High summer wardrobe doldrums (er, I mean, uniform)

High summer wardrobe doldrums (er, I mean, uniform)

I just went back and read what I wrote as we were crossing summer’s threshold, and it’s hard to imagine I ever felt that optimistic about getting dressed for the weather! Here we are now in the worst of the swamp air season, and I’ve settled into a coping uniform. For some reason, despite the suffocating heat and their presence in my closet, I cannot put on a dress. I feel like an absolute imposter, so mentally uncomfortable that on the day I kept a dress on long enough to leave the house and drive to work, I  had to go home and change. I was so distracted and bothered I couldn’t concentrate! So I’ve settled into a morning routine that amounts to a modified version of “a t-shirt and jeans,” wherein the “t-shirts” are mostly sleeveless tees and shells I’ve sewn, and the “jeans” are my wide-leg pants, nearly always with a pair of sandals.

I feel cute most days, and it makes getting dressed easy (and almost entirely me-made!), but it’s a little depressing in its monotony — brightened by my orange Everlane sandals, which always bring the cheer. I’m hoping the frock problem is really a shoe problem. I really only like dresses (on me) with boots or booties, with just the right low heel, and I no longer own such a thing. So that’s the only thing I’m in the market for: maybe a clog bootie that would work equally well with wide-legs and jeans when fall rolls around? Meanwhile, I’m contemplating the Summer 10×10 challenge, wondering whether it would be redundant or might inspire me out of my rut. I did learn things from the spring one. Are any of you planning to participate?

(Details on the garments above can be found here.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Portugal, what I wore

Portugal part 4: What I wore

Portugal part 4: What I wore

I know a lot of you are like “yeah yeah yarn store spinner blessing blah blah WHATEVER — how did the packing work out??” Well, let me just tell you right off the bat: I did not pack right for this trip. I would have nailed it, had we only been there a week sooner. I’d been watching the forecast for weeks, and you may remember I was packing for this trip and for Squam at the same time because they were so close together as to necessitate two separate piles of clothing. I’d also researched weather norms in Portugal for June. And all indications were that it would be in the 60s to low 70s. (Ok, like SF, was how I was thinking of it.) I’d planned to take a bunch of sleeveless stuff, and threw in my usual silk Eliz Suzann top (with its sort-of sleeves) and my Archer button-up, worried I wasn’t going to be warm enough. By the time I actually zipped up the suitcase the night before, the predicted temps had climbed up into the mid-70s with one day in the low 90s. But by the time we hit the ground, a bonafide heat wave had sent in. It was in the mid-90s every day (and stayed hot all night), and I was both mentally and sartorially unprepared for it.

The one saving grace was that I had thrown in my black linen pants at the last second, wanting them for lounging around and for just-in-case. They wound up being the only thing I could really stand to have on, but I was forced to wear my heavy canvas pants and jeans for at least part of the time. The shirts with sleeves stayed in my suitcase the whole time (the sweatshirt was worn only on the plane, but I was happy to have it for that), and all I wore were my few sleeveless tees over and over, with a rotation of pants. I was a giant sweat ball the whole time.

I did look cute that one evening in Porto, up top, when it was just barely cool enough to wear my beloved denim vest. And I also wore the vest with my pajamas — i.e., the linen pants and a tank top — the day we spent knitting in the breezy living room at the mountaintop hotel (and on my flights to and from). By that point — after the dusty vineyard tour and the running of the sheep and so on — all of my pants felt filthy except for my jeans, which were brutal to wear back in the cobblestone oven of Lisbon, but it was unfortunately unavoidable.

My companions were much smarter and had each brought a dress or two, which they wore on repeat. The star of the trip was definitely Jaime’s red Brome maxi-dress, which you can read all about here. And I was also super envious of Keli‘s two breezy tencel Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt dresses, the black one of which she’s wearing in the group shot above — exactly the sort of loose garb you want at a time like that, and she looked great in them. Amber’s linen Fen dress and my linen pants made me vow to only travel with linen base garments from now on — additional layers to be determined by the weather on a per-trip basis.

