Wardrobe Architect Week 14: Overcoming Editing Hurdles

Well I made it to the final week of The Wardrobe Architect! Hurray! I was supposed to reach the end on 2nd July, but I didn’t end up sticking 100% to the schedule I’d set myself in the first week. (By the way there was a week 13 but it was a giveaway in the original series, so I haven’t missed one out!)

This week Sarai asks:

Why is it so difficult to let go of things?

Slowly, we collect things into our lives and homes. We buy things we need, and things we don’t need, things we want, and things we don’t really want. They pile up in our closets, our garages, and our living rooms.

All of this clutter begins to drown out the things you really love, the objects you’re attached to and find value and beauty in.

And yet, they are so hard to give up. Why? Let’s dig a little deeper into our psyches to find out.”

I would definitely recommend going to the original post to read her thoughts in more detail, but she sums up our inability to get rid of things in 2 ways: Loss Aversion and Cognitive Dissonance. The first means we fear we will be missing out on something if we get rid of something, and losing something feels much worse than gaining something feels good; and the second means if we spent hours and hours making something, only to find it doesn’t suit us or doesn’t fit or we never have the occasion to wear it, it’s hard to admit that making it might have been a mistake so we convince ourselves we will wear it one day.

Overcoming these mental hurdles

  1. Be self-aware. The first step in overcoming these blocks is to recognize them for what they are. They are psychological biases. They don’t necessarily make sense.
  2. Name the risk. When I find myself wringing my hands over throwing out something I never use, I stop and think about what the chances are that I will need to replace it. I think about whether it’s really something I will be worse off without, in any way.
  3. Name the reward. What is the reward for cleaning out your closet? A fresh perspective, feeling good in what you wear, less guilt about things you don’t wear, better buying habits, cleaner space. Some or all of these might help you.
  4. Appreciate what you don’t miss. This has been extremely helpful to me. Every time I do a clean out, I realize that no matter how hesitant I was to give something up, I completely forget about it once it’s gone. I can’t think of one thing I’ve given away that I truly miss.”

Exercise

This week, it’s time to edit our closets and rid of ourselves of what we no longer need or want.

Gather your capsule wardrobe items together.

This one is a bit tricky for me as I don’t really have space to have some items together, away from other items. Also I’m trying to work towards all my clothes being like a big capsule wardrobe, where lots of things go with each other and I never feel like I have nothing to wear or I’m wearing clothes that don’t make me feel as good as other clothes.

Pack away out of season clothing.

I actually did this when we moved into our flat as our closet space is really quite limited. I had all my Summer things packed away under the bed in my massive suitcase which I rarely use. I also have a couple of blankets and bridesmaids dresses in there. When I got everything out for Summer this year, I had a mini clear out as I knew I wasn’t going to wear some of the things – mostly I knew because of the colours, which I have focussed on thanks to previous weeks of The Wardrobe Architect!

Purge.

I’ve done this about 4 times in the last 18 months or so! I did it twice before we relocated from London 18 months ago, then I’m pretty sure I cleared out some other stuff when we moved into our flat a year ago and I fully unpacked everything. I also did it, as I mentioned above, when I got my Summer clothes out. I think I’m getting better at clearing things out – and I like taking things to charity shops as I know they will get another life, whether in someone else’s wardrobe, or being recycled into chair stuffing or whatever they do with clothes that can’t be worn any more. I even got rid of some of my me-mades last time! I have kept the first dress I made, even though I only wore it about twice, because some things have a bit of sentimental value!

I even cleared out my fabric stash a bit a couple of weeks ago, clearing out all my tiny scraps and some larger pieces of fabric which I know I’m not going to use. I keep meaning to find out if any local charity shops or groups would have use of fabric scraps, but the 2 massive bags are still floating around our dining room! I keep having these thoughts that I should be able to think of something to do with all my scraps, but I keep coming up blank. If you have any ideas, please do let me know!

