Wardrobe Architect: Your Color Story

I was held up by this week’s installment of the Wardrobe Architect.  The color thing I wasn’t really interested in doing.  But I buckled down and here are the results.  I think one of my things is that black is the main color (although khaki is creeping in a bit more) and then I wear something that pops, meaning I like a lot of bright or strong colors.  Bright orange is my favorite, but I like bright blue (aqua) or bright green too.  I used Kuler to create these palettes.  As for base colors, I never wear brown, grey or white.

Wardrobe Architect: Proportions and Silhouettes

I hated this exercise.  It involved spending a ton of time clicking through images and not finding what I wanted.  It’s everything I hate about shopping, but with no actual clothing to wear in the end.  Plus, my pictures are very large and I want them to be smaller.  Alas.  Onward we must go.

Let’s start with the names I gave to each picture.  They were something like Winter 1, Fall/Winter 2 etc. But really, when you get right down to it, in Portland for about 51 weeks of the year I can wear the exact same thing.  I don’t wear shorts, so the dresses and skirts and short sleeves get augmented by tights and cardigans and the sandals switch out for shoes with socks or boots and there you have it, a 51 week wardrobe.  There are four days in the summer where you wear the super strappy dress and there are three days in the winter when you have no clothing for the incredibly cold temperatures, but other than that, it’s the same thing year round.  So ignore the Winter/Fall/Summer designations I gave.

Here’s my first combo.  Bright dress, (and why the back view, I have no idea) tights (though not in summer,) black shoes I can walk in.  I like bright colors, or fun prints in dresses.  Dresses need to be at least knee-length, should be fitted through the bodice and flared through the skirt.

This is the usual weekend thing.  Jeans (or pants,) fitted shirt, black shoes I can walk in.  The shirt can have most any neckline, the sleeves need to be long for winter, but shorter for summer.  I like stripes a lot, but solid, bright colors are good too.

Here was something I remembered while doing this.  I like FUN clothes.  I particularly like plaid pants.  So this outfit is the “oh yeah, I like fun things” reminder.  The shirt has fun detail, the pants are a fun print.  Again the shoes are black and I can walk in them.

Here’s the dress in the summer variety.  Fun print, good color, black shoes I can walk in.

Here’s my last one.  Black skirt (but with fun detail) bright shirt, which gets tights and a cardigan in the winter, black shoes I  can walk in.

So that’s it.  I know I like fitted uppers, with flaring skirts, that I can do straight pants with fitted tops.  That I like fun clothing and black shoes I can walk in.  There’s probably more, but I’m tapped out.

Wardrobe Architect: Exploring Shapes

Find out more about Wardrobe Architect by going to Coletterie

This week we are figuring out what shapes we feel comfortable in.  This week came with a worksheet that had us rate different ease, length, fullness and waistline of various wardrobe basics.  On our worksheet a zero meant “I hate wearing this” a five was “I am neutral about wearing this” and a ten represented “I am happiest wearing this.  I’m not sure how this will easily sum up, as there are a ton of factors, but I’ll do my best.

I rated very long/maxi and knee length as 10s. I’ve read multiple times that people as short as myself should not wear very long skirts, but I love them.
Everything else got zeros.  I’m looking at you, midi-length that hits my calf in just the place to make me look like a box.
Very full, somewhat full, A-line all got 10s.
Straight got an 8 and Pencil got a 5.  I’ve had bad luck with pencil, because my stride tends to rip them open, but I might give them another chance.
Pretty much natural waistline is my favorite, though dropped got an 8
High and No Waistline?  Not for me.

Somewhat fitted got a 10, with somewhat loose getting a 5
Very long and Knee length got 10s, just as with skirts
Strangely, midi-length in the dress category got an 8, because I realized I had two dresses that were that length.  Maybe because it’s a longer line, it’s not as jarring as on a skirt?  Or maybe because the skirts on those dresses are somewhat full?  Maybe that’s the secret to a happy midi-length:  long line, full skirt.
I was once again happy with Very full, Somewhat full, A-Line, Straight.
I once again gave pencil a five.
High got an 8, Natural got a 10
No Waistline got a five.

Tops and Blouses
I like somewhat fitted and somewhat loose giving them a 10 and an 8 respectively
Tunic length got a 10 (this will be the case for the rest of the categories.  It may be partially due to the fact my work uniform tops currently are too small and I’m constantly pulling them down)
Above hip length received five.  I don’t like my mid-section being exposed, and so this length is not currently my favorite

Jackets and Blazers
Somewhat Fitted and Somewhat Loose both got a 10
Tunic 10, Above hip length 8

I like somewhat fitted and somewhat loose giving them a 10 and an 8 respectively
Very fitted received a 5
Tunic 10, Above hip length 8

There’s an outerwear category, but I’m having enough trouble with normal wardrobe and mostly find outerwear easy, so I’m skipping it.

