What the **** is style? This has been a mystery to me, and of late, one that I want to solve. I make things and then I wear them. Sometimes I love it, but then its a “yawn” on and other times its just blah. Or worse, I made something that I have nothing to wear with. I don’t have what I would consider an overall style i.e. classic, modern, vintage, romantic, Naughty Librarian, French Chic, etc to guide my choices. I have struggled with this in my sewing journey and I don’t want to just copy a look and be a Jackie O clone. I don’t want to make clothes that fit well but really don’t “do it” for me. How do I really dress well? How does one really build a unique and flattering style? What does Google say?
Thanks, that helps. I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one thinking about this. Erica B’s blog post on Americans lack of dressing up and “The Lost Art of Dress” article she references both consider this question (and her shocking experiences with people criticizing her efforts to step out of her house looking gorgeous!). Notre Dame history professor, Linda Przybyszewski, is even writing a book about it (working title-A Nation of Slobs).
One of her beefs, and the impetus for her book-in-progress, is that fashion expertise is a lost art in contemporary society. One of her principle theses is that the disappearance of home economics from the American educational system has left generations of women unschooled and unskilled in the ways of dress. –quote from another interview
At one time American women did a great job making stunning clothing that was age and occasion appropriate. What happened? Personally I never learned because my mom was a total tomboy who never wore make-up and wore black ponte knit pants, black polos and the same pair of black sandals ordered annually from the same company. She hated the mall, so my back to school shopping trips consisted of a trip to Wal-Mart. I never really learned “the girl stuff” while growing up. I remember I once bought lip liner and wore it as eyeliner until someone kindly pointed out it made be look ill (I was a teenager). Another time my aunt gave me translucent powder and I went to the cosmetics counter lady to ask how to put it on (again, a teenager). I was totally clueless about so many things and my small group of female friends weren’t entirely knowledgeable either.
This stuff used to be taught in school because its NOT easy! Now I am trying all these new things, some hits and some misses, but I really don’t feel like I have a cohesive “look” or even a great understanding of what I should be wearing, in the sense of what would work to make me look and feel amazing, daily.
Therefore I’ve decided to do a silhouette project. What does that mean? I am going to make a series of skirts, tops, dresses, etc. in various basic shapes to experiment with what looks good on my figure. Sheath, Shirt, or Shift dress? Empire, Natural or No Waist? A-line, Circle, or Pencil Skirt? Knee, Maxi or Midi length? Collars, Necklines, Sleeves? What is really flattering? I’m not starting from scratch because I’m going to do my homework.
I am then going to make a serious effort in pairings and accessories to make a “look” or cohesive outfit. I am counting on you, dear reader, to give me a final yeah or nay since my husband is not entirely honest, which is probably better for our relationship in the long run.
Once I have some building blocks, I can experiment more with style and color. Do I like romantic? Well when I see them in Burda Mag all I think is “yuck pastels” but put them in black lace and I like it. Hopefully with trial and error (and research) I can to come up with some “wardrobe fillers” and “fashion staples” with a few “trendy items” that actually look great on me and fit my lifestyle. I might even hit on a “style label” and be able to say “My style is …”
P.S. I don’t care how many times you tell me a white collared shirt is a staple, it isn’t happening! And Tim Gunn, a sweatsuit alternative needs to cover the legs as well as be easy to wear. Why? Not every woman shaves fanatically you crazy man!