Monday, October 26, 2009

I need to update my wardrobe after I emptied my closet. I have no winter clothes.

Along with my cooking and Italian goals, I want to add more sophisticated pieces to my wardrobe.

A friend had a "sale" at her house over the weekend. It was a good excuse to go through my closet. I showed no mercy. Anything that was unflattering or I haven't worn in two seasons went to the sale.

I found a Issac Mizrahi wool skirt I bought years ago at Bergdorf Goodman that still had the tag on it. I guess I never wore it in L.A. because it was too "conservative". Now it's too short.

What didn't sell will be donated. Thanks to the purge, I basically have no clothes.

I've decided I need to start dressing for the body I have. No more baggy outfits which make me look heavier than I am.

I'm getting older. No more disposable clothes. Other than a summer cotton top here or there, bye-bye, H&M, Zara, Top Shop etc. I have a build similar to Joan's on Mad Men but shorter. I need clothes that are better constructed. On me cheap clothes don't look cute, only cheap. Plus I no longer live in super casual L.A., I got to step it up.

Trust, I know the difference between clothes that are well made and worth the price and clothes where you are paying for a label. I have a very tight budget, I'm not interested in the latter.

I'm going to slowly build back my wardrobe by focusing on classics and accessories. Of course I need to earn some money first. sigh.

It feels good to once again live in a city where we have fall, people dress up even when they don't have a job interview (I must write a separate post about the men and their suits) and people know the world is not their living room so you can't wear flips flops every where.

I can't believe how I used to dress in L.A. I think I gave up and just didn't give a you know what.

First on my list, a gun metal grey or black wool dress. Three-quarter sleeves would be great.

I love this dress from Bottega Veneta. At 900 euros, I won't be buying it anytime soon but the lines of the dress are very flattering.

Desiree Rogers, the White House Social Secretary, is an example of classic but not boring style. She does not play. I love her sense of color and it's clear she knows what looks good on her body. She is fifty and fab.

photo:Vogue Magazine

I definitely need to find a very good tailor. Because I'm so curvy, I might have start buying dresses and shirts a size up (especially since European sizes are cut so slim) and have the waist/sleeves taken in.


*Belgian said...

I pretty much had the same 'wardrobe breakthrough' as you over the weekend. The problem with Italian sizes is also that I'm tall (for Italian standards) and some (read:most) things are just too short. I decided to have a little shopping hop over to Esprit last Saturday. They have a lot of shops in Belgium, but I found only 2 here. I love that store cause the sizes are normal, it's good quality and not expensive. They have the Esprit line that's a bit more classy and the EDC line for a bit more sporty clothes.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Good luck on finding new clothes in Italy. I found that stores in Rome either cater to teenyboppers or else you have to spend a lot of money at places that had clothes I liked and that fit me well (like Marina Rinaldi and Max Mara.) I do so like those clothes but it's hard on the pocketbook.

Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura said...

It strange I did the same thing as you. Emptied my wardrobe of things I haven't worn for several years. And guess what? My nineteen year old daughter kept a lot of them!
I love that grey dress - it would fit me to a T (that is if my daughter didn't grab it first)!

Simone said...

what about purchasing a few patterns from vogue and have them tailor made? Start with a dress, suit - same jacket + skirt + pant and add from there... They become investment pieces and are made to suit your figure without need for tailoring.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

belgian - I've seen a very a few Esprit clothes in the department stores. Even though it's an American brand it's seems more popular in Europe. Esprit was HUGE in America in the 80s. Not sure what happened, maybe they over expanded?

CCL - yes what is missing is that mid-range, JCrew, Club Monaco type style/price point. Max Mara is a store I've never noticed in the States but I really like their clothes. We'll see if they actually fit me.

scintilla -Your daughter is very lucky! I cannot believe how bare my closet it and you know how small closets are here compared to the States. I'm not exaggerating...I hardly have anything to wear. ha.

simone - I've thought about custom as well. I have to see what works better price-wise and find a tailor.

nine said...

