Monday, January 14, 2008

Brown is the new black

It has only recently come to my attention that the bulk of the clothes I have made in the last year are brown. When did brown become my new black?

If you don't believe me, following along here are some of the highlights of my last year's sewing. See what I mean?

It took years, but I can finally acknowledge that a lot of the colors I like aren’t flattering on me. Blues I can wear, though I don’t have a lot of them in my wardrobe – unless they’re paired with brown. I’ve given up on most reds, pinks, purples – and I can’t wear yellow unless I want to look lemonish myself. But most of the fall colors – greens, tans, browns, golds, rusts, oranges – look good on me. So I guess brown is the black of that category, the color that goes with all the others, and like black, stands well on its own.

Having a limited palette of colors that look good on me makes shopping easier, so long as I obey my own rules. At Patternreview weekend, a few women commented on how well all my fabrics went together, and that’s simply because I’ve finally given up on the colors I can’t wear. (Or not completely, but I’m using up some of my unsuitable colors as linings. Who cares if a purple silk lining makes me look sallow? It’ll look fabulous on the inside of an olive green jacket.)

One of my co-workers, who thinks he has both fashion sense and a sense of humor – and he so doesn't have either – says my wardrobe runs the gamut from dirt to mud. Charming. This from a man who believes the infamous lie "every man looks good in Dockers." And I prefer to think of it as running the gamut from milk to dark chocolate.

I am hoping to move slightly beyond my earth tones. My new plan of operation is that each project I make has to coordinate with the one just cmpleted. So project #1 this year was the brown jacket, followed by the BWOF 2/2007 #113 skirt above, which will be followed by a cream ribbed mock turtleneck from KS 3093 (if I can get the cheap fabric to work - more on that later), then BWOF 6/2007 #126 pants in tan stretch twill, and finally, at #5, is one of the fabulous blouses from the latest issue in a tan/white/pale blue I picked up at Beckenstein's in last year.

When I hit five projects, I’m allowed to start over. I haven’t thought as far as the next series yet. I think having a queue of five in my head is enough for me. The hard part is not cutting out fabric for the next project while I’m still working on the current one, but I know my bad habits, and they include putting one project aside to work on another, and ending up with UFOs all over the place.

My current threat to myself is if something stays a UFO for more than 3 months, I either have to finish it or throw it away. I hate to throw things away.


Vildy said...

Love your dresses you showed.

Berry said...

That's a great idea. I'm often disappointed most of my sewing doesn't mix and match. I'd have to work on a palette. How did you define yours?

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I love how you have decided on your colors and you've run with it! These are some very pretty garments and I bet they look fantastic on you!

Cathy said...

What's wrong with a signature color, especially when its very flattering to you? Better than a variety of colors that don't look good on you. Most people wear clothes, but lack style. People will always see you as so perfectly put together--having style.

Kitty Couture said...

Such beautiful creations here, Karen! I only discovered the power of brown last year, and added lots of it to my wardrobe.
I am keeping this feed as "unread" in my feedsreader, just to be able to gaze at your gorgeous brown projects whenever I want! You have great talent and taste.

Cennetta said...

Karen, I'm a fan of brown and love all of the pieces you showed on this post. I really like your idea about coordinating your projects in fives.

Kat said...

Karen, you ask when did brown become the new black? Because it looks SO fabulous on you!!! You have some fantastic garments there too!!

kasizzle said...

Great ideas you have with the 5 garments and the UFO's.

Sara said...

Sounds like I wear the same colors as you. I also quit trying to buy colors that are beautiful but wrong for me, and it makes my wardrobe have so much less stuff I just don't wear. And brown and olive and tan are rich and classy and grown up...I actually feel sort of sorry for the women who have to wear bubble gum pink forever.

And your garments are gorgeous!