As I said before, the new year always gets me thinking about my wardrobe.
Some of the clothes I have, I adore. I feel comfortable and fabulous in them. The colors and patterns cheer me up and make me feel just like me.
Some other clothes I have look very nice on their hangers, but if ever I pull them out of the closet, they end up making me feel less than myself. Whether it’s because the fit or the cut or the color doesn’t quite work in my aesthetic, it doesn’t really matter. The truth is, I need to just say buh-bye to those pieces. The fact that a lot of them made their way into my closet in the first place is strange.
As a plus size woman, sometimes things come home from the store with me simply because they fit. After spending time combing through racks, if I find something that isn’t a hideous tent and that actually fits my frame, it feels like a triumph. I want to reward that piece of clothing with a big hug and adopt it and love it forever. Until I get home and realize I don’t even like floral patterns. I will bend my very own fashion sense just because I set out with the goal of buying something to wear, and so something I get.
Last year I stumbled upon a series of blog posts from Sarai Mitnick, the owner and creator of Colette Patterns, on the blog she runs for her company called the Coletterie, . She called the series Wardrobe Architect. Sarai explained that each post was focusing process of exploring personal style and practical ideas for creating a more meaningful wardrobe. It’s about creating a small wardrobe that truly reflects who you are. Because she is in the business of creating awesome and beautiful sewing patterns, some of her advice is about sewing your own wardrobe. I think, however, it is applicable even if you have never sewn a stitch in your life.
She asks if the following sound familiar when considering your wardrobe:
- You acquire things you don’t use.
- You feel regret over purchases, whether it’s fabric you’ll never use or a blouse bought because it was on clearance.
- You tend to buy quantity over quality more than you’d like.
- You buy things that are “close enough.”
- You don’t have a chance to think very deeply about your purchases, like the environmental or ethical impact.
- When buying fabric, you go for the bright and shiny instead of the fabrics you really like to wear.
- You make clothes that don’t really fit your life well (another party dress?)
- You feel like your wardrobe is all over the place.
- You don’t know how to put outfits together from what you have, so you keep acquiring more instead.
I’m guessing that a lot of those DO seem familiar to most women. Every modern magazine and blog feature HOT TRENDZ! and _____ is the new black! but very rarely are we encouraged as consumers to seek out our own style and our own aesthetic. Sure, we can be boho chic or preppy, but most women and men don’t adhere to these weird nebulous categories in real life.
I really love what Sarai has created with this series. She breaks the process down into small weekly projects. She asks thought provoking questions and even has created downloadable worksheets for people to use. Currently there is a notice on her blog that says that she is working on expanding the project into some kind of toolkit, but until then you can follow each exercise here: http://www.coletterie.com/category/wardrobe-architect.
The weekly exercises are as follows:
- Making Style More Personal
- Defining a Core Style
- Exploring Shape
- Proportions and Silhouettes
- Your Color Story
- Organize Your Palette
- Exploring Solids and Prints
- Hair, Makeup, and Beauty
- The Capsule Wardrobe
- The Capsule Wardrobe Palette
- Planning Your Pieces
- Adding Accessories
- A Fancy Free Download
- Overcoming Editing Hurdles (This is about cleaning out your closet!)
There is currently a new wardrobe architect challenge going on at the Colette Patterns blog. It does feature a lot about sewing, so if you are interested in that, Swell! If not though, I would still recommend looking over the posts from last year. I really think you and your wardrobe will benefit from it!