Wardrobe Architect: Week 1 - Making Style More Personal | Commercially Alternative

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wardrobe Architect: Week 1 - Making Style More Personal

I have been brainstorming ways to get back into blogging and regularly write and sew every day. Instead of getting clearer, things seemed to get out of hand. 

I want to make so many things. However, will I really wear them? Does each of the individual garments have anything to do with each other? If I make this skirt, do I know what top to put with it? Etc.

I want to write more. What topics should I cover? Do I write tutorials when there are probably better ones somewhere else? Won’t finished garment posts get redundant? 

Then there’s time and motivation. Can I sew enough to get regular posts posted? Can I still keep my social life and be active with my husband and friends? When and where do I take pictures that people actually want to look at? Do I really truly care enough about these projects to see them to completion? Will I grow bored and drop the whole thing?

Then today, The Coletterie posted their Wardrobe Architect 2015 challenge. It is a monthly challenge to ultimately define your core style and build your wardrobe with sewn garments. It seemed rather large and daunting when I first read it. Surely, I’m not ready for such an endeavor. I’m still a beginner seamstress; I can’t keep up with this. However, an hour or so later, I went back to the challenge. I’ve never been happy with my wardrobe. I can stand there, looking at the full racks and drawers, and find nothing to wear, day after day. When I clear things out yearly, and give what I don’t wear anymore to Goodwill, each item seems to have a necessary purpose. Yet, I haven’t worn most of them for a very long time and cycle through the same few shirts every week. I needed this.

I was relieved to see that each month’s challenge was broken up into a weekly post and a worksheet to fill out or a goal to accomplish. It seemed more possible, very useful, and maybe fun!

Every Thursday I hope to post my results from the challenge. I am very excited to begin and I hope you enjoy this series. Wish me luck!

Week 1 - Making Style More Personal

HISTORY: How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystallize? Have they changed over the years, and why?

Growing up, I watched a lot of old TV shows, movies, and period dramas with my mom. I’ve probably seen the entire series of “I Love Lucy” ten times over. Every Christmas, my family watches the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. And that doesn’t mean we don’t see it multiple times throughout the year as well! Thus, as long as I can remember, I have loved dresses. When I was little, if we were at home and didn’t have people over, I had some sort of frilly dress on. I loved dressing up in my best dress every Sunday for church. I was definitely born in the wrong fashion era. However, whenever I went out I always dressed in what was practical or comfortable. By middle school, I was solidly in jeans and t-shirts. It didn’t help that anything other than knit T’s and jeans didn’t fit me well at all. Now that I have sewing knowledge, I want to be able to express myself through fashion and how much I love fashion. 

I would say that my overall tastes haven’t changed since I was a little girl; vintage dresses are still my calling. However, I would say smaller tastes have changed based on what looks good on me; certain necklines, skirt styles, etc.

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?

My Christianity has led me to a more modest aesthetic. Things can’t be too short or revealing. This is hard to do when you are tall. Most dresses, though fine on their own, instantly become indecent. Even with the modesty, I still want to feel glamorous and sexy. At least not at all frumpy. 

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?

This one’s a little tricky. What is my cultural background? I really got into nerd/geek culture in college and there are many nerdy/geeky t-shirts in my closet to show for it. Mordorable anyone?

I guess this goes a bit with my Christian background as you dress appropriately for the occasion. Your best dress for church and flip flops are only for the pool. 

COMMUNITY: How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?

I met my friends in an anime club in college. I think that says more than enough, but I’ll expand. In college, we pretty much wore what was comfortable and what got you to class on time. If your shirt was nerdy/geeky like a shirt from a video game or online comic, you got bonus points. My classmates were male engineers. Quite often, I was the only girl in the class. For internships and work as an engineer, I wore jeans and polos, professional and functional. Thus, I would say my IRL communities really hinder me in my expression of style. The people I’ve met online have let me develop my tastes to this point. 

Through the anime club, I became aware of Lolita. I joined online communities and made friends with the girls interested in this alternative fashion from Japan. It rekindled my love of dresses, especially when I discovered the subgenre of classic Lolita. Now that I’ve been out of college a few years and have matured in my tastes, Lolita doesn’t have the draw it once did. However, it did start me on the path of learning to sew and learning what it is that I like in fashion.

ACTIVITES: How do your day-to-day activities influence your choices?

I always go practical. For work, I dress professionally in slacks, flats, and a button up top. It’s actually about two styles of top in about five different colors each. For every day, I wear tennis shoes, jeans, and a cotton t-shirt. Again, it’s about three or four different styles in a variety of colors each. (Plus, aforementioned nerdy/geeky T’s)

LOCATION: Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?

It’s hot. It’s always hot. Everything I buy is cotton or mostly cotton.

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’m comfortable with my body. Sure, I have my insecurities and things I would change. Overall, I like how I look. However, I am tall and slightly busty. When I go shopping, nothing fits right. The waist of every dress is just below my bust. Long sleeve shirts are more like oddly proportioned 3/4 sleeves. If a shirt fits me at the bust, I look boxy with no waist. Shirts always show my stomach. Pants show my ankle or aren’t available in my size in a tall. By the time I fit my thighs in pants, the waist is enormously too big. Etc. Etc. Etc. Shopping is no fun. Thus, my t-shirt and jeans wardrobe. 

I feel most comfortable in a well-structured dress, like a sheath or something that emphasizes my waist. Things that are sloppy, baggy, or with no waist definition make me feel uncomfortable and soggy. 

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