Wardrobe Architect #5, #6 & #7: My Colour Story, Palette and Patterns

waheaderI’ve decided to do these three weeks as one, because I’m impatient and I haven’t been super specific in terms of the shades of colours I wear. As such, there aren’t that many colours in my palette so it would be super boring for both me and you if I were to then go and organise them into neutrals and statement colours.

I wasn’t really looking forward to this exercise, because I didn’t see any real theme in the colours I wore, but actually it was really helpful! I think these colours could be roughly described as jewel tones. They’re big, deep, bright and vibrant. I’m probably calling some of these colours by completely the wrong names, but if the point of this is that I have a clear idea in my head of the colours I should buy, and these names are how I think of these colours, then I’m cool with that. Also, the colours below aren’t exactly how I picture them, because I’m easily distracted and quickly got bored with creating my palette. Sorry, not sorry. Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 18.18.13 Purple feels like a really natural colour for me to wear, and I rarely feel uncomfortable in it.
Bright yellow is a colour that a lot of people seem to shy away from wearing, but I find it so cheerful. Ben really likes me in yellow, too, which is always nice.
Fuchsia is a colour I go through phases of loving and hating, but we’re on at the moment.
Teal/turquoise is another colour I like, but hadn’t really considered that much. I have a snood, a top and my Miette. I’d be open to trying new shades of green. Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 18.12.52 I own a royal blue jacket that I love, but I can’t imagine wearing much in this shade. It was the colour of my school uniform, and too much of it would still feel uniformish to me.
Maroon is one of my favourite colours to wear, and I think it’s one of the colours that suits me the best.
Orange is not very common in my wardrobe, but I absolutely love my orange dress, and my 70s tunic features some orange, so maybe I should wear it more! Actually, wait a minute, I own an orange suit. Yeah, plenty of orange going on here!
Mustard isn’t necessarily one of my favourite colours (perhaps because I hate eating it?), but I think it really suits me. I’m coming round to it a bit more, although it is currently mostly seen in the jumper section of my wardrobe. Maybe if I think of it as gold? Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 18.10.34 And finally, neutrals (and red). Maybe I should have put maroon down here instead of red. WhatEVER – I don’t live by your rules…

Black is my classic go to for a neutral. I wear black tshirts and blouses with bright colours,  but I don’t think I ever wear entirely black outfits.
Red is my favourite colour, but I can find it a little overwhelming. I own a bright red suede coat which I’m ashamed to say has never left the house. I need to rectify that.
Grey is another neutral which I like. I wouldn’t wear it on its own, but paired with something bright, it’s great.
Navy Blue isn’t a colour I’d thought much about, but it’s all over my wardrobe. I guess this goes into the sort-of neutral category for me.

In terms of pattern, I like it. I think I prefer a large pattern to a small one, but I don’t think I’m super fussy about what the pattern actually is. I don’t like polka dots, but more abstract spots are ok. I don’t like small chintzy patterns, but larger florals are fine. I don’t like anything too twee, but some novelty prints are too adorable to leave on the shelf.

I’ve got quite a good mix of solids and patterns in my wardrobe, so as long as I’m able to mix it up a little and have a bit of both in an outfit, then I think that’s fine. I don’t think I wear outfits made up of more than one pattern, but I do wear outfits in more than one solid colour. I think maintaining the current level of solid vs pattern would be good, and while I should be mindful about choosing prints I actually want to wear, I’m reluctant to narrow myself down in terms of pattern within this exercise – as long as they’re in my preferred colours, and I like them, then that’s good enough for me.

So there we have it. My palette. I think I like it a lot.

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Wardrobe Architect #3: Exploring Shape

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This week’s task was quite simple and involved ranking different styles of clothing by how much you like wearing them. I tried to go with my gut instinct for this, and there were no shocking revelations.

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I think I have a fairly good idea of the styles that don’t suit me (loose, dropped waists), so this wasn’t a huge challenge. There are some styles which I’m curious to try, and they generally got scored between 5 and 7.

