Sarai at Coletterie has posted the first Wardrobe Architect exercise. It’s a worksheet about different factors that might affect one’s sense of style, or aesthetics. I’ve posted my comment on that post, and I thought I’d blog it here.
Sarai put forward seven possible factors. I started off trying to write about all seven, and it became very clear as I did that there was one factor in particular which has the greatest effect on how I dress. Here’s what I wrote:
This is probably the biggest factor affecting my choices in clothing.
I believe I have a healthy attitude towards my body image. For a start, I don’t think of my body as separate from my Self. It’s not dissociated from me. My body is as much part of my view of myself as my thoughts or my feelings are. I am a dancer, and that has meant over the years that I’ve grown to love what my body can do, and appreciate the beauty it can create. I like that.
OK my body is big, but I don’t see that as making me less attractive, or less stylish, or less sexy than someone who is smaller and slimmer than me. It’s a bit of a pain, though, because The World doesn’t revolve around the needs or wishes of people of my size, and that makes buying clothes an absolute misery. Honestly, I hate going clothes shopping, because it’s soul-destroying when you find something that you think you would look good in, and the largest size they do is a 14. And they think that’s a large! So often I’ve ended up buying clothes simply because they are the only thing that fits me. And that’s not a good enough reason to buy any garment. And it ends up languishing in the wardrobe, rarely worn, simply because I don’t enjoy wearing it, it doesn’t make me feel good about myself, and it reminds me too much of the awful shopping experience. Or I do wear it, but I don’t love it, and I still have all those associations, and I don’t feel good about how I look. So I don’t actually have very many RTW clothes that I love.
The experience of sewing and wearing my own clothes these last few months has been really beneficial, because all of a sudden I have clothes that do fit me, and that I do love, and I have only positive memories/associations. People compliment me on what I’m wearing, and that’s so affirming!
I’m making a start on the physical (as opposed to the metaphysical) aspects of my wardrobe, and there’s a big pile of clothing that will be going to charity shops and the textiles recycling bins tomorrow. If I haven’t worn it in 2013, then I’ve asked myself why. In some cases it’s because I couldn’t actually see it in my wardrobe, and actually it’s been a happy re-acquaintanceship! But in most cases it’s because it doesn’t fit, or it doesn’t fit in with how I’m wearing clothes now. I reckon if I’m not routinely wearing these things, throwing them out isn’t going to affect what I do routinely wear. So I’m being ruthless!