So not my best packing outcome — but hey, I lived through it and you can’t tell in the pics how sweaty I am! Or why I’m wearing my pajamas on that drive down from the mountaintop. Below is the full blow-by-blow of what got worn when and how. (Some of these outfits make me sad just looking at them!) For garment details, see the packing list:

Portugal travel guide: What I wore

And there ends my tale. If you missed any of it, you can scroll through the complete set of Portugal posts here, and see the trip in motion in my Instagram Portugal Story. And you can see lots more photos from everyone else’s perspectives on the #portewegal feed. Thank you for indulging me in this voluminous travelogue!

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PREVIOUSLY in Portugal: Part 3: Mountains, wool and the sheep blessing

All photos © Anna Dianich

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Portugal packing list

Portugal packing list

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be somewhere in Portugal, which is blowing my mind. I just finally made it out of the Americas last year, when Bob and I went to Paris. And now I’m off to Portugal with my globe-trotting friends, thinking maybe there’s still a chance for me to learn their ways! I’d tell you what we’ll be doing while we’re there, but I barely know; all of the most intense planning conversations happened while I was out for Bob’s surgery and then while I was away at Squam. But I have complete faith that the women I’m traveling with have made amazing plans for us, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it when I get back.

Not really knowing what we’re doing does make packing a little mysterious! Along with a forecast that has changed pretty drastically in the past few days — shifting from low 70s to low 90s — and still includes a 20-degree swing while we’re there. So this is what I’m taking (pictured above) in the hope it will suit whatever happens. 12 garments for 12 wildly variable days:

– Denim vest (J.Crew, ancient)
Sweatshirt
– Silk smock  (Elizabeth Suzann 2017, no longer available)
Chambray button-up
Striped sleeveless tee
Black sleeveless tee
– Grey linen sleeveless tee (Everlane 2017, available again at the moment)
Green camisole
– Black elbow tee (Everlane, new)
Recycled demin wide-legs
Canvas wide-legs
– Jeans (J.Crew Point Sur, 2016, made in LA, no longer available)

Shoes: Veja sneaks (new), Everlane orange sandals (new, sold out); black Salt Water sandals (old) and trail shoes (very old). Plus a swimsuit and a pair of old hiking shorts. And as I’m typing this, I’m thinking rather than throwing in a pair of pj pants for when we’re just hanging around, I might grab my black linen Eliz Suzann pants instead, which are glorified pj pants that could also step into service if needed.

I do have blog posts queued up for while I’m away — some new, some resurfaced — and I hope to be able to respond to comments during this time, but please forgive me if I wind up having to catch up when I’m home! And of course, I’m sure to be oversharing on Instagram @karentempler if you want to follow along in real time.

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Squam packing list and outfits

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Almost-perfect sweatshirt + Squam packing list

Almost-perfect sweatshirt + Squam packing list

This past weekend, I packed two totally different sets of clothes for two very different trips: Squam Art Workshops and Portugal. Pretty much all of my current favorite garments went into the Portugal pile (show you later), which left me combing through my remaining clothes looking for just the right few things that are A) reasonably presentable enough to teach in, B) appropriate for tromping around in the New Hampshire woods, and C) suitable for the cool, changeable, early-spring weather (as I sweat here in Nashville). And also, I seem to have entered some phase where each time I pack I’m in some kind of competition with myself to see how few things I can get away with! So, y’know, just a few complications there. But thankfully I left myself some very helpful notes after last year.

The Squam trip is just five days: travel there, teach, teach, playtime/art fair, travel home. (Although it feels so long and peaceful in those woods.) Having just watched On Golden Pond, which was filmed on Squam Lake, what I really wanted was to dress exactly like Katharine Hepburn in the movie — i.e., a daily diet of big button-down shirts over a jersey turtleneck and trousers.

In reality, there are two things going in both suitcases — my trusty old denim vest and my recently finished grey sweatshirt, above. It is perfect in every way but one: I cut the fabric the wrong direction. But it’s fine! And I’m looking forward to having it along for sleeping in, for knitting on the screened porch at night, and of course for those chilly mornings on the dock before class. It’s Grainline’s Linden Sweatshirt, and all I did was raise the neckline about an inch all the way around. The fit is utterly perfect, and I’ll definitely make it many more times over the course of my life.

