Outfit Formula: Fluidly Tailored

On to some tailoring to temper the unstructured volume that has dominated YLF lately. Eloquii does a fantastic job styling their models with ample structure and polish, and a dose of fluidity. Some looks are more structured and less fluid than others. Here are some fab examples. 

Outfits that are fluidly tailored are my favourite because I enjoy the visual definition and polish of outfit structure, but I don’t like to wear items that are tight, form-fitting, body-encasing, or restrict my movement. My outfits have to flow, and move when I move. To some extent my clothes have to stand away from my body, for lack of a better way of explaining it. I like my tailored pieces roomier than most so that I can get on with my active day without them bossing me around. That said, when clothes are oversized in the wrong way, they are awfully bossy too. Finding the right amount of tailoring and fluidity is a delicate balance.

Here are some outfits that are for the most part fluidly tailored, and I’d happily wear my version of each of them.

1. Trendy Classic

The pullover is a gorgeous fit. It’s tailored in the sleeves, neckline and hem, but fluid everywhere else. The wide crops are similarly tailored up top, but roomy on the leg. The semi-tuck adds waist definition and lengthens the leg line from the hips upward. The loafers are a grounding touch, and bookend the model’s hair.

Trendy Classic

2. ‘90s Casual Suit

I adore the way these items fit. Perfection. The suit is tailored but not tight. The wide pants look Summery and chic. The column of colour creates vertical integrity, and offsets horizontal lines created across the outfit. The length of the pants are elegant, but make sure you don’t trip over the hems. The flat slides are a lovely relaxed touch and match the bag,

'90s Casual Suit

3. Boho Rock ’n’ Roll

The bohemian tunic is beautifully fluid everywhere with tailored structure across the shoulders, neckline and under-bust. The rock ’n’ roll leggings on the other hand are 100% body-con, and there is nothing fluid about them. The outfit works well, and is a good example of the long-over-lean look. Wearing a pair of roomier bottoms like a slim pair of wide crops, cigarette pants, or pair of palazzo pants would add fluidity to the look.

Boho Rock 'n Roll

4. Skirt Casualization

Just about any skirt can be dressed down and worn more casually with the addition of a casual top, fitted denim jacket, and relaxed footwear like sneakers, sandals, slides, mules, boots, or espadrilles. Here, the flared skirt and tee are fluid. The denim jacket is tailored. Tucking the tee to showcase the waistline creates a further tailored effect. Sometimes, I wear my own fitted denim jackets like a tailored top by buttoning them up. This is an outfit formula that I wear frequently in warm weather. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

Skirt Casualization

The Power of Alterations

I’ve written about clothing alterations many times on YLF, and it bears repeating. When an item that you adore is a close-to-perfect fit, and alterable, the question is whether you’ll go to the effort and expense of the alteration. For me, it’s almost aways a resounding YES. 

If I choose the right size in a brand, silhouette, and cut that is suited to my body type, clothing items generally fit quite well. That said, items don’t always fit perfectly straight off the rack. Because I am a stickler for perfect fit and do not sew, I will spend the time, effort and money to have items altered. I’ve found that perfectly fitting garments are not only more comfortable, flattering and practical, but they amp up the polish of my style, and create better proportions.

Fits, silhouettes and sizes change with the trends, and these days, I’m finding that I have to alter more than I used to. If I’ve bought the item at Nordstrom, my alterations are free and top notch. Otherwise, I’m lucky to have found a competent tailor a block and a half away from our home. Her rates are reasonable and her work very skillful.

I’ve had these items altered over the last eighteen months to create a perfect fit. Some were an easy alteration, and others more complex.

  • Suistudio Plaid Pants: An easy hem shortening to wear with flats.

  • Boden Turquoise Coat: An easy sleeve shortening despite the lining.
  • Boden Plaid Coat: A more complex alteration because the lined coat was too wide, although great on the shoulders. I had the back and side seams tapered to add a little more structure to its fluid A-line fit.
  • Boden Polka Dot Dress: This was tricky because I had the dress altered a whole size down, and it’s fully lined. It now fits like it was made for me.
  • G-Star White Jeans: This was the trickiest alteration because I had the seat, hips and waist altered with double-seamed and top-stitched denim. I persevered with this big alteration because reasonably affordable sustainably and ethically produced white jeans made of thick, crisp, non-stretchy denim in a roomy fit are hard to find. With the rise, length and leg fit bang on the money, I had high hopes that the rest could be fixed. I bought the item on sale, which offset the price of the alteration.You can see the stellar results.

My weight is quite stable, so when an item is altered to fit, it tends to fit for the duration of its life in my closet. Showcasing clothing that fits perfectly also sets the example for clientele who aspire to perfect fit. These things definitely help me to justify the expense of my alterations.

Finding items that I love and fit perfectly off the rack is first prize. But when that doesn’t happen, I make alterations a priority and absorb the expense. How about you? Do you go to the trouble and expense of having items altered to achieve a better fit?

