Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Planning a Grad School Wardrobe

Weird as it is to say, I'm in my last finals period of undergrad, ever. Only three exams and two "quality papers" stand between me and graduation from the College of William and Mary with a major in history and a minor in physics (oh, and a voice jury, I suppose, but as a non-major all I need to do for that is show up and at least pretend to know my lyrics, so no worries there). I imagine here's where I would be panicking about my future* if I didn't already have the next step lined up- I've accepted a spot in NYU's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program, which means a move to NYC and a lot of science journalism in my future, which is precisely what I want to do. 

It also means that I feel compelled to reevaluate my wardrobe and start filling in some gaps. My undergrad "uniform", as it were, has been graphic tees and jeans, and while that's great for relaxing and for informal settings, I don't think it's going to cut it for a grad program full of interviewing people, internships, and networking. It's also just not what I want to wear anymore, being perfectly honest. I like the comfort of skirts and the laid-back elegance of lacy, loose-fitting button up blouses over camisoles, things that are elegant yet cute with a dash of sophisticated geekiness. (... I've been following along with the Colette Wardrobe Architect series, can you tell?)

I also, y'know, like making my own clothes now, which I didn't do when I was working on an undergrad wardrobe. That changes things just a bit.

So, here's what my plan is: I have a full summer before I jot off to NYC, and during this summer I hope to accomplish the following:
  • Obtain a part-time/seasonal job so I can save up funds for my big move
  • Find an apartment in NYC that I can reasonably afford (probably looking at you, Brooklyn, unless I really luck out and can rent my cousin's Upper East Side apartment from my great aunt for a steal)
  • Work on sewing up a professional yet quirky grad school wardrobe
And what's a good plan without a list of key patterns? My focus will be on skirts and dresses, along with shorts for more casual days (mainly because I adore the Deer and Doe Chataigne Shorts too much to resist and love shorts with tights). With that in mind, I think these are the patterns I'm going to be honing in on. Starred ones are ones are ones I still need to buy, but I'll have some graduation money coming my way, a small part of which can be allocated to buying patterns and fabric (the rest is going straight into the "oh god I need to be able to afford NYC living help" fund).

My patterns are thus:
  • Colette Zinnia (definitely at least one belt-looped, non-button-down one and a sheer lined floaty one)
  • Victory Patterns Ava (a knee-length dress version and a blouse)
  • Deer and Doe Plantain (Lightweight, short-sleeve ones for summer, longsleeved ones for winter, I just need an army of these and I say that having already made three.)
  • Colette Sobretto (it's a good, versatile pattern for simple dresses, and I love this tutorial for adding sleeves to it)
  • Deer and Doe Anemone Skirt*
  • Deer and Doe Chataigne Shorts*
  • Colette Moneta* (I'm a sucker for the different necklines. Still not sold on the Mabel yet, but the Curvy Colette blog tour is making me less leery)
  • Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt*
I already have the fabric for a few of these projects (mainly the Zinnia skirts- yup, both of 'em -the Ava top, and one pair of the Chataigne shorts) and have a few fabric options in mind for the rest. Lots of greens, blues, browns, and grays- those are my standard colors anyway. Some purple and metallics might sneak their way in, too, as accents for design interest. I do need to find a good cardigan pattern, either draped or button-up, because I love wearing those, but they're less of a priority right now as I have an army of RTW ones already.

So, mildly ambitious, yes, but it should be fun and it'll help keep me occupied during my last "free" summer, as it were! Anyone else have big summer sewing plans/big life milestones going on this year? Also, man, someone needs to hold me the first time I poke around the NYC fabric shops, it'll be overwhelming.

*Let's be clear, I'm still panicking a little, but more about finances and where on earth I'm going to live and less about, y'know, what I'm going to do. I have that at least figured out.

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