So recently I got a hankering for one of those off the shoulder Bardot-style tops. You know the ones….they’re the ones literally everyone has this season:
(i stole this screenshot off instagram but obviously credit goes to the hilarious jooleeloren)
However, I ran into a problem…how to get one ethically.
Normally, the solution would be just sew your own, right? That’s the beauty of sewing! You can whip up anything you want, in any color and style you want, perfectly fitted to you! You want Pegasus print harem pants! Boom! You got it! You want a perfectly fitted shell pink vintage Chanel-style suit? Go for it, kid!
But here’s the thing…I hate sewing “trendy” items, yet I like being trendy. What’s a girl to do?
I love clothes, and I like to keep up with trends. I don’t necessarily follow every single trend verbatim, but I really enjoy a fresh new perspective or a changing silhouette. I also flatter myself that I’m able to pick a big trend out a few years before Topshop and Zara and the like really pick up on it and make it huge, but maybe that’s me being a little self-important, hah!
However, I also really love basics. I love the idea of a minimalist capsule wardrobe, of a few insanely perfect and high quality pieces. When I sew, it’s normally something to fulfill a wardrobe need (more tops for work! a wrap dress for meetings! a cocktail dress for a wedding! a cardigan to work into my wardrobe rotation!) and I like to try to take my time to feel like I’m putting the effort into something that I will wear all the time. I irks me to spend a lot of time on something and wear it only a handful of times (which is why I always get super irritated with my wedding dress projects halfway through). So sewing a Bardot-type had about as much appeal to me as pulling out my teeth. I’d much rather stitch up a sensible teeshirt dress I can wear all the time and pay someone ELSE to make me my Bardot top!
Historically, I will fall in love with a trend a few seasons early, doubt if I “need” it in my wardrobe, dither for a while, decide that it goes against my “need vs. want” mentality, decide not to get it, obsess about it for a while, and finally decide to grab one at the same time the piece hits the H&M’s of the world and everyone else has it.
I believe in voting with your dollars when it comes to ethical clothing, and most of the time, spending money on something like a silly frilly Bardot top vs. a sensible cashmere sweater just doesn’t make sense in my list of priorities. But lately I’ve been feeling bored with my wardrobe, and I wondered if getting rid of some of my more tired basic tees for a fresh new piece that I’d been eyeing up forever would freshen up my summer weekend wardrobe.
I just really didn’t want to sew it. I rebelled! It would have taken less than an afternoon, but I have a chest of drawers full of fabric earmarked for other projects, and a pretty full sewing roster for the rest of the year that I am already slacking on! Purchasing an ethical option either revealed something not totally in the style I want, or something really crazy expensive for something I knew I could DIY myself…but just didn’t want to.
So what’s a girl to do? Vintage!
I found some really nice options on Etsy…I remember when Etsy first came on the scene when I was in college, and it continues to impress me with its really nice selection of curated vintage shops (ebay would probably be a good option too, but I have to be in the right sort of mood to trawl through endless pages of search results in search of the perfect piece).
So there you go. In the quest for the perfect minimal workhorse wardrobe, is there still room for trendy pieces? I used to think no, but now I’m rethinking my formerly Spartan ways. Maybe I’ll never be a true minimalist!
What about you? Do you like to sew quick, trendy pieces, or do you stick to boring essential like me and buy your trends from someone else?