Link Love: The Mending Mentality

From the art of visual mending to how to stitch old things to new life, I liked this blog post about the fact that much thought is now going into saving garments as we all do our bit to consume less.

If you’d like to try your hand at darning a hole in a sweater or cardigan, have a look at these tips.

“‘Meet Australia’s Fashion Fixers’: As people become more conscious of reducing waste, Australia’s professional menders are welcoming a new wave of customers.”

Fab Links from Our Members

Nuancedream directs us to this interesting Teen Vogue article on sustainable and size-inclusive fashion. Some progress has been made, but there is still room for improvement.

JAileen recommends this article on what to do with our face masks after the pandemic.

Isabel found this funny in a way: “Now that we have discovered elastic waists, will we ever go back?”

Suntiger immediately thought of Angie when she saw this: “Finally, It’s in Fashion to be a Horse Girl.”

She also thought this was a good post for anyone interested in moving towards a minimalist wardrobe.

LAR101 thought this could be useful: “You Probably Wear the Wrong Bra Size. These TikTokers Have a Solution.”

Bj1111 is loving the patterns of these Vans made with Liberty fabrics.

Zaeobi thought Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen’s update on ‘going out’ tops was interesting — has the concept really changed that much since 2005? And if it has, will we continue to even need ‘going out’ tops after we emerge into the ‘reopening’ of society?

Angie is so with Alyson Walsh and her views on the versatility and fabness of the classic striped Breton.

Fashintern came across this article about apps that let you try on clothes virtually.

Shevia thought this was a very good exploration of the issue of thrift store gentrification, although, she adds: “I do not think it took into account that many smaller thrift stores are primarily run to support charities, and raising money rather than providing clothing is their main goal.”

Sal has been enjoying stylist Kate Young and her new YouTube channel. Lots of information about what it takes to get those red carpet looks.


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Clamdiggers: Yay or Nay

In the spirit of almost anything goes in fashion and style these days, cast your minds back to clamdiggers. They are long, slim shorts that end right on, or just below, the knee. Some retailers use terms like pedal pushers, capris, and clamdiggers interchangeably, while others describe clamdiggers as shorter. Clamdiggers are sleeker and narrower than Bermuda shorts. They were popular in the ’50s, and came back in the ‘90s and 00’s. If you look hard enough, you’ll find some options in retail today.

Clamdiggers are not on-trend, but of course, that doesn’t matter one bit. If you like the silhouette, wear it. They’re like skinnies or straight legs that you can wear in hot weather, and are especially appealing if you like “long over lean” outfit proportions. Clamdiggers are an option for those who don’t want to showcase more than their lower legs and prefer to wear pants. They’re usually casual, although smart casual options do exist. Denim clamdiggers are the easiest to find. Dress them up or down.

Afton Denim 15-Inch Clam Diggers

Anthony's Pull-On Clamdigger Crop Pant

Clamdiggers are super when paired with longer, flowing, asymmetrical tops. They are excellent for Team Untucked Top. But you can style them similarly to a pair of shorts, so there are lots of possibilities. You can even repurpose an old pair of skinnies or straights into a pair of clamdiggers. Keep the hems raw, rolled, or hem to the desired length.

To my eye, a great fitting pair of clamdiggers looks modern classic, elegant, flattering, and can provide the desired coverage. I wore clamdiggers a lot back in the ‘00s, and I’m still a YAY today. I’ve worn some too-short dresses over them in the past, which was fun. I’ve hacked multiple pairs of skinnies into clamdiggers too. I’d wear them in blue and white denim as an alternative to shorts, if we lived in a hot-weather climate. But on this leg of my style journey, I’m prioritizing my Summer dresses and skirts for our short Seattle Summers. I’m also into wider bottoms at the moment, and leaving sleek clams to another leg of my style journey.

Over to you. What’s your take on clamdiggers? Have you worn them?

Crisp, Colourful, and Quirky for Spring

A new outfit from Susanne Ackstaller of Texterella, whom we introduced to YLF in October 2019.

Susanne’s quirky bag wins best accessory of the year. Wouldn’t you smile the second you saw her walking down the street with her eye-catching watering can bag, filled with colourful tulips to boot! She has paired mid-blue, relaxed, straight-legged jeans with a white flowy tunic shirt. She fills in the flattering V-neckline with a jaunty neckerchief in red and orange that complements her quirky bag and lippy. Our blogger has layered a buttery soft biker jacket in a delicious shade of caramel over the top. The shorter length of the jacket shows the playful lines of the high-low hemline shirt and tempers the volume of the top. Suede mustard sneakers bring a fourth and unexpected colour into the mix. Their white soles match Susanne’s crisp shirt. A gold bangle and double pearl earrings add polished bling. Finally, our blogger’s trademark bright red lipstick and blunt ear-length bob with short fringe bring extra pizzazz.

Susanne Ackstaller - 1

Susanne Ackstaller - 2

* Photos by Martina Klein Fotografie, Berlin