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I suppose one thing this made me think about was how important comfort is to me. I don’t want to have to think about what underwear to wear with an outfit, so spaghetti straps and strapless tops aren’t really interesting to me. As I’ve mentioned before, I really hate 3/4 length and above-elbow sleeves. They don’t keep me warm and they’re hard to put a cardie on top of. I am slowly culling the tops I own with this sleeve length from my wardrobe, and replacing them with short or long sleeves.

I’m enjoying this programme – it’s broken down into manageable chunks which forces you to think about the reasons behind your style. I am looking forward to finishing it though, because I’m impatient to get on with life in my more defined style!

 

Wardrobe Architect #2: Defining a Core Style

waheaderTime to get back on the old Wardrobe Architect horse/bike/wagon. Week 2 works on defining a core style – something which has been on my mind a lot this week.

When you are wearing your favourite clothing, how do you feel?

My favourite outfits make me feel confident, stylish, comfortable, smart, interesting, effortless, and attractive.

When you’re wearing something that’s not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear? 

Sometimes I can feel overdressed, like I’m in costume, or like it’s obvious how hard I’ve tried to make the outfit work. If I feel like my outfit is too fussy looking, then I’ll spend a lot of time fiddling with it. At other times I feel frumpy and as if I’ve made no effort. If I don’t feel comfortable with my outfit then I’ll always be very self conscious and compare myself to others.

Beyond

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

I’m struggling with this, as I don’t think I really have style icons. If I had to pick some people, then I’d choose the following:

Alexa Chung – she dresses in an interesting way and doesn’t just wear one style. I saw a quote once that she always wants to look like an excellently dressed boy or a kitten from the sixties.

Clemence Poesy – I really like her laid back French style.

Emma Watson – she always looks well put together, as though she’s made an effort even if she’s dressed quite simply with minimal makeup and hair. I think a lot of it boils down to her nice attitude.

Finally, a bit off piste, but Wes Anderson films – I love the stylised look of them, but I don’t think I would feel comfortable dressing in that way all the time.

What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you? 

Loose fitting dresses – these look terrible on me, but can look so stylish on others. I can wear a loose top, but it needs to be with skinny jeans or tucked into a skirt.

Full vintage styles – I like a nod to vintage styles in my outfits, but wearing head to toe 1950s would make me feel very overdressed.

Beyond-2

Look over your answers from last week (ha! June!) on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body. List at least 15 words that you associate with your answers. Think about descriptive words, moods, and feelings you associate with these things:

Comfortable, stylish, bright, indie, retro, fitted, fun, vintage, freedom, preppy, 70s, cheerful, colourful, relaxed.

Are there other words you would like to add to this list? What other words describe your core style?

Continental, French, patterned, simple.

Beyond-3

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?

Preppy, french, retro, comfortable, bright.

Collect 15-20 images that represent these 3-5 words for you. You could create a pinterest board, a folder on your computer, a moodboard, or a collage. Be creative and have fun!

I created my collages using Canva, a really easy to use design tool which I discovered this morning. For photo credits and a couple of extra pictures, check out my Wardrobe Architect pinterest page.

Wardrobe Architect #1: Making Style More Personal

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After Me Made May gave me a better insight into my wardrobe and wearing habits, I’ve decided to work through the Colette Wardrobe Architect series, to try and define my style a little further.

The first week focusses on who we are and where we come from as individuals, and points out the sometimes overlooked message that just because you like something doesn’t mean you need to own it.

How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystallise? Have they changed over the years, and why? 

I’ve always been interested in fashion, but we lived in the middle of a wood when I was a child, and we didn’t have very much money. This meant my opportunities to dress up in different styles were often limited to the dressing up box. I was always interested in fashion as an idea, though – I sent a letter to the queen when I was about 7 with some ideas for dresses she could have made. I never saw her wearing the octopus dress to any public events, but I got a nice letter from a lady in waiting. When my friend found out, he also wrote her a letter including a picture he’d drawn of Windsor Palace catching fire.

