Friday, July 29, 2011

Elements of Style

Do you think about your style? I'd never really given mine much thought before I sewed. There were clothes that appealed to me, styles that I thought were flattering on, and colors that I liked or disliked, but that was about as far as I got with following fashion or trends. And I always had to contend with what RTW fit me and, early in my career, shopping on a limited budget.

However, I've been putting a lot more thought into what I wear in the few years since I began sewing and, recently, even giving more thought to exploring and cultivating my own style. This all started when I realized that orange was secretly my favorite color, and had been for years. It was a very liberating revelation!

I like bold colors...
I think I've done pretty well sewing garments that suit me and that are realistic for my lifestyle. I've tackled some projects that address some needs and built my skills - like trousers for work. But these haven't necessarily helped me explore or cultivate my style. And lately I'm evolving and experimental. Not that I want to be outlandish, but I haven't exactly wanted to blend in either. I find a little bit of fashion risk taking to be exhilarating and rewarding. At heart, I see this all as part of an ongoing exploration of my personality.

... I like pushing my boundaries...

I've also decided that I like being a little over-dressed. After I finished high school and ended 12 years of wearing a navy or grey pleated skirt 5 days a week (aka Catholic school girl fashion purgatory), it was wonderful to live in jeans. But now I'm swinging the other way. I always find myself admiring women who wear dresses, particularly sheath dresses. I've had sheath dress envy for years! But since my top and bottom are different sizes, separates have always been more practical, and sheath dresses have never been a look I could achieve in RTW. I also want to wear more skirts.

...And I always feel chic in a dress
Anyway, I feel like I'm at a point with sewing where I can make the things that I want. I'm nowhere near being able to sew all of it, but sewing the cornerstone pieces that I can build a wardrobe around and really define my style seems within reach.

So, because I do well when I define goals for myself, here are three goals:
First, I will continue to explore and experiment with my style. I will take some risks and do it with confidence.

Next, I will wear/sew more dresses. And skirts.

Finally, and most important, I will be thoughtful about what I sew, taking into account how each project helps cultivate my style or not, and how it relates to my wardrobe.

I feel like I'm just scratching the surface here. There are a number of topics I'm mulling over including personal vs. professional style, how body type relates to style, and others. I hope you will stay tuned.Have a great weekend! I plan on muslining the top of my jumpsuit, so look out for it next week.


Sheila said...

Great post. As for me since I've started sewing I have shed the stringent corporate look and feeling liberated in making garments, like dresses and skirts that work just as well for work. Now if only I can focus more on my casual wear.

Kimbersew said...

Now you've got me thinking again! Maybe soon I will come up with my own clear little list. I spent a bit of time the other day thinking about your gorgeous pants post- mostly about how the best situation to try out a new look is maybe NOT with family. They have their own ideas about what your look is (or has been for decades). At work the situation might be a little easier, but I would guess the best first place to try out a new look would be exploratory- a new restaurant, unfamiliar city or somesuch- where you're already feeling adventurous! Thanks for the thoughtful post and beautiful work!

lakaribane said...

Thank you for a great post that got me thinking. I feel, like you, that I am reaching that point were I need to be more deliberate in my sewing, especially since I feel I am mastering my fit issues. I'm also more confident in my sewing skills.

I've never thought about my style but skirts and dresses top my list, too. Also, colors: brown, fuschia, aqua. Learning to love orange too, after years of prejudice.

I've made capsules before, for my mother, back in 99 (I was 22, btw, so need to remember that I can be adventurous). Yet, have yet to try it for myself.

And, finally, like Sheila, I need to let got of the drab look = work attire. I've worn so many neutrals and pastels that one coworker was actually shocked that I could wear bolder colors!!!

Eugenia said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I think that it is fun to experiment with different clothing styles to find out what suits you. Taking risks 'with confidence' is a geat idea and it's nice to have goals when sewing. I am looking forward to following your progress!

Anonymous said...

This post really resonates with me as I've spent the last week really putting some thought into this. As I'm 2" taller than the average bear and definitely more well padded, RTW is a nightmare for me. I've always just worn what fits and been grateful for it, but now I'm sewing more it opens up a whole world of possibilities.

I'm currently exploring a plan for an autumn wardrobe of basics that not only fit my body, but also my lifestyle. I'm also hoping they will start to define my personal style too.

I say "good luck to us both!".

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I'm in the sort of the opposite position. I go overboard on fun clothes that express my personality, but I am afraid I've gone *too* far in terms of being a 10 year practicing lawyer who dresses like a second grader. I am trying to figure out how to retain my style but up the professional quotient a bit. It's hard to figure out where the line is!