Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wardrobe Architect: Worksheet 1

both my grandmothers in their early 20's

Making Style More Personal

Taking my history, philosophy, location, body issues and culture into consideration is the first week's exercise for the Wardrobe Architect by Colette. This, as I assume will happen with most of these worksheets, was much harder for me to do than I thought. Since all my answers would take a super long post, I am only going to share a couple of my answers. You're welcome :)

To start off, I am also not a religious or particularly spiritual person, but I do think I have a philosophy about clothes. The one that my mother has instilled in me is the philosophy of a well-made garment or accessory. I remember going down to Boston with her to buy shoes for my father. My father had those same leather shoes resoled until they eventually fell apart after years and years of use. This foundation combined with the past five years of sewing has made this philosophy even more engrained. Now shopping trips are a huge eye-opener. With the rise of disposable fashion, and even over-priced "boutique" fashion (Anthropologie, I am looking at you!) I know that I want my closet to be filled with carefully collected and sewn pieces that mean something to me on a personal level and that are made well.  Most of the pieces I see in the Anthro catalogue are ridiculously overpriced, especially considering the poor quality of material and shoddy construction. I am not saying that I don't drool when that catalogue comes in, but I need to be more selective. I want integrity in my clothing. That might sounds pretentious, but if I am going to spend the time and money to sew or buy something, I want it to be good quality and to last.

Now, we circle back to my mother and my grandmothers. All of them from very different backgrounds, but all still managed to have their own style that worked and was very distinctive.  My dad's mother loved Italy and Italian designers, while my mother's mother loved an asian look to her jewelry. The latter always wore a different colored long string of beads with every outfit. It was her signature. My own mother loves purses and scarves (and shoes!) and always knows which accessory will perfectly complete an outfit. It is these small details that remind me of the women in my family and I would love to incorporate that spirit into my own personal style, like a little nod to those before me. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else but to me, but since this is my blog, I am leaving it in.

This brings me to vintage. I have always loved a vintage silhouette. If you look back at my favorites movies growing up, you will find that they are all period pieces: Somewhere in Time's 1910's/1920's with its elegant beaded gowns and fans, Grease's 1950 made me fall in love with the fun and flirty dresses with petticoats, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, got me into a sultry late 50's/60's. Now, these styles I don't want to replicate exactly, but if I can get the essence without feeling like I am in a costume, that is the angle I am hoping for.

Going through this exercise made me realize a few things. I tend to favor things that make me feel comfortable, whether physically (weather related) or mentally (when I feel like a sausage), so I tend to avoid certain styles that I don't think flatter my petite pear shape. Ultimately though, I have a somewhat conservative or, as I like to see it, classic and tailored style. This I am attributing to the region and family I grew up in. When I think of New England I think of Brooks Brothers and LL Bean. And while I do tend to favor more of that style, it also has a bit of stuffiness that I do not like. What I would like to do is take that style and make it a bit more fun and personal with a dash of vintage uniqueness. Sounds good, right?

I think so.

Anyone else already done this exercise? Did you find it hard to analyze yourself? And is anyone sewing anything!?!?! I actually have four fully sewn projects (really!) that I just need to photograph!


  1. It's so interesting to read your thinking on this Wardrobe Architect exercise, Maggie. Well-made clothing/the styles of your mother and grandmothers/vintage uniqueness sounds like a very good formula on which to base your wardrobe choices. I look forward to seeing how this plays out. And wish I had the clarity of mind to undertake this kind of exercise for myself!

    1. Thanks, Patricia! I have high hopes for this and my fingers are crossed that I can flesh out my formula into actual garments. That is the part that I think will be the hardest!