wardrobe architect: core style


Fresh into February, I wanted to take a few minutes to distill my thoughts on the first month of the Wardrobe Architect series. Weeks 1-4 focus on identifying core style in terms of shape & vibe. I’ll go through a rundown of my worksheets, then talk silhouettes, sewing patterns, and finally my big takeaway:

  • the series really starts off with a bang! Worksheet 1 was surprisingly challenging for me, covering some pretty majorly reflective territory on personal history/philosophy/culture/community/activities/location/body. Phew! It was fun to think back on the all the fashion/personal style phases I’ve gone through, from a very LL Bean upbringing, to discovering Teen Vogue and Nylon magazines & being an avid thrifter in high school, then going kind of indie/grunge in college, spending 9 months living out of one suitcase (… not my most stylish time), exploring queer community/style, and most recently moving to the Bay Area, a land without seasons.
    •  on style realms: worksheet 1 helped me conceptualize what I wear in terms of the worlds I move through — professional, albeit casual, office attire, free time full of making things & adventuring, dressing up on occasion for dance parties or dinner, and exercise. There’s certainly an undercurrent of my style throughout, and a shared core wardrobe, but I’d like to work on greater continuity and feeling like myself (style wise) no matter the activity, and feeling like I can move effortlessly between these realms.
    • on body image: worksheet 1 also helped me realize that I’m much less restricted by my height than I used to be. For a long time being tall made me self conscious of trying certain styles and not wanting to be too bold because I already stand out (literally). To point: after obsessing over clogs for nearly six months, I bought a pair despite the 2.5″ heel, literally thinking “YOLO”(you only live once) while purchasing and you know what? I adore them, and when I notice the added height it makes me feel powerful, like I’m owning it.
  • the second worksheet focused on all of the feelings. I thought about my discomfort with feeling/dressing too feminine or sexy and how my admiration of ultra-minimalist style uniforms just isn’t realistic for my love of textiles & activity needs. I couldn’t think of a single style icon off the top of my head, which I think points to the fact that I haven’t put a lot of thought into my overall style lately, but after mulling it over, I focused less on finding someone who captures my daily style/silhouette, and was more drawn to each person’s attitude:
style icons collage
Jenna (also 6 feet tall! & wearing heels!) // Frida (an artful dresser) // Solange (bold) // Patti (revolutionary)
  • 5 words to describe my style:
5 words for core style
intentional // tomboy-femme // creative // ease // limitless!
  • the next two weeks focused on shapes & silhouettes, which I think is how I was intuitively styling my wardrobe already. I’m very drawn to certain shapes and I think I have a pretty strong sense of what’s flattering for my body, which I would classify as “apple shaped” if you go by the fashion magazine fruit metric system: boxy/architectural tops with a lot of ease, mid- and high-waisted skinny jeans & pencil skirts, shirt dresses, dolman sleeves, v and boat necks, sack & shift dresses. I drew up a few of my go-to silhouettes on polyvore, which I ‘d never used before so you’ll have to bear with me.
  • sketching out silhouettes got me thinking about how to build on my core shapes (some of which is already in progress with my winter wardrobe plans) and also about how to explore new shapes, like a midi pencil skirt, scoop necklines, a bodysuit, “boyfriend jeans,” a wrap dress, and a loose peplum top.
  • most of these new (and old fave!) silhouettes are already stacking up on my sewing inspiration pinterest board, but specific patterns that fit my core style include:
    • go-to’s: ginger jeans, hemlock tee, archer button up, alder shirtdress, Uptown top, Nell blouse, wiksten tank & dress, scout, ondawa, escher
    • new takes on my core silhouette: vena cava wrap dress, nettie bodysuit, marthe blouse, mabel, Named boyfriend jeans, ’70s wrap skirt

sewing patterns - wardrobe architect

  • are you ready for my big takeaway? when I started the first worksheet I was thinking about the philosophy and ethos of my style, and the wardrobe ecology framework that I’m trying to cultivate. With environmental considerations in mind, I was about to write down “low impact” (like nontoxic, water efficient, light on human & natural resources) when I realized that doesn’t capture my core style at all — what I’m aiming for is a HIGH IMPACT wardrobe: clothing that can most positively effect my community and those involved in the supply chain. I want to cultivate a wardrobe with a high impact by supporting local farmers, small and independent shops and designers, organic, sustainable, and innovative systems wherever possible. High impact also resonates with my personal style, because I realized that my style icons aren’t those whose closets I want to copy, they’re women whose wardrobes express their strength and creativity. Yes, I strive for a light ecological footprint, but I can’t truly minimize my wardrobe because it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so instead I’ll aim to maximize the positive potential.

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making things & asking questions

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