Category Archives: questions & thoughts

Hitting the pause button.


Hitting the pause button.
Taking a minute.
‘One moment please.’

I’m hitting the pause button on this project, for the moment.

I already mentioned the stomach problems I’m dealing with.
Still not sure what it is. More doctors this week.

But on top of that,
my apartment needs to be treated for bed bugs.

The exterminator found sheddings, and I squished something that looks an awful lot like a bed bug (but was too squished for the exterminator to ID.)

So, the whole apartment needs to be treated.
This includes washing & drying, cleaning and packing everything.

Clothes. Linens. Fabric. Yarn.

Which means all my fabric & yarn, plus most of my clothes are currently sitting in giant Ziploc bags, and I’m living in jeans & black tank tops again.

Cleaning, washing, packing.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
(It’s a lot like moving without the change of address.)

So I’m hitting pause on the self-made wardrobe project.
I will hit unpause.
It just might take a bit.

You can always find me at

Hitting the pause button.
‘One moment please.’

How do you define personal style?

personal style

I’m working away on the next chapter of the book, and I’m mulling around the question of “personal style.”

What does it mean?
How do you find it?
Once you find it, how do you define it?
Do you even need to know what your personal style is anyway?

So I thought I’d ask you:

How do you define “personal style?”

Either, how do you define the term “personal style,” or how do you define your own personal style, or any other way you can read that question.

Hit reply, shoot me an email, or send me a thought on twitter or instagram.

Where do you spend your time? And how does it affect what you wear?

Since it’s a working from home in pajama pants kind of day here, I thought you might like an excerpt from this month’s chapter of the book.

This month I asked & answered 5 questions to get clarity around exactly what I want from my wardrobe, came up with a whole bunch of clarity, and a “shopping” list.

One of the questions I asked was “where do you want to wear you wardrobe” and “where do you need to wear your wardrobe.”

And since I’m writing this in my pajamas from my couch I thought these two pages were quite appropriate for today.

It’s a bit on long side so grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and without further ado, pages 14-15 (of 41), from Chapter 1 of The Self-Made Wardrobe Book:


Where do you want to wear your wardrobe?
Where do you actually need to wear your wardrobe?
Where do you spend your time? And how does it affect what you wear?

Do you spend most of your day in an office? Or at home? Who do you primarily interact with? Co-workers? Family? Your cat? Other freelancers at the coffee shop? What are the standards (spoken or unspoken) of the places you spend your time in?

There may be some overlap between this answer and the answer to “what do you need from your wardrobe,” and that’s ok. It just means that the aspects that overlap are important parts of your wardrobe.

Where do you need to go (and presumably wear clothes to)?
What do you need to wear to work?
Do you have any hobbies that kind of require a certain type of garment? Working out? Hiking?

Ballroom dancing? Aerial gymnastics? Do you do a lot of stuff around the house or apartment? Do you need clothes you could rip up flooring in? Or garden in?

Do you need clothes that could get splattered in mud or paint?

Do you have kids? I don’t know much about kids, but I know they’re messy. Or pets? Having a black cat and a white wardrobe, or a white dog and a black wardrobe takes some pretty fancy lint- brush work.

None of the questions I’m asking are meant to exclude nice things from your wardrobe, but rather, to encourage you to plan ahead, so you’re less likely to ruin your favorite dress.

Where do you want to be going?

If you had an entire day, no commitments, no scheduled events, nothing you had to do, but you could do anything. Where would you end up going? Coffee shop? Bar? Library? Restaurant? Park? Shopping? Wandering? Exploring? Hanging out with friends? At home in your pjs? The city? The country? The ocean? A lake? What would you want to wear that day, to each of those places?

My answer for these questions has a lot of overlap with my answers for “what do I need to wear” and will overlap again with my answers for “what do I want to wear,” but maybe yours don’t. There’s a reason it’s called personal style.

I need a wardrobe that can easily transition between all sorts of places.

