The Wardrobe Architect – #1

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!


4 thoughts on “The Wardrobe Architect – #1

  1. You’re so right Béa. I’ve definitely done the ‘OMG it fits, buy one in every colour’ thing in the past, and I must have looked a b*gger in most of it. I’m still working on the wardrobe sort out, but I’ve got rid of The Heap, sorted out the 3 chests of drawers, and ejected 2 bin bags full of stuff so far – one to charity and the other to the tip. Just the long & short wardrobes to go now. Your approach towards the sorting out is inspiring, thanks 🙂

    • Well, I haven’t got terribly far with it yet, either 🙂 but I’m determined to keep at it until I only have useful working garments in my wardrobe and drawers.

      The other thing I’m doing is ordering a ton of skirt hangers from ebay, because I *never* have enough skirt hangers, and that’s how a lot of skirts disappeared into the maelstrom of Never Being Worn Because I Never See Them.

  2. Dear Béa, you have a very healthy look on body image, and you’re totally right; the fashion industry doesn’t cater to real people’s wants and needs. I think it is shameful and a pity. I hate todays fashion, and even though I do find things in my size there’s not much to love to be honest. Poor design, poor quality, and poor value for money.
    I want to do a clear-up in my closet too.
    Now that I have discovered that I actually CAN sew, there’s no need to have meh-clothing!

    • I’ve long ago accepted that the mainstream fashion world won’t cater to the extremities of the market. It’s maddening, but I’m taking my own steps now, so “phooey” to them! And hooray for sewing your own style!

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