The Wardrobe Architect Week 2: Defining a core style

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wardrobe-architect-week-2

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Let’s acknowledge one thing right off the bat: style is not immutable.

It’s tempting to believe that you can define your ONE TRUE STYLE and never have to think about it again, but it defies common sense. We are people. We change, we grow.

However, there are some things that are so ingrained in our personality, tastes, and lives that they come up again and again, like refrains through our lives. Last week’s exercises were about uncovering some of those deeply held tastes and preferences.

I’m calling these aspects – the things that are closer to who you are and your life experiences – a core style.

My premise is this: We each have aspects of our style that are closer to who we are and to our own personal realities. These aspects don’t change much and form our more static style. That style can be expressed in different ways throughout our lives, but recognizing it and celebrating it helps you to feel more like you.

Iconic Style

We often hear that style icons know what works for them; they have a specific look and they stick to it. The details change and the style evolves, but there’s always something at the heart of it that remains consistent. Think of Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O, Katherine Hepburn, Brigette Bardot. Or more modern it-girls like Alexa Chung, Solange Knowles, or Sofia Coppola.

style-icons

Ok, so that’s true. These are all women in the public eye who I’m sure care deeply about the way they look and what “works” for them.

But behind each style is a woman. These are real human beings with their own experiences, tastes, and preferences that formed that look. We love Audrey for being chic, but also because her simple gamine look reflected her playful, charming personality. Jackie O always looked polished, but that poise seemed to go much deeper. Everything about Bardot’s look echoed her sex kitten persona.

Granted, these are famous women and to some extent their public personas were carefully constructed. I think the point stands, though. They each used style to communicate something more about themselves to the world, something more central about them.

What is at your core?

Defining a core style isn’t easy for most of us. Why is that? It isn’t because we have no tastes and preferences. We usually know what we like.

Rather, it’s because there are so many choices. One of the greatest appeals of fashion is that it lets us play with identity and try on new ways of looking at ourselves. How do you weed through all the lovely looks and pretty styles and choose what suits you and makes you feel good? And how do you do that while still allowing yourself to play around with fashion and have fun?

The answer is (I think) to take a multi-layered approach. First, you can define a core style that really feels like you. Once you have a pretty good idea of what that is, you can build on it with the seasons, making changes and tweaks and incorporating new ideas when they feel right to you. But you can always return to the things that make you happy, the things that feel like you.

Last week, we discussed some of the factors that can inform your core style: history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body. I hope you had a chance to think about these aspects in a positive way, and not just about the challenges. For example, if you thought about what makes your body challenging to fit, I hope you also thought about what clothes make you feel good about your body.

This week, we’re going to go from thinking about these things in a cerebral way to figuring out how they might work on an aesthetic level.

Exercises

This week is all about finding words and images that describe your core style, incorporating what we thought about last week. I hope you’ll have fun with it like I did! Again, I’m crafting these exercises based on my own musings, so I’m eager to hear what you think. I’ll probably share my complete answers early next week. And if you want to see my thoughts from last week, check out my recent posts on instagram.

  1. Download this week’s worksheet. You might want to have your answers from last week handy (or just have them in mind) as you fill it out.
  2. Collect 15-20 images that represent your answers from the worksheet. You can collect more or fewer if you like, but that seems like a good number to me. I’m using Pinterest for this purpose, but you could save them on your computer, put them on a blog, make a collage, whatever you want.

I’ve found that having a visual representation of your style can be really powerful. You can include anything you want: art, fashion photos, photos of yourself, color, anything that speaks to the answers you give. I’ve found it helpful to choose images that convey a mood or word, not just outfits you want to copy exactly (though that’s fine too).

Coming up

Next week, we’re going to move from general words and images to examining the actual elements that make up a consistent, core style: things like color, silhouette, textiles, and details.

Discussion

Does your style change all the time, or do you feel like there are some aspects that remain consistent? Why are they consistent for you?

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

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Comments 97

Daniela

I love your wardrobe architect series. Since I do not have a blog I am usually a “silent participant”.
I just browsed your pinterest boards and fell in love with your detail and embellishment board. Hence my question – do you watch Downton Abbey? Actually I do not care that much about the plot. But I love, love, love the dresses, blouses, jewelry, hairdo and headdresses… If you do not watch it already then go and check it out and be inspired.

Sarai colettepatterns.com

I watched the first two seasons and agree about the costumes, but the show itself got pretty silly so I gave up.

Andrea zoopolis.wordpress.com

Me too! It was like a period soap opera with nice clothes. So good to hear that I’m not alone. :)

Laurel

Have to disagree about “Downton.” No zombies, no four-letter words (though I’m not particularly prudish) and all the characters actually speak beautiful English. (No one ever says “LOL”.) The elegant upper crust wardrobes and servants’ simple clothing are tutorials in design and fit for a range of body types and ages.

