Recently I wrote about putting together and making a casual wardrobe. I decided to take up Joyce’s exciting challenge of creating a capsule collection that would be inspired by, and suit, my “Lakeside Lifestyle”. I was very interested in, and grateful for your feedback. I think my neutral – inspired by the landscape – colour scheme left some of you unimpressed. And there were a few votes for a skirt. But, for now, I am going to go large on pants. This is because I don’t really wear skirts at the weekend as I associated them (and structured jackets) with my working wardrobe.
I haven’t decided yet what I will put in my collection, but I have started to think about what sort of garment will be required. I am also thinking that I will draft all the patterns myself. I have been doing Intermediate pattern cutting so I think I should be able to create any of the patterns I need before the SWAP starts in January. In fact, although SWAP has got a reputation recently for concentrating on complex, challenging patterns, there are a group of contestants who emphasise the value of the “tried and tested” pattern being used to create wearable basics. I think I will join them next year.
For many of us trousers are the mainstay of a casual wardrobe.
I think that there are four main types of pants that we would might want to wear when dressing down: trousers that are comfortable, easy to wear, easy to care for, but also stylish and individual. Trousers that make us look like we are going somewhere nice, not doing the housework or mowing the lawn. I am trying to identify trouser types that we might like to wear every day for comfort, ease and elegance.
Let’s start with the truth (for me). For an off-duty wardrobe I don’t want anything tailored, fitted or in need of ironing or other maintenance. At weekends I wear jeans. And I wear Pyjamas.
Here I am in PJs.
What can I say. Embarrassing, right? These pyjamas are made by me. I printed the fabric with a block of lino that I patiently carved to resemble a Dianne Von Furstenberg print. The fabric is a nice, soft cotton lawn. The pattern is a 1960s trouser pattern, with just two pieces (no outer leg seam). The waist is elasticated, but there is a flat bit across the middle of the tummy so that the fullness is slightly more flattering. The sit comfortably on my actual waist – they don’t slide down.The trousers are loose fitting: they don’t constrict at the waist, hips, thighs or lower legs. They can be rolled or folded up too. When I am sewing or doing work at home this is often how I dress, confident that I will seen only by members of my own family.
Is it possible to create a stylish version of these pants, fit to be worn not only outside the house, but also nice enough looking to turn heads – in a good way?
Here is an inspiration picture.
This high street outfit includes a pair of soft, elasticated trousers with nice pockets and a zip up bomber jacket. In better quality fabric (Topshop uses polyester/viscose) could this be what I am looking for? Incidentally, according to the Financial Times last weekend;
“The uniform beloved of sportsmen and slobs has become fashion’s most extravagant status symbol”.
Which seems a bit strange. Lagerfeld (in 2011) said “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweat-pants”. However, according to Chloe’s creative director “I think feminine athleticism has come to be a new signifier for luxury and status.” What do you think?
You might think I am completely nuts but I love Uma Thurman in her Kill Bill fighting outfit. Maybe it is the gorgeous yellow colour. Or the stripe. But there is something about tracksuits – a zip front top with sporty pants – that is talking to me. Of course both Uma and the Topshop model are tall and thin and would look amazing in anything. But the matching jacket and pants create a “pulled together”, streamlined silhouette that somehow negates the fact that we are talking about elasticated waist pants and zip front jersey. I will enjoy the challenge of drafting my own tracksuit.
Casual Trousers #1; “joggers” with pockets, in a plain, darker coloured, sweatshirt type fabric so that they are warm on colder days.
Casual Trousers #2; lighter weight pair drapey pants for warmer days, with elasticated waist and pockets. Ideally I would like an oriental floral fabric (as shown on the right) so I will start looking. If you see something similar do please let me know – in the comments or by email.
Casual Trousers #3: leggings! I don’t have any leggings, but many commentators have mentioned them. I am thinking of just making plain ones – in navy, or dark brown say – but maybe I should consider a patterned fabric. I like the blue floral ones (of course). It may depend on the availability of the right type of fabric. I wear pants like this for yoga and ballet classes, and therefore do go out in them on my way to the gym (usually under my skirt). I am not sure about wearing these as actual outwear, but even as footless tights they can be quite useful. What do you think? Are these a useful item in a casual wardrobe?
Casual Trousers #4; jeans. I already have the Birkin flares pattern, which I have made up before. Nothing wrong with the pattern. In fact it fits brilliantly, so there is probably no point making my own pattern for jeans. I will use stretch denim I think, for its hardwearing but comfortable qualities. My next version will have navy top stitching, but otherwise I just want to make one or two tweaks (mainly to do with the zip and the pocket lining). Totally wearable under almost all circumstances, and being indigo dyed they should soften and fade with age. And while these don’t have an elasticated waist, made from stretch denim they are a different proposition to the traditional jeans of the past.