A wardrobe that can stand up to hours of walking, and hours of sitting, and hours of standing, all of which take different tolls on your body, and all of which are uncomfortable after a certain point. I need my wardrobe to go from downtown to midtown to uptown, from film sets and theaters to shops, offices, workshops, studios, and everywhere in between.

I live in New York City, which means I need my wardrobe to pass the NYC once over without looking like a tourist or a total slob, but living in NYC also means that I would have to wear something pretty crazy before people really started staring.

All this combines to mean I need a versatile wardrobe that can get dressed up or down. A wardrobe that always looks artsy but not crazy, put-together but not boring. I guess that’s one of the tricky things about my chosen life: I need a wardrobe that can do everything, and do it all well.

It’s totally ok if your wardrobe wants and needs are different from mine. I don’t think my wardrobe wants and needs are all that typical.

When you think about where you need and want to wear your wardrobe, also think about your community. I have a whole chapter planned about fitting in, identity, community and how those aspects of our lives influence what we wear. But the short version…

You don’t need to feel the desire to “keep up with the Joneses” to feel the desire to fit into your social group. Connecting to people you feel connected to is not a bad thing, and clothing is one way we connect to other people, it’s one of the ways we say “these are our people.”

It’s true that we shouldn’t judge people by what they’re wearing, we should give people the benefit of the doubt, and surrounding ourselves with a wide range of people and opinions probably makes us better individuals. But it’s also true that we judge people by what they wear. There’s a reason the fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.

What we wear matters because we judge other people by what they wear, and we judge ourselves by what we wear. Clothing is one of the ways we fit in with the people around us, and we wear similar clothing the people we feel connected to.

You could be the most open-minded-ass liberal, and you could think you’re way above all this shit, but you still judge people by what they wear. If a chick in a pastel sweater set and no tattoos walked into your Williamsburg or Lower East Side coffee shop or bar you would judge her in an instant. So don’t even try to get up on your high horse.

Fitting in is a very basic desire, and fitting in with people you feel connected to is nothing to be ashamed of. We’re social creatures so fitting in isn’t a bad thing.

Just as long as you don’t loose yourself trying to fit in somewhere that doesn’t work for you.

Where do you spend your time?
And how does it affect what you wear?

Want to read the rest of the chapter? Buy chapter one of the book.

Anything you particularly want to see from the self-made wardrobe?


It’s the un-hemmed skirt I mentioned yesterday!

We’re about a week and a half in to this project and I’m starting to feel like I might have a bit of a handle on it.

I certainly need more clothes, but at the same time I’m not scrambling for something to wear every morning. (just some mornings)

So I thought I’d ask, is there anything in particular you want to see? Sewing tutorials? Styling tutorials? Clothing/accessory round ups? Project details? More writing-questions & thoughts?

If you’re getting this post in your inbox, hit reply and let me know.

If you’re reading on the blog, shoot me an email or tell me on twitter. (you can also sign up to get blog posts in your inbox here.)

I love hearing from you, so let me know what you want to see.

I’m wearing an unfinished skirt.


Basic black tank, an unfinished skirt, and a whole bunch of jewelry.

I’m kind of sick of all my clothes at the moment, (all five of them), so I spent most of yesterday sewing, and couldn’t come up with anything I liked.

One of the problems I’m running into is something I pointed out in the first fabric post, which is that I gravitate towards light colored fabrics, but prefer wearing dark colored clothing.

Plus, I prefer wearing separates, but have been concentrating on sewing dresses.
I don’t know. But I should probably remember to buy dark fabric, and concentrate on making  separates.

That being said, I whipped up this skirt this morning and love it! It’s not done but I’m wearing it anyway. It’s a basic 6 panel maxi skirt that I gathered at one hip.


I know this photo is a little blurry, but you can see the draping a little better.

The skirt is wrinkly, un-hemmed, and I want to add a second layer of the same fabric to it, plus the gathering is currently being held in place by a safety pin.

But I love it. So there.


A better look at the print, and some of the rings.

PS. Chapter one of the book is now available!!! Wheeeeeeee!


A disconnect between what we wear and what makes us happy.

