Sunday, December 4, 2016

The making of the jogger pants

It wasn't too long ago that I took the plunge into athleisure and wore jogger pants in public for the first time. Funny thing about jogger pants—I've never liked them. When I was a young un-unfashionista of around 8-11 years old, I wore almost nothing but coordinated sweatsuits. I wore them because they were comfortable, and because they were given to me, and because that was about all I had to wear. But I hated the way they looked. I hated the way the legs bunched up at the bottom with their stupid cuffs. When straight-legged, uncuffed athletic pants became the norm in the 2000's, I was thrilled beyond belief.

But now that tapered-leg joggers are the "cool" kind of pants, I felt like I must change with the times. Today's joggers are a little more slim-fitting and clean-lined than the bulky sweatpants of my youth. If not exactly gorgeous, at least they're slightly less hideous, so decided I'd give them a fighting chance. The only problem was, I wasn't about to spend my hard-earned money on a pair of ugly pants, even if they are fashionable. I was going to make my own!

Fortunately, I have quite a collection of leisure pants, including a pair of dark grey sweats that would be the perfect candidate for jogger-conversion!

I lopped a few inches off the bottom of each leg.

Next, I played around with how much width I wanted to remove from the bottom, pinning the excess fabric once I'd decided.

I reattached the bottom portion, making it much narrower than it had been originally. It had only one seam, so I put that at the back of the leg. I left the remaining leg fabric intact because I wasn't exactly sure how much I wanted to remove yet.

After a couple of try-ons, I determined the amount of tapering I wanted the leg to have, then sewed a seam up the back of the leg to achieve the effect.

In the end, I got this oh-so-stylish result!

Since my joggers are the closest thing to sportswear I'll ever sport, I felt I had to do something suitably athletic to model them:

Jumping for joggers!

M is for Metallic

Saturday was a special day because I got to wear two outfits — one for running errands in the morning, and one for a party at night — and both of them fit my theme of metallic!

In the morning, I went mostly with gold. I already did one whole outfit for gold, but there's plenty more gold where that came from! I wore my gold embellished flat shoes, my gold tunic sweater (not pictured, but you've seen it before), gold hoop earrings, and over it all, a copper trench coat.

In the evening, I went for another kind of metallic—silver. My purple dress with the metallic threads seemed perfect for a semi-casual holiday party. Working in as much silver as possible, I also wore silver glitter shoes and silver earrings. I even got my makeup into the action, with metallic purple eyeshadow and silver tips on my lashes.

I had intended to wear a silver scarf as well, but in my haste to be on time, I forgot it. Oh, well, live and never learn.

Friday, December 2, 2016

L is for Lightning

Still recovering on Thursday evening from my interminable cold, I put minimal effort into finding an outfit for the last day of my week. I rejected "Lace-up" (too casual for work), "Lace" (been there), "Leggings," (done that), "Layers" (too complicated), and finally settled on "Lightning," as it would give me an opportunity to finally wear a piece of my new winter clothing, which I haven't done since I got them out of storage last Sunday!

The piece in question was a pastel orange sweater with a light grey lightning bolt on the chest. I had gotten it last spring in an effort to diversify my wardrobe with more orange and more graphic sweaters. 

Since I have hardly anything else that's orange and nothing else with lightning on it, I was lightning-quick about putting together the rest of the outfit. A pair of grey pants, coordinating grey shoes, and coordinating orange earrings, and I was ready to go to bed! What is L-Day, if not an excuse to be lazy?

Since this Fashion Challenge has encouraged me to get quite silly with my pictures...

Blinded by the lightning!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

K is for Knitwear

I was all set to wear a sweater dress and leggings for today's knit outfit, when two fortuitous things happened yesterday: 1) Some work I was having done on the house got pushed forward, forcing me to take the day off work, and 2) I finished converting a pair of regular old sweat pants into some trendy jogger pants. Sweats are knitwear, and the only time I can get away with wearing them is when I'm not at work, so I simply had to do it!

If you haven't been living under a rock, you're probably already aware that athleisure is the fashion wave of the present, and jogger pants are leading the charge. However, if you know me at all, you have probably guessed correctly that athleisure has basically passed me by. I take every opportunity to get dressed up, so going out in my gym or lounge clothes is completely foreign to me. Occasionally I'll duck my head shamefully into the grocery store to grab a few things after a workout, but when I'm dressing to be seen, I am not wearing sweatpants! In other words, I had no idea how to style my new joggers!

A quick search of Lookbook revealed that most fashionable women are wearing their joggers with crop tops, big baggy T-shirts, and leather or denim jackets. Well, I wasn't going to bust out a crop top for winter, but I did happen to have a reasonably baggy T-shirt.

I purchased this royal fox tee in New Orleans, designed by a local artist under the line Cocoally. I got it at a hefty discount because the tee was a misprint, with the colors slightly washed out and, I noticed later, a black ink smudge right under the fox's nose! To help distract people from this flaw, as well as to give my waist some definition, I tied the shirt in a knot above my hip. There—I achieved the crop top look and the baggy-tee look in one! A T-shirt is a knit, so so far I'm two for two.

In lieu of a denim or leather jacket, I opted for my white jacket (but only for keeping warm outside—I don't think it's really strengthens the outfit), which also happens to be a sweatshirt knit—three for three!

For the shoes, I was stumped. I actually do have a couple pairs of shoes that are covered with a knit material, but neither of them looked good with my outfit. If I'd had my druthers, I would have proudly finished off this look with a pair of platform sneakers, but alas, I have none in my collection. Finally, I decided that since I had an overall athletic vibe going, I might as well wear the only pair of sneakers I have that have any knit fabric in them. Check them out—the mesh overlay is a knit! Four for four!