Terry Kessinger withacupandasword.com

I, too, love this series. I have a distinct taste in style, but I find I often dress somewhat differently. In reading your musings, this is the thought that came to me, “I must secretly want to be a sailor.” Ha!! I guess because one of my favorite looks is the boatneck T-shirt, a short double breasted P-coat, and sailor styled pants. Now, I don’t have any of these pieces, except for the boatneck T’s, which I have a lot. ANYWAY, I think in creating the board with the 20 +/- looks might help me to move forward in actually dressing in the style I like instead of just the standard T’s, jeans, and flats. Gosh! That was a ramble!

Virginia fromthepleatsup.blogspot.com

Here’s a question. What do you do if you don’t have any style icons? I can’t really think of anyone. :-(

Lizzy

Maybe think less about celebrities, actresses or rock stars as style icons–think about a store or designer who always appeals to you. Or the costume design in a movie that speaks to you. Try to figure out what type of clothing always appeals to you–whether you wear it or not–what characters in movies are dressed in that type of clothing, what shop catalogs look like that. I think that style icons don’t necessarily have to be real people.

Becky sew-and-so.blogspot.com

That’s a helpful answer, Lizzy! I honestly don’t pay much attention to celebrities or things like that. But thinking about movie costume design is helpful.

Sarai colettepatterns.com

I like Lizzy’s answer! Also, I don’t think you necessarily need to have any, but it’s an interesting thing to examine if you do.

Chantal ahandmadewardrobe.wordpress.com

I’m really enjoying this series, too. Thank you for making up these worksheets – they’re really helping me figure out my style. Until now, I feel like my style has been all over the place because I wanted to try all kinds of looks (and now that I’m sewing, I want to try all kinds of patterns to learn new skills), but I only really feel comfortable in a few of the items in my closet. Hopefully this will help me focus my energy on building the core of my wardrobe – with the occasional fun detour to experiment and learn new skills :)

Andrea_R quilti.com

So weird because one of the things I realized very recently was the style of clothing I love doesn’t look good on me *at all*.

Fiona M seamedstraightforward.wordpress.com

I love these wardrobe architect posts. They’ve been so helpful already.
I sorted out my current wardrobe and reached some disappointing conclusions – too many random colours and too busy patterns, too many tops and not enough bottoms, too big or too small but nothing ‘just right’.
I’m trying to streamline my wardrobe and stick to a few key colours for each season, which will hopefully co-ordinate.
Here’s a link to my Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/fiona0729/inspiration/
I’m just collecting pictures of clothes that appeal to me for whatever reason. Obviously, I don’t share the physical characteristics of any of these models, but I think I could modify these looks to suit my older and larger self!

Daniela ella-propella.de

I’m loving this series! Having decided to quit buying clothes and actually MAKE my own wardrobe, everything I was hoping for the coming sewing year is being covered spot on! PLEASE write a book about this, because I know already that I want to go through these inspirational words again and again, I somehow want to hold this in my hands. For now I will have to be satisfied with the worksheets, which are excellent! I am so much looking forward to what`s coming next. Thank you so much for now!

Beth 110creations.blogspot.com

I wrote down my 5 words on an index card and started browsing Pinterest. If something didn’t fit those words, I discarded it. It was so helpful to feel like I had a direction, rather than just going with what appealed to me visually! I agree with Daniela, I think this series would make an excellent book.

gabriel ratchet

i’ve been ripping out pictures of things and saving them in notebooks since i was a teen – and i’ve found myself to be remarkably consistent over time… clean lines, interesting construction vs. applied details, saturated solids vs. prints, mono-chromatic combinations of texture, natural fibers unless the synthetic is adding function as opposed to imitation. attention to scarves, jewelry, bags and shoes. natural makeup, but not no makeup at all (bobbi brown). iris and tulips. big dogs. a subaru.

my problems are consistent over my half-century, too. not enough money. fitting a figure with back-side curves. finding attractive shoes that i can walk in. jeans. inability to style my hair ( i can braid, but i’m hopeless with a blow dryer ) trouble with life transitions – catholic high school to college to work, single to married, having kids, moving from boston to the wild western boonies, developing a chronic illness, gaining weight, going grey, reading glasses — they’ve all required changes, and i haven’t always had, or made, the time to change thoughtfully.

katherine hepburn is probably the closest thing i can come to a distilled iconic figure, attitude as much as fashion statement. eileen fisher probably comes closest to producing a rtw look that appeals consistently.

and i know it’s a very old school approach, but my solution for the week’s homework is going to be going out and getting a bulletin board for a new crop of images. also, i’ve decided that from now on, it’s not my sewing area, it’s my studio, which is where the aforementioned board is going to hang.

thank you again for providing a structure to channel my restless sense of needing to make some changes and take on a new personal adventure. (sorry to ramble)

Heather L

I find it so hard to define core style…I wear jeans every chance I get but my dream outfits are pretty dresses. Which I would maybe never wear because they seem impractical (I have 2 kids and teach preschool/SAHM) and I feel that pretty dresses would stand out and look costume-y in my location/community/group of friends. How to reconcile “want to dress this way” with “will actually dress this way”. (I suppose experimenting and stepping outside the box would be a good start.).
Appreciate this series…thanks for provoking many thoughts.
(PS…I once did wear a handmade dress to my book club and comments about my 1950’s homemaker-ness ensued…comments were not super negative but provoking that much interest was weird and uncomfortable for me.)

