Ah, the New Year. The time to make resolutions that I am dead set on keeping but usually fall to the wayside within… say… wait, what was my resolution again? I don’t really have a good track record with resolutions, but I just can’t help myself. This year I have decided to start sewing for myself again. I love sewing, but for the last 2 years I have only sewn for my little Audrey. I don’t mind that half my little projects for her end up in the bin because toddler clothing doesn’t use very much fabric so mistakes are cheap. However, I read on the Colette patterns blog about a project called “Wardrobe Architect 2015.” It’s a program throughout the year to thoughtfully design your wardrobe (either sewn or purchased). The way I choose my wardrobe normally is while walking through the shopping centre and spotting something I like, then hope it fits.
The problem with my body is that usually nothing fits. Every one of my button-down shirts has to have a safety pin in between 2 of the buttons. I have to either buy clothing that is too big for me everywhere else but the bust, or fit me perfectly everywhere but be obscene in the cleavage area. This is why I’m going to try to follow along with Wardrobe Architect with my own designs so that I can sew clothing to fit.
Week one: Making Style More Personal
This activity is designed to get you thinking about what influences your own personal style. (I have a little laugh to myself when I use the word ‘style’ to describe anything about me – but I suppose this is what the project is all about – to discover a style that actually fits my personality). The idea is to describe how one factor influences your personal style from a list of 7 options. They include: history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location and body. I couldn’t choose just one, so here are my top 3 influences on my style:
I live in tropical Queensland – so my location definitely influences my style. Having grown up in Canada I love the idea of layers, sweaters, wool coats, hats, etc., but it would be unusual (especially this time of year) to wear anything other than short sleeves (or sleeveless) and shorts/skirt. I could probably get away with a really light jacket in the ‘winter,’ but winter for us is like 24 degrees Celsius (which would be considered a really nice summer day back in my hometown in Canada).
This is probably the main factor in choosing a style for me. I thought about all the other options like culture, personal history and community and they never really resonated with me in terms of my personal style. I couldn’t care less what the latest fashion is or what everyone else is wearing. What I do care about is how the clothing looks on my body. I generally wear anywhere from a size 14 to a size 18. I have very large hips and breasts, so it is hard to find anything to fit properly. I tend to wear a V-neck because I find it is more flattering for my shape. I also tend to wear fairly loose-fitting clothing to hide my ‘rolls.’ Usually I’ll take my husband with me shopping (he LOVES to shop, by the way, and will sometimes come home with clothing that he would like to see on me). His standard line for something that shows my lumps and bumps is “I’ve seen better on you.” Pants are especially hard to find in my size. If they fit in the hips then my legs are swimming. If they fit in the legs then I may not be able to close the waistband without a bit of muscle. For skirts I think I look best in a circle skirt. Pencil skirts make my belly prominent and gathered skirts make me feel like a whale.
What will I be doing during the day? Taking my kid to the pool? Going to work? Working from home? Going out on the town? Having a catch-up with the girls? Other than ‘body,’ I think ‘function’ is a major deciding factor on what to wear. Ideally I want to design my wardrobe to fit all of these categories, and if some items can work for more than one or two categories then it’s definitely a winner! Not only does clothing have to look good and fit well, but it also needs to be comfortable and modest enough that I will actually want to wear it.
After doing this activity I’m starting to think that I actually do have a personal style – I just never really articulated it before. I think this project is going to be fun! What influences your own personal style?