Wardrobe Architect Week 4: Your Colour Story

This week’s Wardrobe Architect exercise is about coming up with a colour story for your wardrobe. To quote the original post:

“Color is an extremely powerful force in our lives.

Color affects our mood. It affects how food tastes to us. It affects how and what we buy. The color of the pills we take can even affect the efficacy of the medication within. That is what a powerful psychological effect color has over us.

Not only is color a potent communication tool, but it’s also a nuanced one. We are capable of perceiving a huge number of colors, each one arousing a slightly different feeling in us.

Perhaps you can’t articulate why a certain shade of apricot feels good to you, but a slightly yellower shade does not. Somewhere deep within your mind, a combination of biology, culture, and context makes that decision before you are even aware of it.

It creates a visceral, physical response that you experience as emotion.” (source)

I pretty much already knew what my palette would be, but it’s hard to pin down exact shades of blue (for example), so it did take longer than I thought it would. Also I struggled to come up with 12 colours! Looking through my handmade wardrobe, though, I’ve pretty much stuck to these colours, which really surprised me. I thought I was a bit more all over the place, but it seems I’ve always kept to a fairly limited palette!

I did pin some pictures on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board to help me narrow these colours down. I tried to avoid pinning pictures of clothes, though, so I wouldn’t pin things thinking I liked the colour, when actually I liked the silhouette. What strikes me is that this palette looks quite bright, but I feel like I dress quite boringly a lot of the time, so that needs rectifying. I also need more coral in my wardrobe. I really do like it but when I made my lace dress and jacket for the wedding I went to last year, I initially wanted a coral jacket and not a mustard one but I couldn’t find any fabric in the shade of coral I like – and it turns out coral is a word that means anything from pale pink to bright orange!

I feel like these colours are mostly the ones I think I look okay in – I would never put red on my colour palette for instance. Do you find you’re naturally drawn to clothes in colours that suit you?

Wardrobe Architect Week 4: Proportions and Silhouettes

wardrobe-architectThis week’s Wardrobe Architect is about finding out what silhouettes we like to wear. It builds on last week’s assessment of the shapes of garments we like to wear and puts them together to make outfits, which emphasise or hide different areas of our bodies by ease or length. The idea is that we will come up with some key silhouettes we like, which will become the templates for what we sew and what will hopefully become a capsule wardrobe.

I came up with a few ideas for outfits I like to wear – some are smart, some are casual, some are for Winter and some for Summer. I found pictures that were the shape of garment I was looking for, but not necessarily the colour. All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board.

1.Skinny jeans, loose top, cardigan flats.

1.b Or the above outfit as a bit more casual with trainers and a different top.

2. Pleated Trousers with a loose shirt, jumper and flats

2.b Then there’s a more casual version of this with boyfriend jeans and trainers.

3. Short skirt, tights, slightly fitted top/shirt (tucked in), cardigan, flats or ankle boots.

4. Loose shift dresses, tights, cardigan, ankle boots.

5. Fit and flare Summer dresses with sandals.

 

I could swap out sandals for shoes or trainers and lose the cardigans and jumpers for more Summery versions of the outfits. Living in England we don’t have much of a Summer usually – a couple of weeks if we’re lucky – so layers are usually the way to go when it’s warmer.

I’ve found this week really helpful in terms of working out a capsule wardrobe! I’ve been feeling recently that I have lots of clothes and not much to wear, and I carry on making things but still think I have nothing to wear. This exercise will definitely help me pick what to make so that I have lots of combinations I can put together into outfits I actually like and feel are ‘me’.

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Wardrobe Architect Week 3: Exploring Shapes

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This week’s Wardrobe Architect exercise is about finding out which shapes of garments you like wearing – and possibly more crucially, which shapes you don’t like wearing. Some of the things that contribute to the shape of a garment include ease (tight or loose), length, neckline, waistline position, sleeve length, and fullness. There’s a really helpful worksheet you can download from Colette to help you rate the different aspects of each different garment, to help you see which shapes you like. I think we’ve probably all sewn things that we didn’t feel great in, or weren’t the most flattering, and I feel like this week will be the beginning of me working out what’s good and what’s bad!

The worksheet has you grade different elements of different garment types, where 0 is hate wearing it and 10 is love wearing it.

