# 10 Item Wardrobe # fashion

Tailored Boden Dress Before & After

This week I show you how a small alteration can completely transform a garment, in this case, my Boden "Cate" dress. When it arrived in the mail, I loved the fit and the length, but did not love the floucy bat sleeves. I felt they weren't flattering. So I had the tailor pin back the flounce to create the perfect cap sleeve dress and now I love it!

Check out the before and after in this week's video. **My apologies for the echoey nature of this video.If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

I hope this video inspires you to take your "off the rack" purchase and tailor it to make it one-of-a kind and perfect for you.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Go through your lingerie drawer this week and get organized. Discard any old or over-worn items and arrange your nice undergarments beautifully. Make a note of where you need to make purchases (new slips, stockings, shapewear, etc.) and keep this list in mind the next time you are able to buy.

Question of the Week
Amy G. from Texas asks if shorts can ever be chic and classy. I say, yes! Certainly not the ripped, cut-off variety, but tailored shorts can look very chic. If you are not comfortable in short shorts (and I don't know many people who are) consider a longer short. Tuck in your blouse and wear them with a belt and a nice sandal for a presentable look. If you feel self-conscious about your bare legs consider wearing them with stockings.

Artistic Recommendation

On My Japan Diary, Amy B. writes:

You may enjoy reading the book by Japanese skin care guru Chizu Saeki called The Japanese Skincare Revolution: How to Have the Most Beautiful Skin of Your Life--At Any Age. That was where I first was introduced to those thin cloths as well. She says applying toner ("lotion" in Japan) with those cloths helps it sink in more and plumps up/nourishes the skin more than a quick swipe with a cotton round. I think she says in Japan their toners are more nourishing/moisturizing than the standard stripping American type toner.

I love that she talks about not needing to buy the most expensive skin care products, because she says you can often make a $10 skin cream act like a $100 skin cream if you use it carefully (warming the cream between your fingers before application, pressing the product into skin, etc.) It's a quick but great read.

Thank you for this recommendation Amy. It sounds like a great read!


Japan viewers: I will appear on Nippon television's The Most Useful School in the World, Saturday May 23rd, 7pm.

**This is the last video you will ever see shot in our town home as we recently sold it! Yes, the Connoisseur family is looking for a new home in Santa Monica.

Ruby's Musings concludes her thoughts on Lessons from Madame Chic.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the tailored dress featured in this week's video. Have you tailored any of your clothes recently? How is your ten-item wardrobe coming along? Let me know and you could be featured as the comment or question of the week!

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Saltysue said...

New underwear is on my list for this month. Ever since watching your video on slips I have been trying to find a weighted half slip in the UK, do you know of any, or US companies who ship to UK. A weighted slip would, I hope, solve a problem I have with a jersey slim skirt I have. Due to the clingy nature of the fabric I need to wear a slip but all that I have tried ride up.
Thanks for your help

Anceeta Martis said...

I just learned the pleasures of getting clothes perfectly tailored. I had a pair of jeans that I felt 'meh' about till I got them altered to just the right length. Now they are my favourite pair!


Charlene said...

A new home! How exciting! Look forward to hearing about it. Also I really like the way you tailored your dress. It was such a simple thing but really changed the look. I don't think that would have occurred to me, but now I think I'll be more likely to consider how a little tailoring might make a huge difference.

Polly said...

This was a great fix! Well done (and good choice). I have also been tailoring Boden dresses--in late winter I ordered four dresses. I kept two (two were sadly irreconcilable). My issue is a very short torso, with long legs. I took the shoulders up on my "Easter dress" by 2" on one side and 1.5" on the other side (I have scoliosis and am uneven!) and the bodice fits perfectly now. I did it myself because I like to sew and often sew my own clothes because I find that mass-produced clothing is typically low quality, high cost and requires alteration anyhow! But I do like Boden dresses--as long as they do not involve zippers (they use bad zippers).

Before I learned to sew I had a dressmaker who created some custom dresses for me and did all of my tailoring. A little bit of tailoring goes such a long way!

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Anonymous said...

Exciting news about your beautiful town home. I hope you share your new home with us! Best wishes on your move.

sumac said...

Tailoring is so important and I'm glad you illustrated for everyone what a great tailor can do. I used to work in retail, and when I would suggest to customers that a little tailoring would make the garment a perfect fit, they would often look at me like I was crazy and tell me they weren't about to spend money to alter their clothes. So sad. There is just no such thing as "almost fits." I am short, and behind every short, well-dressed woman, there is a talented tailor. The dress looks great, Jennifer!
Good luck on the new home. Post pictures!

Susan said...

I am fortunate to have an excellent tailor in my town. This spring I had the front plackets of some light weight cardigans stitched to make "warm weather" pullovers. (It can get very hot where I leave which makes layering even a spring sweater over a sleeveless blouse very uncomfortable.) We stopped the stitching just under the second button from the top. They are adorable! They still look like cardigans, but I can now wear them without the dreaded gaps between the buttons.

ramseyrecommends said...

