I love sitting down with the new catalogs and fashion magazines, and thinking about what I would buy, or what I would make, if I could buy anything and everything I liked. I've done this since I was a small girl and I still enjoy it. The best part is, since I am not looking at the actual clothes, I can use the image as a jumping off point for what I imagine the clothes to be. Sometimes I actually shop, but imagining is much more fun. I don't worry that I can't wear all these clothes, or even that I can't make all the things I imagine. Just having imagined it is often enough, but over the years, I have found that ideas have a way of bubbling back up to the surface.
Yesterday the October Anthropologie catalog arrived in my email folder. A lot of the clothes at Anthropologie read as too young to me, but even so I always find ideas and inspirations here, things that could either work directly or be easily adapted for women of different ages.
Let's take a look at what I found.
I really like the Splendid Vinca sweater coat. It looks longer on the model than it would be on me, which is not surprising. Granted models are tall, but typically they are long in the leg and short-waisted, definitely not characteristics I share. I do not like the little leafy pattern at the neckline, which is also repeated on the back. That reads as "cute" to me. But the sweater coat is made from boiled wool which makes it easy enough to make, and one could play with one's own appliques. The shape is rather simple. The more I think about this I think I would use a contrast band around the neckline, and possibly at the sleeve hem as well, perhaps using the darker color of the applique pattern. This would also give it a more structured appearance, which I would find more versatile.
The one top I was seriously tempted by is this one, the Volante tee. I really like the basic, fitted shape with the modified boat neckline and the 3/4 sleeves. Even though I am not particularly a fan of bows on adult women's clothing, I do like the large cascading silk bow on this top and think it would look lovely with a simple skirt or slacks. I see this as the perfect "go out to dinner" tee. And at $58, it is a price I would spend.
And then we get to the buts. It is a fairly simple shape and a sewist experienced in knits could stitch this up pretty quickly. The bow or cascading ribbon would not be difficult either and could be made from a remnant if you had a good color of silk in your stash; I think it would be easy enough to make it detachable as well. The commenters all state that the fabric is thin, perhaps too thin for a middle aged body, and that the silk is thin as well. By paying attention to the fabric, it would not be that difficult to make a much more elegant version of this top that would be truly worthy of going out to a nice dinner.
Next up is the Fine Arts Tee. This one is more expensive, but it is rayon jersey and has beading. The fabric quality is probably better on this, and there is more fabric. But what really appeals to me about this top is the way different prints are used to create the final effect. If you zoom in on the image over at Anthropologie's site, you see that although the main print does contain blocks of color, much of the collage effect is actually achieved by piecing. This would be a great way to use pieces of prints in harmonious colors. I think most people are drawn to certain color families and I know that I have prints in my collection that could work well together; I suspect I am not unique. Playing with prints to create a harmonious whole would be a lot of fun, and probably while away far more hours than the actual sewing. I don't really care for the beading on this top, as presented here, but I can see how a bit of judicious beading can enhance the final effect.
My final selection was Antique Luster, and as you can see I chose it because it picks up on that same theme of piecing together fabrics to create something new. I deliberately chose the blurry view to present here, as opposed to the detail view available on the website because I don't really like the fabrics chosen for this top, or the way the way they have it tied on the mannequin. However I think the idea is great. I think the v-neck with the soft tied waistband and the long drape can be very flattering and forgiving, and, if one is making one's own, one can make the top more or less fitted at the waist and hip as is appropriate. I like the vertical lines of the piecing and the way the design elongates while enhancing natural curves. I suspect this top could help with providing the illusion of a waist on a body that is becoming thicker in the middle.
Of course, I also like the idea of combining fabrics and think this looks like a lot of fun, even as I am somewhat cautious. The secret in pulling something like this off is really playing with the fabric and paying attention to how the fabrics look together and the effect they will have when wrapped around a body.