French (and a Little English) Fashion Fantasyland

comments: 41


I don't have much to offer today, since I literally did nothing but frog and recrochet yesterday's sweater again (sleeves this time) and I think we all know how that went (lots of sighing, lots of  swearing in second person ["You little %$#@!"], lots of Thai-iced-coffee-consolation, lots of Audrey looking nervous). Naturally, it was all sort of for naught, since I wound up ripping everything again, and taking the simplest approach after all. The pretty lilac-y sweater on the cover of the spring/summer issue of Rowan magazine was motivating me to get there, I must say. All these pretty pinky-purples! It's not normally a color I prefer, but sometimes when you are designing for other people's publications, they choose the yarns and the colors and even the design details. Sometimes you get to choose, sometimes they choose. For the sweaters for Susan, I chose the yarns (Baby Cashmerino and Cashmerino Aran) and she tweaked one of the colors to go better with the other stuff in the book. I have a little baby dress coming out in Crochet Today! magazine this June, and for that the editor chose the basic design of the dress (based on one of my other originals) and the yarn and the colors. It was not the yarn I would've chosen, but the magazine has its reasons, and the dress came out really cute, so sometimes it's kind of fun to have those things determined. Breaks you out of your tendencies.


Anyway, I do love Rowan magazine so much. It's just so beautifully produced; it's not really a "magazine" at all, it's a 190-page perfect-bound book on beautiful paper with 60+ beautiful things inside. This is a little halter felted out of an old Aran sweater, trimmed out with crocheted edging. Isn't that a great idea? I think it's so pretty. I told Jane yesterday that her Paris trips always seem to happen right as I'm beginning my French Fashion Freakout every season; this spring I'm motivated entirely by the movie Passion of Mind with Demi Moore, whose character lives in a small French village and wears braids and overalls and tiny-print calico dresses and aprons and rubber boots and generally very milkmaid-ish clothes but in a cool, mud-on-her-cheek, almost-real way. I personally can't follow the plot of this movie, but I watch it entirely for the scenery and Demi's wardrobe. Jane suggested Brodeuses, so I'll go get that today and plan out some more of my imaginary shopping-spree. I went real-life shopping on Sunday for a few things and was absolutely horrified when I went into a dressing room (rarely do I do this) and saw what I had on. It was so pathetic, I shouldn't have left my own basement, let alone my house, in it. This is how I convince myself that I really do need more clothes: go out looking like I'm really jockeying hard for a spot on What Not to Wear, then catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror. I'm so often determined to turn this around, somehow. Like Demi and her split personality (in P of M) I am often appalled at how my real-life appearance doesn't match my imaginary appearance, and if I would put even four minutes of effort into this each day I am convinced that I really could turn things around. Unfortunately, this ambition only seems to last for about a week at the beginning of fall and the beginning of spring, when I have the little French Fashion (conniption) Fit and go out and buy four blouses, wear them four days in a row, flirt French-ily with anyone around, wash them and then lose it all in the depths of the laundry room (in favor of the tee-shirts, ubiquitous capri-sweatpants, and cranky un-cute attitude) forever. Like, until next season.


Oh, you! ;)

But what about the polka-dot Boden dress! Do not think that I have forgotten it (or it has forgotten you, my sweet)...


I do love the Rowan publications too. They're so dreamy, and those big beautiful photos pull you in.

That halter is amazing! Phenom idea!

My solution to dressing better has traditionally been to wear the same kind of stuff I always wear, but in seasonal colours and fabrics. I can't see giving up my elastic waistband, but wearing pistachio calico is do-able :)

passion of mind is a fave of mine. the clothes in the french part and demi's elaborately, delicately, spark-i-ly pinned updos in the new york part. my, oh my, so special.

oh and what about her script collaged head board in the new york side?


I love the Rowan publications as well. Even if I never knit anything out of them (although I have) I still think they're worth it just to dream over.

Also - I've always liked the lavender-pink-orchid-lilac-plum shades (used many of them in my wedding in 1981) and I've even knit with various shades of lavender and purples and then later think "Was I going to WEAR that?"

I am so getting you and where you are at!
I was shopping yesterday and let me tell you, I would have died had anyone I know seen me... but I was thinking that I want to wear sundresses and skirts this summer... like those cute vintage house dresses.
Well, we'll see how far that thought goes...

I just rented Passion of Mind last night...

Back in the day when vintage dresses were cheap and easy to come by, I had no trouble making my real-life appearance fit my fantasy-life appearance. But now, it's such an ordeal! Hence my daily uniform of jeans or khakis, t-shirt, and clogs or sneakers.


Your making me laugh at the whole clothing thing. I didn't even realize that ol Demi had a movie out. If I could get by with jammies all day every day I would. I've been wearing jeans jeans jeans to work every day and recently told myself that I am making some summer skirts to wear.

Demi wears a beautiful white linen blouse in that movie that I have lusted after from the moment I saw it. I've been of the same mind - snazzing up the wardrobe, changing the look a little. A little less Lands' End and a little more Oililly

oh you ruined my image of you .... ;)

oh, how I love Rowan magazines as well. I hadn't realized this one was out, it looks lovely (that halter top is just amazing)

I forgot to mention that I thought you looked very cute the other night. =)

Oh my. With two little babies I hardly ever leave the house, and when I do, I think I have forgotten how to even TRY to look cute. I need some inspiration if I'm ever going to look good enough to make my husband give baby #3 a go! Just kidding...luckily my dear husband loves me in jeans and an Old Navy pullover from three years ago, I'm just not very impressed with the fashion side of my life. This post gave me a little tee-hee, though, so thanks.