Mary

I’m so sorry to hear that you got weird/not entirely positive comments on wearing handmade clothing! I find that I get very self-conscious about wearing my own creations, whether knitted or sewn–I’m always anxiously wondering whether anyone can tell that they’re handmade (as though that’s a bad thing)–and I think snarky comments would seriously undermine me.

Also, the direction of the comments drives me up the wall. I know people who make their own clothes for environmental and ethical reasons, or to fulfill a fantasy/cosplay role, or to get clothing that actually fits them, or to satisfy religious obligations. It’s not about being a 50s homemaker with too much time on one’s hands (also, anyone who’s actually “made a home” knows that free time isn’t exactly at a premium).

Heather

I can completely relate to the idea of wanting to wear pretty dresses but wearing jeans in order to be practical and “fit in”. In my small town, everything revolves around being functional. Anyone who wears something different is thought to be “snooty” or “big city”. I don’t mind standing out a bit from the crowd, but I don’t want people to judge me for looking nice. It sounds strange, but people judge you less if you wear your pajamas, jogging pants, and hunting clothes in my town than if you dress up a bit. Trying to define my style in this environment is a challenge. My other big challenge is the functionality of my wardrobe. I am a full time mom of 2 teenagers and a 3 year old and I waitress on the weekends. I want to look nice, but my days consist of keeping a house in order, playing with and cleaning up after a toddler, and working in a greasy environment on my feet for several hours. I am having a hard time matching my dream style with the life I have. I am excited to see how this series can help me…

Andi untangling-knots.com

I think dressing the way you want to dress just has to become a habit. At first it is weird and uncomfortable to dress outside the box, but as you get used to it, so do the people around you. In college I used to have people ask me why I was dressed up and where I was going, and I just told them that this was how I dressed. My friends stopped asking those questions pretty quickly because they got used to seeing me like that, and they started telling people that that’s just how I dress when other people asked questions about my wardrobe. Eventually it just became normal, and I now get more questions about what I’m wearing when I put on t-shirts and jeans because now that’s unusual.

If you wear what you want to wear and look confident in it, people get used to it surprisingly quickly. You just have to get through the awkward phase in the beginning.

Anna

I absolutely know how you feel. I also like dresses, an occasional bow or ruffle and bright colors but I am forced to wear smart business suits (always navy or gray, pants or pencil skirts, formal jackets, white blouses) all the time. I have some A-line skirts because they just look so much better with my body shape but even those already trigger raised eyebrows. Making business clothes myself is not an option with my current expertise in sewing so in addition to not liking how they look on me they rarely fit me well. It is rather depressing if you cannot be you but are forced to play dress up on a daily basis.

Brigette humblehearts.info

Heather – as a stay at home mom I struggle with the same thing. I love dresses. I feel casual sundresses can work in the summer, but in the winter it is harder. So I am trying tunics and leggins.

Julia

Thanks so much for this second installment of the series. It’s so helpful!
My style isn’t changing much, because I’m mostly playing it safe and sticking to the same-old same-old. I sometimes think about trying something completely new but then change my mind before buying anything. I would really love to find my unique style that expresses who I am and also looks good on me.
Today’s excercise really helped me to focus on the basic elements of my style that have been consistent for years now. I love the thought that the core style is something that I can use as a starting point for exploring style, something that I can always return to. My words are color, crisp, brisk and casual. Love it, it feels so right! <3

Emily dressingtherole.wordpress.com

My biggest style icon is probably The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. I loved the books and was obsessed with the movies when I was in high school – I read and watched everything I could about the costume design and “behind the scenes” details. (I was, and still am, a major geek…) I loved the flowy Elven style, with dramatic draping and delicate fabrics – I have always loved that kind of style. However, I always felt that my body structure was more hobbit-like (short and stalky), so in real life I would probably feel more comfortable with a hobbit-y aesthetic (higher waist, shorter skirt, poofy sleeves, earthy fabrics). I do dream of looking good in an Elven dress though…

Becky sew-and-so.blogspot.com

I suspect you and I would get along well, as far as our closets go! I find that story very inspiring too, and have multiple things I’ve made that were inspired by the books or the movies. And I’m sure those will be staying in the closet when this project is over!

Emily dressingtherole.wordpress.com

I just spent the past half hour stalking your blog…I love your projects! And I can definitely see the LOTR influence in some – I’m inspired to be more daring about sewing more flowy things!