On to page two!
V-Neck, U-Neck, Boatneck, Square, Sweetheart, Jewel, Scoop all got 10s.  I think my best feature is the acreage between my collarbone and my breasts.  I don’t have cleavage, but the area above where the cleavage isn’t tends to be a nice display space.
Cowel got a 7 (I like that neckline a lot in winter) with Halter bringing in a six.
Turtleneck got a one.  I feel like they make me look jowly.
Things that got a whole bunch of zeros have more to do with arms/shoulders than anything:  Strapless (football player shoulders, which I like overall, but this style is a “just say no” for me) Spaghetti Strap (draws attention to my ripply upper arms) Off Shoulder (too 80s)

Short Sleeve and Long sleeve both got 10s  There’s a sweet spot where a short sleeve hits that is just right.  I managed to find it when I made my Laurel Uniform Shirt.
Three-Quarter Length: 8, Above-Elbow: 6 (although now that I think about it, probably this IS my sweet spot)
Spaghetti Strap, Sleeveless and Cap Sleeve I like a lot, but right now there are upper arm ripples that I prefer to cover up.  I have good muscle in my arm, it just comes with some ripples on top.

So what have we learned?  Whew.  A lot, I guess.  I think we are going to get back to this information next week.

Wardrobe Architect: Defining A Core Style

The Wardrobe Architect
If you want to choose your clothing with more thought and care, follow along with Coletterie and their series.  This is week two.
When you are wearing your favorite clothing how do you feel?
Purposeful, classy, unique
When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel?  What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?
Fat, slobby, hobbit. (You know that part in the movie Juno where Juno points out Paulie Bleaker’s mother looks like a hobbit?  As a short person with some heft, that line struck fear into my heart.)
Who do you consider to be your style icons?  What is it about them that appeals to you?
(This was a hard question as I don’t really think about “style icons”)
Audrey Hepburn–clean lines, always looked classy
Michelle Obama–not a small woman and likes bold things
Drew Barrymore–whimsical and sophisticated
What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?
Elegant–I’ve got too many real things I have to do in clothing, so it has to be sturdy.
Boho–makes me feel sloppy, also like a two-ton-tilly
Fashion Forward–I have no time to keep up with that stuff.  Also the money.  And the fact fashion isn’t really made for people of my shape.
Look over your answers from last week on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location and body. Last at least 15 words that you associate with your answers.  Think about descriptive words, moods, and feelings you associate with those feelings.
Classic, clean, strong, feminist, feminine, dressed up, comfortable, WASP, thrifter, laid-back, accessible, walkable, flirty, rain-proof, fit, structured.
Are there other words you would like to add to this list?  What other words describe your core style?
Colorful, practical, well-made, long-lasting
Look over the answers to all of the questions above.  If you had to narrow your list to only 3-5 words to describe you, which words would you choose?
practical, classic, walkable, comfortable, structured.
Collect 15-20 images that represent these 3-5 words for you.
I made a Pinterist board.  It was a difficult exercise because I wanted to pin images of women who look like me and had trouble finding them.  But I did it and you can see the results by clicking here.

Wardrobe Architect: Designing and Building Thoughtful Attire. Week One. Making Style More Personal.

The Wardrobe Architect
Colette Patterns has a blog called the Coletterie where various things to do with sewing, fashion and the like are discussed.  This year they are launching the Wardrobe Architect, which is a way for us all to think carefully about the clothing we acquire.  Here’s a link to the introductory post.  Each week there is an activity which will build on the previous week’s activity.  
This week’s activity had a worksheet to complete.  Here are my answers.
How has your personal history informed the way you dress?  When did your tastes crystalized?  How have they changed over the years, and why?
I like a neat and tidy look and I like comfortable clothes that are feminine.  I like dresses and skirts  and styles from the 50s.  I think this came about in high school/college when I felt the design choices from that era offered me more choices than my own era.
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 like to make an effort to look nice and dress up when the occasion calls for it.
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 don’t really feel like I have a culture. However, growing up “bigger” meaning I was always on the larger end of whatever clothing scale affected me.  For example, I was a 9 or 11 in junior sizes, I’ve been a 12 or 14 for most of my adult life.  Because of this, I often feel like there isn’t clothing for me, that clothes are designed for people much smaller (and now much, much smaller).  So I hate shopping for clothing because every time I can’t find something in my size or something ostensibly in my size doesn’t fit, I feel like a failure.  In some ways, thrift stores and second-hand shops are easier because there is just one of each item, so it either fits or it doesn’t and I don’t have to go back and find a bigger size or be frustrated that there are four more of the size 00 and six of the size two but none in the size that fit me.
How are you influenced by the people around you including friends, family and other communities you’re involved in?
Portland is very laid back, but I also think there is a total clotheshorse aesthetic going on here that no one really acknowledges. It may not be the same high-fashion aesthetic of other cities, but people here have style.
How do your day-to-day activities influence your choices?
I need to be able to walk in my clothing which means no heels, comfortable shoes.  And I like my clothing to be comfortable, meaning I don’t want to step out of them the minute I get home.
Does the place you live inform the way you dress?  How does climate factor in?
Dresses in the winter mean tights and I sometimes don’t want to deal so I will wear pants instead.  I need some good leggings that are not too long.
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?
too tight = alienated.  Things that fit just right are fabulous.  In general, I like my clothing to have some structure.  I currently have pants that can stretch every which way and I can’t stand them. I need regular objective feedback about my size that clothing that doesn’t stretch gives me.  If something has just been washed and is too tight, I need to step up the exercise and watch what I’m eating a bit more.