The Wardrobe Architect - Making Style More Personal

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last week or so, you've probably read about Colette Patterns Wardrobe Architect project.

In the introductory post Sarai asks if any of the following sound familiar:

  • 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 have an overwhelmingly long list of sewing projects you want to make and no idea of how to prioritize them. This can actually be kind of stressful for me.
  • 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.
Well, I can safely say I could identify with 80% of the above, which is quite scary!

For years (long before I started making my own clothes) I've struggled with having a wardrobe full of individual items that don't really go together - or maybe only go with one other item - and that I don't really like.  I'm hoping that by following along with this project I might be able to change that and actually create a wardrobe that works for me and that I love.

This weeks post asks us to think about a number of things which might influence our style and aesthetic choices.

  • History: Your personal history and life events.
  • Philosophy: Your religion, spirituality, or general philosophy.
  • Culture: Your cultural background and the aesthetic values you grew up with.
  • Community: Your friends and the people around you.
  • Activities: Your interests, activities, and hobbies.
  • Location: Where you live.
  • Body: How you feel about your body.
I was going to answer each of these points separately, but aware that might make a long and not particularly interesting post for you to read, I'll try and condense things a bit. 

I don't really feel that my history, philosophy or culture have influenced my style unduly.  I'm not religious or spiritual in any way, and I come from a white, British family with no particularly interesting history or life events.

I suppose - and I suspect this is the same for many people - what influences my style the most is my body, or how I view my body. 

I'm not very tall - 5'3" - and am of a generally curvy figure.  I tend towards being slightly overweight, or slightly overweight in my eyes anyway.  Ideally I would weigh about 10 pounds less than I do now - and I am trying to do something about that, but I do like food so much.  Anyway, that's a whole other topic. 

Being curvy, my waist is much smaller in proportion to my hips.  I find it hard to get trousers that fit me well at all.  If they fit on the hips, they are enormous around the waist.  I've never found a pair of trousers that fit my waist, because I can't get them over my thighs!  I often have the same problem with skirts too. 

I also intensely dislike my knees, and you will never see me in a short skirt or heaven forbid shorts.  I seriously cannot remember the last time I wore a pair of shorts. 

Because of the above factors I tend to prefer dresses, but I would love to have some cool separates that I could mix and match. 

I'm pretty much always cold as well and spend a lot of my day sitting down, either at a desk or in the car.  Jersey dresses do work well for me (usually with a cardigan over), but it's hard to find nice quality jersey locally to me.  In fact it's hard to find nice fabric locally at all!

I do tend to buy quite a lot of clothes (or fabric) in the hope that things will coordinate miraculously, and consequently don't spend that much money on each piece.  I'm hoping that if I'm able to consciously - rather than randomly - coordinate my wardrobe I can buy less, but buy better quality.

If you've stuck with me through my ramblings, well done! 

Is anyone else joining in with this?  I'd love to know your thoughts.


  1. I don't know where you live, but in the USA we are fortunate to have Fabric Mart, which carries a wonderful selection of wool jersey. Lightweight and oh, so warm! I have many of the same body issues as you (except I don't have anything against my knees) and I really like Style Arc patterns if you want to take a look at them. Great post!

    1. Hi Carole. I'm in the UK. I do buy jersey online, but it can be very hit and miss. I actually ordered a Style Arc trouser pattern last week - I think it was Claudia - I'm excited to try it.

  2. Hi Sam, I'm really interested in these Wardrobe Architect posts, I think it's a great idea to really think about what you need and what works. I'm not taking part myself because I have such a to do list that isn't garment related - on the plus side curtains and quiltsmake a huge dent in the stash! I'm interested to see how you get on buying jersey - I'm keen to make jersey dresses and have the same issue :)

    1. I've already been thinking about items currently in my wardrobe and on my Pinterest My Style board and why I like or dislike them. It seems the things I really like are nothing like a good percentage of my current wardrobe. That could be why I wear the same things over and over...

      With regard to jersey, I have had a couple of nice pieces of viscose jersey from Minerva Crafts.


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