Wardrobe Architect

In addition to Me-Made-May, I’m officially accepting the Wardrobe Architect Challenge. I’ve already done some of these steps and come up with the theme of the challenge on my own–making all your clothing rather than buying it off the backs of children and poor workers– but I love the structure that the official Challenge provides.

Here are the tasks:

  • January – Find your core style and explore shapes
  • February – Clean out your closet and take inventory
  • March – Review and finalize your spring/summer sewing projects
  • April – Plan colors and shop for spring fabric
  • May & June – Sew for your spring/summer capsule wardrobe
  • July – Review and finalize your autumn/winter sewing projects
  • August – Plan colors and shop for autumn fabric
  • September & October – Sewing for your autumn/winter capsule wardrobe
  • November – Review and refine
  • December – Show off your wardrobe!

(from here)

Okay, so looking at it, I guess all I’ve done is February’s task, so I need to jump on the other months to get caught up.

January: Find Your Core Style and Explore Shapes

I don’t really know how to define my core style, especially since I’m still figuring out what it is. I can, however, talk about the shapes I like. I’m almost a true hourglass — 36″-30″-40″ — so I’m pretty conscious about making sure my waist is accentuated so I don’t look like a big rectangle. I’m short as well (5’4″) and curvy in the lower region, so I steer clear of anything that might make my hips look bigger than they already are, namely pleated pants, pleated shorts, and pleated or poofy skirts. I’ve got a little belly pooch so I like things to be fitted but not too tight.

Peplum shirts are my new best friend. I’ve made one already (wearing it right now!) and they’re not that challenging surprisingly, plus they accentuate my waist perfectly while hiding my tummy.

I like flowy shirts, but only if they’re fitted somewhat to make sure my waist is still a little shaped in.

These are from the same pattern (McCalls 7125). I like the handkerchief hem because it will make me look taller and leaner by drawing the eye vertically and I like the looseness of the body of the design, but I’ll definitely be fitting it through the bust and just below. I’m starting this pattern tomorrow, so stay tuned!

I try to stick to fitted sleeves so my upper body doesn’t look too large. I sometimes like the look of bigger sleeves, flowy or a little poofy, but they make me look like a linebacker or hide my waist shape, so I avoid them. I very rarely wear long sleeves because I so often push them up, making 3/4 sleeves, short sleeves, and sleeveless my go-tos.

Things I definitely don’t do: Drop waist, boxy tops (as popular as they are, they just make me look huge!), and bubble or elastic hem, and tunics. I don’t like collars, square-necks, or button up blouses and if a top calls for buttons, I’ll find a way to do it with a zipper or I won’t make it. I’m pretty over cardigans.

Things I absolutely adore: Flowy tops, peplum tops, exposed zippers, fitted sleeves, scoop and v-necks, subtle high-low hems, open back and tulip tops, blazers, cowl necks (as long as they aren’t so low I have to wear a cami underneath).

Things I’m on the fence about: Dolman sleeves (subtle if any), sheer boxy tops, wrap tops, sweetheart necklines, crop tops, dramatic high-low hems.

I guess I would describe my style as structured but soft?

For my lower half, I favor skinny jeans, skinny trousers (no pleats!!), and pencil skirts. I dabble in wide-leg trousers and slightly flared/bootcut jeans but only if I’m wearing heels, otherwise I look very short and frumpy. But with heels? Lovely!

I have been seriously inspired by The Little Tailoress, who is absolute perfection. She’s so gorgeous and talented!

I really want to make a pair of these trousers from Colette Patterns (an indie fashion designer) but I’m a little nervous about potential belly pooch. I think high-waisted pants are incredibly flattering on hourglass figures and for me personally, I prefer them because I don’t have a muffin top issue!

I’m definitely on the bandwagon of being obsessed with the fashion in Scandal, The Fall, and Bomb Girls (all available for binging on Netflix).

You can find the official Scandal collection here. Yes, the costumes are so adored on a television show that they made a fashion line from it. You’ll note that everything is subtle, structured, and soft. I love that. The only difference is, I want COLOR. I want pattern! But I love the shapes of everything and Kerri Washington rocks them. The wide-leg trouser pants are especially tempting.

In The Fall, the incredible Gillian Anderson (who is a truly fascinating woman and she’s brought us one of the most intellectually interesting and challenging shows on television) sports high-waisted pencil skirts and wide-leg trouser pants with flowy or silky blouses tucked in. She’s the only one who can make me consider wearing a button-up blouse ever again besides the one Audrey Hepburn look I wear with my one white button-up shirt + black skinny jeans + ballet flats.

The internet is shockingly scant on images of her full-figure. Boo.

She, like Kerri, wears only neutrals and repeats the soft but structured theme. I think they do it because it makes them less intimidating somehow. I wore a lot of neutrals when I was younger (teenager and early-twenties) not only because I was depressed  but because I thought it would help soften me in general, help people be less put-off by me and intimidated. Now I’m all about embracing who I am rather than trying to camouflage it. I still love the look, but I’m all about color now. I’m trying to keep their silhouettes and fabrics in mind.

As far as dresses go, I’m interested in simple but fitted sheath dresses.

I’ll be starting view D this weekend with an exposed zipper. I might do view C with little cap sleeves and no overlay… We’ll see. Anyway, these are really easy projects supposedly so I should be able to whip out a few quickly.

Thanks to Bomb Girls, I’m also really interested in 1940s fashion with Gladys and Vera in particular in mind. Again, the flowy blouse and high-waist, wide-leg trousers come into play.

Add of course… the dresses. 40s dresses are so flattering, particularly if you’re an hourglass like I am. I highly recommend you watch the show, if only for the fashion. Vera and Gladys’s wardrobes are absolutely to die for!

Okay, I’ll stop now. But seriously, this show is gorgeously costumed. One of my favorite things is they have the ladies rewear the same pieces which is much more realistic than a new outfit every single day.

Currently, I’m reconsidering a boxy top as long as it was paired with high-waist skinny trousers and heels. I need to make a pinterest page according to the Challenge instructions!

This is probably enough for now. The Challenge has written assignments that I plan to work through later today, so I’ll share those when I’m through.

Have YOU taken the Challenge? How did you feel about it? What did you learn about yourself and about how clothes affect you?


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