that fill you up on a deeper level, and seek out more of those experiences.
This is the truest, most timeless form of self-care.
It costs nothing other than your attention,
asking that you live with your eyes open.
I love the idea of versatile dresses that can not only be worn on their own, but can adapt to many uses, occasions + seasons. The images above come from Richer-Poorer, + I think they've captured this idea to perfection!
A classic, black, slip dress is always the first versatile dress that comes to my mind, but there are so many other options as well. There may even be a dress or two in one's closet with possibilities previously untapped. Here are a few less-basic dresses that would be just as comfortable with trainers as they'd be with strappy sandals...a sweatshirt or a blazer...a cropped tee or a cashmere cardigan.
When looking for a versatile dress I think of all the pieces that could work with a dress + then I consider if they would layer well with the dress I'm considering. A few things I keep in mind:
-a non-waisted or raised waist dress will work well with shorter + longer tops...a dropped waist limits these options
-a sleeveless dress has more potential to layer over + under well without any extra bulk or bunching at the shoulders
-look for dresses that would be breezy summer options on their own as well
-a little wiggle room in fit is good for layering over other pieces
-keeping the neckline from being too high increases the ways that things can layer on top
-natural fabrics layer best...no static cling
A carefully chosen dress can be layered under + over lots of the things already in one's closet...over a slim tee or merino turtleneck...or under any number of things. I love the versatility of layering a dress under a tee, sweatshirt, tunic or even that same slim tee, so that dress becomes a skirt without any extra bulk or tightness at the waist. I've tried to stick with some basic layering pieces here, but trying not-so-basics like a flouncy sleeved top or smock could be great layering options as well.
I love that a single piece can wake up so many other piece already in one's closet. Suddenly many of those pieces can be appreciated in a whole new way.
All lovely photos via links.
Every so often I like to look around + try to see our space with new eyes. I try not to look for things to add. I try not to be dissatisfied with what is. I just like to hit the reset button. Are things working? Are we still using that desk? Is that stool necessary?
We've moved often enough to know that "more" is almost never the answer...but "more" is often what we think will improve things. When I instead change my perspective to look for what is truly necessary, my contentment grows.
A little "enough" therapy is sometimes in order. These images point me toward what is necessary...and also restful + beautiful. All that a bedroom needs...really needs...is a place to sleep. A light + a plant might be nice...but a bed...a bed is an incredible thing! A soft place to stretch out + dream. It never ceases to make me smile, when I sink in at night.
We can take a bed for granted. It's a given. We are going to have a bed in the bedroom...now what else can we add? But if we start to see a bed for what it really is...we can start to value it for the fantastic thing that it is all on its own. Now instead of seeing the room as lacking a certain chair or thing to hang on the wall, we can see that we already have all that we need.
I can't write this without thinking of all of those who don't have a safe place to sleep at night. Donating to a local shelter, organization working with refugees abroad or those closer to home would be a great way to manifest our "enough" with generosity + to share a tiny bit of comfort with others. I've linked just a few options...there are so many others.
All lovely images via links.
Why can't the United States get its act together in regards to our plastic problem? I link article after article here about initiatives other countries have established to address plastic use (+ yes, there are a few places that have begun to address the issue here in the States). Yet many (most?) Americans seem to believe that there is no solution, so why even try.
Apparently The Guardian, a British newspaper, has decided that someone has to address our problem, + it might as well be them. One of the articles in this ongoing series addresses myths about plastic that many of us need cleared up, but no specific solutions have been given in many cases. Here are a few simple zero-waste solutions to the myths they highlighted:
1. "Your coffee cup probably isn't recyclable"
Solution: A reusable cup. Make coffee at home from bulk beans put in a cloth bag, bin or jar brought from home. Drink it in a cup at home or take it along in a reusable cup or thermos. Keep a reusable cup at work. Take a reusable cup to the coffee shop.
2. "Toothpaste tubes need special treatment" (+ Terracycle is not the solution)
Solution: A box of baking soda. Get your family on board by employing an intermediate step, if necessary.
3. "Don't be fooled by food containers" (most are not recyclable)
Solution: Farmers' market + some reusable bags + bins from home. Garden. Eat seasonally. Enjoy produce that can be bought without plastic. Use the bulk bins + containers from home. Carry a water bottle instead of buying bottled drinks. Buy products in returnable containers (like milk or kombucha in glass jugs).
4. "Yes, your recycling needs to be cleaned"
Solution: Make less of it + clean it at the end of the washing up with leftover, grey water.
5. "Plastic bags are a recycling plant's nightmare"
Solution: Reusable bags. But...if you end up with a frozen corn bag, for example, wash it out + put it in the special plastic bag recycling receptacle at the grocery store.
6. "Those little arrows? They don't mean anything" (three arrows in the shape of a triangle)
Solution: Skip the plastic.
