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Forum > Creative Sewing > Whole new wardrobe but not much cash ( Moderated by Lynnelle)

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Whole new wardrobe but not much cash
I'm starting a PhD at 43 years old
NiamhR
NiamhR
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IRELAND
Member since 4/13/07
Posts: 50
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Date: 6/17/11 6:31 PM

Hi Ladies
I'm delighted but scared. I'm heading back to full time study in September. Worse than that, it's in Statistics, and I don't know what the American mathematics professors are like, but the Irish ones look like they don't get out much! Think mad scientist and then add some food down their fronts!! I really want to err on the side of smartly dressed!

Trouble is I've been a SAHM for over 10 years and I really don't know where to pitch my wardrobe. I don't want to look like the young students. That would be inappropriate but I don't want to look like the academic staff either.

I'm thinking of trying to sew a capsule wardrobe which I can accessorise with purchased tops etc. Probably best to start with something simple like a skirt. I'm thinking maybe something like this Vogue, view B, which I could make in some warm fabric and wear with boots over the winter.

What do you think and what would you sew next?
TIA,
Niamh


-- Edited on 6/17/11 6:34 PM --

Sweetsong

Sweetsong
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Date: 6/17/11 7:27 PM

Wow! What a subject of study! The skirt idea sounds good, warm sounds better.

My brother is an American working on his PhD in statistics. He is a "smart" dresser--loafers, some jackets-tweedy, collared-button-down shirts, no food on his clothes LOL. BTW, my db is...49, so not a typical student-type.
-- Edited on 6/17/11 7:29 PM --

loti
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loti  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/17/11 7:44 PM

I would find some nice cowl knit patterns, or knit top patterns next.
Take a look at the Best of 2010 patterns

------
"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
Coco Chanel

Stash Sewn in 2011 148.5 Yds
Stash Sewn in 2012.... counting...

http://adonising.blogspot.com

STL Mom
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Date: 6/17/11 7:53 PM

You could check out the Academichic blog to see what some people on campus are wearing --- keep in mind that they seem to be more on the Art History end than the Math/Statistics end, so you probably won't need to be THAT chic!
http://www.academichic.com/
I don't think you can go wrong with a simple capsule wardrobe in neutral colors, and then accessorize to fit in with your peers.
Good luck!

Raye Ann
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Raye Ann  Friend of PR
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California USA
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Date: 6/18/11 0:14 AM

Congratulations! You will love being back at school. I am not too far out of my doctoral program, so I was in school for 3 different degrees at different ages. While I always try to be somewhat on trend, I certainly didn't ( and wouldn't) dress like the young undergrads. I dont know about Irish students, but kids here go to school in clothes that are clearly sold as pajamas!
Things that will really work for you are dark denim trouser or wide leg dressier jeans, sharp tweed-ish trousers in an up to date and flattering cut, and a couple of fabulous skirts like the vogue pattern you mentioned. Depending on what is flattering for you, you might also do a skinny Jean or thick double knit type legging/ jodphur expressly for tucking into boots. All of the above can be hemmed to wear with boots or a wedge type shoe for comfort while walking the campus. I mix these basic bottoms with simple fitted tee shirts, turtlenecks, cowl necks, ect... They can be dressed up with funky jewelry, scarves,
blazers(casual ones) or even a cute Jean jacket.
I think you can certainly make many of these items and shop for two or three key things. If I were going to school in Ireland, or anywhere rainy, I would invest in a cute, totally functional waterproof coat of some type and some great boots!

------
Raye Ann

GBK

GBK  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/18/11 4:59 AM

Totally subscribe to what have been suggested: dark smart jeans (Jalie 2908?) and nice skirts, combined with quality tees and knits. Knit top patterns with some interest like Simplicity 4076 (all views, i.e., E+F), Jalie sweetheart top and scarf top, ... too many patterns to mention in that area!

Accessorize for some fun, throw a cute jacket on and a smart bag for your stuff -- et voilà!

If Irish students are anywhere near German ones, a major difference between you and younger students will be fit of clothes (as a sewist, you pay a lot of attention to it) and that you'll be wearing what suits you, not following every trend irrespective of your complexion and/or body shape.

All the best!

------
Happy Sewing!

NiamhR
NiamhR
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IRELAND
Member since 4/13/07
Posts: 50
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In reply to Raye Ann


Date: 6/18/11 6:55 AM

Quote: Raye Ann
If I were going to school in Ireland, or anywhere rainy, I would invest in a cute, totally functional waterproof coat of some type and some great boots!

Oh, good point. I had a look for a long trench coat today and I can't find one. But I did find this Burda which should lengthen.
I think it may be out of my league though. My successes so far have just been stuff for my girls and the odd skirt for myself.
Maybe I should do a knee length one from some IKEA home dec fabric as a practice. Fabric in Ireland is cripplingly expensive but IKEA is cheap!
OK so that's the skirt first, and then the trench. I have a nice pair of dark jeans already, and a spotted a lovely grey pair in Marks and Spencer during the week.
What do you ladies think of the idea of a waistcoat? I saw this McCalls. I really like the long red one but I'm not sure what I'd wear it with.
I think I have too much going on in this post already so will tootle off down to the fabric shop to see do they have my Vogue skirt and any interesting fabric. I'm thinking plain black winterweight with contrast topstitching. Would it look weird to topstitch different seams in different colours?
Oh my, another thought! I'm going now.
Thanks for bearing with me.
Raye Ann
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Raye Ann  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/18/11 11:03 AM

I have this coat for my work in Alaska. It is pretty pricey, but awesome. It is waterproof but breathable and is lightweight, so it is really three season. I layer under it in winter with a fleece jacket.
I also have a basic London Fog really long trench with the zip out lining. It wouldn't win any fashion awards, but it keeps me warm and dry.

I don't have time to get the pattern links for what I am thinking of, but why not try a jacket or vest/ waistcoat in a fleece fabric? Fun style in a warm, easy fabric. Sewing a coat like a trench would be out of my league, but a fleece coat or vest might be doable:)
I think the topstitching idea sounds fun. Try the different colors on a piece of scrap first and see what you think.

------
Raye Ann

Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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Ontario Canada
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In reply to NiamhR


Date: 6/18/11 11:22 AM

I'm starting a similar journey this fall (at age 57). I'm not sure how Statistics faculty dress, but unless it's quite formal (it doesn't sound like it!) I think you could aim for dressing more or less the way they do -- but the home-sewn and less-expensive version. This is what I'm hoping to do. In other words, casual-professional -- lots of good basics, maybe some items with a bit of an interesting twist to declare your self-confidence to the world. {wink} I think it's safe to include a few pairs of really nice jeans, to wear with sweaters and so on, but I'm sure you'll pick up what's expected fairly soon. ...Definitely, don't aim for the look of the average younger grad student -- i.e. jeans, nearly all the time. I did this during my M.A. and I'm sure it projected a message of "I'm not terribly confident."

That Vogue skirt is great, by the way.


-- Edited on 6/18/11 12:45 PM --

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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Kansas USA
Member since 12/13/08
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In reply to NiamhR


Date: 6/18/11 12:12 PM

Quote: NiamhR
[quote]I'm thinking plain black winterweight with contrast topstitching. Would it look weird to topstitch different seams in different colours?


What about trying a variegated thread, like Sulky Blendables?

You could go fun:


Or subtle:


... And the colors would blend/coordinate throughout the skirt and look intentional and sophisticated.

***
I like the vest you posted, but I'm not sure about the red fabric. Maybe a charcoal wool fleece or flannel or a sweater knit? You'd wear it like it's shown--over some leggings or skinny jeans.

------
~Gem in the prairie

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