Saturday, 25 April 2015

Coletterie - Wardrobe Architect: Week 1

As I'm sure everyone does, I have a list of my favourite fashion/vintage/lifestyle blogs that I constantly re-visit to read and get inspiration from.(Check out my 'Links' page for some of them!). One of them being Coletterie, which is a fabulous sewing website full of sew-a-long projects, sewing hints & tips etc. Last year Coletterie ran a post series called 'Wardrobe Architect' which was all about (to steal their own quote!) 'designing and building thoughtful attire'.  Basically building a wardrobe full of clothes that not only suit your body shape, but reflects you as an individual. I read through the posts at the time, but didn't really think much about taking part. I don't think I actually shop that much, but I do feel like I'm stuck in a bit of a style rut. The same thing happened when I finished university, and as I did then I feel that it's now time for a bit of a wardrobe overhaul!

So I'll be working through the Wardrobe Architect project week by week as the posts were written. 
I'm pretty excited to see where I end up at the end of it!. You can follow along with my posts, or click the link here to go to the Coletterie website and read up on the project yourself.

So here we go, Week 1!

"On average, we are exposed to over x ads a day, all designed to elicit responses and get you to buy and to want. On top of that, if you’re spending time on the internet, you’re likely also being treated to a barrage of images of trends, status, and desire. You find yourself comparing your home, wardrobe, and life to the seemingly perfect ones you see online. Is it any wonder we lose the sense of what our tastes actually are? This week, let’s look a little bit deeper than the flashy and new. Let’s think about how we’re different, and how that affects our aesthetic choices."
- Coletterie

How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalize? Have they changed over the years, and why?

My family has always allowed me to look/dress however I wanted. I went through the obligatory 'grunge' period between 13-15 years old, including giant baggy trousers, dark make up and fishnet tights! Just the thought makes me laugh! Whilst the love for the music stayed I grew out of the grunge fashion and started developing an interest in fashion. I was just comfortable buying pieces from the high street here & there, and that's the way I shop now. I look for things that I find 'interesting'. Whether it's a print or logo, some embellishment or pleating. It just has to have something about it that makes me take a second look. Music has always been important to me, it's always been blasted out in our house, and I love to take inspiration from the various genres I enjoy - rock/punk/mod/indie etc. I'm not an extreme person so I have never dress in a completely 'mod' or '1950s' style, rather taking elements from these influences. I think this has been the way I've dressed since I was about 18.

Example of a top that had something 'interesting' about it!
I bought it because loved the beading and panelling on this River Island top

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 am an athiest so I don't have any religious factors that affect the way I dress. That being said I think I dress quite modestly... don't get me wrong I have my fair share of short dresses and low tops, but I'm not one of those 'all out' girls. If the legs are out the boobs are covered, and vice versa! Haha!
I firmly belive in being happy in yourself, in all aspects of your life. So I would like to develop more of my individual style without feeling awkward & uncomfortable.

I loved this wet look dress I wore out for my birthday a few years ago.
Not sure it actually suits my shape - I haven't worn it since it's so low at the front and back and looks so baggy from the side! But I felt comfortable wearing it with opaque tights.

How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?

I love that I live in a country like the UK where there are some many different cultures to influence and inspire us. As I said I think I've been pretty influenced by the music & films I've watched and loved thoughout my life. 

A very old picture, 50s style polka dot dress.
I remember buying this because it reminded me of the dresses in Grease!

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

My family aren't particularly interested in fashion and clothing, they dress well but aren't interested in latest trends. I've always been allowed to dress how I wanted to which has been great in developing my own taste and style. My friends again dress well, but don't keep up with latest trends. We all buy clothes that we like rather than what is on trend. A large group of my friends, including myself, enjoy alternative music, (i.e. rock/metal/punk etc) with that comes a certain style that I've always thought looks cool, but apart from the 'grunge' period I didn't really go down that route. However, I work in the fashion industry and in my old job especially, walking into other head offices definately made me want to dress in a more 'fashiony' way. I don't think either of those are necessarily 'me' though, which is probably why I've never fully taken the plunge in either direction!

Lzzy Hale from one of my favourite bands Halestorm
I love her rock chick look - especially these trousers! 
I just don't think I'd have the confidence to pull them off!

I do however love a good band t-shirt!
Wear with everything!

How do your day to day activities influence your choices?

I'm lucky that I have a job where I have a short drive to an office where I get to design all day!
I don't have a dress code at work, so I put on whatever I like in the morning. It does mean that I don't seem to have a separate day/night, work/evening wardrobe any more. Everything seems to have merged into one.  

Perfect example! 
My 'interesting' beaded top from above... worn out in the evening too! 

Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?

I live in Hertforshire in England. So apart from a bit of rain (!) climate isn't really a factor in the way I dress. Apart from a few pieces, my winter wardrobe is essentially my summer wardrobe... with tights! I have a short commute to my office so I don't have to worry about keeping myself wrapped up warm, or keeping myself cool on public transport.  

Standard work outfit... minus the snake! Lol

In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?

I am lucky that I have a good relationship with my body and the way I look. I've been tiny and I've been pretty chubby, but once I realised that at a size 14/16 I was still worrying about the same body issues I had when I was a size 8 I realised it just wasn't worth the upset any more. I'm now settled at an average size 12 - I say average because the sizes vary store to store! - and I'm very happy with that. My body is strong and (for the most part!) healthy. I love the boxy, shell tops that seem to be all over the high street in a massive range of gorgeous prints & fabrics, but whenever I've put them on I feel frumpy. They just don't suit my shape. The same goes for any type of bodycon dresses, I've tried my fair share of them on, but I just don't feel comfortable in them. I love to wear strap tops with shorts or skirts, I have good legs and quite a small waist so I feel like this shows them off. I also love high/low hems on dresses & skirts, they're pretty & girlie without making me feel like I'm over or under dressed!

High/Low hem dress - I've worn this to death!

So there you have week 1 of Wardrobe Architect. 
Let me know if you're doing this too :)

Em x