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wardrobe thoughts

I came across a wonderful blog last week, and it’s prompted so many thoughts for me on the concept of “wardrobe”, so this is my attempt to put it in writing.

Making our own clothes (whether sewing, re-fashioning, knitting or elsewise) is, I think, partly about the joy of creating something and executing a handcraft, and partly about the freedom to make whatever you want – whichever size or combination thereof, whatever color or pattern you can find (or make, as sallieoh does so well!), whatever silhouette and fit we want. At least for me, the combination of these two factors is why I make (some of) my own clothes.

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My first years of sewing or refashioning was based a lot on what I could find of fabrics and clothes to take apart, and very little buying fabric and patterns specifically for an envisioned project – so that has long been my standard mode of operation. I don’t think I really sewed according to any sort of plan. After one of the Me-made-May or Self-Stitched-September’s I’ve participated in, I saw a conversation going on in the blogosphere. People were noticing that the things they had made for themselves didn’t necessarily fit their lifestyle or their style period. I noticed it too. After the first round, I decided that just because “I’ve made something myself doesn’t automatically mean it’s my style. Or, it might no longer fit into my current style.” After the second round, I realized I actually have multiple styles going on: “When I’m going to work, I want to look sharp and polished and put together, with pencil skirts and structured tops, or fitted dresses. When I’m not at work, I gravitate towards flowey, casual, faded, slightly off kilter things. Which is totally fine, except for the days I dressed really casually and picnicy going to work and felt awkward and uncomfortable. I think I just have to accept that work-me wants to dress differently than leisure-me!”

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I usually devour any posts on wardrobe and style since find the topic fascinating and mystifying, and I’m not sure I have a full grasp of what my style is. Which isn’t a big deal! But I would love to feel like my wardrobe is a better curated collection of clothes. I am completely enamoured with Anuschka’s blog – the streamlined imagery, clean look, and of course… the content. Unlike most other posts and blogs I’ve read on wardrobe-how-tos or wardrobe-must-haves, she doesn’t provide rules like that. Instead, she offers tasks and exercises to figure out what your own must-haves are, based on your own preferences and lifestyle. And, she outlines different approaches to putting together outfits, and describes how to use that as a guide to what pieces and how many you’d need in your wardrobe. I love it! It’s an approach that revolves completely around figuring out what works for you, not set formulas or pieces. It’s actually liberating, in a way!

I’m tempted to toss all the contents of my current wardrobe on the floor and only put back a carefully selected collection of garments that of course all go perfectly together. But a wardrobe is always a work in progress, so besides the fact that I don’t own all the things that would be in my dream wardrobe, I’m aiming for an easy-does-it approach – mindful replacing of worn out/ill-fitting/damaged clothes, with a sort of core wardrobe each season and complete permission to also have things in my wardrobe that is for special occasions and rare uses (if I love it, it’s allowed!).

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Intersecting here between wardrobe planning and the ability to make one own’s clothes is of course that you can make the pieces that are missing! I’m now making a dark grey cabled hat as part of getting my winter outerwear wardrobe to a place I’m happy with – which to me means not having a myriad of colorful hats and scarves and mittens that clashes totally with my warm jackets. It doesn’t necessarily mean making big changes to feel put together! Looking through my wardrobe to identify gaps between what I want to dress in and what I have, has made my sewing-to-do-list longer – I’m thinking several pencils skirts, a couple of miniskirts, and definitely some longer sleeve shift-dresses in the next few months. And I have a portrait neckline blouse already cut out, along with another Tiny Pocket Tank. Wait, do I need more of those? Hmm, always!

Anyone else having thoughts about they wardrobe and style? What are your sewing plans for the rest of the year (and into next year!)?

Resources: Wardrobe Building for Beginners: a starter kit from into-mind.com & alreadypretty.com

  • I love reading post like these. Thanks for sharing. I wrote about my style in September and it’s been good to go back and read it now (http://bloglessanna.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/my-style-my-brand-my-life/). Have I made the things I talked about at the bottom? No, but to tell you the truth I haven’t had much of a chance for any selfish sewing lately. Off to make some end of year presents for my daughters’ teachers now…

    • indigorchid

      I’m glad you enjoyed it – as did I your post! You look like you have a pretty defined style already, looks great! It is such a fruitful exercise to look closely at your own preferences and habits… at least I’ve gotten a lot out of it, and it seems like you did too. And no reason to scoff at teacher-gifts – I’m sure they’ll appreciate it a lot! (but yey for selfish sewing in the new year?)

  • I definitely have a work style and a non-work style too! I sew more often for work I think since that’s 5 days out of 7 :) Thanks for the link to her blog – I’m looking forward to learning more about her approach.

    • indigorchid

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with multiple styles for different situations (or environments)!

  • Sara

    I also love reading things about wardrobes and style, and like you I feel like I’m not quite sure what my style is! There are definitely two sides to me too, but since I’m currently still a student I don’t really have a “work style”. It’s more like a “presentation style” that is quite different from my comfortable and casual “everyday style”. I also have the problem of sewing things that aren’t really “me” just because they look cute on other people, which I’m very much trying to remedy by really thinking about my lifestyle, what I’m comfortable in, and what I want to project. I find it interesting that sewing and knitting my own wardrobe makes me much more aware of what clothes say about a person, which is something I never really considered much in depth when shopping. I love it though!

    • indigorchid

      Ooo, I like your point of “sewing things because they look cute on other people”. There are definitely trends making their way in the home sewing community, and there being the popular pattern to be making, but it’s not necessarily a good fit for everyone! For example, I’m seeing so many Anna-dresses now (and they are lovely!) but I know it’s not a cut that is super flattering on me, and I know it’s not a style of dress that works for my lifestyle. That makes it an easy choice to not make it, but I actually feel like I’m not participating in the newest trend in the blogging/sewing-world by “unchoosing” it! That was a tangent. Good luck with further investigating and exploring your style!

  • først:
    jeg simpelten ELSKER din Ireland dress!
    du ser aldeles himmelsk vakker ut i den og din hairpiece
    var jo den perfekte prikken-over i’en!: )

    så interessant og inspirerende innlegg dette er!
    kjenner meg igjen i SÅ mye av det du skriver om.

    ønsker deg nydelige novemberdager,
    vibeke

    • indigorchid

      Takk Vibeke! Både om garderobe-tanker, og ikke minst – Irland-kjolen! *rødmer* Jeg følte meg faktisk himmel vakker i kjolen og med hairpiece’n! Gode novemberdager til deg også!