Here’s my overview:exploring-shapes-worksheet
Then there’s another section with more specific necklines and sleeves to mercilessly judge:

exploring-shapes-worksheet-2

Skirts

According to my scores, I mostly like skirts which are mid-thigh or knee length – I’m too short to pull off midi! And I like them to be fairly straight in style, including pencil-type skirts, though I don’t like them to be too tight. I found some photos to sum up my taste – some of the photos are things people have sewn from patterns (including one I made myself!) because it seemed like a not-terrible idea to find things I might actually be able to recreate!

exploring-shapes-skirts-1 exploring-shapes-skirts-2 exploring-shapes-skirts-5 exploring-shapes-skirts-4exploring-shapes-skirts-3  exploring-shapes-skirts-6-2(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Dresses

I definitely wasn’t surprised that what I like are shift dresses, without waist seams. Also that they are quite loose and hit me mid-thigh. I feel exposed and uncomfortable in mini-length things, especially if I have to sit down!

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I also quite like the 60s-style high waisted look. I think this will be a silhouette I’ll experiment more with. I’ve been meaning to make a Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress (from Love At First Stitch) for ages, so maybe now is the time!

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(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Trousers (Pants)

From my scores of trousers, it seems that I like most styles and shapes – really fitted, somewhat fitted and somewhat loose. Also I’m quite flexible when it comes to where they sit on my waist.

You can’t beat some classic black skinny jeans!

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I do also like wide-legged trousers, though there is a limit! I think being short I can’t pull off giant trousers.

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I also like these more boyfriend-y shapes. The Morgan Jeans are on my #2017MakeNine list, so I’ll be making myself some this year.

exploring-shapes-trousers-5 exploring-shapes-trousers-6
(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Tops and Blouses

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I like loose, boxy tops. I hadn’t really thought explicitly about what length of top I like, so that was interesting to think about – I like tops just above hip level. I don’t mind the odd cropped top, but with high-waisted bottoms. I think the tunic length on me would just throw off my proportions because I’m short. Weird how basically all the photos I picked are monochrome!

exploring-shapes-tops-1 exploring-shapes-tops-3 exploring-shapes-tops-5 exploring-shapes-tops-6

exploring-shapes-tops-7exploring-shapes-tops-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

 

Jackets and Blazers

I wasn’t really surprised by how I scored the different styles of jacket/blazer – I kind of knew I like quite loose, slightly boyish shaped jackets, in a length that hits on or just below my hip bones. Jackets are definitely an area I want to move more into, given the office I work in is fairly smart, and I feel a bit more put together and grown up if I’m wearing a jacket. This first photo is the hacking jacket from the first Great British Sewing Bee book, so that’s definitely on my list to make.

exploring-shapes-jackets-1 exploring-shapes-jackets-2 exploring-shapes-jackets-4exploring-shapes-jackets-3
(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Cardigans

I found it really hard to find pictures of the kinds of cardigans I like wearing! I like round necked, plain, fairly fitted cardigans – it’s one of the few things I prefer to be more fitted and not as loose. Maybe I’ll explore with other styles in the future? Since I now live in a very cold place, I like the idea of some over-sized, snuggly knitwear!

exploring-shapes-cardigans-1 exploring-shapes-cardigans-2 exploring-shapes-cardigans-3 exploring-shapes-cardigans-4
(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Outerwear

Apparently I like grey and yellow coats! I also like them to be loose, and I love cocoon shapes (which weren’t really covered on the worksheet). I have a duffle coat which is more hip length and I like that, but I also love my Freemantle coat, which is a bit longer – you need to have some long coats, for warmth if nothing else! I may have to make another Freemantle because I really do love it. I might try making it more round necked, though, as the v is very deep so not super warm when it’s really cold unless you’re wearing a giant scarf!

exploring-shapes-coats-1 exploring-shapes-coats-2 exploring-shapes-coats-3 exploring-shapes-coats-4
(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Well there we go. I don’t think there were a huge amount of surprises for me, but it was interesting to look at the specific design elements I like and like to wear – sometimes I look at things and think ‘I really like that’ but I don’t analyse why, so sometimes I sew things I think I’ll like but then don’t, because it doesn’t fit with these scores. I’m definitely going to try to remember to come back to this post when I’m planning my makes!

p.s. Sorry this is going up a day late – I was writing it yesterday evening and was still going at past 11, so I figured there was no point forcing myself to stay up and get tired just to finish it a couple of minutes before midnight, just to have it be published on the Sunday.

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Wardrobe Architect Week 2: Defining a Core Style

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Here I am back for the second week of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect. This week it’s about trying to work out what our core style is, building on what we found out about ourselves in week 1.

There is another worksheet, with some questions, which again I’ll cover here.