So I’m takig 7 primary garments (outfit clothes) in my Squam suitcase:

Squam Art Workshops packing list

Black cardigan
– Denim vest (J.Crew, ancient)
– Chambray shirt (hand-me-down)
Black shell
Striped shell
– Clay wide-legs (Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Culotte, made in Nashville, sample sale 2017)
– Jeans (Imogene+Willie Willie, made in US, 2017)

(Lots of overlap with last year.) Plus for around the cabin: the sweatshirt, a tee, old cutoffs and my thick black leggings. And since apparently my good ol’ Chucks were the only shoes I wore last year, they’re the only shoes I’m taking this year — hopefully no rain. I’m tempted to throw in my black turtleneck, just in case.

Funny to think I’ll be seeing some of you in the dining hall tonight!

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PREVIOUSLY: Squam 2017 reflections and outfits and Knitting in paradise

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Early summer outfits: Summer layers

Early summer outfits: Summer layers

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since moving to a place where summer happens and trying to locate myself in that, it’s that what makes me feel most like myself is layers. And that the onset of summer doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning that entirely. This is, after all, a land of air conditioning. I also have an insanely and thrillingly intense June ahead of me — two patterns due, two big trips to plan (and pack) for, lots of exciting stuff in the pipeline for Fringe Supply Co., an urgent need to compress a whole lot of work into the gaps of an unusual amount of travel, and thus even greater need than ever to not have to think about what to wear as I head into each action-packed workday while I’m home. So my early summer uniform is a necessarily simple formula: sleeveless layers.

Nearly all of the outfits below still work if you peel off the top layer when needed, so there you have my deep summer strategy! You may notice a discrepancy between the first “modeled” outfit up there and the garment lineup just below it. I had a moment with that floral top yesterday and an interesting discussion about it over on Instagram. But the bottom line is: that outfit needed a different top!

This round of Closet Rummy™ is far from exhaustive (and this is only using 24 of the 34 garments), but it’s demonstrative of how my [vest/smock + sleeveless/cami + pants] formula might play out in the coming weeks. For details on all of the garments pictured, see yesterday’s summer closet inventory.

Early summer outfits: Summer layers
Early summer outfits: Summer layers
Early summer outfits: Summer layers
Early summer outfits: Summer layers

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go see how many outfits I can make with those orange Everlane shoes I can’t stop thinking about …

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PREVIOUSLY in Summer ’18 Wardrobe: Closet inventory

Summer ’18 wardrobe: Closet inventory

Summer ’18 wardrobe: Closet inventory

Across the top row of this grid are what I’m calling the fixer-uppers: four pieces that need a bit of work before they can actually factor into my summer wardrobe. But I’m including them here in my summer closet edit anyway, as motivation to get it done:

– The tuxedo-pleated and ruffled cotton top is a garment I think of as a summer closet necessity. I always and forever love a sweet eyelet or ruffled white top (such as the one seen yesterday), paired with camo or faded jeans or beat-up khakis. I’ve been missing this element the past few years because I have this one, from J.Crew many years ago, which hasn’t been wearable for a while but I haven’t managed to replace. So I’ll be making that a priority and using this one as a stand-in when it comes to making outfit projections tomorrow. This one needs a dye job if it’s to continue on, so that’s two priorities in one photo: dye this one and make its white ruffled replacement.

– The (formerly) white linen shell is the one that got in with the blue load of laundry and now needs to be dyed a more decisive blue.

– The unfinished Clyde Jacket was a sample-sale score late last year, and I need to carve out and finish off some nice deep armholes to make it a super-funtional smock-vest.

– The jeans. They’re too thin to patch and too dear to let go, so I’ve got them on the waitlist with Indigo Proof! I’m hoping Rain can shore them up sufficiently, and hoping to have them back before the summer is over.

As those are fixed, they’ll join these ranks:

CAMISOLES, TANKS AND TOPS

Camisoles in green, indigo and black ikat
Meg-made sweater tee
Sweatshirt vest
– Linen muscle tee (Everlane 2017, available again at the moment)
Sleeveless tee in striped hemp jersey and black hemp jersey
Blue-striped shell (also: black silk gauze version)
– Dotted chambray tunic (Endless Summer, made by a friend)
Blue striped Fen top
Plaid top
Black chambray top
Chambray button-up
– Tobacco linen tunic (Nade 2016, no longer available)

VESTS AND SMOCKS

– Denim vest (J.Crew, ancient)
Black Anna vest
– Smock x 3 (State Smocks, upcycled, available on repeat — mine are all from 2017)

Also my beloved old trench-style vest (J.Crew c. 2010) seen here.

