Making your own clothes gives new value to your wardrobe, because of the time, effort and investment that went into making them. The Wardrobe Architect Series on The Collete Blog back from 2014 was especially designed to help sewists construct their handmade wardrobe. The blog series provides a set of prompts to force yourself to define your core style. I wanted to share my consolidated answers as a way of cementing what it means to make my style, which ultimately will inform my decisions on future projects. So here it goes…
Making Style More Personal
How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalise? Have they changed over the years, and why?
My style cemented from when I was around 20, I was interning in London so wore a lot of tailored men’s shirts, blouses, skinny jeans and loafers and the occasional shift dress and blazer. I was hugely infleunced by Alexa Chung during this time. Now I don’t work in an office my style is more relaxed and got lost along the way. Now I want to feel more feminine, colourful and creative. For the past few years I was wearing alot of leggings and baggy jumpers during the day, but it took me a bit of time to realise that spending a bit more time getting dressed for the day helps me feel more together, plus getting dressed is way more fun when you’ve made your own clothes.
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 hate waste, pride quality over quantity and try to buy from sustainable and ethical sources. I really want my stuff to last and I want to wear it often. I grew up around a lot of wool and was constantly reminded of the value of a ‘wool jersey’.
How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?
I’m involved in the yoga community and some classes can feel more like a fashion show, but my favourite teachers tend to wear one colour, so slowly I’ve stepped away from the patterned leggings. I’m also involved in the sewing community and it’s made me realise that it’s great to show off what you’ve made. Generally I’m at home, so things need to be comfortable. It does always rain in Manchester, so things have to be warm and waterproof.
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?
Generally I never wear anything above the knee unless it’s paired with black tights. I like camisoles that show my collar bones in summer, jeans that make my legs look longer and I like things that follow an hourglass shape. I don’t like to wear anything too baggy or tent like.
Defining A Core Style
When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel?
Confident, colourful, classic, comfortable.
When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?
I hate pulling stuff down if it’s too short or worrying about lack of waist line definition if something is too baggy or boxy.
Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?
I like the tailored items Alexa Chung wears, and love how she still makes her look feminine. I adore how timeless Indes De La Fressange is. I appreciate how classic Emma Stone is in La-La Land, even her dressed down outfits are well put-together. Finally, I love the French style of Francoise Hardy.
What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?
Polished, Crisp and clean lines, everything I wear endeds up crumbled!
You’re asked to consider shapes of garments you prefer. Here are some of the main elements that contribute to a garment’s shape; ease (tight or loose), length, neckline, waistline position, sleeve length, fullness. I rated my preference of each element of garments from 0-10, to help determine my signature silhouettes. You can read the answers in Style Lines PDF.
Proportions and Silhouettes
From here you’re asked to review how you’d pair these shapes together for outfits, for instance I like slim fitted trousers and an oversized shirt.
Organise Your Colours
You’re invited to find key colours in your wardrobe and what you graviate towards, from here you’re invited to organise them into neutrals, nearly neutrals and statment colours.
Exploring Solids and Prints
From your most worn clothing, calculate what percentage is prints. For me it’s between 10-15% and of those, the prints are stripes and geometric patterns. What can I say, I love a Breton stripe.
It can be both liberating and overwhelming when faced with so much choice when making your own clothes. However making items that compliment each other is part of the magic of making your own wardrobe. Going through these steps helps me filter some of the endless choices, and I now find myself instinctively drawn to items within my style. From here, the Wardrobe Architect series goes into detail about how to build and plan a seasonal wardrobe, but that is a whole other post. Keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks for more on capsule wardrobes and how I plan my up and coming makes for the season ahead. Let me know if you have tried the Wardrobe Architect Challenge and if you found it useful?
All for now
Claire & co.