3 season wardrobe challenge: it’s the future, I have no wool clothes, and I’m going to prepare for cold weather for a year
Hello friends! Bear with me on today’s rambling post, would you? I promise I do (kind of) have a point in here somewhere.
I’m a big list maker and organizer. Especially when it comes to my wardrobe, and sewing and knitting projects. I start off with a big list each season with sections like “sew”, “knit”, “buy” with ideas, pattern names, types of fabric I might like, things I’ve seen that are inspiring me, things I want to buy, color palettes… this goes on for a week or two until the list is massive, I’m totally overwhelmed at the possibility of fitting all that into one season, and I never look at it again. Like I’ve organized myself into a stupor!
This autumn was no exception. Two weeks ago, I started a list that grew and grew. The problem is even worse this year, though: over the summer I did a big wardrobe clean out, during which I discovered nearly all of my winter skirts are too big. At the time I thought, “I’ll have to do something about that in the future” and then promptly forgot until now. It’s the future, I have almost no wool clothing, and I’m now on the cusp of either being cold this winter or wearing the same few things until I’m completely nauseated by them.
A couple of things I’ve said recently in person or online have opened my eyes to this. I said to Mel last week I rarely focus on colder weather sewing, I think in part because I find summer sewing so much fun. It was said not in an “I should fix that” way but more like a “that’s just the way it is” way. On Emily’s blog, she was recently talking about “sewing or freezing” and winter wear, and I chimed in about usually being well prepared for winter because it gets cold as hell where I live, plus I’ve been wearing vintage styles long enough that I have a lot of bases covered. Okay, very true in some respects, but when I made my comment, I’d completely forgotten about the closet clean out that’s left me with the option to basically wear cotton skirts with lots of layers or the same few pair of cigarette pants all winter. Whoooops.
And so I’ve hatched a plan that’s slightly outlandish.
For a year, I’m going to focus the majority of my wardrobe building on cool-to-cold weather projects. Things for winter, fall, and spring. Not summer.
When I think about it, I spend most of my wardrobe planning for the shortest season. Sun dresses, shorts, sleeveless tops, thin fabrics. Especially sewing. That just seems kind of preposterous, honestly.
I mean, I live in Chicago. I’m don’t live somewhere beachy and warm 300 days of the year, nor do our vacations typically take us any place warm out of season, either. And I bet I’m not the only one who finds they’ve focused a disproportionate amount of time on their warm weather wardrobe! That’s a lot easier for people who live where winter is cool and dreary or just occasionally really cold, and warm months stretch out a lot longer, but ladies in Montreal, Scandinavia, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Berlin… I know you feel my pain.
I do layer a lot, and like a transitional wardrobe where many pieces can get integrated into other seasons. But if I’m honest with myself (and you), I think I’ve lately used the term “transitional wardrobe” as an excuse to mostly mean “I really like summer clothes and I want to wear them throughout the year as much as I can.” I mean I love to wear some summer dresses with a cardigan and tights in the spring or fall, and because I typically hate the feeling of long sleeved shirts under sweaters, I layer long underwear under short sleeves and sleeveless shirts with a cardigan even in winter. But it also means I focus way more of my energy sewing and buying warm weather clothes. I think I’ve sewn two wool skirts in the last handful of years, only one of which I can still wear (the other was purged). And with the rest of the cold weather items that no longer fit or I long ago fell out of love with, that leaves a problem.
And on the other side of the coin is the fact that summery clothes are the easiest for me to find vintage or retro. There’s no shortage of things I could purchase or sew to make my closet sing a happy summer tune! Summer, I can get you covered easily! Winter… you’re another story. But I’m coming for you.
So that’s the background of my story. For about a year, I plan to focus almost entirely on building a cool and cold weather wardrobe that I love. Clothes for the other 8 months of the year!
Sewing and knitting what I can, finding vintage and secondhand, purchasing retro and repro. I’ll give myself some leeway in warmer months because I’m sure I’ll absolutely have to sew a few cute and summery things once it starts getting warm. But I typically don’t let summer stop me from knitting for cooler weather, so for a year, I’m not going to let it stop me from sewing for it, either. (Besides, if I added not one more iota of summer clothing to my wardrobe, I’d still get through next summer peachy keen!)
I’m going to call it my 3 Season Wardrobe Challenge basically so that I have something to hashtag my posts on social media and to keep myself on track. So #3seasonwardrobechallenge it is. No hard and fast rules or anything, and I’m not giving myself a set deadline, just saying roundabout an entire year. My goal is that this time next year, I’ll have several well thought out additions to my wardrobe that will make me feel really good about plunging into the cool and cold months ahead. (Um, as “really good” as one can get thinking about prospects of another Polar Vortex, say.)
So expect to see some inspiration posts and ideas, as I start to think this project through. Silhouettes, mix-and-match ideas, all that good stuff that I want to focus on. And by all means, feel free to join in! If this post speaks to you, jump on in, too. The more the merrier, so feel free to borrow the hashtag too! Or um, point me in the direction of great fabrics to sew with for winter (cheerful wool plaids, where are youuuu). Wools, flannels, corduroy, especially if it can be sourced online and is good quality—if you have a tip, speak up!
And I can say this: I’m already feeling less stressed out about cooler weather sewing projects in particular, knowing that I’m not sitting here like “OMG it all must be done in the next few months I need to start yesterday and I’ll never finish it all!!!” I can really take my time thinking about style and wardrobe planning, coming up with ideas for projects, and planning and executing all of that. And maybe by this time next year, I’ll feel a lot more prepared for the cooler months to come.
Since that idea sounds really appealing and exciting, I must be off to a good start! 😉