You are wonderfully creative in being able to visualize what a big difference this change would make. The dress is now perfectly fitted and flattering! I, too, am a big fan of tailoring and customizing and believe small changes can make a huge impact.
Have a wonderful day-

Unknown said...

I love the 10 item wardrobe concept because it allows one to be thoughtful in purchases. I have been successful in finding high end designer clothes in consignment stores (e.g. Chanel suit) and using a local tailor for a perfect fit. For less than the cost of an on-sale suit in a department store I have a perfectly fitting outfit that looks great on me.


Unknown said...

Congratulations on the selling of your home!

I completely agree with your stance on proper tailoring. Being a very petite woman, my husband jokes that we pay our tailor's rent! I usually order online, it's easier for me with the children. Many times I have been so unsure of a garment I get in, almost ready to send it back, I take it to my wonderful tailor and those peices that I was so unsure of usually become my absolute favorite articles of clothing I reach for time and time again.

Shannon at Gamine and Stripes said...

I was inspired by this year’s spring/summer wardrobe and thought I would follow suit with the plethora of dresses. It’s taken awhile to nail down the 10 item wardrobe because I wanted to hold onto so many garments I think I can make work or feel guilty about purging because I should not have bought them and therefore, should make myself wear it. I finally realized they were wasting space and cluttering up my closet. This season I was ruthless and anything I did not LOVE LOVE LOVE I cast aside. Last year I wore the same 2 or 3 pairs of shorts, one pair easily three times a week. They didn’t fit this year so as mentioned afore I decided to make a lifestyle change and try wearing dresses. My husband says I should just wear jeans and a t-shirt but I’ve noticed the few times I did wear a skirt or dress during the week, he really appreciated it. I think dresses instantly add feminine mystique to your persona, not to mention how much it cuts down on trying to coordinate a complete outfit. All you need to do is add shoes and accessories and you are ready to go. My staple signature is a statement watch. I have two preschoolers and a toddler so jewelry has to be child proof. I’m obsessed with knowing the time since shuttling kids back and forth is part of daily life—it’s also like wearing practical art. I’ve also noticed I’ve been treated a lot nicer by men and women alike since I’ve started wearing dresses. People are more courteous, friendly and attentive to what I say, whether it be a sales person or someone I chat up in line. These dresses have gained me dignity points for sure. I have never dressed like a slob, and at times have had a reputation for dressing well, but dresses have surprisingly up-ed the anti for me.
I agree that having a perfect fit is key for looking smart and pulled together. I altered half of the 8 dresses (plus one romper that looks like a dress from the front). One dress I bought last year for a wedding but decided to wear as a day dress had wife beater armholes. I have no idea if that was trending last year, but I’ve gotten a couple compliments on that dress sans huge unsightly gaps under my arms. Nipping in armholes on a couple other dresses also have given a slimmer, more demure silhouette . I took some basic sewing classes at Santa Monica College for fun during my summers breaks in graduate school and those skills have saved me so much money in alterations.
Now in the morning when I slide open the closet door there is a sense of giddiness and excitement instead of dread or stress. What favorite outfit should I wear today? It doesn’t bother me to don the same dress twice or on one occasion three times a week because I love it so much. I have also built up my accessories to the point where I can easily change the look of dress with a belt, scarf or cardigan and it feels new. I’ve narrowed down my colors so that most things coordinate. Thanks again for the inspiration. It’s been a great life change!

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this video, Jennifer. I took the same dress to a tailor a few weeks ago and he said he couldn't alter the sleeves (he was only considering the prospect from the shoulder and was concerned about the print lining up). I'm so glad to see another option! I'll definitely try again with another tailor this week.

Reading through some of the other comments I realized once again how useful it would be to learn how to sew and alter clothes myself. Maybe someday!

Katya said...

Hi Jennifer! Congratulations on selling your townhome!

This is my first season doing a 10-item wardrobe. I don't actually know exactly how many items I have (I have about 10, but it's probably a few more - i need to count!) For certain, I have 4 pairs of pants and 4 (possibly 5, if one still fits) dresses. I am loving it! I love to wear the pants with a striped nautical shirt (alternating between 2), or with either a black or white t-shirt. Blouses are proving not to work for me right now because I have 3 kids and I can't manage to stay comfortable AND/OR clean in a blouse.

Anyway, I was alarmed at first when I saw how many dresses you had in your wardrobe this spring, but then I realized how much I love a good dress myself...and then I quickly started accumulating dresses for this spring/summer, too! I am experimenting with lengths (I'm tall, and I hate anything above the knee because I have to bend so much as a mother)...and I"ll see how things go and record notes for next year's wardrobe planning. I did buy a few above-knee dresses, though, and so far I have managed to bend down more carefully in them, avoiding awkward situations :)

My last comment is similar to another person's comment. The first 2 or 3 days that I came down in a dress in the morning (i'm a stay-at-home mom), my husband said, "Whoa, isn't that a little fancy for today?" And I confidently said, "nope. I feel great and therefore, I'm going to have a better day because I feel good about myself." And he said "Ok." He is loving my dresses and tells me every day over and over again how beautiful I look. I feel so much more confident and love that I don't have to look twice in the mirror before I go out to the store, because I know I look presentable in a dress.