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As a teenager, I was a total indie girl. Casually, I’d wear baggy jeans with tight t-shirts and a lot of eyeliner. I’d say that from the age of 11 my tastes veered towards 70s style, and this would make up a lot of my more formal wear. Sadly the charity shops of Crawley didn’t have that much to offer other than discarded tracksuits and 80s horrors, but the styles were quite fashionable at the time so I could usually find what I wanted on the high street. I also raided my mum’s wardrobe on occasion.

When I was about 16, I started going out with an idiot who doesn’t deserve any time or space on my blog, and my sense of style really took a downturn along with my mood. I dressed frumpily and I felt frumpy. Since then, I’d say that you can easily tell my mood by how much effort I’ve put into my outfit – I think the two feed off each other. If I’m happy, I dress in a fun way, and if I dress in a fun way, I feel happier. For example, I didn’t sleep very well last night, so today I am wearing yesterday’s clothes. However, I liked yesterday’s outfit, so I’m cheering up as the day goes on.

I think my style has now evolved into something fairly retro, but with a broader range than just the 70s. In a way, I’m reluctant to pin it down, but I suppose quite simple body fitting 20th century fashions, sometimes with a preppy edge, would cover it.

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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 try to be environmentally friendly and not waste things. If there’s something I own and I don’t want it anymore, I’ll try and find a new home for it. In terms of buying things for my house, I’m much more drawn to vintage items, and I’m trying to continue that philosophy into the clothing I buy. Where’s the fun of going into a shop and seeing everything laid out and easy for you to find. I think I’d rather rummage through the stands to unearth a mystery at my local British Heart Foundation, thanks!

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?

In one way I was lucky to grow up in the south east of England. I was free to wear what I wanted, although I wasn’t free from the judgement that comes with wearing what you want in a small conservative town.

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Manic Street Preachers

My teenage style icons were the Manic Street Preachers and Kenickie. I liked their charity shop/glitter/army surplus vibe. They looked like they had fun getting dressed.

Kenickie

Kenickie

I’d say the experience of living abroad has had the biggest effect in recent years on the way I dress. It introduced me to people from different cultures who dressed in a very different way to me. It also led me to care a lot less about what other people thought of the outfits I liked.

How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?

When I was younger, I didn’t have many friends who were into the same kind of music and style as me, and that led me to tone down the way I looked a bit. They didn’t seem to have any such problems, and didn’t tone down the Adidas trackie bottoms with the poppers, more’s the pity.

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Now, I’m probably less influenced by people around me. I’ll wear things that make me happy, and dress for occasions rather than people. If one of my friends is wearing something I like, I might make a note to think about how that style can work for me, but generally I do my own thing. I trust Ben to give me an honest opinion of how I look in outfits. He has a better eye for colour than me, and, since he likes my style in the first place, he’s good at helping me to pull an outfit together.

How do your day to day activities influence your choices?

If I’m working in an office, I have to be fairly smart. I’d say I go for a slightly preppy look. At home, I have a tendency to slob out, which I absolutely hate! That is something I would really like to work on.

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I have some problems with my feet, which make wearing a lot of styles of shoe impossible. Therefore, I try and plan outfits around the shoes I have which I know I can wear – this is probably one of the reasons I dress like a slob!

Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?

I’m quite lucky to live in Brighton. The weather is rarely extreme. It can be quite windy, which causes concern with some skirts, and it rains a lot, but that’s what umbrellas are for.

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?

I’m struggling to phrase this answer, because I don’t want to sound unhappy with my body. There are things I’m aware of when choosing an outfit, but I try and work with what I have, rather than feeling negative about it. The two major things are my figure (hourglass – it’s tricky to get a top to fit at my waist and over my boobs), and my long body and short legs (tops are too short and trousers are too long).

I like the rolled up trouser leg look, so that’s not really an issue for me, and I think that wearing skirts and dresses makes me appear more in proportion. One thing I’d like to focus on is finding tops which fit me well, in both length and shape.

I need to define my waist in the clothes that I wear. If I don’t, then it looks like I don’t have a waist.

This is my worst nightmare, shape wise

This is my worst nightmare, shape wise