Also, your wedding dress is *gorgeous* – wow! Looks like we both got married this past summer :) congrats!

Becky sew-and-so.blogspot.com

Lol, I ended up stalking your blog and adding it to my reader, too! And congrats on your wedding as well!

Sophie milkyandrosie.wordpress.com

your comments have really made my morning! Its always very reassuring to see so much support for the creativity of strangers when there can be so much negativity and anger shared on the internet.

Isabel acraftyscientist.wordpress.com

I completely agree about changing styles! Mine has evolved a lot and last week’s exercise really made me think about it, so this week’s topic is really on cue. Since I already have collected images for the blog posts about week 1, I will start with some of those :)

Pinterest board below, blog post to follow!

http://www.pinterest.com/craftysci/core-style/

Lindsay P

Thank you for this series, Sarai! It comes at just the right time: I want to pare down my wardrobe and make it much more versatile. Your worksheets have been so helpful!

I think my style has evolved more than changed. I grew up with few other children around, and read fairy tales to amuse myself. As a teenager, I loved to dress in black and read poetry and historical fiction. In graduate school in London, I dressed in more tailored pieces. Now, I feel that I still embrace the dark aesthetic of my teens, but softened into navy, eggplant, garnet. I still like tailored pieces, as they suit my slightly pear-shaped figure. I love tweed and menswear, probably due to all of that historical fiction of my youth.

So, thanks to you, it has been so easy to make my short list: antiquarian, tailored, lush, textural, fanciful, sultry. (I hope you don’t mind that I stole two of your words…)

I don’t have a blog, but I did start a Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/booktarte/wardrobe-architect-core-style/

Thank you for this series!!!

Isabel acraftyscientist.wordpress.com

PS: Thank you Sarai for this series, it has been fun and illuminating!

cynthia gehin

I used to keep up with color and style predictions being clothes or home design. With time I’ve found a few things that always ring true for me. Style just keeps returning in a slightly modified form. Color seems to be cyclic. But the basics never disappear, white, black and navy. Keeping it all simple and avoid the junk.

SizeMode sizemode.com

Here is my pinterest board. The words I whittled down were 1. functional 2. comfortable
3. comfortable 4. colorful

http://www.pinterest.com/47flygrl/wardrobe-architect/

SizeMode sizemode.com

oops looks like comfortable got picked twice…..the other word was “elegant”

Kate McIvor theconfidentstitch.com

I checked out your Pinterest board. I love it!

Mary

I feel as though my style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years (unsurprisingly, as my life has undergone some dramatic changes as well). I’m enjoying this series as a way to try to synthesize some of the styles I used to love–more vivid, highly embellished, sensory-overloaded, traditionally feminine pieces–with what I’ve been wearing these days, which tends to be much more subdued, neutral-heavy, and streamlined. It’s interesting to look for the core elements in the disparate things I wear and used to wear, to think about what I still like, what I want to reclaim for myself, and what I want to let go of.

The words I came up with: vivid, joyful, subtle, polished, relaxed.

Becky sew-and-so.blogspot.com

It took some thinking, and a lot of browsing through my pre-existing fashion inspiration board on pinterest, but the five words I’ve come up with are casual, cozy, colorful, artsy and geeky. My new board that encompasses this is here:http://www.pinterest.com/sunnyb64/my-core-style-wardrobearchitect/ Now I just need to go back to the original board and figure out which outfit ideas and funky jackets fit that aesthetic!

sara blogmixedemotions.blogspot.fr

Thank you Sarai, this series has been an eye opener! My style takes its roots in the 70s when I sewed my first garment as a child with my great aunt Ruth : a corduroy wrapskirt. I realize now that is still what my style is all about.
my board : http://www.pinterest.com/saradiska/my-core-style/

Sophie milkyandrosie.wordpress.com

Thanks Sarai – this series is definitely helping me to clarify what it is I like. I already spend a lot of time on pinterest collecting images, but when I had to actually hone it down to images that fit my words, I was surprised how little of what I already had on boards actually fit, and also that while I like them I wouldn’t really want to wear what i chose.

This is my board: http://www.pinterest.com/milkyandrosie/core-style-wardrobe-architect/

my 5 words are: playful, practical, coordinated, feminine, cozy.