PANTS

Canvas wide-legs
Recycled denim wide-legs
– Clay wide-legs (Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Culotte, made in Nashville, sample sale 2017)
Camo wide-legs
Denim wide-legs
– B/w palazzos (Ace&Jig 2017, no longer available)
– Chinos (J.Crew 2015/16, no longer available)
– Linen palazzos (Elizabeth Suzann Florence, made in Nashville, sample/modified 2017)
– natural denim jeans (Imogene+Willie, 2016, made in LA, no longer available)
– dark cropped jeans (J.Crew Point Sur, 2016, made in LA, no longer available)

I’ve pulled out those old J.Crew chinos again, gonna give ’em another go, and I’ve got the b/w Ace&Jig pants in here but I think I may be selling them. They’re just a little too big, and combined with how gauzy/flowy they are, it’s a bit much for me.

DRESSES

Whoops, no, not factoring in any dresses right now. While I’m sure I’ll wear some of them — especially when we get into the thick of the summer soup — they’re not just key players for me, so I figure I might as well not fool myself about it.

SHOES

– Sneakers (Veja Wata, brand new!)
– Faux-snake flats (J.Crew 2017, made in Italy, no longer available)
– Tan flats (Solid State Studios, 2017, handmade in LA, custom order)
– Black huaraches (Nisolo Ecuador, 2017, responsibly made in their own factory)
– Tan sandals (J.Crew, c. 2009)
– Black sandals (Jane Sews, 2016, no longer available)
– Black patent flat clogs (No.6 Alexis, made in US, brand new!)

Of the 34 garments pictured, I’ve made 17 over the past five years (that’s half! plus one linked but not pictured); 2 were made for me by friends; 4 were made locally; 2 were made in LA; 3 are upcycled/refashions; 1 is from eminently transparent Ace&Jig; 1 is from Everlane, who swear they only uses the good factories so, y’know, fingers crossed; and 3 of the remaining four are from more than 5 years ago (the other one being a couple-few years old). Like I keep saying: It’s a slow process, building up a slow closet, but this is proof that if you keep at it over the course of a few years, it can be done!

All that aside, check out this lineup alongside yesterday’s mood board. How in-the-zone am I?

Summer ’18 wardrobe: Closet inventory

PREVIOUSLY in Summer ’18 Wardrobe: Mood and color

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Summer ’18 wardrobe: Mood and color

Summer '18 wardrobe: Mood and inventory

I started to make a Summer ’18 mood board at Pinterest the other day and realized that my ruling mood board right now (and always) is my All things lovely board, formed over the past nearly-ten years and really the inner me in Pinterest-board form. I want to listen to that more, and it’s telling me a LOT about myself right now, so for today I made the mini mashup mood board above, pulling from the two. Here’s what it says to me about how I want to dress this summer: breezy, light and loose, as usual; and in my normal palette range of watery blue/greens mixed with b/w, indigo, navy, russet-y pale browntones, and a little bit of stripe or pattern here and there. But it also tells me I’m craving some hits of stronger color. I’m particular feeling the red-orange and pinkish-red bits and want to work in a pop of that somehow, along with a spot of yellow. (This yellow top of Jaime’s is killing me.) An unexpected red shoe was my favorite styling trick of the late ’90s and early aughts, so with all of the above, I’m a little obsessed with these Everlane slides right now and might be acquiring them soon. I might also need to think about a pair of statement shades. ;)

All of this will influence my plans for Summer of Basics, coming up on June 1. But meanwhile, it’s making me feel pretty dang good about the state of my summer closet!

I’m genuinely excited about this summer, you guys. My first summer in Nashville, Fringe Supply HQ was in a windowless, airless, ventless, death trap of a room, and I dressed accordingly: tank tops, shorts, sandals and sweat. Then for the past three summers (as you’ve heard me drone on about), our little warehouse was meat-locker cold, to the point that I often had to leave by mid-afternoon to work somewhere I could recover the feeling in my fingers and the normal flow of blood in my brain. THIS SUMMER! This summer we have control of our own climate, and I can actually dress for summer — can enjoy the sleeveless clothes I love so much without worrying about bringing my wool coat to work with me, as I did last year. It’s so liberating, I don’t even have words to describe it! So tomorrow I’ll show you the roundup of my summer clothes that tie into the vibe above so nicely.

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Spring 10×01 Challenge, lessons learned