Tagged: winter

Transition your wardrobe from Winter to Spring (with Printable Checklist!)

This I Wear | Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring

Spring is officially here. The birds are chirping. The flowers are blooming. And you’re ready to pull out your sunglasses and sundresses and head outside. If you’re like me, you may be feeling like you never want to see a coat or scarf ever again. Seriously, never ever again. But unless you’re migrating south, you’re going to need that winter wardrobe to be in great shape next winter too.

This weekend, as I dropped off two pairs of boots to my neighborhood shoe repair for end-of-season cleaning and heel repair, I realized it’s time for the official wardrobe switch over. But I tend to forget exactly what’s required to do the switch well. Since I take a lot of time and care (and sometimes money) in selecting what goes in my closet, I want those pieces to last for several more seasons. So I figured there’s no better time than now to get organized with a good old-fashioned list to make sure I spend as much time and care in putting away last season’s clothes and accessories as I do in pulling out my old favorites from last spring/summer.

For your benefit and mine, included here are my checklists for saying “thanks and see you later” to your winter wardrobe and saying “hello” to spring. And as an added bonus, you can download a simple PDF version, so you can keep the lists handy for future reference.

*Before I leap in, just a quick note. I have a tiny NYC apartment, so I don’t have lots of space to store anything. In fact, I usually have all seasons of my wardrobe accessible year round. But taking the time to properly mend, clean and fold/hang clothes after a season (especially winter woolens!) is key to helping them last for years to come. So whether you have the luxury of being able to store away off-season clothing or you’re just moving them a little further to the back of your closet, following these steps will help your things last a lot longer.

[Download the PDF version]

This I Wear | Winter Wardrobe Checklist

[Background Image by Chelsea Francis via Unsplash]

This I Wear |

[Background Image by Morgan Sessions via Unsplash]

If You Need It: Winter Accessories

This I Wear | If you need it: Winter Accessories

Lately, I’ve become really interested in what handmade even means these days, and I’m clearly not the only one. In these first few weeks of the year, “artisan” was named one of the “words for the dumpster” of 2013. And the concept of handmade became a hot topic this past fall when Etsy changed its seller rules to allow for outsourcing of production and hiring staff, as many Etsy success stories have outgrown the platform. This has led to some really fantastic conversations wondering if anything is truly handmade anymore and what that might mean (see NYTimes op-ed and this Rena Tom post).

But if you’re interested in engaging in slow fashion and supporting local makers, regardless of your definition of handmade, the perfect entry point is with winter accessories. And now that temperatures have continued to stay at face-freezing cold, it’s time to pull out the scarves, gloves, and hats.

So if you need it, here are a few of my favorite winter picks (clockwise from top left):

Handknit fingerless gloves, made in the USA, for United By Blue, a company that removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company organized and hosted cleanups with each product sold.
A Peace Treaty cashmere and wool scarf, handwoven by artisan coops in Nepal.
Handknit Winter Hat by Emily of KnitSip, based in Illinois.

Stay warm!

Shop thoughtfully: Opt out of Black Friday

Merci Paris | This I Wear

How important is the experience of shopping to you? I recently revisited some papers I wrote in a college class on “The History of Shopping,” which focused literally on the history of how shopping went from buying things we need to becoming an experience and a pastime. One class focused solely on how department stores grew to be a family destination of sorts when they first debuted in the nineteenth century: literally the whole family would travel together to the store and spend the day there. It reminds me of a few of my favorite stores – Anthropologie, Liberty of London, MERCI in Paris [pictured], and many small boutiques – where the visual merchandising is so stunning, you not only take your time in the store, but you specifically go out of your way to get there. The experience of shopping almost feels like one of discovery rather than just simply consumption.

Shopping is an experience, and it is ok to enjoy it. Perhaps it is even your only social time with some of your family and friends. For a period of my life, the only time my sister and I said anything nice to each other was when we were shopping (“You look amazing in that dress!”). At present, some of the only time I spend with my grandmother is helping her pick out another pair of white capri pants at her favorite store. I am grateful for that time.

