So here's a story for you...
Yesterday I decided I needed to venture off the island to buy myself some lining fabric for the dress I'm making out of my hand-painted fabric. I wasn't really feeling up to making the long trek allll the way to civilization (Houston, in my book - and where the only mildly decent fabric stores are) so I settled for the JoAnne's conveniently situated at the halfway point.
First of all, JoAnne's was in total, full-out, Halloween cray-cray mode and I was slightly terrified, but I soldiered on because I'm brave like that. Turns out that the majority of their fabric, including their skeptical selection of lining fabrics, was on a 50% off sale! Awesome! So I pawed through the polyesters, setting my "natural fiber" bigotry aside for the time being. I mean, a sale is a sale. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I'm pretty incapable of impulse buying these days - especially on mystery fabric - and so I pretty easily talked myself down from purchasing anything other than what I came there for: white rayon lining fabric - the bemberg variety.
Well they were out. Completely. They had orange and black, but... you know.
So I'm feeling a bit deflated because this means I'm going to have make the long haul up to Houston anyway. But, alas, I wasn't going to do it this day. However, there I was, in the midst of this huge shopping complex, and I decided to do something that used to cheer me up in my pre-sewing days - I decided to go clothes shopping.
Now this wasn't a total coincidence - word on the street had it that the Houston area is finally home to an H&M, and it just so happens to be at my halfway point - right across the street from my JoAnne's. Once upon a time I used to love me some H&M. It fit my graduate school budget and it catered to literally every look and occasion. Trendy? Check. Office appropriate? Check. Hipster? Check. Bohemian? Check, check, check....
I have grown up some since those college days (thank god) and so have my tastes in clothing - helped along mainly by the fact that I've sewn every major new garment that's been added to my wardrobe since 2010. I'm far more pickier about fit, fabric and quality than I used to be. And I'm a fair bit more educated on the, shall we call them "dangers" of fast and cheap consumption, especially within the clothing industry. But despite all this, a morbid curiosity drew me in. And I'm glad I went, because otherwise I would have never known that Kelly Clarkson was still making music (where have I been?!?)
Truthfully, I knew from the outset that I was not going to buy anything (see above, re: impulse buying). But I figured this might be a fun opportunity to try on some trends I've been thinking about and see if they would actually work on me. The looks I wanted to try? Oversized sweaters, leather leggings, wild prints.
So without further ado, here are some of the outfits I put together on this pretend shopping spree:
Glitter sweater and faux leather pants.
I first became aware of my desire for faux leather leggings while trolling one of my favorite style blogs, sea of ghosts. The inspiration to pair them with an oversized sweater perhaps came from Pinterest? Not really sure. Anyway - these H&M faux leather leggings were not very stretchy. I grabbed them in a size 6 and a size 8, not really sure what my size is in that store and mainly eyeballing the waist. The size 6 fit the best, but oddly. Tight in the waist, baggy in the crotch. I'm not sure why I was surprised by how... squeaky these were... but there you go. Squeaky pants. The sweater was acrylic and cozy, but I probably wouldn't actually pair these two in real life (I think I can come up with a better top for leather leggings, don't you?)
Cable knit sweater and crazy print, cropped trousers.
I was very drawn to this whole display of stuff in this wild, floral digital print. There was a ton of it. Apparently Lucky magazine put this stuff as its "top pick" because there were signs all over the place! So these trousers are a size 2, to give you an idea of the crazy sizing. They only had a size 2 left, and I decided to give it a go. They fit, but they are what a friend of mine once fondly termed "yeast infection pants" - meaning the crotch seam was where no crotch seam had a right to be! So I'd probably size up in the pants and size down in the sweater (there's oversize, and then there's sloppy...)
Crazy print dress
This dress was the most ill-fitting of the bunch. It was made from a stretchier fabric than the pants. It was rather loose in the upper chest, and real tight over my belly and butt. The waist line also kept wanting to hike up. And it was short! Like, whoa! When I first spotted this dress I thought that if it fit it might actually make a fun work dress, but it would need at least 6 inches!
Another crazy print dress.
This was the last dress I tried on. This was a thinner fabric than all the rest, pretty silky to the touch at first, but even for the short time I had it on it became kind of scratchy. It's a simple A-line shift dress, but I liked the way the pattern was placed. There was even a bit of tricky seaming that happened at the shoulder to keep the illusion going - an unexpectedly thoughtful detail.
All in all, I have to admit that the quality wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be! Of course there is no telling how any of these things would hold up with repeated wearing and washing. In the end, I came away from this little pretend shopping spree with some ideas for fall/winter sewing, and feeling like my style mojo might have just got a kick in the pants. This isn't to say that I intend on copying these looks, but sometimes you need to step out of your daily routine to get the old wheels a-turnin' !
Does anyone else go pretend shopping when they need a bit of inspiration? I'd love to hear about it!