Sarah

This is really such a great series. I never comment on stuff, but what a way to give focus to my sewing and knitting, and thus achieve my never ending goal of collecting and wasting less. Thank you so much.

mari donebyhand.wordpress.com

as I continue to read and answer the questions you have so graciously put together Sarai, I have realized so many things about what makes my style… mine :0) I have put together a Pinterest board also and once I went through it, wow, the truth is certainly in the pictures :D… I am bohemian. Layers, fluidity, comfort. Long skirts, a bit of lace, … I don’t have a style icon, but I do have music ladies that have inspired me. Stevie Nicks is one that I have enjoyed. Amazing, once you see the pictures, you can truly see yourself emerge :)

mari ~ Pinterest board is here http://www.pinterest.com/simplicity5/easy-clothes-to-make-and-wear/

Liliana lassemista.wordpress.com

I had a really hard time finding only 5 words, as there are two styles that I love deeply (and i also wear both): The very glamorous, classic, ‘ladylike’ and a menswear inspired, simple, but again classic style. I just can’t decide which one I prefer…. I collected some pictures that speak to me and then tried to find the common factors in them. These are the words I came up with:
feminine, dark (in terms of colour and mood –> ‘mysterious’), menswear, classic, dramatic. If I could add one more, I would chose textural.

sojoysews

When I first read this post last night, I would have said my style is sporty/tailored, because I often wear v-neck knits over tanks. Thinking about it more, though, this isn’t my preferred style, but one that I have defaulted to because of a large bust and narrow shoulders. Nothing store-bought fits except knits!

The fashion pictures I love to look at show feminine/flirty items juxtaposed with more tailored solids or menswear looks–think pastel sheer/lace blouse with dark tweed or pinstriped pants, or a dark solid pullover top with floaty floral skirt and bright-colored scarf. The fabrics in my very large stash concur.

I’m still working on the words, but some than come to mind are romantic, contrast, unique. As a woman over-fifty and overweight, being current or on-trend matters to me very little.

sojoysews

It dawned on me after I posted that I want to dress like a French woman! They are chic and elegant, but dress in simple, classic styles with just a touch of romance.

My French daughter-in-law would ask me why I didn’t think of this before.

Melissa forgottenskills.wordpress.com

Thanks so much for this series. I’m really looking forward to additional posts and I appreciate the worksheets! And thanks to the other commenters who posted their words, it was helpful in thinking of mine!

Growing up in Santa Cruz CA, without money, I wore jeans, a tank top and flip flops every day. I didn’t get introduced to “fashion” until I was in college and was suddenly surrounded by kids with money and their fancy designer brands and handbags. I never fit in with my beach culture wardrobe and pieced together knock-offs.

Now, I, like so many others on here, struggle with what I would love to wear and the practicality. My days are filled with digging in the garden, cleaning the house, playing frisbee with the puppy and checking eggs. Not as many dress-up-for dinner experiences or opportunities. Because my daily clothes (jeans, sweats, fleece jacket) are worn simply to cover me up, when I do put on more stylish things I feel out of place and uncomfortable.

I would love to create a wardrobe that is functional but still makes me feel put together. The words I’ve chosen are comfortable, minimalist, classic, organic, natural

pintrest board: http://www.pinterest.com/melissa229/wardrobe-architect/

Heather

I just completed my worksheet and I have to say – I LOVE this tool. My 5 words are; functional, happy, modest, cozy, and rustic. Having these 5 words some how really helps me to start to see things differently. I can now start to see how to reconcile my style with my environment. Now I’m heading over to Pinterest to start to visualize my words…

Stacey Stitch staceystitch.com

http://staceystitch.com/2014/01/24/the-wardrobe-architect-week-2/

Have loved this week, it really has solidified a lot in my mind and I know I’m on the right track with what I’ve started creating.

Solange matryoshkabysole.wordpress.com

I really loved this post and pinning pictures on my Pinterest board http://www.pinterest.com/matryoshka1977/wardrobe-architect-defining-a-core-style/
I think I’ve got a much better idea now of what I need to add to my capsule wardrobe. A black coat for example :)
Thank you Sarai!

Andrea

You are so right Sarai, style is not immutable… i remember my trashy punk phase, my preppy phase, my sixties mod phase, my casual accountant phase…. and finally my lululemonish eat kale not cow style … I’m worried I might not have a core style. What does that say about me?

Jacqui birds-of-a-thread.com

I hear ya, Andrea. I’ve gone through so many phases (grunge, rockabilly, baby hipster), but once I took the time to pick out which pieces of those phases I consistently loved, I was able to figure out what was at the core. It sounds like next weeks’ prompt is going to have to do with specific style elements you are most drawn to, so maybe you can work backwards from there. Are there any silhouettes, colors, and textures that you’ve loved throughout each of those phases?

Andrea

…I guess I have some thinking to do… and BTW your board is awesome

Jacqui birds-of-a-thread.com

Thanks! Looking forward to seeing everyone’s style shine through. I’ve been loving all of the boards so far..

Sasha fruitsflowersclouds.blogspot.it

This IS fun…, after pinning and pinning pretty much without the intention to construct something coherent, things I actually wear, things I’d like to wear and things I simply like, I came up with this: http://www.pinterest.com/sashawdesign/wardrobe-architect/… and is not as bad as I thought would be; I imagined it would be more “all over the place”, but I guess there is the spark of a style somewhere in there. Well, that makes this a pretty useful exercise. Thank you so much Sarai.

