Tag Archives: Wardrobe Architect

Me-Made-May 14!

I, Helena of By Eitchy, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 14. I pledge to wear one handmade garment each day of May when I meet other people*. I won’t repeat outfits and each garment I wear will be evaluated according to my style chart and discarded if I’m not pleased with it.

*Meaning if I stay in, doing yard work or just hanging around the house with the family I don’t need to wear me-mades. However, those days look few for May.

I want to be in! I’ve been pondering my pledge for so long and it finally came to me when I read Becky’s pledge, so I incorporated her idea on working on style. It’s what I need. I’m moving back in how much I will wear, but I have discarded a few me-mades, plus I have some that don’t fit properly so my variety is smaller than wished.

And, what is “my style chart” as I referenced above? Don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything, unless you stop reading now. As part of the Wardrobe Architect series I’ve come up with my core words as well as colours that I like. However, I felt my colour palette was a bit lackluster so I updated it. I looked at the garments I own, which colours I like and used that as my base for my new and improved colour palette. Then I just threw in my core words to complete the thing. Also I added a reminder to myself to “Have Fun!” because in the end, it’s only fashion, it should be fun. I should have fun!

Style chart

Even though shapes, silhouettes and prints aren’t incorporated into my new style chart I will also evaluate that. Garments that do not work for me must go, me-made or not. So now I’m looking forward to a challenging, rewarding and inspiring May!

Are you entering Me-Made-May this year? What are your focus areas?


Wardrobe Architect: Hair and Beauty


For this week’s exercis of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect it’s all about hair and beauty. To build a complete style and look I believe hair and beauty is key. We were to answer a few questions about ourselves and our routines, so there’s no need to drag on:

  1. What hair style has been most flattering and comfortable for you? How did it make you feel about yourself? Did it invoke any of the words you came up with in our core style exercise?
    After cutting my hair fairly short earlier this year I came to the conclusion that I have a 2.5 year cycle of my hair length. I cut I short, play with it in various lengths and then decide to grow it long. After I’ve grown it long I question myself as to why I decided to grow it long (usually since I don’t have to go to the salon so often) and cut it off again.

The thing is, I do prefer shorter hair. It’s easier to style for me, as I always end up slinging my hair back in a ponytail when it’s long enough. You see, I have plenty of hair. It’s full and I also have a lot of hair. When it is long it doesn’t really lay down and I need products to keep it down, even though it’s perfectly straight. Plus I like the edge short hair gives me.

Confession: I have never, ever dyed my hair. It has gone lighter over the year, as a teenager my hair was very dark brown, to the point of being black without actually being black. Now it’s more of a dark brown. I have also lucked out and haven’t gotten any grey hair (yet?) so I don’t have the need to cover anything. For now I’m sticking with my real colour and play with lengths instead.

My core words were put together, colourful, feminine, structure and comfortable. (I’m thinking of adding “fun” to the mix, just to remember to not take it too seriously and just have fun with style). I think my short hair falls into those categories.

  1. How much makeup are you comfortable with? It could be no makeup, or a full face with contouring (and all that jazz I could never figure out). Or it could vary day to day..

I feel comfortable in no to a little makeup. I have no problem leaving the house without anything on, but for work I usually put on eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow. For my lips I go with a coloured chap stick for most parts, but I could go for a little gloss if I want to branch out. However, I think makeup is fun and I would like to take a lesson in it, learning what colours I should use and what products to make it a bit better.

  1. How does your makeup and hair reflect your personal style? What do you feel they say about you and your aesthetics?
    Keeping with the fun I think my hair can be played with. Or styled more business if I need to. I like to play with spikes and shapes but also hair accessories.
  2. How much product do you want to own? Do you like collecting products, or would you rather just have a few essentials? How much bathroom clutter are you ok with?
    I want to own a few products, the essentials. I have no need or desire to stock my shelves with things.
  3. What requirements do you have for the products you buy? Do you stick with all natural products? Are there ingredients you avoid?
    Too little at the moment, but then again I’m committing the horrible crime of keeping products until they are gone or too messed up to use them. I definitely want to get more high quality products that haven’t been animal tested and are natural. I don’t want parabens in lotions, otherwise I must confess that my knowledge is poor. Some research before I buy more is in order.
  4. What colors feel best near your face? How do they relate to the color palette you created?
    I usually go for earth tones; warm brown, purple and pink depending on the occasion and what I wear. Which is odd since I don’t go for earth tones on my clothing, I like my clothes more bright. But the colours, or nuances of them ,are in my palette and match my skin tone and eyes (or so I think, see above about a lesson in makeup).
  5. What colors never look right near your face? What colors have you tried and given up on before?
    I don’t want too bright colours on my face, for every day I don’t want makeup to be a focal point. For special occasions I don’t want to look like I’ve been trying too hard.
  6. How much time do you realistically want to spend getting ready in the morning?
    I don’t spend a lot of time getting ready and it wouldn’t bother me if I had to do a bit more. I find it more annoying having to wash my makeup off at night or before workouts. That’s what I love about short hair, I just comb it down and I have a style, which I can amp up if I’m in the mood.
  7. What types of scents do you gravitate towards? Do you wear perfume? Other scented products? What do you feel the scents you like communicate about your personality?
    I don’t think I even own a perfume. I wear a scented deodorant (and I feel that the one I currently have is too strong in smell). That’s it. I’m not much for scenting myself and I don’t care for it too much in others either. A natural, neutral smell is the best.

