Wardrobe Architect Week One: Making Style More Personal

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I’ve found this quite hard to fill out, but lets see how it goes! You can read the original article here. I’ve illustrated with some images, which are mostly fabrics from my Pinterest, so that I could think about how these influences translate into the clothes I wear.
HISTORY
How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystallize? Have they changed over the years, and why?
As a teenager I wore a lot of earthy colours along with nature-inspired prints. At one point I decided that I wasn’t allowed to buy clothes just because I liked the image on the front anymore – all my clothes had to be flattering on their own. I guess this was the start of my current wardrobe philosophy, although I wear brighter colours now than I did 10 years ago.
PHILOSOPHY
How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?
I’ve been vegetarian for 3 years and I’m more and more interested in sustainability and the environment. I guess that’s something I’d like to reflect in my wardrobe – certainly to buy more fabric that is sustainably sourced and fair trade.
CULTURE
How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?
I grew up in a middle class family in Sussex, England, in a town renowned for its hippie tendencies and near bohemian Brighton, so that’s probably given me some quirky fashion tastes. I certainly like my clothes to be different and interesting, but also flattering and tasteful. Are robots tasteful? Maybe I just like flattering…
As a family, we hosted Japanese students during my teenage years, so I have always had a strong interest in Japanese fashion and culture, especially kimono prints and the artists of the floating world like Hiroshige and Hokusai.
COMMUNITY
How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?
My mum went to art school and my dad I both did sciences at university, so I have artistic and technical influences. From my mum I inherited a love of nature-inspired prints like Liberty fabrics, although I definitely rebel against girly pinks and pastels.
 ACTIVITIES
How do your day to day activities influence your choices?
I work in a very casual office, so I can wear pretty much what I like. I’ve never been one for really informal clothes anyway – I don’t own a pair of denim jeans!  They’re a piece of clothing I just can’t get excited about, I’m afraid. Parrots in hats, on the other hand, are exciting. 
 LOCATION
Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?
Well I live in England, so I’m pretty attached to big knitted cardies and the bright orange raincoat I bought last year is one of my favourite things – always makes a grey day more cheery. I love wearing dresses, so a lot of the time I wear them with warm tights so I can keep wearing them when the sun’s not out.
BODY
In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?
I would say that I don’t have an unhealthy body image. I could lose a bit of weight and I certainly like wearing clothes that flatter my figure rather than show off the flaws. I don’t often buy trousers because it’s really hard to find a pair that are flattering and comfortable, which is certainly part of the reason I wear so many dresses. I’m short (5 foot) and curvy, so I have to be careful to wear balancing clothes – tulip skirts for example, make my hips look even bigger and large prints swamp me.
So that’s it, week one done and I thought it was surprisingly helpful! Have any of you done the Wardrobe Architect challenge? Has it magically changed your lives?

Swirl Skirt (And A Bit About Pierrots)

At Christmas our work party had a “black and white” theme, which I thought was really lame. That is, until I dreamed up this swirl skirt! I unfortunately didn’t finish it for the party and ended up wearing it pinned together at the waist, so here is the finished version!
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It’s essentially a circle skirt, but made up of 6 curved panels of satin (?) sewn together to make the circle. All the curved seams were a massive pain, but it was good practice! I ended up with the waistband being a little too tight, but overall it’s very cute. I’m considering shortening it now that it’s not for a party anymore – I never really wear midi skirts. This was also my first attempt at making the inside look pretty, so that’s an important milestone! I might write a tutorial for a swirly circle skirt if anyone’s interested?

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For the work party, I also whipped up a little ruff and went with a pierrot themed outfit. Not too clowny, just a hint! The picture below was part of my inspiration – who knew there was so much pierrot fashion out there? Make-up’s really weird, but the ruff is so cute! I’ll be honest, I love this sort of flouncy ruff, but I’m not sure I would have the confidence to just add one to a non-costume outfit. What do you think? Can we bring them back into fashion? I guess I can stick with ruffles.  Try googling “pierrot fashion” and looking at the images – there’s some awesome and terrifying stuff out there.

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Between writing this and posting it, I found someone who had created a proper Pierrot costume over at Crab and Bee! Hers is definitely not for casual wear though.

Wardrobe Architect

Lumia 800_000473So today I want to talk about personal style. A few things I’ve read and heard recently have made me think about my own personal style. A post on Tilly & the Buttons (yes I’m mentioning her again, she’s amazing) from a while ago spoke about having your own personal brand of style and I was trying to work out what mine was. Are the garments I never finish just not Bonnie enough? In an episode of Judge John Hodgman I listened to last week he kept asking one of the litigants if his vast collection of socks brought him joy, or if he was just hoarding them. This may be a comedy podcast, but he has a point – why would I ever wear something that doesn’t give me joy? With sewing becoming a growing hobby, I need to make sure I’m making things I truly love and want to wear. I mean, I know I’m not going to get it right every time, there will always be some failures, but I want to make as many clothes as possible that give me that burst of happiness when you wear it out for the first time, but also continue to come out of your wardrobe time and time again.
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So, with this all swimming in my head, I came across a series called Wardrobe Architect by Colleterie. This is a series of articles and worksheets to help you discover your own personal style – I’m a bit behind the times discovering it, but better late than never, eh? I like to think that I have some idea what fits into my wardrobe and what doesn’t, but I know I can be swayed by a fabric because it has elephants on it with no thought for whether it will make a nice garment that I’ll wear. This is why I’ve decided to embark on this journey of discovery. I’m going to document here each exercise and see what happens. Colleterie are currently doing a monthly 2015 version, but because I’m behind the times I’m going to do the 2014 ones. Maybe I’ll catch up and be able to join in for the autumn! Have you tried Wardrobe Architect? How has it helped you?