Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Looks and Fashion Blogging



Source: saksfifthavenue.com via Trena on Pinterest



So, I finally joined Pinterest. I didn't have to get someone to send me an invite, just signed up and within 24 hours I had my invite. So if you've been hesitating because of the hassle, I think it's safe to join!

My top "mood board" item for Fall is this Red Valentino dress, $695 from Saks. The dresses in this post are not necessarily items I would like to knock off, just items that inspire me. I love the simple shape of this dress that makes the most of all the textures involved. I can't quite tell, but it looks like a tweed bodice and skirt, with an organza overlay on the bodice, and lace sleeves. Opposing counsel wore a dress to a meeting this summer that used black organza over a black-on-white print to play with color and I loved the way it worked. I also like the bike-friendly full skirt!

This is just the perfect up-to-date classic style, if that's not an oxymoron. No strange shapes, natural waistline, and a beautiful fit (not tight, not a paper bag)--some variation of this will always be wearable. But the mix of materials brings in the lace trend and the colorblocking trend in a subtle, wearable way that keeps the overall look fresh. It is entirely suitable for day but still brings a lot of personality to the table. I would wear this dress weekly if it were remotely in my budget, but it's not something I would attempt to make myself. The fabric is everything and I just don't have access to the same fabrics as the house of Valentino (and if I did the dress would not be significantly cheaper!).

Source: shop.nordstrom.com via Trena on Pinterest



Another look that I have no intention of copying, it's more about the mood. I love the extravagant sleeves of this DVF Madeline dress, $345 from Nordstrom. These kind of sleeves are impractical in real life because they drag through the dishwater, get ink-stained from writing on note pads at work, and generally fall into your food. But with the unabashed red they just barely evoke the sumptuous textiles of Renaissance paintings without being too obvious and without being costumey. The overall impression is richness, saturation, and sumptuousness--but restrained by taste.

Source: saksfifthavenue.com via Trena on Pinterest



The wrap dress is everywhere! I guess it never really goes out of style, but it is definitely in style now. I saw lots of classic wraps in jersey--no wonder Diane von Furstenburg wants to be able to copyright her fashion designs--but this silk woven Fendi, $1880 from Saks, really caught my eye. You know how much I love BurdaStyle 02-2009-123--I've made it three times. This is sort of a bolder version of that wrap blouse, with the shawl-type collar writ large and emphasized by the coordinating sheer. The style has so much movement that the normally bland neutral colors convey elegance rather than boringness.

Source: saksfifthavenue.com via Trena on Pinterest



As a shortie with a proportional neck (that is, a short neck, though I don't look like my head is sitting on my shoulders), I generally avoid high-neck looks. I need some depth at the neckline to neutralize my shortness, and a small bust works best with a lower neckline so there aren't acres of fabric between the chin and the bust point. However, this Ralph Lauren Collection, $1898 from Saks, really speaks to me. I love the ruching, and the demure high neck does not look prudish or coy, but merely elegant. I think elegant is my theme here.

Source: saksfifthavenue.com via Trena on Pinterest




I am glad to see the tie neck is still in style, like this Dolce & Gabbana, $2495 from Saks. For all I love frills and furbelows, I have only dipped into one pattern in this trend, the McCall 5708 Hilary Duff tie neck blouse (I've actually made another version of it; I need to show that sometime). Although I'm sure I'm coming in on the tail end of the trend, I have a tie neck dress on my sewing plan.



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My previous method for gathering inspiration was somewhat laborious, with screen captures, adding text, exporting to the my photo program, and then uploading to the web. Pinterest is a lot easier, though it's not 100% what I want. Ideally, I would be able to rearrange the pins on my board (please tell me if I'm missing something). I also find it hard to deal with the image posting code the service generates for blogging--it has a lot of extraneous code that doesn't play well with Blogger and must be massaged. I wish that the text you add on Pinterest would be added to the image for blogging purposes. And it can't capture flash images--Neiman Marcus is out. I've also had a not insignificant number of images disappear, never to be seen again--maybe 10% or more--so I have to go and re-pin them (the FAQ says to wait 24 hours for all images to populate, but a week later the images still hadn't populated). But all in all, so much easier.

Source: saksfifthavenue.com via Trena on Pinterest


I've been creating boards like crazy. My main board right now is Fall Dresses 2011, with a subset for knit dresses in particular. I've also saved ideas for color blocking and directional stripes.

I'm most proud of my RTW + Pattern board. Inspiration pieces plus patterns to achieve them, all matched up! That's where I wish I could rearrange the pictures, because the inspiration garment is not always next to the pattern. Can you guess which pattern works to re-create this fabulous Oscar de la Renta boucle dress, $1890 from Saks?


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The New York Times recently published an article on the monetization of fashion blogging, specifically, fashion bloggers getting agents. While there are a few sewing bloggers who make a living from their blogs, I don't think home-sewing clothing creators are in the same market as clothing consumers. Our looks are not as easily replicable and home-sewing lacks the prestige factor of a fashion blogger's high-end looks (even the fashion bloggers focused on the budget shopper eventually gravitate toward the aspirational, from what I've seen). People can look at a designer garment and "objectively" know that it is valuable. It's harder to do in sewing. You actually have to decide for yourself if you like a look! Workmanship is part of it, of course, but style is also a big component. That is where the magic happens, as they say.

As for me, I cannot commodify my blog because it would violate the terms of employment in my real job. While it would be nice to get a little google ads mad money for fabric shopping, I actually like that the decision is made for me and I don't have to think about it. That said, I have no problem with bloggers who have found a way to turn their hard work (and it is work, no question about it) into financial remuneration.