 

And there we have it, it’s over. I definitely feel like doing the Wardrobe Architect has helped me to focus on what I like to wear and what I feel good in – from shapes to colours to outfits. It should help me reduce the instances of spending ages making something I’m then not going to wear! I just need to keep all of it in mind when planning my makes – and especially when buying fabric and particularly patterns. It’s so easy to be seduced by the latest releases by all the amazing indie pattern designers, but I try not to jump on a bandwagon if I know something isn’t really my style……that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a massive stash of patterns I have yet to make though 😉

 

 

Wardrobe Architect Week 12: Adding Accessories

This week for Wardrobe Architect we’re talking about accessories. I’ve put this post off for a week because I think I’ going to get a bit stuck because I don’t know how much I use accessories. In the original post they talk about functional accessories and decorative accessories.

“Functional accessories can be decorative too of course, but there is some element of usefulness to them. They might include shoes, bags, hats, belts, warm scarves, gloves, sunglasses, and legwear. These are all things you need to work for you in one way or another. You might not need all of these things, depending on your climate, and some might become purely decorative for you.” Functional accessories might be shoes, bags, hats, scarves and gloves.

“Decorative accessories, like jewelry or pretty scarves, don’t really need to have all of these functional requirements. You can also include some things from the functional list that you wear purely for the sake of style. For example, if you don’t really need to wear a hat in the summer but like the way hats look on you, you can add them to this list.” Decorative accessories might be jewelery and more floaty (less warmth-focussed) scarves.

There is an exercise for this week:

1 Make a list of requirements for your accessories. List what you consider to be functional accessories and decorative accessories, and what your requirements are for each.

Shoes are probably the kind of accessory I have the most of. I have 2 pairs of trainers (one of vans and one rocket dogs), one pair of brogues, 2 pairs of ankle boots, 2 pairs of work flats and a new pair of Clarks lace ups. I wear a lot of pashminas in the Winter because I get cold really easily. I have one pair of sunglasses and a sun hat. When it’s cold I wear earmuffs or wooly hats, gloves and my favourite warm scarf. To be honest I think I’m pretty set for necessary accessories. I could probably always do with more shoes, but couldn’t we all?!

In terms of decorative accessories, I think the only ones I really wear are earrings and I only wear those a couple of days a week maximum. I never wear rings and very occasionally I remember to wear a necklace. I almost certainly have too many decorative accessories compared with how often I wear them, so I definitely don’t need to have any more on a to buy list.

2 Decide how many of each to include for the coming season. How many of each do you need for your current capsule wardrobe?

I haven’t been really working towards a specific season with my foray into the Wardrobe Architect so I don’t know how relevant this is. I could probably do with another pair of sandals, but given in the UK this year so far we’ve had probably 2 warm weeks, it doesn’t seem especially urgent at the moment!

3 Add accessories to your capsule wardrobe. Be sure to look towards what you already own before window shopping!

I think going forwards (urgh, sorry for the management speak!) I will try to be more mindful of the kinds of accessories I feel would nicely finish off an outfit of handmades and work towards a more curated selection. Especially of decorative accessories, so that I have a small stash of ones I actually wear!

Phew, that wasn’t so hard! It’s a brief one this week.
 

Wardrobe Architect Week 11: Planning Your Pieces

This week’s Wardrobe Architect is all about planning what to make to achieve the capsule (ish) wardrobe of our dreams. I think I might slightly struggle with this because although I’ve been planning my sewing since October, I still feel I am a little bit all over the place and I definitely get seduced by shiny new patterns all the time!

The original post says: “In the last couple installments, we talked about choosing silhouettes for our new mini wardrobes and defining a color palette.

With those two things in mind, along with all the work we’ve done before on defining our style and prints that we like, it’s time to decide what pieces we need to create a coherent little wardrobe.”

In the original post she suggests you shop your closet to see what you already have that fits with your chosen silhouettes and palettes. I’ve put together a couple of collages of vaguely what I’m aiming for.