I do find my "going outside of the house even just to the store wardrobe" is like my decorating~ and looks nice, but my "I am at home and dress like a slob, but am color matched wardrobe" needs help! LOL

That lilac sweater is so pretty! I am not a fan of royal purple, but that pinky lilac I love. I hope someday I can crochet stuff like that, I would just love to do that!

Haha, Cranky un-cute attitude, hee, I have one of those too!

Hang in there, I am sure the sweater will work out, and it will look so fab! :O)

oh thank god i'm not the only one.

I do the same dance, every time I get the Anthropologie catalog! And until I got this job where I need to look "put-together" I NEVER spent that extra 4 minutes when I didn't HAVE to.
Just yesterday I realized how dumpy I must look in my 'real' clothes (ie. not 'office' clothes) when my Mom, who I normally only see on weekends, said "wow, you look SO. MUCH. THINNER. when you get dressed for work."
Uh, Thanks.

I just had that spring wardrobe-burst-of-energy where I decided to get rid of almost everything in my closet and start over because it was so depressing that I couldn't fit my clothes like I used to. Then the burst of energy and enthusiasm dwindled and now I have no clothes! I need to look at some magazines and get inspiration for cute clothes again before I were these same black pants to work one more day this week! Aghh. The problem here is that after being "somewhat dressed for work in an office" all day, the first thing I do when I walk in the door is put on the "home uniform: husband's long sleeve cotton shirt and my one-step-up-from-sweatpants". I can guarantee my husband only pretends not to mind! I definitely need to watch Passion of Mind now! Something to get me out clothes shopping instead of thrifting for old oil-paintings and pink dishware!
Best to you!

I completely understand your feelings about real world image versus internal image. I recently posted about a new bag I made just because of this very feeling. I am a bag designer by night and for the longest time I wore an ugly (trust me, it is ugly) backpack around! I was so ashamed...not of the backpack really...more ashamed that I make beautiful (I like to think) bags and yet I carry around a mass produced pen stained horror. So, I made myself a new bag. When I wear it out I feel so good, like the real world versus the Stephanie world actually match for once.

I've never been able to find the Rowan magazines at my bookstore... but the images on their website are total eyecandy. Have you seen the new colorways in their Summer Tweed yarn? There's a shade called Dew that looks like a minty green w/ slubs of turquoise and yellow that I've been daydreaming about....

good luck w/ the baby sweater

Oh, I had not seen Jane's blog before. It's lovely! When I need clothing inspiration, I go read The Sartorialist - there's another great photographer. I'm in awe of you guys. Then again, living in New York City, simply going outside is a source of inspiration. I was never so obsessed with fashion until I moved here! Oh yeah, and did you order that Boden dress? I must admit I considered buying it too!

Chris Howard says: March 29, 2007 at 02:24 PM

Clothes are overrated. Einstein had the right idea there.

The pretty world that you make and live in- THAT'S what counts.

Self-employment has been great for my soul, but murder on whatever sense of fashion I used to have. Our "uniforms" sound very similar.

i laughed.
you would have laughed too if you saw what i was wearing as could see what i am wearing as i read this.

-one pair underpants, wrong size.
-one pair olive green MENS thermal long john's
-one pair of trousers, 3 sizes too big (but I only have two winter pairs with crotch not worn through!)
-several layers of tee, longsleeve and sweater - all thrifted because previous owner knew no-one should be caught alive in them anymore.

oh, and Mr P's oversize shoes, because they are easier to slip on and off - how lazy (but warm) am i ?!

Some years back I decided to upgrade my daily wear wardrobe. No more sloppy tees with ads written on them. No more paint-stained tennis shoes. You know what? I like it! I get up, shower, comb and fix my hair, put on makeup, which consists of mascara and lip gloss (add blush if I'm feeling really dressy). That's it. Then I dress in a comfy knit top (one with shape —NOT a tee) and a matching skirt with an elastic waist or a simple cotton dress, most of which I make. Sandals in the summer or socks and clogs in the winter. Earrings. I am completely comfortable but I don't hate to look at myself in the mirror or panic if someone drops by. I feel feminine, put together and much happier with this arrangement. And yes, with an apron on there are no household tasks I dare not tackle! Try it. You'll like it!

Seriously, do you read my mind...or somehow have some kind of magic influence over me even BEFORE I read your posts?
The other day I was just wishing there was some book out there that would do the math for me when it comes to designing knitwear armholes and such so that I could quit being such a pattern followers and then, voila, there you are posting a book you'd found that does just that, even though you're still frogging after reading it. Sorry. It'll be worth it, right?
Today, just about two hours ago, I stop by the local LYS and leafed through the new Rowan mag and what was the only thing that caught my eye? The felted halter tank thing, of course.
Note to self: must watch above mentioned movies AND snap out of my corduroys and plain short-t-shirt-over-long-t-shirt uniform. Go rediscover some of those skirts hanging in the closet! Today, I at least traded the cords for a skirt, albeit a corduroy one. T-shirt routine remained the same.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.