Jacqui birds-of-a-thread.com

This is tons of fun, and so useful. Here are my thoughts (yes, I also adopted the word “lush”):
http://www.birds-of-a-thread.com/2014/01/wardrobe-architect-week-2-core-style.html

And Pinterest board:
http://www.pinterest.com/shakesonora/wardrobe-architect-week-2-core-style/

Brandi

I just have to say these exercises are so much fun and are really helping me define my style in a way that I have never done before. Thank you so much for taking the time to create the posts and the exercises!

Geri seetcreeksewing

Love this series of posts. So helpful- I want to sew more for myself this year adn I too have been thinking about what I truly love to wear and whats really “me”. Too often I sew something that looks cute on someone else only to find it’s not quite right on me. My words are feminine, relaxed, alluring, elegant and natural. My pinterest board is here http://www.pinterest.com/gericooper/core-style/. Thanks again Sarai.

Béa beassewingadventures.wordpress.com

I have to confess, I struggled with this week’s exercises! It’s hard to pin down something as insubstantial as one’s personal style.

The first two questions about how different clothes make me feel was very thought-provoking, and made me really focus on WHY I’m doing this. Why would I choose to acquire and wear clothes that make me feel “frumpy, old before my time, invisible, lazy, a failure, uncool”, when I could be acquiring and wearing clothes that make me feel “Confident, comfortable, elegant, stylish, unique, awesome”? I’m never going to wear clothes that make me feel bad again!

For the style icons questions, I had to think for a while. There’s nobody that I think “I want to dress just like her”. The people I admire for their style aren’t necessarily dressing the way I would want to dress. They’re dressing the way that they want to dress, they’re wearing whatever the hell they damn well like and that’s what I admire. So, for example, I love Helena Bonham Carter, Helen Mirren, Paloma Faith.for their style. But I acknowledge totally that it’s not *my* style. This was another revealing answer for me. I’m lucky that I work in an environment where my personal clothing style fits quite easily into the “smart-casual officewear” expectation. Thinking about that has reminded me that I can and should happily embrace the whole “wear what I like” ethos.

I got my list of words down to: Simple, pretty, embellished, colour.

Now I know I should be collating some pictures, but I don’t even know how to start! I always feel like there’s nobody else in the world who wears clothes like I do, and I don’t fit into “fashion”. The nearest thing, I suppose would be my pinterest “inspiration” board:
http://www.pinterest.com/beatricecurtis/inspiration/

Sarah Clark sarahkatecreation.wordpress.com

This is a great series. I am enjoying really examining myself and my style through the worksheet questions. My five, ok, six final words are chic, casual, comfortable, elegant, powerful, and fun. Check out my blog for the rest of my progress, http://sarahkatecreations.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/wardrobe-architect-part-2/

Kate McIvor theconfidentstitch.com

Thank you Sarai for another thought-provoking worksheet! My style icons are Katharine Hepburn, Meg Ryan and Sarah Richardson of “Sarah’s House.” My five descriptive words are: Classic
Well-Made
Beautiful
Smart
Friendly
You can visit my blog post at: http://theconfidentstitch.com/blog/2014/1/25/wardrobe-architect-week-2

Cosmo just-too-much.com

I have some things in my style that have stayed consistent over my 30 years despite how the details have changed. I think the things that have stayed the same are the things that are both comforting and versatile. My favorite color always blue though the shade has changed, My favorite skirt always full though the specific cut has changed, Glasses or no glasses always bespectacled though the frame style changes, I’ll never live without blue denim, mary jane shoes a favorite since I could walk. I think that I will always love these things in some form or other.

Now I am off to take a look at the exercise.

Dee thebrownbombshell.com

Three years ago I lost over a hundred pounds. Losing the weight was great for my health but it took a while to figure out my new body. I also found that outrageous outfits were no longer necessary because I was no longer ashamed of people really looking at me.
I find that I love structure. A 1940’s will have me squealing with glee.
I’ve recently been trying to acquire some Modes Royale patterns; stunning.

Wendy charliendwendysblog.blogspot.co.nz

I’m loving this series too, although I do find it hard to be introspective! The words I came up with are: feminine, classy, classic, comfortable, simple and my link is http://www.pinterest.com/pwgoble/core-style/

Shannon

This is such a helpful exercise. I’ve never thought about style icons before.

Making my Pinterest page is great because you’ve got to label each picture, so I’m clearly articulating what I like about each piece and why I want to make it a part of my wardrobe.

Amy N

I’ve always been more of a tomboy and never took to dresses or bright colors. Outside of that, my style was all over the place until my late 20s when I began to realize that some clothes just don’t suit me. Particularly that my big boobs, while awesome, are no match for strapless-anything, spaghetti straps, empire waists, or anything lacking a defined waist.

Now 32, I’ve been rocking motorcycle boots, skinny jeans and my boyfriend’s button-downs/sweaters for the past couple of years. I’d like to incorporate a bit of femininity without sacrificing simplicity or “edge”.