 I already have (I know it’s boring but I’m just going to list these because I don’t know how best to create collages from things I’ve made):

Dresses (I have others but don’t really wear them!)
Electric blue jersey dress
Navy blue Rushcutter dress
Spotty drapey knit dress (GBSB)
2 Summer Elisalex dresses
Mustard and navy flowers Sallie maxi dress
Jazzy Moneta dress
Navy and white striped Marianne dress

Skirts
Navy blue Simplicity skirt
Black Simplicity skirt
Denim Moss skirt
Silver Delphine skirt
Grey quilted Mabel skirt

Tops
2 blue (turquoise and electric blue) Cocos
2 Archer shirts (blue spotty and flowery)
Blue patterned Melilot shirt
2 Plantain tees (Breton-style and yellow and navy flowers)
A RTW cream tee with kimono sleeves, slightly oversized
A RTW (charity shop find) mustard yellow flowy blouse with a peter pan collar
(These last 2 tops are some of my favourites to wear to I intend to rub them off and copy them at some point so I can have more of the same style in my wardrobe)

Trousers and Jeans
Simplicity trousers
RTW wide legged navy trousers (which I took in last year)
RTW primark grey patterned pleated trousers (which I’ve had for years).
One pair of grey jeans given to me by a friend.
Black and navy skinny trousers which I’ve had for years and are getting a bit worn out

Coats and Jackets
Black Victoria blazer
Refashioned blue Victoria blazer
Freemantle coat
A now quite old duffel coat which has seen better days

Wow, now I’ve written all this down it seems like a lot! It’s hard to believe I still have holes in my wardrobe! I have a lot of basic long-sleeved jersey tops (all from primark shamefully, though I have worn them for probably 10 years now!) which I plan to replace over the course of next Winter, so I won’t include these in my plans below.

  1. White Archer shirt – I don’t actually own a white shirt!
  2. Dark blue Ginger jeans
  3. Black Ginger jeans
  4. Dark blue Morgan jeans
  5. Light blue (and thin denim) Morgan jeans
  6. Yellow Albion duffel coat
  7. Mustard yellow or powder blue 60s-style coat from the GBSB book
  8. Navy and white or black and white culottes from Butterick B6178
  9. Black wide-legged trousers (probably from McCalls M6515
  10. Papercut Guise pants from a patterned fabric with either black or navy in

I think 10 things should be enough to be getting on with! Especially on top of my #2017MakeNine. I’m not going to set myself a deadline for sewing all of these pieces, because that will remove all the fun I think – I’m not a quick sewist I have realised – but hopefully once I’ve ticked these and my Make Nine off (and, of course, there is some overlap like the 2 jeans patterns), I should be pretty close to having a working capsule-ish wardrobe! I’m already finding I have more outfits since starting the Wardrobe Architect because of focussing on my colour palette, and once I’ve got the above pieces, I should have loads of ways of putting things together. Yay!

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Wardrobe Architect Week 9: The Capsule Wardrobe

After covering all the things that have been covered in the previous few weeks of the Wardrobe Architect, Colette say now is the time to put it into practical terms by coming up with a capsule wardrobe.

“A capsule wardrobe is a small, manageable subset of your wardrobe, and it usually is something you can plan seasonally (twice a year, or perhaps 4 times a year).

A typical capsule wardrobe consists of between 20 and 33 items, depending on who you ask and what kinds of items you’re including. It doesn’t have to include every single thing you might wear for the season, but it is the foundation for the rest of your wardrobe. The idea is that once you have the capsule wardrobe figured out, the rest is gravy.”

I feel like I’m getting slightly better at knowing what I wear and making accordingly, but I do have some gaps in my me mades and some alternative silhouettes I think I could explore.

The original post gives these handy prompts:

  1. Choose one to six silhouettes for the season.
  2. Create a color palette.
  3. Break down your silhouettes and colors into a list of pieces.
  4. Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.

1. Choose one to six silhouettes for the season

Since Summer is so short in the UK I tend not to focus so much on warm weather clothing, so I think my silhouettes will be for all year around – just maybe in different fabrics or without tights and cardigans in the Summer. Also I’ve covered a lot of this before in the week about exploring shapes, but it helps me to see things visually.

a. Skinny jeans/trousers with looser tops and shirts – I’m particularly drawn to button ups at the moment

b. Looser trousers with loose tops

I’m liking the coulotte trend at the moment, and I think they would be comfortable when it does get hot. Again I like them with loosers style tops.

c. Shift/swing dresses

d. Mini skirts with loose and/or cropped tops.

e. Cardigans, jackets and coats have pretty much been summed up in the above photos (which can all be found on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board).