So what to do you think--Can sewing bloggers increase our influence and penetration in the larger fashion blogging world? Should we? And how? (On the how question, I'm looking at you, social media-savvy LindsayT!)

19 comments:

McVal said...

Wouldn't a $10 knock off of a $2500 style be awesome?! I can't wait to see what you come up with!
I'm curious about the blogger money aspect too. Will be watching!

McVal said...

LOL! I had to look up what "an embarrassment of riches" is. And yep... it sure is!

Lindsay T said...

Hmm, good question, Trena. I do have some thoughts on that...perhaps I'll do a post. You can always call me and we can chat about it.

ShopStyle has a Favorites function that is good to know about, even better on an iPhone. I find it's more practical for me than Pinterest. I still have an old-fashioned board at home with tearsheets thumbtacked to it.

KID, MD said...

I'm still avoiding Pinterest - I'm afraid it will be even more of a time suck. I use the Style.com app on my iPhone and just screen shot looks that interest me. My only problem is I forget where they come from and there is no way to add text. Eh. Not perfect either. I like the ShopStyle app LindsayT mentioned, too.

Nancy K said...

I had an invite to Pinterest and so far I haven't done anything with it I too am afraid of another time suck.
There have been some sewing bloggers who've profited from their blogs,Gertie being the most obvious.

Eugenia said...

Like Katie I am trying not to join Pinterest because I fear that it will eat into my sewing time (and house cleaning time ha, ha!) too much. That said I am very tempted. I absolutely adore your fashion picks and the fantastically inspirational boards you have put together.

LinB said...

Hmm. Interesting question. When an avocation becomes a job, should you feel guilty because you are charging money for what you used to do for fun? Would the secret thrill of sewing one-of-a-kind, custom-fitted garment be extinguished by production work? I no longer do alterations for strangers OR for friends, because of the stress-inducing nature of trying to please clients who have no idea of the time and expense involved in what they ask me to do for them. I purely admire those of you who can work, sew and design, AND keep up with regular photo shoots and writing. And I thank you very sweetly for making it possible for me to comment on your excellent work.

AngelatheCreativeDiva said...

Love your picks. Can't wait to see your interpretations. I also love your Pinterest boards. The match up of the patterns with the current styles in brilliant and a time saver. Thanks for sharing.

badmomgoodmom said...

Actually, there is no work prohibition against my hitting the "monetize blog" button on blogger as long as it is not about my work. Sewing and knitting are so far away from my day job, there is no danger of getting in trouble for it.

The prohibition comes from within; I just want to avoid the temptation to write about topics that would garner more eyeballs and ad revenue. I write about stuff for no other reason than because I want to. That keeps it a hobby and that is all right by me.

Elizabeth said...

PInterest is so fun!! For someone who loves eye candy, it is THE place to be :) I have a few boards myself.

Thanks for the tip on slicing the apples with the mandoline, I think I want to try that next with the apple pie quest I'm on :)

Karin said...

Your inspiration garments are beautiful! I like your style:-)

I haven't joined pinterest for the same reasons as the others, I already have a lot of distractions in life, though I am sure we will all eventually succumb.

There is very little chance that I would monetize my blog. I'd have to raise my game substantially. I would need better photography, better graphic design, and better writing! Managing all that would certainly blow out my sewing time!

Lynn Mally said...

I'm of two minds about blogging for money. On the one hand, I understand that people want compensation for their work. On the other hand, on some blog I find the advertising so overwhelming that I have stopped reading them.

Little Hunting Creek said...

My blog is for writing what I want to write about. I write for money in my "real" job, and I don't want my personal blog to feel like work.

kathy said...

I have no prohibition about blogging from my day job - but it's a good idea not to mention that day job (big brother). I don't care if I make money and have enabled Adsense. From a purely psychotic point of view, I am fascinated by the ads I see as opposed to the ones my friends see. It has been a real eye opener to find out how much information blogger/google is compiling on us and then tailoring the ads to me specifically. (targeting)

I've pondered my own blog use and I am happy with mine being a totally random ramble - somewhere to journal and put photos. I don't think I am able to be focused enough to 'brand' my blog.

Back to the focus of YOUR blog: I would like to see you take on that first look with the tweed and lace overlay.

Angie said...

This is not a perfect solution, but you can rearrange your pins by re-pinning them in the order you want them on your board, then deleting the original pin. You will lose your likes and repin info (since those are tied to the original pin).

Linda said...

I like Pinterest and for now I have not let it consume me. I also use Evernote to copy fashion ideas to notebooks. I have it on my iPad and computer. I normally end up using computer to copy to Evernote then open iPad later and items are synced to view. It is rather more personal than Pinterest.

I like your inspiration pieces.

Rachelle said...

I don't have a blog but if I did I wouldn't want to earn money from it. I did a job in the past based on one of my hobbies and in the end it just sucked the joy right out of it.

Karin said...

Hi Trena,
Sorry to post like this, but I couldn't find an email address for you. You have been kind enough to add my blog, Making the Seam, to your blogroll. I should let you know that it has been infected with malware. I have tried to fix it but cannot. So, I have deleted it entirely (or at least tried to, I am suspicious that these things never really die.) I did start a new blog http://sewherewegoagain.blogspot.com/
It's a little embarrassing and I wanted to explain, since you have been so kind and supportive of me.
Karin

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I'm with the others who worry that PinInterest will be a time suck...so I've not bothered to join either.

And I blog as a hobby...as a creative diversion from my very stressful real job. I'm not looking to make money from my blog...I just want to share my passion with like-minded sewists. And this is a very interesting post!