Saturday, June 20, 2015

Small Changes, Big Improvements

Sometimes, you have items of clothing that are perfectly fine, but lacking a certain... something...

Example, the following. I have FIVE of these white shirts (from Lands' End - highly recommended), from when I worked at the bakery. They're really wonderful shirts, but 5 is a bit over the top. And this black velvet tunic is lovely, but it falls into this difficult gap of being not really dressy enough to be dressy, but still seeming a bit over the top with jeans.

Easy, fast, relatively inexpensive update? Buttons!

These are Murano glass - it's virtually impossible to get a good photograph, but you have to trust me that they're pretty gorgeous...

And these are very simple plastic - black with white trim. Imagine this with my black and white dotted skirt, and a red cardigan...

I'm pleased with the outcome - I see a couple more button changes for some of my other white shirts!

My hospital procedure went very well - we had some trouble controlling my pain for a few hours, but now I'm home, heavily drugged, and groggy, but always thinking of you all!





  1. Best wishes as you recover, Janice. And by the way, you're a genius! Buttons are always a good idea, je pense!

  2. They used to make button covers to change the look temporarily and could be used on different shirts to add pizzazz. A total change is wonderful since you have so many of the same shirt.

  3. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  4. Dear Jainice,

    I'm very happy to hear the procedure went well and that you're now how. Here's hoping and praying that you'll be back to your old self soon.

    This is a lovely idea about the buttons. As a seamstress, I have changed buttons on garments when I have lost a button and not been able to replace it with the same one. But just to change the buttons outright, I never thought of that. Thank you for the idea.

    Louise P

  5. Janice,
    I have just sent up a prayer for your healing to be rapid and as pain free as possible. As a retired RN, I figured that you might be pretty uncomfortable. So glad that you're home and " back in the saddle " again. I missed seeing your inspiring posts these these past few days ! Hugs to you --carefully !

  6. I digress for a moment to get back to your rotation of ensembles while on a trip. Sometime ago I came across an article on Cruismates site, written on March 5, 2005 by Harry Martin. He had a revolving list of the clothes to wear, broken down into day and evening functions, with each clothing item assigned a number, and then the pattern of rotation between the pieces. While you are on the mend you might want to check it out. While it is a formulaic approach ( I happen to love formulas !) , I found it intriguing ! I would love to see your approach illustrated , as you so wonderfully do, please !

    1. 'Wear and Recycle' is a good article. I think I have heard Janice call it a "Wardrobe Slot Machine". I am currently doing that with my stay-at-home clothes and have a three month spreadsheet. Today I am wearing black skirt, brown long sleeved T-shirt, brown jumper! I presume approach can used in number of different circumstances or capsules. Good to hear Janice is recovering. Hugs from the other side of the world. Carol S

  7. Oh, I forgot -- I believe the article was titled " Wear and Recycle ".

  8. So glad to see you back home and online!

  9. Have a well paced recovery. So glad to hear that all in all it went well.

  10. My grandmother taught me long ago how to live well on an extremely small budget - one trick i have always appreciated was her advice to buy cheap, thrift store garments with excellent buttons whether they fit/look good or not…and use the buttons to upgrade clothing I already own -- then, of course, replacing them with my basic buttons on the thrift store garments, and then re-donating for others to use -- and to remove buttons from all garments going into the recycle bin or the craft/rag bin and keep them for later use.

    I have done this with many sweaters and blazers over the years, but never thought of it as a way to change/upgrade blouses! Love the idea. Such a simple change to make a big difference.

    Welcome home! Feel better soon.
    Sue G

  11. Buttons, buttons, buttons, always improve anything. I rarely keep the buttons on store bought clothes, always upgrade right away. White shirts are also fabulous for surface design. Painting, embroidery , see Etsy and you tube for all kinds of inspiration. With some good black felt, scissors and glue, one of yours can become a fabulous polka dotted shirt.

    Take care in your recovery, allow yourself to indulge in idleness.

    Deb from Vancouver

  12. Janice,
    You were in my thoughts this week, and not for the usual anticipation of your wonderful posts. I hope you felt the support of the community you build as you faced and are now recovering from your procedure. I wish you a full and easy recovery, and look forward to your return to great health. Though we've not met, you are a valued friend that I look forward to hearing from.
    Be gentle with yourself!

  13. You're in my daily prayers. Julie

  14. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  15. I am so glad to hear your procedure went well! Be gentle with yourself as you continue your recovery.

  16. Glad to hear that you are on the mend! Please be gentle with yourself.
    A button change! Such a simple change makes a big impact.

  17. Buttons are a great trick. I have used it many times to upgrade a bargain piece. There is a wonderful shop in London that specialises in buttons and has every shape, size and look you could possibly want.

    1. Wonderful place in Chicago, too--called Soutache. It's like Ali Baba's cave filled withe buttons, ribbons, trims, feathers, and a wonderfully creative owner who can help with ideas.

    2. Ah Danielle, that's where these buttons were purchased! I missed the meeting with you all on Friday, but we went up on Sunday to see the wonders. What a GREAT store....
      and a big hug to you!

  18. Glad to hear you are on the mend. I hope your recovery is swift.

  19. Feel better soon. Thanks so much for thinking of your loyal readers, no matter what!

  20. I'm glad that you are feeling better.I remember button covers coming back a few years ago. A little change dresses things up.

  21. When I sewed a lot, buttons were my favourite accessory!

  22. Yes, buttons, the easiest but very effective diy. I wish you get better soon.

  23. I am glad your surgery went well and wishing you a speedy recovery.
    From a loyal fan who has learned so much from your advice.

  24. Button covers and I were very good friends back in the day. I had a white blouse with standard white buttons, and three sets of very different button covers. To my surprise, button covers are alive and well on Etsy.

  25. Great idea with the buttons. They can make a big difference.
    I must have missed a post here, but glad to hear that you are doing well, and pray for a good recovery Janice.

  26. Great idea with the buttons! Glad you are on the mend!

  27. We are certainly missing you, Janice. While you recuperate, I have found myself often thinking of you and your wellbeing, but I have also been thinking a lot about the multiple generous services you provide the world…

    Here is one small example of your impact:
    Trying to order a simple tee shirt online, I was annoyed by the unhelpful naming of colours on websites, and also frustrated by how much the monitor shade of the SAME ITEM IN THE SAME COLOUR can vary a great deal across different sources for the image (manufacturer, distributor, google/bing images, department store sites, interest/instagram/polyvore, blogs, etc….)

    A rose is not a rose. A khaki is not a khaki.

    So, I turned - as I often do - to your blog. I sifted through some sets and found a variety in which you had used neutral tee shirts. I made a mental note of which designers, in your mind, had clothes with undertones, weights, and moods that integrated well in various outfits and groups.

    Janice, I don't know if you see a lot of the garments you present to us in person, or you just have a genius for deciphering online description jargon…but I have yet to purchase anything using your recommendations as a starting point -- only find out that the beige from Company A is too orange and the beige from Company B is too grey when worn together.

    If you believe that the clothing from website X works with well clothing by designer Y, by golly, they do! No need to order blindly anymore and hope for the best. You have vastly reduced my order-and-return cycle.

    What a tremendous savings of time, money, packaging, fossil fuel, and human effort!

    I live in the boondocks, but the housebound, the non-shoppers, and the time-strapped can all use your blog to make better buying decisions, too. Multiply that savings across your many readers, and you are reducing a LOT of wasted resources. !!!

    shipping and restocking workers thank you,
    my postal carrier's back thanks you,
    the environment thanks you,
    and I thank you. - Sue G