2. Choose a colour palette.

I’ve covered my colour palette in the week about my colour story and the one about choosing a palette, but I’ll recap here.

3 & 4. Break down your silhouettes and colors into a list of pieces.Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.

I’m going to cover these 2 together in terms of planning what to make, and looking at what I’ve already got. I’ve got more tops I think that anything else.

My blue patterned Melilot shirt (left) and my blue spotty archer see quite a lot of wear and they fit my palette and silhouettes.

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtBlue Spotty Archer Button Up

I’ve got some short of cropped, and boxy-ish tops too, which I wear quite often, such as my silver toaster sweater and my mustard astoria top.

Mustard Ponte Seamwork Astoria

I have some nice shift/cocoony dresses, like my new Marianne dress, my electric blue peppermint magazine jersey dress, my drapey knit dress and my rushcutter.

#SewDots GBSB Drapey Knit DressNavy Spotty Rushcutter Dress

So then in terms of what to make, here are my plans (which will probably take a year to complete!)

Ginger Jeans in black and dark blue (and possibly mustard if I’m feeling bold in the future) and Morgan Jeans in dark blue and a lighter shade of denim.

I’ve got both the Papercut Guise Trousers and the Butterick B6178 (which came free with one of the magazines I’ve bought recently) and I think this has me pretty much covered to recreate the silhouettes above. I don’t have any specific fabric or colours in mind, but I think with the coulottes I want some more summery colours/prints. I might copy the stripey ones above too. And I like the spotty trousers above which I could copy with the guise pattern. I like the idea of patterned bottoms – I tend to wear plain bottoms and patterned tops.

I recently treated myself to both the Sew Over It Nancy Dress and the Pauline Alice Xerea Dress, so I should be able to make dresses in my dream silhouettes. I have some nice navy, grey and white patterned viscose which I’m planning for the Nancy and I’m thinking some colour blocking for the Xerea.

I’ve got the Closet Case Patterns Ebony Tee and Dress and the Named Patterns Inari Tee and Dress so between them they should cover most eventualities of tops (and dresses as alternatives to the ones above).

I also want to make 2 coats – one proper winter coat, maybe in a 60s style like the one from the 2nd Great British Sewing Bee book, and one a rip-off of Seasalt’s lovely duffle coats using the Colette Albion pattern.

Sea Salt Yellow Duffel Coat

Well I think that’s probably enough things to be getting on with for now! Maybe eventually I’ll reach peak capsule wardrobe. I’ll probably also still always make random things that don’t fit into the capsule!

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Wardrobe Architect Week 8: Hair, Makeup and Beauty

For the Wardrobe Architect series this week (week 8) it’s all about hair and makeup.  The Colette post says:

“Hair and makeup are so transformative and powerful. Few other things can completely change the way you look the way hairstyle and beauty products can.”

1. What hair style has been most flattering and comfortable for you? How did it make you feel about yourself? Did it invoke any of the words you came up with in our core style exercise?

I’m now definitely a short hair person. I always had long hair when I was young (under 20), sometimes with a fringe and sometimes without. Then when I was probably about 22, I had a bob cut with a blunt fringe and I loved it. I kept it like that for quite a few years – basically until I moved to London and couldn’t afford haircuts! Then I grew it really long, then chopped it all off in one go into a pixie crop. I loved the drama of having it all cut off at once and I think the pixie crop is definitely the most ‘me’ cut I’ve found. I did briefly grow it out into a bob, then a long bob (and a disasterous moment where I grew out my fringe – I definitely would never not have some kind of fringe in the future!) then I cut it all off again! I’m actually thinking of having a slight change to the exact haircut I’ve had for the last couple of years as I’m a bit bored, but I might just go a little shorter all over for the Summer. Though I am tempted to grow it out a little and go for the full Vidal Sassoon Mary Quant.

2. How much makeup are you comfortable with? It could be no makeup, or a full face with contouring (and all that jazz I could never figure out). Or it could vary day to day.