Helena eitchy.wordpress.com

It was an interesting exercise again, but I always find it hard to describe myself in words. I did remember who I’d thought of as style icons before, the Gilmore Girls.

The words I ended up with were put together, colourful, appropriate, structure and comfortable. See my blog for my thoughts on the words.

Steph Skardal monkeysew.com

My words are: athletic, preppy, comfortable, functional

I don’t really have a style icon – at least there’s no one in the public eye I can think of that fits what I think of as my core style. I wish there was!

Here’s my post with a few images and links to Pinterest:
http://www.monkeysew.com/coletterie-wardrobe-rearchitecture-core-style/

Mary

This is so helpful and I am so excited to start culling my current wardrobe and slowly building a better-quality one that matches my taste! I used my worksheet answers to go through my Pinterest style photo dumping-ground and put together a new board combining looks I currently wear with looks I know are flattering on me, looks that are aspirational, and a few “I don’t know how this fits but holy crap it’s gorgeous” pictures. And I sat back and looked at it, and… what do you know. It’s fairly cohesive. I’m already thinking of items of clothing I should ditch. I bought them because they were “practical,” but I really hate them and can never work them into an outfit that makes me feel good. And I’ve already thought of a few specific pieces that would open up a lot of outfit possibilities and make me happier about my style. Hurray!

Nicoletta

my style? a bit tomboyish in the past, comfortable and sporty but starting to look for girly girl dress code, the one I’ve always dreamed of and colorful, colorful, colorful!
got to say that my style it’s evolving since the start of this project.
I find this wardrobe architect serie really helpfull as it makes me think about what I would love to wear most and how I would like to express myself with it.
thank you Sarai!

Stephanie sewacrookedline.com

I am not sure I have a core style (like a few of us have mentioned), but more core styles…

If I picked 5 words???? 1. Girly 2. Relaxed 3. Vibrant 4. Loud 5. Dreamy

Pinterest is full of my styles already… I love vintage dresses, florals, not frilly, but clean lines, but also like casual pants with flowy shirts.

http://www.pinterest.com/steffy65/wardrobe-architect/ & http://www.pinterest.com/steffy65/wardrobe-architect-thoughts/

are boards I had already started before Saria asked us to…

I so love this series, as it has made me really think about what I put into my wardrobe, think “who says I can’t wear that?” and just made me a lot more confident overall.

I loved the articles in the last post as they were just written exactly the way I needed to hear things; can’t believe how they have moved me…

Keep up the amazing work.

Zoe

I am really enjoying reading all the contributions that everyone is making to this fabulous new community. In the past I used to have all my clothes made for me many of which I designed myself, which was good while it lasted but no regrets whatsoever to have moved on.

Having only just taken up sewing and on a limited budget, I spend ages thinking and evolving ideas about what I should look to make and how it will live with me and I love the outcomes…so me!

Both ends of the wardrobe spectrum but the recurring themes have always been timelessness and elegance, wrapped around by natural fibres, superb tailoring and colour.

Amy N pinterest.com

I’m having so much fun with this, thank you!

Is there anything better than 70s Cher?

http://www.pinterest.com/amylynnnic/wardrobe-architect/

Lydia none

I am a femme of a certain age…..Back when (1960’s) when I was a highschooler then an employed person, I was absolutely enthralled with Jacqueline Kennedy’s persona. My wedding dress was fashioned after hers, albeit w/o all the little fripperies. Simple straightforward design, short piped sleeves and very modified scoop neck. I always had a LBD in the closet, hated anything w/ruffles or flowers. I could go on and on, but to this day when I am reading about ones classic bent, I want to shout “hooray”; you will never go wrong. I am pondering a black/white hound’s-tooth pencil skirt, black cashmere sweater, w/red scarf. Will take me anywhere and I will look great – not flashy, just great. Isn’t this what we strive for???? And…I will not be wearing black knee length boots w/outfit – kitten heels will be more apropos.

Katie umbellulariadesigns.wordpress.com

I’m loving this series so far, and honestly getting more out of it than I initially thought I would. I feel like my personal style has changed and morphed quite a lot over the last few years, but I think it’s starting to settle down a bit now–so this project comes at a great time for me. I can already tell that this project is going to help me avoid those dreaded garments that are fun/interesting to sew, but just never get worn.

My 5 words for this week were casual, modern, subdued-yet-cheerful, practical, and simple.

My blog post is here:
http://umbellulariadesigns.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/wardrobearchitect-weeks-1-2/
And my pinterest board is here:
http://www.pinterest.com/umbellularia/wardrobe-architect-project/

Brigette humblehearts.info

My style changes with the times, but underneath certain qualities are timeless, as this exercise has helped me to see. My words are practical, feminine, flattering, flowing, eyes (brings them out). This exercise has already helped me so much. I went through a style board I started a while ago and weeded out anything that I realized really wasn’t me or wouldn’t work for me. Then I added some things that I want to try to sew as I try my hand at sewing this year. Here is my board http://www.pinterest.com/brigette_joy/my-style-wardrobearchitect/

krystina

I’m about halfway through where I want to be with my pinterest board… this is such an amazing eye opening experience. I tend not to think about my “style” and buy things piece by piece. I usually stop and think, “is this me?” before I buy something, but I had never really thought of building a wardrobe this way! Thanks for putting this together.

