Have you heard about the Wardrobe Architect series going on over at Coletterie? When I read the initial post, I wasn’t really considering participating as I’m already feeling a bit over-committed at the present moment with work, family, school, etc. But I must admit, now that I’m well into my personal year-long challenge of sewing my own clothing, I do find it interesting. Yes, my own personal challenge was initially to up my sewing game but it’s also created some personal awareness of how the way I dress is a reflection of my personality and individuality.
Last week’s exercise for Wardrobe Architect was to consider how the way we dress tells our story – or how we dress is a reflection of our story. As I mentioned, I’m not the type to over-analyze but I was intrigued so took the time to do part of it and thought I’d share what I did here. That way you have a little insight on why I choose the garments I make. Here are two of the categories of the exercise sheet I considered that I think best describes how I’ve come to dress the way I dress:
History & Body – My personal history has definitely played a role in how I dress today. I didn’t grow up in a financially stable household. In fact, quite the opposite. There was rarely any money for clothing and what money there was for clothing was had to be divided between my two sisters and I so that meant very little for each of us. That also meant that we bought our clothing from “affordable” stores, which also meant never finding pants long enough in the legs and small enough in the waist to fit my very lanky frame.
As a young teenager, I was keenly aware of how men of all ages would often comment on my body. Going through those early teen-age years with all those changes taking place is difficult enough without the added weirdness and creepiness of grown men cat-calling and staring. I was embarrassed and self-conscious about all the curves I was getting and the attention I was drawing so I did my best to avoid those situations. Until my later years when I decided I liked all the attention I was getting from boys closer to my age. I literally went from one extreme to the other.
As an adult, I rarely shop in the same type of stores I did as a child, which to some degree I find a bit ridiculous. But there you have it, I don’t. I also refuse to wear or carry anything that has a brand splattered across it, like Nike, Adidas, Roxy, and Coach to name a few. I refuse to be a walking advertisement. I also make sure I have an abundance of clothing options and I’m sure this is because I hardly had any while I was growing up.
I’ve long since overcome those awkward teenage years and I’m grateful for the body I have. I’ve been unhappy with a few expanding areas over the last few years and how I’m physically feeling so after recently becoming debilitated due to a back injury that I’m still recovering from, I’ve committed to incorporating physical activity back into my life. I focus more on dressing for the occasion and wearing what makes me feel comfortable and confident than on what may or may not draw attention (wanted or unwanted) from others.
Oh man, do I have some doozy memories about taking comfort to the extreme, though! I actually went clubbing in a pair of purple overalls. Purple denim overalls! Not even lying. (Overalls were briefly (thank god) popular in the late 90s.) Most of the women at the club were wearing short dresses or short skirts and high-heels and there I was in my purple overalls. Lordy, that must have been a sight! You know who your real friends are when they’re still willing to be seen with you at a night club in your overalls while everyone else is dressed to the nines. I have the best friends ever!
I’m don’t have a high-society life, but I do like to socialize. I don’t clean my house wearing my “good clothes” and I’ve been known to sneak over to Starbucks for my beloved Americano in my comfies. I like to look professional at work so when I’m not wearing my required uniform I wear outfits suitable for a corporate environment. I could probably dress up more for date-nights with my husband so I’m also working on that this year. I love the great outdoors and am trying to incorporate getting outside and being active back into my life. I could definitely dress better for school, especially since I’m in taking Fashion Arts. I do know this about me – when I feel like I’m dressed the part with whatever I’m doing, I’m most productive.
I’m not the type to over-analyze things and never have been. But when I stop to give it some consideration, I realize I actually do think about the way I dress at some level. I don’t like feeling too frilly, and I really don’t like feeling over-dressed or under-dressed. (Honestly, a huge struggle for me is figuring out what outfits fall under which dress-codes when I have a social event to attend.) Working for an emergency service means I’ve worn a uniform to work most of the time for the last 18 years so when I’m not working, I’m typically dressed in jeans on days off. For all other occasions, I tend to wear clothes that resemble a more classic look. Nope, no high-fashion will be found in my closet.
So that’s me. What about you? Do you ever consider why you dress the way you dress?