I see a disconnect between what we wear and what makes us happy.

In my own wardrobe, I know that I want to wear long flowing layers, but I always revert back to jeans an tank tops. I know that I want to feel amazing when I walk out the door, but most of the time I feel kind of sloppy.

I see women who want to feel good about themselves wearing clothes that make them feel cheap, or ugly, or fat, or any number of a hundred other things we internalize about ourselves.

I see a society that tells us we are a problem, just so it can sell us the solution.
And we buy it.

Because we want to.
Because buying a fake solution is a hell of a lot easier than finding a real one.

Questions I’m Asking & Answering

What do you want from your wardrobe?
    What do you need from your wardrobe?
            Desire and necessity.
            What do you want? And what do you need?
            Why do you want what you want? And why do you need what you need?

    Where do you want to wear your wardrobe?
    Where do you actually need to wear your wardrobe?

    How do you want to build your wardrobe?
    How do you need to build your wardrobe?
        Fantasy and practicality.
        Where do you want to go? Where do you need to go?
        How do you want to obtain clothes? How do you need to obtain clothes.

    Who are you? How do you dress?
    Who do you want to be? How do you want to dress?
        Present and future.
        Who you are now, problems and all?
        Who do you want to be, including new challenges and new solutions?

The questions I’m asking and answering in this month’s chapter of the book.

Clothing is most powerful when we dress for ourselves.

notebook writing on fashion

I’m in the middle of writing and editing the first chapter of the book, and it feels like that’s where all of my words are going. So I flipped through my notebook and stumbled on this.

In case you can’t read my scribbling:

I believe that clothing matters, style matters, and fashion is the most intimate signifier of culture.

I believe all clothing is a costume, and all costumes are indicators of identity.

I believe how we dress matters. I believe it influences & indicates how we see ourselves, even when we don’t think it does. So changing our clothes changes how we see ourselves and therefore changes how other people see us.

Clothing is most powerful when we dress for ourselves.

I believe fashion can be art.


And with that I go back to my editing, and my attempts not to panic about how close June 1st is.

Personal style is imagined, not bought.

Just a quick thought today.

When I was a child,
I went through a period of time,
where I would only where dresses,
with full skirts.
Dresses designed to spin, and swirl, in.

What if,
instead of finding our personal style,
we remembered it?

Not the hot pink tutu, paired with polka-dot leggings, and a chocolate smile.

But the feeling,
joy, delight, wonder,
swishing, spinning, swirling,

What if we don’t need to start from scratch?

What if personal style wasn’t something we found?
Or bought?
But was something we imagined?
And remembered?

Personal style is imagined, not bought.



What type of garment have you just always fought with?

What type of garment have you just always fought with?

Maybe it’s a type of item you’ve just never liked, no matter how hard you try.
Maybe you’ve had a hard time finding styles you like.
Or pieces that fit.
Or colors.
Or cuts.

For me it’s blouses.

I don’t really have blouses in my wardrobe.

I have tank tops and camis I wear everyday.
I have t shirts I never wear.
And I one or two draped tops I never wear either.

Whenever I’m out shopping or wandering down the rabbit hole of Internet shopping I always browse through the blouses and tops looking for something, anything that would begin to build my wardrobe’s selection of tops. But never really found anything I liked.

I though up this project and thought “great! I’ll finally have a wardrobe that involve blouses. I’ll find some great blouse patterns out there and it’ll be fantastic.” But I’m browsing through sewing patterns and still not finding tops I like. And I’m browsing through Pinterest, and blogs and the larger rabbit hole that is the web, and all the photos I like are super simple tank tops or long sleeve shirts paired with jeans, skirts, over shirts, sweaters, and jackets.

I’ve always been on the lookout for tops and blouses because I could never fine ones I liked and because I thought I was suppose to have them.

But what if, instead I accepted the face that blouses really aren’t my thing, embraced the tank top, and focused on making some amazing over shirts and jackets, because I love those, and find them so much more interesting.

Because making a bunch of blouses and then never wearing them would seriously suck.