Finding your style 4 : trying out clothes

Do you feel good about your clothes ? Do they help you to feel you ? to feel special ? to feel confident ?

Have you done some initial sorts of what clothes appeal to you ?
Some of us can imagine ourselves in clothes, but all of us need to try them for real.

Real clothes

If you are just starting this process, you may find it upsetting – all you’re aware of is how far you are from a ‘good’ solution. But very few people can make the jump from awful to ideal in one step. Make small changes towards ‘better’, and it will work out in the end.

Try all this with the clothes in your existing wardrobe. Then go to a store which has full length mirrors on the shop floor and repeat.

In a full length mirror, hold up clothes in front of you and assess the effect.
Try on ones which you feel positive about.

Some people find it helpful to take photos. Gives a more objective view of whether the fit, proportions, colours, shapes, style show you at your best.

Have a good look at yourself, from back and sides as well as front.
Can you can move and bend easily – walk, run, sit down, bend over, bend your arms and knees, reach forward and overhead. . . and does this matter to you ?

Asses the clothes both quickly and slowly : how do you feel ? what do you like/ dislike ?
One feature may be right for you but not all : colour, style of print, size of pattern, texture, amount and type of trim, amount and type of detail, fabric drape/ body/ cling, style drape, line, shape, length, proportions, placement of style elements, closeness of fit. . .
Make notes or take photos of what you feel good about (and what you hate), so you can go back over your experience later and pull together an overview of your positive reactions and what to avoid in future.

Aren’t we sewists lucky that we can pick out the best of these features and combine them for ourselves when they’re not available in RTW 😀

Trying on RTW is rather depressing for me as my body is so far from ‘average’ that nothing fits well. Add on to that problems with finding flattering colours and quality makes. . . If you’re like me, just look out for favourite style elements when you look round the stores. We need to do some work on fitting our own basic patterns, then we can think about how to add favourite style elements onto them.

Remember to try outfits as well as individual items. Perhaps some of your garments look ‘right’ in combination with some others but not all.

You may find you enjoy several styles, perhaps different styles for different occasions – you may enjoy sweatsuits at home, but wear dresses so tight you can’t sit down when at posh parties. Or you like one style for clothes and another for accessories.

Some of us do not enjoy shopping – if so you will have to grit your teeth and keep trying at an early stage of this process ! Most people who are working can’t shop then, but stores are quieter in the mornings for the first few days of the week. You do have to make a commitment if you want to improve your style – always buying black because it’s easy to find is not the best idea for the many millions of us who don’t look good in black.

There are some quick ways of simplifying the process.
If possible start by walking through a mall or along a shopping street – you will probably find that you take a look in the window and just walk straight past many of the stores. Can you think out why ? what message does this give you about what you like ?
I remember when I first ‘knew my colours’ and found I could just walk in the door of a store, glance around at the clothes racks, and walk straight out again. Most amazing !

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Make your own choices

Many of us find that limiting ourselves to following a particular stylist’s categories is not the best option for us. We can start by learning from them, as a guide exploring what we like to wear, but we may end up wearing our own combination of style elements which doesn’t fit closely to any particular category names.

I remember with glee the time when a well known stylist said that no-one should wear what I’ve found is my signature style element ! I’m happiest if I’m wearing a small frill or some ‘heirloom’ stitching, which may be categorised as soft/ romantic/ prairie/ ingenue. Here is my ‘uniform’, of frilled blouse and slim pants worn with an over-sized casual layer.

”soft-flamboyant”
Most stylists don’t mention over-sized clothes, and I love them. In Kibbe categories, oversized clothes are called ‘Flamboyant Natural’ in style. But my combination of over-sized with softness in neutral colours is not, I suspect, what the person who devised ‘Flamboyant Natural’ style was thinking of 😀

If you don’t fit into any simple group of 1, 2, 3 style categories ? It can be good idea to make your own short list of descriptive words, or a phrase, as a quick reminder when making decisions. Don’t be surprised if they are words which are not used by stylists.

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A few people are in for a big surprise about their style.
I know someone who went from being a tweed and brogue wearing hockey player to reclining on a chaise longue in velvet maxi dresses.
And someone who went from insisting on wearing a wig if her hair was not perfect to being a sportswoman in a wet suit.
Of course for most of us the changes are not so dramatic, but do allow the process to take you where your heart indicates.

And keep an eye open, and an open mind 😀 , for garment types and style words which stylists rarely mention.

Improving your style is like improving the fit of your clothes – for most people finding your personal style is not a quick process, but every little step can improve the way you feel.

You may find there’s a switch point in this search for your style. At first you hope someone else can tell you what to wear. But you find that you need to change someone else’s ideas a little to suit yourself. Then you begin to recognise special clothes which help you feel confident when you’re wearing them, and this eventually leads to – magic – you can make your own decisions.

As April Grow at Stunning Style says :
“If you’re trying to talk yourself into anything you don’t genuinely love to wear, just put it away.”
It’s so heart warming and expanding to be surrounded by what you love.
♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️

And also happily, knowing
your favourite styles and the colours, shapes, fabrics and trims that flatter your body and warm your spirit
can greatly reduce the number of times you start sewing a garment and don’t want to finish it, or finish making a garment and then find you don’t want to wear it !

So Best Wishes for going through this 😀

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There are 4 in this group of posts about personal style. The others are :
1. using style categories.
2. on-line style advisors.
3. exploring styles.

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August 2019

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Explore posts in the same categories: personal style

4 Comments on “Finding your style 4 : trying out clothes”

  1. vancouverbarbara Says:

    Thanks for this great series. What a lot of thought and effort you put into this. I’m particularly interested in the travel wardrobe book.

    • sewingplums Says:

      Thanks Barbara – there are a whole lot more comments on personal style accessed at the top of the menu on the right – I seem to have been concerned about this for some time 😀

  2. Katrina B Says:

    You’ve covered a vast amount of information in a short series of posts! Thank you for all the resources as well as a good dose of common sense.

    • sewingplums Says:

      Thanks Katrina – one of the advantages of exploring my style for a long time is that I’ve fallen into and climbed out of most of the pitfalls 😀


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