WIW all summer: black white & blue.

So I've been somewhat scarce lately. I may have something to say about this in an off-topic post at some point, but suffice to say I've cut back drastically on social media while I try to get my chaotic life into some kind of order. And I've been pretty slack on taking photos lately, so there's that.

But I haven't forgotten you guys and it's always a pleasure to look in on what you're all wearing, so I'd like to return the favour and share a few looks I did manage to shoot. 

I've been dressing almost exclusively from a very limited colour palette this summer. This is some sort of challenge or experiment, as I find myself increasingly attracted to the idea of developing a signature (method?) based on cool, high contrast compositions. I'm not sure where I'm going with this yet but it feels like a move toward something more streamlined. 

And I'm not averse to repeating myself. If a look makes me feel good, it gets multiple outings. All but one of these has been out and about more than once this season. 

First out of the box is a favourite look which I've been wearing for a few years now. One of my go-to summer looks, a top and skirt I made myself that always demand to be worn together. Sandals by Trippen.

The second is a reproduction of a vintage Issey Miyake design from the early 90's. I cut the pattern ages ago and I finally got around to putting it together last month. I made a few modifications as I was going along, substituting an open necked collar with a high neckline and introducing a fly front with some stitching detail. The yoke, bib and cuffs are made from a textured poly cotton blend, and the body and sleeves from a sheer batiste. I'm pretty happy with it but dreading the first wash. 

Third look is a piece I made from a Jean Charles de Castelbajac design that turned up improbably in Burda last Christmas. I used felted organic wool and trimmed it with leather left over from another project. It has a very interesting pocket detail. I thought it would be a winter garment but it's turned out to be a very useful topper on cooler summer days. Worn with a vintage plisse skirt and a tee-dress I bought in Barcelona. 

Fourth is the one I'm least sure about, a printed tee with a chambray midi from House of Holland and sandals by Bernhard Wilhelm for Camper. I love the pop-art vibe of the two prints together, but I wonder if it looks a bit juvenile. 

As ever, your wise and thoughtful feedback is much appreciated. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Tania replied 7 years ago

    Goodness, you have such amazing skills.  I love all of them.  Seriously. The last is too sophisticated and pulled together to be juvenile.   

  • kellygirl replied 7 years ago

    Wow! You are so talented and creative. Really wonderful outfits. Every one of these is a treat for the eye. I can't even pick a favorite although the print and silhouette of 1 is my personal fave.

  • Cerinda replied 7 years ago

    Lovely stuff, all of it.  I see why you wear the black two-piece a lot:  such an interesting fusion of classic and edge.  Love the Miyake, especially the drape of the back:  does it feel wearable?  Oh, that wool and leather topper!  That would be a workhorse for me:  do you get a lot of mileage out of it?  Your styling is really smart:  how else do you wear it?

  • Maneera replied 7 years ago

    Stunning! Man....you're talented Rio!

    I love 1 for its simplicity and the gorgeous pattern mixing. 2 is avante-garde art to me! 3 is way too sophisticated and visually intriguing, while 4 is clever, unexpected, quirky....yet you! I love them all

  • replied 7 years ago

    I am so in awe of your sewing skills. You are quite an amazing stylist too. I love everything here, and don't find the last look juvenile, per se, just "different".  There's a little more going on , but it still works silhouette-wise.  That Issey Mikaye shirtish thing is out of this world, and I'd be tempted to let a dry-cleaner press it :)  

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Wow, you are a brilliant sewist. 

    I am incredibly in love with #1, from the tips of your Trippen sandals to the top of that beautiful head. What a gorgeous, feminine, polished, yet arty outfit. Adore it!! It also somehow looks super comfortable. What is the skirt's fabric? Despite being quite structured, it all looks easy to move in. LOVE. 

    The Issey Mikaye top is just amazing -- what a standout piece. I can see why you would worry about washing. 

    I also love the last look -- you won me with the Bowie tee!  :) I don't think it is juvenile. 

    I'm very interested in your decision to restrict your colour palette and to try to focus your style a bit more. This is something I continually debate with myself about (and then I get swayed by my love of colour, hmmm.) But it's definitely something I am thinking of phasing in over the next couple of years. 

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Great to see you post again, Rio. I miss you around here, and hope that all is well in Amsterdam. 

    It’s amazing how we seek extra simplicity in our style when life is extra hectic. That’s why you’ve intrictivley chosen a small colour platte to sooth you during this time. Makes perfect sense.

    I LOVE #2. Absolutely Killer. Gorgeous pattern mix, fun shoes and flattering proportions. And you made the pieces too. Brilliant.

    I love #8 next. The pleated skirt peeking out from under the coat dress  adds a lovely soft touch. Sweet. 

    I don’t think #11 and #12 look juvenile, but the proportions are off to my eye. The high waist, bold dot, horizontally cutting seam line of the basque, and high contrast between tee and skirt right on the upper midsection is a tricky mix. The black topper - although a good match with the shoes - is another high contrast piece. The topper adds structure and sophistication to the tee so I understand the addition. The skirt is hard to style with a tucked top, it seems. Have you tried wearing a top over it instead?

