in a dress and sandals as I do in a sweater and jeans, but it’s a major and welcome improvement.

There are over 70 outfits pictured here, without exhausting the possibilities of these 30-ish items. Not every piece from the inventory wound up being included here, and admittedly several of those that are here don’t yet exist or are awaiting mending/alterations — but nor have I accounted for a couple of other garments on the make list, each of which represents another good clump of options. All told, it seems like I’m in amazingly good shape, as long as enough of these prove workplace-worthy. And I’m already worked up about exploring how everything here (and some of the never-worn Paris combos) will come into play for fall!

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

For the details on any or all of the garments seen here, see last week’s Closet Inventory (which I’ve updated with pics of the new and previously-missing items).

Oh, and lest I forget, these are my topper options — one WIP and one on the make list:

Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

(Fashionary sketch templates via Fringe Supply Co.)

PREVIOUSLY in Summer ’17 Wardrobe: The make list

23 thoughts on “Outfits! : The Summer 2017 plan

  1. Thank you so much for doing this (and publicly!). I understand your self-consciousness, but I can’t tell you how much it is helping me to be truly, deeply thoughtful about my purchases and my making. And not only is getting dressed in the mornings is getting easier and easier, but it I am finding that I am feeling like I present more authentically which feels really good! Thank you again for blazing the wardrobe planning trail like this!

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  2. Karen, would dyeing the linen Fen top make it more versatile considering the color palette of your bottoms? I could see it working with everything you’ve listed if you went with either a faded rust or an olive.

    I’m enjoying your adventure!

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    • I actually really like that top (it was originally just a muslin I wound up finishing), and I am a fan of natural linen when worn with an actual color, so I’m keeping that in mind for future planning.

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  3. Wow! So fun! I commend you for doing this at all, let alone publicly, and in such detail! So many things for me to pore over.

    I’m at the point right now that I think you were at when you began your big closet purge a few years ago. I realized this morning that I am wearing literally the exact same outfit – the same items! – as I wore in high school!!!!!! I know the ills of closet purges but I feel this overwhelming need to start fresh – keep the items which work for me and make me look my age, and responsibly rehome the others. I don’t feel too worried about the closet clean-out as the town I live in has a lovely anticapitalist free thrift shop; the clothes will find their way into another home and be recycled through the neverending in-out of this clothing cupboard. I also don’t really have that many clothes to begin with….so really I will be only rehoming a small handful of items.

    Refilling the closet is the question, as I have a very limited budget…slow and steady wins the race (I think….I hope, or else my coworkers will have to make peace with me wearing the same thing Every Darn Day this summer)

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  4. I have just emerged (albeit not completely) from a crazy couple of weeks so I’m just catching up now. One of my goals for this Me-Made-May has been to wear some of the things I’ve made that simply haven’t found their place in my wardrobe, and your action plan is quite helpful when it comes to envisioning options. I also, as usual, admire the clear style line that runs through your choices – even the “girly” ones.

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  5. Echoing what’s been said above, I love these posts and appreciate your willingness to put this out in the universe. I love the Nade tunic outfit options in particular, I’ve been seeing a lot of shirt-dresses-as-dusters on style blogs and wondering how feasible (vs. funny looking) it would be in real life, but I feel like the proportions and linen make that tunic very functional as an unbuttoned layer — like a super light jacket, a way to be a bit more covered up in the summer sun. Going to mull that over as a possibility for my own wardrobe… I think the new Kalle Shirtdress pattern would be a good starting point for something similar.

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    • It’s just a funky enough shape to work for me this way, and it makes me like it even better than I originally thought I did, so that was a nice discovery. And the color is magnificent.

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  6. I LOVE those silver shoes. I have a pair of silver and cognac Dieppa Restrepo oxfords from a few years back that I adore, and make the rest of my basic wardrobe look a lot more interesting!

    I’m leaving for a 2-week trip to Europe on Saturday (which includes Paris!) and I’ve been inspired by your travel wardrobe in putting my own together!

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  7. This was so inspiring! I love your summer outfits. They are varied, yet seem so aesthetically consistent and striking–that is, they seem “you.” Though I don’t dress at all like you, and I don’t plan nearly as much, I love the way this series makes me take a new look at combinations within my own wardrobe and just helps me generate some enthusiasm for all the lovely things I am lucky enough to have to wear and the beautiful days in which I will be wearing them. Thanks, Karen.

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