7. "Plastic can't be recycled for ever" This is a really big one. According to this article, experts say that plastic can only really be recycled once or twice. Often it is recycled into polyester, which we now know sheds microfibers into the ocean + air.
Solution: Avoid as much plastic as possible.
The bottom line is that we just need to skip the plastic...and a little know-how helps. Disposable plastic, single-use plastic + polyester fabrics can be avoided with some increased awareness + habit shifts. We can choose natural materials instead of plastics in most other cases (toys, storage containers + other household items). In addition to our personal action, we can kindly share a better way with our friends + anyone who asks what we're up to with our "weird" actions at the grocery store, farmers' market, playground, school pick-up, barbecue, etc. We can also ask them to join us in asking our cities + regions + states + governments to ban single use plastics.
Reading about Sarah who found a basic tee that could carry her through the next twenty years in style had me thinking about uniforms again this weekend. The appeal of a uniform for me is less about the daily savings of time getting ready + more about the overall decrease in time + money spent trying to figure out what to wear.
My wardrobe has always been a bunch of basics with a smattering of unique pieces thrown in. I would imagine many people's wardrobes are similar in this way. When the basics are lacking, it can all just feel like a mess of things that don't work. With the basics in place, the other pieces sing.
So...here is what I'm thinking for summer: a few solid tank tops + a few basic pairs of shorts. As needed, these pieces can mix with the other pieces in my wardrobe to make a sort of uniform with options. If I find the perfect "special" piece to add to this little collection of basics...great. If not...I have what I need. I've been thrifting + sewing + browsing a few fair pieces with varying amounts of success...so...fingers crossed.
Photos via links.
We did a little sun printing this week. The collection of bits for printing was a great way to add a little more observation + awareness to our regular walk around the neighborhood. (I came across this paper at our local plant store, but have used this type as well.)
Empathy rooted in action.
A favorite summer treat.
Wearing the same thing every day.
Fashion + sustainable development goals (free online course).
A different approach.
Windows = solar panels.
Two years until no more single use plastic.
Have a spectacular, simple, summer weekend, friends!
Sometimes I wonder if the styles we keep coming back to have to do with the styles we came of age to. This seems to be the case for me. I felt such an incredibly deep connection to mid-80s Esprit + Benetton catalogs. Happy, real people modeling happy, comfy clothing. The colors, the fabrics, the love, the vibrancy...I loved it all. It felt so invigorating + exciting + fun.
Do certain styles imprint on us + establish a long term connection? Or are some of these styles just the enduring ones? Do certain proportions seem right to us because of early exposure + connection or are they truly the most universally pleasing to the eye?
Sometimes I just wonder about my own preferences + how I came to them. The 80s have been having a resurgent fashion "moment", so I'm aware of that connection, but some of the fundamentals seem to carry through time for me. I've always been drawn to a slightly cropped pant. I like slouchy sweaters with a slim leg. A slightly oversized button down appeals more than a fitted one. Would I feel differently if I'd been a teenager in the 70s?
It's crazy to realize that some of the sewing patterns I connected so deeply with when I was a teenager have become some of my most sewn patterns today. I've sewn a bunch of shorts + pants + even a dress from one vintage Esprit pattern. Wearing these pants today just prompted some thought...and these Esprit images still make me happy, so... :)
All images came from various sources around the web, but ultimately the photo credit goes to Susie + Doug Tompkins' Esprit.
P.S. Sew House Seven's newly released Free Range Slacks seem to be almost identical to my favorite vintage pants pattern...simple + comfy...+ pockets!
Summer is the season to sew for...crisp tops + breezy dresses make good use of easy-to-sew cottons. I've been gathering a few ideas of what I might like to wear in the months ahead...and one of those ideas is a little shorts jumpsuit like I've drawn here. A trip to JoAnn (because I wanted to get sewing right away) offered up some tencel/linen + thread for less than $17.
Next comes some heavily hacked pattern prep. I haven't made too many patterns without changes...and I started sewing my own clothing when I was in seventh grade. There were no internet tutorials or pattern making books in our library in those olden days. :) I say this only to encourage going for it. Most pattern hacks just make sense.
I don't often find a pattern exactly the way I want it. I do like to use patterns, however, because most of the work is done. Want a round collar instead of a pointy one...round out the points. Wider legs...cut them wider from the hip. Once a collar or pants or sleeves have been sewn...a good deal of knowledge is there. Add a collar to a shirt without one. Raise the rise of a pair of pants. Think it through. The easiest method usually works. :)
I've made this particular pattern a couple of times before (thank you Marilla Walker! It's a good one!), so some of the adaptations are already proven...raised rounded neckline, straight seam across the back, back cut on fold, removed pleats, lengthened pockets. A few alterations were added...one size smaller, shorten the bodice, increase the rise of the bottoms + pockets to accommodate, lengthen the button opening, widen the legs, shorten the legs to shorts.
All but the buttons, button holes + hems are finished now. And...I already have my next project planned. :)
What are you working on? I'd love to hear! :)
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time