When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy,
poised, powerful, etc)?
Comfortable, the right temperature, unique (but not standing out too much), and correctly dressed for the occasion – I hate feeling way under- or over-dressed.
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?
uncomfortable, not like me, feel like people are judging me for wearing the wrong thing (though, of course, they’re almost certainly not!).
Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?
Michelle Williams, Ginnifer Goodwin and Lupita Nyong’o. Interestingly they all have short hair! I like how Michelle Williams and Ginnifer Goodwin both have a slightly vintage vibe, but also look cool and fashion forward – and I think they can both pull off multiple kinds of look. And Lupita Nyong’o always looks chic and cool and her clothes fit perfectly. I also like all the bold colours she wears and the interesting silhouettes she pulls off.
What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?
I often feel like I want to look like a rock star, but I just don’t think I could pull of a leather jacket! I also love the masculine/ androgynous look of someone like Tilda Swinton, but I feel being only 5’3″ that I couldn’t really pull that off! I also go through phases of really liking 40s style clothes and the lindy hop style, but I think it’s the wrong era for me.
After answering these questions, you come up with some words from your answers from last week, then narrow it down to 3-5 words. Mine are:
Cool
Comfortable
Confident
Vintage
With these words in my mind, I made a new pinterest board to pin photos of outfits I like (which is the last stage of this week’s exercise).  You can find all the image sources on pinterest. It seems that the pictures I pinned fit into a few different categories.
1. Casual outfits with trousers (most pleated) and slouchy shapes on the top.
core-style-1 core-style-2 core-style-3 core-style-16 core-style-20
2. Modern and vintage outfits with interesting style lines

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3. Shift dresses, tops and coats with 60s vibes, particularly with collars and stripes.
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4. More modern-looking boxy tops, with interesting prints on the fabric.
core-style-15 core-style-17 Then I have a few photos that don’t really go together or into the categories above. They’re a mixture of vintage and modern styles, but they are all quite loose silhouettes.
core-style-5 core-style-6 core-style-10 core-style-11 core-style-14
I’ve found this really useful in working out what my core styles are – I knew there would be more than one, but by pinning lots of pictures, you can then spot the trends which then helps you realise what you’re drawn to. I think I need to make myself some pleated trousers – and get more brogues in more colours! I am also falling back in love with cute collars, so that’s good to know!

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Wardrobe Architect Week 1: Making Style More Personal

wardrobe-architectAs I mentioned in my post detailing my plans for the year, I’m going to be going through the Wardrobe Architect project which Colette ran back in 2014. I thought it was a good idea then, but at the time I don’t think I thought I needed it to plan my sewing and cement my personal style, but I definitely feel like I need it now!

I’m going to be doing a week every 2 weeks, as I don’t think I’ll be able to fit it in quicker than that! Here is my proposed schedule (so I am accountable at least a bit!):

Week 1 – 22/01 (obvs)
Week 2 – 05/02
Week 3 – 19/02
Week 4 – 05/03
Week 5 – 19/03
Week 6 – 02/04
Week 7 – 16/04
Week 8 – 30/04
Week 9 – 14/05
Week 10 – 28/08
Week 11 – 04/06
Week 12 – 18/06
Week 14 – 02/07

(there isn’t a week 13 as that was a giveaway in the original project.)

The first week is about making your style more personal. Colette have produced a worksheet to fill in with answers to various questions to help you figure out your motivations for what you wear. I’ll answer them here – I hope this is vaguely interesting!

HISTORY

How has your personal history informed the way you dress? 

I think the main way my history has informed my style is that I never felt cool at school because I never had the latest fashions. Having been bullied a lot through school (both primary and secondary), I felt really self-conscious through my teenage years. This carried on even when I was at university as I didn’t have much money so couldn’t go out and buy loads and loads of clothes, so I probably wore a very small wardrobe of clothes until I worked full-time. I think this all explains why I feel like I want the perfect wardrobe that will make me feel cool and mean I have awesome clothes to wear every day – this is why I compulsively buy patterns!


When did your tastes crystallize? Have they changed over the years, and why?