But I think Black Friday is the opposite of the enjoyable social and sensory shopping experience that many of us crave. It just seems really…unpleasant. Instead, I’d like to suggest a few responsible alternatives to indulging in Black Friday shopping that you can even sleep in for and still enjoy.

Choose not to shop.
1. Spend the day “shopping” in your closet: Create a pile of the things you don’t wear anymore and donate them to a local nonprofit (especially those winter coats). Pull out what needs to be repaired and support local small businesses by taking them to your neighborhood tailor or shoe repairman. Challenge yourself to wear anything that still has the tags on it within the next month.
2. Keep it in the family: You’re already over at their house anyway, so dig into the closets of your friends and family. When I’m at home, I have a habit of playing around in my mom’s jewelry box. I love asking her to tell me about the pieces she has, and she is always willing to share the stories (and sometimes the jewelry) with me.

If you must shop, shop thoughtfully.
1. Find a deal on vintage items at local or online vintage retailers and thrift stores (or even eBay) that will give you the thrill of the hunt while keeping previously worn items out of landfills.
2. Give thanks by purchasing items that give back: The one-for-one model started by TOMS is being replicated by tons of young brands, including Warby Parker and newcomer OAK Lifestyle. But make sure to do your research on the brand and make sure they’re giving back as promised.
3. Support the handmade: Spend some time on Etsy and consider reaching out to a seller to make a custom gift for a friend or family member. You’ll be a part of the making process and the recipient will get something extra personal.
4. Shop local: Wait for Small Business Saturday and support your local boutiques.

How are you spending your Black Friday? Comment below or tweet @ThisIWear #AltBlackFriday to share stories and photos of your post-Thanksgiving weekend plans.

My Closet: Grandpa Sweater + the Art of Staying Warm

My Closet: Grandpa Sweater | This I Wear

When you grow up in New Orleans, you only know two seasons (hot and less hot), wool is a foreign concept, and the last snow you experienced was in the final snoball of summer.

In college, I migrated north to Washington DC, a town that isn’t quite sure if it’s in the North or the South but is undoubtedly colder than the Big Easy. I bought my first real coat, a pair of long underwear, and enough wool socks for a Canadian winter. It took me awhile to learn how to enjoy cold, and even longer, to learn how to look good while cold.

The answer was, of course, knee-high boots, ladylike wool coats, big knit scarves, and cozy sweaters. When I first started dressing for the cold, my newness was apparent: my body was barely discernible under the multitude of clothing layers. But after a couple of years and a move to Manhattan, I got the hang of it. And then I got this sweater.

It arrived at work. I opened the box immediately. My job back then was far from enjoyable, so a package like this could in fact change the outlook of my day. I remember my friend had just arrived, and we were headed out the door together for the evening. I took a quick peek inside the box, was happy with what I saw, and shoved it into my bag for later inspection.

It had been an online J.Crew sale purchase, somewhat impulsive but filled the gap of 100% wool items in my wardrobe. I was still new to NYC, and my wardrobe was starting to drift towards grayscale. But this grandpa sweater makes me feel happy, adorable and warm. I suddenly feel like a Northerner; someone born and bred in the snow, who knows what snow tires are, how to light a fireplace, and does other Northern things. Yes, an octogenarian might be just as likely to wear a sweater like this, but I promise, I look way cuter in it.

Since I’ve moved back to New Orleans, this sweater has hung sadly in the closet within a safe distance of some cedar hangers. But sometimes, when the a/c has been turned carelessly low, I put this sweater on to remind me of where I’ve been. It’s a reminder of colder places, unhappy jobs that I escaped from, and all the ugly sweaters I wore before I found my Northern stride.

Comment below or tweet @ThisIWear and share what piece you can’t wait to wear this Fall/Winter.

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