Clothing Values

I’m currently enjoying working through ‘Dress Smart’ by Anne Fenner and Sandi Bruns.

Yes, it is a workbook, full of questionnaires and exercises, as well as insights. Takes time and thought.
Expensive (not good value) and mainly focussed on work clothes, but a lot of interesting ideas and clarifications which work in a wider context.

What I’m particularly interested in is that it adds an extra dimension to the mix of deciding what are the best clothes for you, not just :
– your colouring,
– your body shape,
– your lifestyle,
– your personal style,
but also :
– your clothing values.
This doesn’t mean how much your clothes cost, or how much they cost per wear, but how important you think different aspects of clothing are.

This is somewhat related to personal style (classic, romantic, casual, dramatic, etc.), but I’m finding it greatly clarifies things for me to see this as separate.

They identify 7 values. (I’ve put ‘ ‘ round a couple of labels as I think their meaning isn’t obvious.)

- – -

Economic
How much money and time you’re willing to invest in your clothes and their care.
For sewers I think this includes how much and what type of effort we want to put into making our clothes (time, complexity of skill we enjoy using, time to gain new skills, etc.).

‘Theoretical’
Are you ‘interested in clothes’ – how they’re made and designed, how fashion works, the history – as an interest separate from being fashionable or enjoying sewing. This I realise is very important to me. A big ‘aha’.
Or ‘concept’ clothes, clothes which express an idea ?

Physical Comfort
I got the highest possible score on this !

Aesthetic
Beauty and quality.

Body awareness
How important it is to you that your clothes enhance your body.

Social
Social acceptability, fitting in, belonging to a group with a particular dress code, being fashionable.

‘Political’
How important it is to you to be “the best”, or to enhance your power by how you dress.
My ‘least important’ score here :D

- – -

Creativity
I think we sewers have another important value which probably doesn’t occur to people who are studying clothes buying habits : how much we want opportunities for individual creativity.
And what form that creativity takes – whether our pleasure comes simply from making things, or using the equipment, choosing fabrics/ patterns/ techniques, making our own styles or patterns, or designing our own embellishments, etc.

- – -

And all these ‘values’ can be reasons why we sew, as well as just because we enjoy sewing. I’ve realised the reason I’m so uncomfortable with buying RTW is that most of it goes against my clothing values.

Very intriguing – this has helped me to understand important ways I differ from some people who otherwise seem very similar to me. Often I dismiss some issues that other people are greatly concerned about. Or what I think is important are things which other people aren’t bothered by.

Explore posts in the same categories: personal style

4 Comments on “Clothing Values”

  1. RuthieK Says:

    Very interesting. Do you think I would benefit from buying the book?

    • sewingplums Says:

      Thanks for the comment Ruth – not an easy one to answer – could you get it from the library ? The problem is ‘Dress Smart’ is very expensive, and I can’t say it’s good value. “The Triumph of Individual Style” is also expensive but every square inch is covered in illustrations and suggestions. Here there is interesting though more superficial material, much of it familiar and just puts a new slant on things. As usual I don’t fit easily into their categories. There’s a clever questionnaire which I didn’t realise is about your values until later, so I didn’t distort the answers to make myself look good :D There are several pages discussing ‘business casual’ which you might find useful. Well worth reading but not extra special for the money.

  2. EJVC Says:

    Thanks for posting, Lisanne. I really enjoy reading your posts. Can I ask, as someone who places a high value on the “how things work” scale (is there such a scale? if so, how does it work? LOL) — anyway, can i ask how these values are meant to be applied? Or is it just helpful to know?

    • sewingplums Says:

      Good point, Elizabeth

      ‘Dress Smart’ just says “This value knowledge can help you make wise buying decisions.’ Values give you more information to help you choose the clothes that are best for you.

      I’m doing a whole lot of musing on this, chatter rather than practical, but may write another post on it.


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