I’m not sure, really. I guess it’s evolved with each little period of my life – at university I dressed oddly smartly I think. Then when I started work at a bookshop, I carried this on but went a little more casual. Moving to London 7 1/2 years ago probably was the thing that has made the biggest difference to my style and self-confidence. Again I worked in a bookshop, and was surrounded by lots of people with lots of different personal styles. It made me realise I didn’t have to care about what was ‘fashionable’ (if there is such a thing any more!), I could wear what I wanted and felt good in. It was also while I was in London that I started sewing!I’ve also changed in the shapes that I like to wear – moving away from tight tops, favouring a looser silhouette on the top, but with skinny trousers. I also didn’t used to be so interested in vintage styles and shapes – I think this is probably something that changed when I discovered sewing and the online sewing community.

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’m not religious so I’ve found this question quite difficult. The main thing I could think of to include in this section was my growing awareness of how I consume. I’ve talked about this a little before on my blog, but I want to become a bit more aware of where my fabric comes from. A couple of years ago I read the book Overdressed (and I did a review of it, but it seems to have disappeared when I migrated my blog to a new name) and it has stuck with me what Elizabeth Cline wrote about the crazy levels of consumption caused by the trend towards fast fashion. Also the working conditions of the people making the clothes, and the damage caused to poor communities’ homes by the dying and other chemical processes used in the garment industry. It is tricky, though, because it’s really hard to know where fabric comes from – and I still don’t have very much money so I find myself weighing up price against the quality and origin of fabric, with price often being my most important concern. I do want to try to be better about this this year, though. If anyone has any tips for places I can buy ethical fabric at a reasonable price, please do let me know.

CULTURE

How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? 

I have no idea about this one!

How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older? 

As I mentioned above, I grew up in a house that wasn’t very fashion conscious, which I think has now helped me to not feel embarrassed about possibly looking a bit more individual than other people – now I’ve left school that is! I also grew up in a house without much money and clothes were one of the things not prioritised. I still feel this now – I never could justify spending much money on clothes, which is why sewing is so perfect for me. I can always justify buying fabric and patterns! I also grew up with my mum making quite a lot of our clothes when we were little, so I always knew sewing my own clothes was an option.

COMMUNITY

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

The main community that has influenced me, in terms of sewing and fashion, is the online sewing community! And especially all of the amazing independent pattern designers. When I started sewing, there was really only Colette, Sewaholic and Grainline and now we are really spoilt for choice – and it means we can find particular designers that really mesh with our styles! It was also through reading sewing blogs that I became aware of vintage fashion and realised I particularly love the 60s. I also feel inspired to have a (nearly) 100% handmade wardrobe – I’ll get there one day!

ACTIVITIES

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

I think my activities influence me less than they used to – I cycled to work the last 18 months I lived in London so I pretty much always wore trousers. I also worked in jobs in London where I didn’t have to be particularly smart. Now, however, I work in an office which does require a certain level of smartness – I don’t have to wear a suit but the men do, with ties. It’s kind of harder and easier to be a woman as we have so much choice, but we have so much choice! I walk to work in 5 minutes, and do walk around at work quite a bit, so comfort is definitely high on my list of needs in clothing!

LOCATION

Does the place you live inform the way you dress? 

Cirencester (where I live now) seems to be a bit less individual than London, on the whole. I’m sure there are people everywhere who wear what they like, but it’s kind of obvious that big cities are likely to be more ‘out there’ than small Cotswold towns. I don’t feel that anyone would be judged for dressing how they like here, though.

How does climate factor in?The UK is friggin’ cold for most of the year – and Cirencester is definitely colder than London. Also I am cold-blooded, so being warm enough is probably the most important thing to me when getting dressed.

BODY

In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? 

I’m not sure, really. The only thing about myself that I ever wanted to change was my terrible crooked teeth. I had braces as an adult, in my early twenties, and it is easily the best thing I’ve ever done in terms of my self-confidence. It might sound like I’m really up myself, but I’ve never been particularly conscious of my body – it all works, so I don’t have any reason to complain. I could be fitter, but I know I’m too lazy!

What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?

Having said I feel confident in my body, I don’t like it to be on show particularly. I prefer to be quite covered up – I especially feel uncomfortable if my cleavage (what little of it there is!) is on show. I don’t mind showing off my figure (such as in my Lace Dress) as long as I’m not showing too much flesh (which is how I felt in my BHL Georgia Dress). I have moved away from more fitted clothes, particularly on my top half, in favour of a looser fit. I feel more comfortable in looser styles. I also hate to wear ill-fitting things (as some of my earlier makes now are) as I don’t like feeling pinched or like I have to spend the day adjusting things.

So there we go! I wrote more than I thought I was going to, which hopefully is a good thing! I’m really looking forward to the next week and to nailing my personal style once and for all – though I suspect I’ll end up with about 4 different styles!

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