Are you familiar with the Wardrobe Architect, a series of blog posts on Colette Patterns, aimed at exploring personal style? Last year I took the challenge and identified that while visually I am attracted to fitted and feminine garments, in real life I tend to stick to shapeless and boyish shapes. Most of these preferences come from my lifestyle: I am quite active and constantly on the move. So, there is definitely not much room in pencil skirts and fitted woven dresses.
Another reason why I wear shapeless garments is due to a negative image of my body that has followed me ever since I was a child. When we were kids, my cousin, who was only five years older than me, used to mock my bony body, match-like legs and boyish style, calling me “a monkey”. While I was still running around with boys of my age in my early teens, stealing flowers and fruit from neighbours’ gardens, she was slowly transforming into a young lady, experiencing the ups and downs associated with the hormonal changes in her body. Since I did not have any other closer role models of the same age, I looked up to her, in the hope that I would be accepted or approved of, but she teased and mocked me instead.
When I started thinking about the Wardrobe Architect challenge, I was not entirely sure why exactly the boyish/shapeless style resonates with me. Lifestyle was definitely one of the answers to that, but the more I thought about it, the more the second reason started taking shape.
Now, because many people around me know that I make my clothes, they often strike conversations with me about fashion and style (as if I were a real expert, ha!). Recently, I wore a fitted jersey dress to work and I received many compliments from my colleagues. They pointed out that it looked good on me, but also made a remark that I should wear more fitted garments instead of oversized clothes or jeans. So I asked myself: why don’t I wear clothes which are more feminine? I took all the latest Burda Style magazines, intending to sew a fitted statement garment and. . . I ended up with this.
Yes, it’s another shapeless dress from the April BurdaStyle issue. Partly, I liked it because it reminded me of the Drape Drape pattern books series, partly, because the dress is quite comfortable but I could shape it by wearing a belt :)
There is one unusual thing to this dress: it is one of the few garments in my hand-made wardrobe which is not lined. I deliberately decided not to add lining and when it took me only one evening to finish the dress, I was quite shocked and surprised. Do I dislike this dress? Absolutely not! Will I make more fitted garments this summer? Probably yes, but it will take some emotional efforts and cheering.
At this time of my life, I cannot say that I am not aware of my own dress identity, but I also know that it will take a while to dress in a more feminine way. Well, who does not like a challenge?
Have you also the experiences similar stories distorting and negatively influencing your self-image? What made you realize it and what do you do about it?