I can't give up my chuck taylor, bootcuts and t's, though I know, I feel the time is coming, slowly but safely. Forever student. I was told things would be different if I were in a couple... yeah sure, summarize me like this, I love it... aaarrgghh !!

dalia said...
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dalia said...

funny, i had a similar epiphany today. i like casual looks, but i don't like to "look" casual - does that make sense? today i had on my new riding boots and a merino wool sweater from j.crew with a toggle-button duffle coat. caught sight of myself in a mirror, and thought "why can't i look this cute ALL the time?" and why not?

my mom has a saying "cheap things nah good, and good things nah cheap." and i think this year, like you, i'm going to purge myself of the teeny bopper labels, and spend my money on good pieces, and slowly add to my wardrobe one item at a time...

(and the men here in montreal also have impeccable style - they outdress the women every day... suits, scarves, overcoats, wingtips, cap-toes, cordoban, pinstripes... the sartorialist really needs to bring his camera out this way...)

Kim B. said...

I hear you. I just try to be invisible in my t-shirt and jeans, but I know I look so dumpy. Blech. In Paris of all places!!

Simone said...

Just received email noting Vogue patterns are on sale today - some at 1/3 of the original price - check it out -

erin :: the olive notes said...

i know exactly what you mean! i was just talking about this issue last week...about scaling down, but definitely working to build my waredrobe with quality pieces that are classic and will last (with just a few trendy cheaper pieces thrown in)

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Adventures of Missy G said...

Have you tried Conbipel? They're very stylish, well made and reasonably priced. I loved them when I lived in Verona, and still make annual trips back for my winter wardrobe essentials. They were all over northern Italy, so I presume they have a presence in Rome too. Good luck!

la ragazza d'oltremare said...

The secret of good style is to not be afraid to buy something that's quality and worth it and then take it to the tailor to make it hug every single curve.

And you go girl, Joan has a rockin' bod!!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

nine - ha! well it depends on your age and where you live too. I don't think being part of a couple trumps the other two.

dalia - I know exactly what you mean. There is a way to comfortable without looking like you just rolled out of bed. I haven't been to Montreal in years but I do remember how well dressed the men were.

kim b- I worked with a French African woman who grew up in Paris when I lived in DC. She would wear jeans and a white T-shirt and look so amazing. I realized it was about the cut (slim T) and the accessories, nice belt, bag, shoes, maybe a scarf. I wonder if they teach these thing in school or something. I'm amazed when I'm home in the Caribbean how you can tell the difference immediately between the French tourists and the American tourists as we get of the plane.

simone - grazie

erin - I'm excited to rebuild. Now I just need the funds. ha.

Adventures - I have never seen that store. Thanks for the tip and I'll keep an eye out for them.

la ragazza - I'm working on my confidence and embracing my curves instead of hiding them. But when you're busty it's a fine line between sexy and sleazy. I'd like not to cross it. ha

Anonymous said...

So we are all in the same boat, hein?
I'm living in Seoul again and even though I am six feet tall and a size 6, that's considered curvy here. What to do? Order great slacks and splurge on a winter coat from one of my favorite American designers. I like classic, timeless style in wonderful textiles.
You really do get what you pay for. I want clothes that last.
Style is not about breaking the bank, it's looking and feeling great in your clothes. Mix and match I say. I don't play with the fit of my slacks and shoes

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

TTN - I agree with you regarding style. Spending a lot of money doesn't = style. Having a good eye and knowing what looks good on you is more important.

Kataroma said...

Watching many episodes of the British "What not to Wear" while on maternity leave made me re-think my wardrobe a bit too. It's so important to think about what actually suits you and to re-assess as you get older too. So many women on that show were caught in an earlier fashion era.

I agree about the French - French women are just so put-together.

I find shopping here in Rome really hard. Either really expensive or really trashy and everything is made for midgets (I'm tall). Also - too much black - I prefer colours.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kataroma - The British version of WNTW is great but man are Trinny and Susannah tough! They are a lot more blunt than the American or Italian versions. Maybe it's a cultural difference? I agree sometimes we can get stuck in a rut. And on that show I noticed many of the older woman stopped at a certain decade, like the '80s in an effort to look younger which of course made them look older.

I'm short but not a stick, so I have problems finding clothes here as well. I think a store like the Canadian store, Club Monaco, would do well here. I feel those mid-range stores (J. Crew, Tory Burch etc.) don't really exist here. Or maybe I haven't found them. The black clothes don't bother me for fall/winter. That was my uniform back in NY but once I moved to L.A. I had to start wearing more colors. Slowly but surely, I'm getting away from wearing black, grey and dark blue all time. I was on a green kick this summer.

The weather we are having now is very nice. Yeah for fall.