Purple didn't really go with any of the other hues in the outfit, but it didn't really clash either, and purple is the color of royalty, so at least it sort of fit the theme of the T-shirt!

Later, I'll post the step-by-step of how I created my joggers from a pair of old straight-leg sweats.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

J is for Jeggings

This isn't the first time I've worn jeggings for my blog, but it is the first time I've made them the centerpiece of my outfit, so I think it's high time for a discussion on what jeggings really are.

The word jeggings is a portmanteau of jeans and leggings, so you can expect any pants referred to by such a name to have some combination of the qualities of both. In my book, the most authentic jeggings are the ones that are made of a stretch knit like leggings but are printed to look like denim.

I don't actually have any pants that meet that description, though, so how could I say I've worn jeggings for my blog? Well, I do have a number of pants that are made of a stretch knit just like leggings, but the fabric is slightly heavier. They also have a functioning zipper fly and pockets, so their construction resembles that of jeans. I call those jeggings as well. I've already worn those in many combinations on this blog, including once or twice at work, so they are really old hat (old pants?) by now.

The only thing I haven't worn at work, that could possibly be novel enough to warrant a whole post in my alphabet challenge, would be jeggings that actually look like jeans. Fortunately, I recently acquired a pair of pants that almost fit the bill. If you wanted to be a stickler, you'd probably classify them as skinny jeans, because they are made of real heavy denim fabric. However, they have so much spandex in them that they cling to my thighs like a second skin. They have so much spandex, in fact, that the fly at the top is only decorative—you actually just pull them on and off like leggings! They must be jeggings!

Wearing jeans to the office is not a novel concept for me, but I try to do it sparingly and only with my most sophisticated dark washes. The "dirty," slightly weathered look of these pants, makes them much more of a workplace risk!

So how did I mitigate it? By wearing a button-down blouse (button-down blouses are my very definition of stuffy and "professional") that was long enough to completely cover my Spandex-encased derriere. I was sorely tempted to do a repeat of my lazy yesterday (still not feeling my best) and just wear the comfiest shoes I could get away with, but when you're rocking such casual jeggings, you really have to keep your shoe game on point. In this case, the point was literal, since I chose my pointed-toe pink stilettos, which just happen to match the shade of pink in the blouse. 

Style Tip When choosing shoes, pointed toes (of a not-too-extreme length) will give you more of a professional edge than round ones.

I also kept my jewelry minimal (well, as minimal as my gaudy wardrobe will afford) and sophisticated. I once heard from a career expert that the best earrings for a job interview are large studs. Whether that is true or not (I doubted it at the time, because they were not at all stylish and reminded me of what a grandmother would wear to church), I took it to heart for this outfit, forgoing my usual dramatic dangles for some sparkly grey studs that could easily be covered by my hair.

What do you think? Can pointed toes, a long button-down blouse, and oversized stud earrings make you look professional in spite of your grungy jeggings? Looking in the mirror, I have to say no. It's a good thing I work in a casual office!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I is for Ill

After a 4-day interruption, I restarted my fashion challenge in really impotent form.

Thursday through Sunday, I was on a trip to Florida. I literally spent hours in the car trying to come up with intricate outfit options for the letter I. Every one of my travel buddies offered their ideas, but nothing would work within the limitations of my wardrobe (What!? My wardrobe? Limited? I'm really floored by this revelation). Ironically, I was saved by an icky infection.

All during my vacation, I was aware that a head cold was incipient (travel illness strikes again!), and by the time Monday rolled around, I was undeniably incapacitated. I stayed home instead of returning to work. I thought this extra day of idling around in my un-alphabetic pajamas would give me the ideal opportunity to invent something really inspired, but all my ingenuity was for nought!

As evening waned and my cough increased, I had an insight: If indeed I was going to drag myself into work tomorrow, I was inevitably going to be one miserable soul. Did I have any obligation to make my day even more intolerable by struggling to find something clever to wear? I decided my comfort was more important, so the ideal outfit would be one that accommodated my illness.

That turned out to be my softest, loosest, coziest pair of slacks; an extra-long and stretchy sweater so I could move freely and be spared the inconvenience of constantly adjusting my hem (short-sleeved in case of feverish overheating), another sweater to go over that (in case of feverish chills); and a pair of easy-on, easy-off, low-heeled boots. I forwent any kind of embellishment such as jewelry or makeup, making my outfit the closest thing to pajamas I could probably get away with wearing at the office. So there you have it: what an Unfashionista wears when she's ill!

The connection to the letter I is iffy at best, but I've tried to make up for it by interspersing as many interesting I-words throughout this post as I could imagine. Please don't be irate at me—I'm infirm!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

H is for Hippie

I have a pretty sizeable collection of hippie/gypsy-inspired bohemian clothes, so I decided I could not pass up my chance to wear as many of them as possible for the letter H.

I started with my raggedy blue skirt that came straight from Jayli, a site dedicated to hippie clothes. The skirt came with an "attached shawl" that never fit right, so since I removed it, I have been able to wear it as a head wrap, which is a very hippie thing to do with one's hair anyway.

For my shirt, I went with a gold velvet with a very deep sequined V-neck. Bell sleeves are a common fixture on hippie clothes, so, while the plastic sequins may not be top at any tree-hugger's list, the shirt's overall shape matches the theme.

Plain brown flats were the only suitable footwear for this outfit (except maybe some leather sandals, but November said no).