Wardrobe Architect: Week 1

Sunday best circa 1987
Sunday best circa 1987

I’ve heard a lot of chatter in the new year about wanting to simplify, to pare down consumerism, be mindful, make fewer more meaningful purchases. I totally support these sentiments, but it seemed like there was a lot of musing and not much of a plan, so when I saw the Coletterie was launching the Wardrobe Architect project, I really liked the approach of reflecting on our wardrobes and figuring out how to make them function best for our lives. As someone who has spent the last 3 years in various states of pregnancy and post partum, I’ve become really disconnected from my clothes. Most days I’m running around the house in leggings, a hoodie, and wool socks. It’s all about function as I work to get back in shape, but as I get there I’m using this as a tool to help me figure out and redefine my personal style in a way that works best for my new body and life as both a mother and a sailor.

Week one entailed a worksheet. Below are the questions and my answers.

History: How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalize? Have they changed over the years, and why?

I think the first wave of grunge in the early 90s was the first time I really started to embrace style and cultivating a style that was all my own. I had a lot of plaid flannel, plaid baby doll dresses, and getting a pair of Dr Martens for my 13th birthday was a big deal. I still have big love for plaid  and combat boots.

Philosophy: How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?

I like to keep things simple, and go for quality over quantity.

 Culture: How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?

When I look at the women in my family, I see a group of ladies who take pride in their appearance and are always put together. From my grandmother getting her hair done every Wednesday (at 92, she still does this) to my mother who always takes the time to put together an outfit, I learned that it’s good to take a little extra time to invest in yourself.

How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?

In high school I became involved in the hardcore/punk scene. This translated into a lot of rolled up jeans, band t-shirts, hoodies, and Saucony sneakers. While I don’t necessarily dress this way anymore, the yearly advent of hoodie season (aka fall) always holds a special place in my heart.

Now that I’m in the military, I find myself influenced by the utilitarian nature of our uniforms, and more and more I find myself gravitating towards wearing a sort of uniform outside of work. It helps keep one aspect of a busy and unpredictable life under control.

Activity: How do your day to day activities influence your choices?

With a newborn and a 2 year old I dress for function more than anything. Most days I can be found in leggings, wool socks, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt or wool sweater. These clothes allow me to move freely, run after the kids, and exercise during the spare moments when they are sleeping or otherwise occupied.

Location: Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?

We move every few years, in addition to being sent to different parts of the country for training throughout the year. As a result, I need to maintain a wardrobe that can easily translate to a number of different climates while also not allowing my wardrobe to become too large and cumbersome to pack up. I’ve always liked layering so there’s a lot of basics. I use these as building blocks to showcase my accessories which are smaller and easier to transport.

Body: In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?

Overall, I’m happy with the shape of my body. Since I just had a baby, I’m working hard to get myself back in shape, so right now most of my wardrobe is sitting neglected in my closet. I can’t say I’m particularly comfortable in much of anything right now. My body seems like a foreign landscape and I am working on getting it back to place where I can feel comfortable and dress for myself again (as opposed to dressing almost solely to work with my kids).

I’m a little behind, so I’ll be posting Week 2 in the next couple of days.

Hope you stay warm and have a great weekend.

xo, S.

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