It slightly varies from day to day, but I never wear foundation and I wouldn’t know where to start with contouring if I wanted to (though I love RuPaul’s Drag Race and would love to have the skills and make-up to do a full drag face!). Mostly what I wear daily is concealer under my eyes, – I’ve always had quite dark circles under my eyes, even as a kid – mascara and I fill in my eyebrows a little because I committed the cardinal eyebrow sin when I was young and didn’t know what I was doing and plucked hairs from the top of my brows, and I overplucked so now have a couple of gaps which I like to fill in. Some days I don’t bother with the mascara, but I do curl my eyelashes as they are quite long but very straight. If I’ve got a bit more time and want to make a bit more of an effort I’ll wear liquid eyeliner (it’s like a felt-tip pen) on my top eyelid. And most days I put a little blusher on to make myself look less pale and tired!

3. How does your makeup and hair reflect your personal style? What do you feel they say about you and your aesthetics?

I’d like to think my hair and make-up is fairly low maintenance, which is also how I like my clothes to feel. I like to be comfortable and once I’m dressed and my hair and make-up are done, I don’t want to have to think about it for the rest of the day. That is one of the great things about having short hair – once it’s dried (and I use a wax to make it less fluffy) then I can leave it alone for the rest of the day, and it doesn’t get in my face.

4. How much product do you want to own? Do you like collecting products, or would you rather just have a few essentials? How much bathroom clutter are you ok with?

I would rather have a few essentials. Since I don’t wear foundation or eye shadow really ever, I only have half a dozen products which I use daily. I do have quite a few nail varnishes, though I’ve got out of the habit of painting my nails, and that’s definitely the only thing I collect. I have one concealer that I use until it’s gone, one mascara, one blusher. I’m not particularly into make-up – and it’s expensive! – so it’s not something I’m interested in collected.

5. What requirements do you have for the products you buy? Do you stick with all natural products? Are there ingredients you avoid?

This question has made me really think. I buy Dr Organics shampoo, conditioner and shower gel and I make sure my make-up remover is free from as many chemicals as possibly, but I’ve never thought about my make-up. I will definitely look at this next time I’m looking to replace items.

6. What colors feel best near your face? How do they relate to the color palette you created?

One of the only colours (other than black for eye liner and mascara) that I wear is pink. I have a blusher which I wear most days to make me look less pale/ill. It’s pretty close to the colour my cheeks go when I’m hot, so I feel it looks okay. I’ve also got a couple of different shades of pink lipstick, but I don’t wear lipstick on a day-to-day basis as I feel overly made-up when I do.

7. What colors never look right near your face? What colors have you tried and given up on before?

Red looks terrible near my face, so I’m not a red lipstick person. I also think red lipstick makes my teeth look yellow. I haven’t really tried too many other colours, I’m not very adventurous with makeup.

8. How much time do you realistically want to spend getting ready in the morning?

Not very much time if I’m honest! I do get up 90 minutes before I have to leave for work, but almost 45 minutes of that time is me sitting and eating my breakfast and waking up. Often I only have 5 minutes to put on make-up, which is what more often than not dictates how much I wear!

9. What types of scents do you gravitate towards? Do you wear perfume? Other scented products? What do you feel the scents you like communicate about your personality?

I don’t wear perfume ever. I don’t know if that’s weird, but I’ve never worn it. I have been bought things in the past but I never really liked the way they smelled, so I never really wore them.

The post on the Colette blog suggests collecting some inspirational photos of hair and make-up, which I have done on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board.

This photo of Ginnifer Goodwin is definitely an inspiration for a slight tweak to my current hair cut. I like the shaved sides, but I have had that before and it wasn’t my favourite look!

I like all 3 of these pixie cuts, from Mia Farrow, Michelle Williams and Carey Mulligan. 60s crops are a bit shorter on the top than my current cut, so that might be an option for the Summer.

These 2 are more inspirational – the Mary Quant Vidal Sassoon is on the right. I would have to grow it out a little to get mine like this, and I fear it would be high maintenance, like my bob used to be because my hair isn’t quite straight. Also I love Tilda Swinton and wish I could have her hair.

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