Also, I am in love with several pieces on your own pinterest board. Any chance of a Collette pattern in the works for similar styles?

sewlittletime somanypatternssewlittletime.blogspot.com

oh, i didn’t post a response to this! my words are vintage with a modern twist (OK I know that’s not specific words but it’s how i reconciled having vitnage and modern on the list!), practical, confident, great accessories! full blog post is here:

http://somanypatternssewlittletime.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/wardrobe-architect-week-2.html

Kimberly kimberlyoutside.tumblr.com

My words are whimsical, professional, gothic, scholarly. I do have a core style – which expresses itself in lots of dark fabric and small floral prints, as well as certain textures – lace and velvet. The silhouette is the thing that changes the most about my style. In the late 90s, I was big into the shift dress. Now, I love an A-line or poofy silhouette.

Peggy

I’m a little late to the game but love this series. I used to sew all of my clothes, then didn’t have time due to career and motherhood, then sewing was dying so there were no beautiful fabrics or relevant patterns, and now sewing is back but I’m transitioning from the first half of my life to the second. It’s a very confusing time when it comes to one’s wardrobe and I am not alone in this thinking. No longer in need of racks of clothes and with body changes, I really just want well loved, well fitting, classic pieces made from beautify, soft fabrics. I’ve learned from 44 years of sewing that matching fabric to pattern is the key to a successful garment. Can’t wait to find out what I find out!

Daphne

I love the challenges! I’m recovering from an operation and can’t do much so this has been a great opportunity to refind my style! Having lost a lot of weight I need to redefine my shape and what parts of my body I love. I started to sew a couple of months ago, and this challenge is helping me to sift through all the possibilities, shapes, prints and patterns which can be overwhelming. I hope to make more of the things I will love and continue to love, and not just what looks pretty but doens’t really suit me. Now on to part three of the challenges!

Here is my mood board: http://www.pinterest.com/Sewsweet1982/wardrobe-architect/

Jessi Long

I’m catching up a little, but here is mine! Elegance, Strength and Focus. http://www.pinterest.com/jessilng/wardrobe-architect-defining-a-core-style/

Louis

LOVE the Ray Eames pic! What an inspiration.

Kat frlfroestelig.blogspot.de

I´m behind, I know, but I found this Project just yesterday….

Here are my words: Simple, Cozy, Lady-like, versatile, Fun!

And here is my pinterest board:
http://www.pinterest.com/frlfroestelig/core-style/

Samantha Schofield createitsamantha.blogspot.co.uk

I really like your series as my wardrobe is adapting from a business wardrobe to a new Mummy /creative designer wardrobe…
I am sewing a wardrobe to help reflect my new lifestyle – suit free! So the style worksheet is really helping me define what I want to dress like and the reality with a baby of how I am build it into my lifestyle.
Samantha http://createitsamantha.blogspot.co.uk/

Steelheart

A friend and I are doing the Wardrobe Architect thing together and it’s been very interesting! I learned a while back that for every fashion “rule,” someone else has an equal and opposite “rule,” and that you really shouldn’t have clothes you don’t like or won’t wear… But learning what NOT to do is the easy part — moving on to what to DO is harder!

After doing worksheet 1 and 2, my 5 words surprised me — in a good way — I feel like they really fit! They are: comfortable, thought-provoking, rock ‘n’ roll, tomboy, glamour. If I think about it, all my favorite clothes and outfits are at least two of these things. Thanks so much for posting this series! I can’t wait to keep discovering my style.

Sarah sewmes.blogspot.com

my words were: powerful, subdued, practical, professional, warm…

consistent… body shape things… like… flared legs, v necks not turtlenecks, nothing to highlight my strapping shoulders like ruffles there etc… things that cinch in at my waist… comfortable… practical… lots of jeans and courderoy, plain colors… pinks, grays, whites, blacks…

looking to step it up a hair…

loving the worksheets… right on for me right now…

My collection…
http://www.pinterest.com/sjenhanson/hmmm/

Louis

I had to jump straight into picture hunting to have visual inspiration to get the ball rolling for the first Wardrobe Architect worksheet. Loving the Style Icon inspiration. Here are mine:

http://www.pinterest.com/bleignier/style-icons/

Adri cherrybabyspot.com

One of the things which has been consistent through my life is feeling comfortable… I’m so clumsy and have really bad posture –constantly bring my back to a straight position while designing, sewing, writing… even watching t.v.!– , that I need to feel free in my clothes. Anything to tight, or which requires me to be ‘perfectly stiff’ is automatically out :)

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