  • skylurker replied 7 years ago

    I love #10 : a modern flapper look.
    Or : 20's style, twisted by the Anvers school of design.

    I don't think #12 is juvenile. I don't see it as "streamlined", though.

  • approprio replied 7 years ago

    Wow! Thanks ladies :) A little lost for words, as ever. I don't like to play favourites with my outfits, but the black and white top and skirt in 1-3 is definitely a candidate.

    Cerinda: the black dress is indeed becoming a surprise workhorse. It's a good choice over skinny jeans and ankle boots too. It may well feature with patterned leggings in the autumn.

    Suz: the skirt is a simple Lycra tube in a style I've been wearing for years. Very practical, particularly on a bicycle. As for restricting the colour palette - well, Angie is very perceptive. It's soothing at the moment. 

    Angie: hard to style? You don't say! It's a problem child, no doubt about it. I think you're right about the proportions on me. The detail in the middle breaks up the vertical line in a way that doesn't do my body type any favours. Not to bang on about Mr Kibbe and his wacky theory, but it's perhaps a little too "gamine" for me. So far it only looks really good with the Bad Boyfriend. It may have to go if I can't figure it out.

    skylurker: Anvers? I love that! JC/DC is French avant garde aristocracy all the way down, but I thought the same when I saw the design. The proportions are pure Margiela.

    And Tania, kellygirl, Maneera, lisap... thanks! I appreciate the boost. :)

  • Jaime replied 7 years ago

    My eyes are popping. You made all those pieces? do you take orders? I adore your first outfit and want to steal, shorten and wear it. The white tunic whatever is magnificent but I would be terrified to wear it (due to the washing factor). I love the black overcoat and the outfit in #10 (COS necklace?) is modern flapper just as skylurker said. I like the last outfit without the jacket best - emphasizes the juxtaposition.

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 7 years ago

    These are so stunning, Approprio. I'm again awed by your sewing and design artistry. I love the simple lines and beautiful, fun patterns of #1. The top looks like some of your African fabric, perhaps?
    The floaty white blouse is delicious. It's romance with an edge, and I would not have guessed Miyake.
    The black coat and white pleated skirt outfit is stunning; great mix of hard and soft. I think you do this kind of juxtaposition so well; I feel it is perhaps part of your signature style.
    The last outfit looks whimsical, but not juvenile. It definitely has a more playful character than the other outfits here. To me it has the feel of a secondary style of yours. I do love the way you've paired the Bowie tee with the kind of homespun-feeling skirt.
    I wish you well! Pop in whenever you can; it's always a treat to see your outfits and posts.

  • Style Fan replied 7 years ago

    You are so talented Rio.  Love all the looks but the first one is just amazingly gorgeous.  The last look is perhaps a bit gamine as Kibbe would say but if it works for you then Rock it. 

  • Meredith replied 7 years ago

    Your posts are always a visual feast. I'm completely inspired by your pattern mixing!

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    WOW. Just...WOW!

  • donnat replied 7 years ago

    I am with the wow! I absolutly love #1, the pattern mixing, and shape is sensational. The white tunic , is amazing, and the leather trim..... gorgeous!
    You are a very talented sewist.

  • frannieb replied 7 years ago

    Great to see you - everyone goes scrace at times throughout the year when life happens.

    As always your outfits are so freaking cool.  I love all of them and agree with maneera #4 is clever, unexpected and quirky.  You look fab in all of them.

  • shedev replied 7 years ago

    You have mad skills. I may have to look for the Issey Miyake pattern.

  • approprio replied 7 years ago

    aw shucks! thx ladies :)

    shevia: yeah, the necklace is from COS. Funny you should say that about taking orders. I've been thinking lately I should sew for money rather than just for the fun of it. 

    Firecracker: back 'atcha ma'am! One of the many things I love about YLF is that the sewists I meet here, such as yourself and the lovely DianeG seem to be very committed to the craft. And I'm unsure of the provenance of that fabric. I think it may have been a Dutch wax print judging by the feel of it, but it wasn't marked as such. 

    shedev: good luck with that! The original pattern is long gone, so I had to copy from the garment I made about 20 years ago. :P I came across a reference to it a while ago, but I can't find it right now. 
    And Style Fan, donnat, Meredith, Shannon, frannieb: thanks so much. It means a lot to get a shout out from such fabulously stylish ladies. 

  • Cococat replied 7 years ago

    Wow! You are so talented!
    Look 1 is such a perfect combo. I love the mix of prints and I can see why you have worn it so often.
    Look 2 is stunning. What a fabulous shirt and I'm blown away that you made it. It certainly looks high end to me.
    Look 3 is my favourite. The best part is that you contrasted it with a soft white bottom. That's so inspiring. I love contrasts like this. I have cream vintage slip with wide pleated trim at the bottom. I love it but have never known how to style it without it looking costumey. Thank you for the inspiration.
    Look 4. Who couldn't love a Ziggy print? <3

  • replied 7 years ago

    Hmmm....I should sew more
    These are great!

  • Carole replied 7 years ago

    I'm so impressed...you are a beautiful seamstress and love your style. Hope life gets to an easier to manage pace soon. Hugs

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