The picture is me on my wedding day. In a hairstyle I like and with great makeup, my sister did it. Plus happiness as an accessory.

Wardrobe Architect: Prints or Solids?

I’ve fallen behind on the Wardrobe architect project, so good thing there haven’t been any new tasks recently. I’m still on prints…

Now, seeing how I am lazy I won’t do the tasks as Colette instructs us, but I still want to think about what prints I do and don’t like, I’ll follow the post from Colette:

Prints vs. solids: I think solids are easier to match so my basics are pretty much all solids. I need my solids. However it is fun to mix it up with some prints, but I am not a person of print matching. I just don’t do it or like it on me.

Scale: Thinking about what I wear and what I feel comfortable in I have made the conclusion that I am a small, but not tiny, print person and my prints need to be regular. However, if the print is too small it can be overwhelming for say a long sleeve button down shirt. Scale and garment must work together.

Contrast: If I’m going to work a print, I want it to be seen that it is a print!

Naturalism: I tend to like softer prints, not a big fan of geometric prints that I find too sharp for clothing. Although I just made a geometric dress, so one should probably never say never.

In my early days of sewing I liked prints that were simple and literal (examples: Another Belle Skirt, …) but now I gravitate more towards interesting lines and classics (examples: The Leaf Skirt and Leaf Dress, Blueberry Sorbetto). Like I mentioned above I want to keep my prints regular, after all “structure” was one of my style keywords. Paisley gets a big thumbs down from me, it has nothing that appeals to me, they tend to be very light in colour too and I prefer my colours bright! Stripes I like and I thought I liked plaid, but after wearing my Plaid’n’Wrap skirt the other day I didn’t feel totally comfortable in it. Maybe it is just that plaid, but I just threw out another plaid skirt that I didn’t like. Is it bad plaid or is it that I just don’t like plaid?

I tend to think novelty prints look fun, but I don’t see myself wearing those; I’d probably feel that I was playing dress-up. Kudos to those who can pull it off (Dolly Clackett comes to mind) but I will settle for admiring her pieces and sticking with my own safer choices. Also, animal prints: not my cup of tea.

Currently I feel that I have moved past the “oh, look at that lovely quilting cotton print” that is totally impractical and into more thinking of what will work and how the print will be displayed for the garment I’m planning. The smaller the garment, the more daring print I go for. I want to work more on bringing in prints I feel comfortable in, prints have the tendency to make clothes more fun because clothing should be fun and not taken too seriously. With that in mind, I’m thinking of adding fun to my keywords, just to remember what it’s really all about.

Are you a print or solids person? Do you like your prints to be stripes, plaids, novelty or something completely different?

Wardrobe Architect: Colour Palette

For the past weeks I haven’t done my Wardrobe Arcitecht homework. Shame on me! All I can say is that I didn’t want to. Simple as that. As for putting shapes together, I don’t have a good programme/account anywhere and I would just combine the shapes which I liked. As for colour I had already analysed them a while back and didn’t really feel like doing it again. However, for this week we were supposed to organise the colours into “neutrals, nearly neutrals and statement colours”. Looking back at my old work and trying to organise them I came up with these charts, one for summer and one for winter.

Colour palette

This was a useful exercise for me as I find my chart a bit boring. I think I have too few colours, although in my mind I’m including nuances and shades of the colours. So while I will try and stick to this, I will also try and bring in a few more colours too. Nothing’s written in stone. At least I think I have my neutrals in place, so my focus will be statements.

I won’t catch up on the weeks I didn’t do on Wardrobe architect, but hopefully there’ll be some more exercises I like coming up.

(My off-white was more off-white on my computer and my beige wasn’t as yellow. Trust the text, not the pictures)

Wardrobe Architect 3: Shapes of Me

I found this week’s task fairly simple. I have a good feeling for what shapes I like on me, so it wasn’t very hard to so the assessments that this week’s exercise called for.

For things on my upper half (dresses, blouses, tops) I prefer a fitted or somewhat fitted ease. I may wear something somewhat loose, but then I will most definitely tuck it in or belt it, if I can’t have anything else I will at least have waist definition. For tops and blouses I prefer the “above hip” length, with an occassional tunic length. No crop tops for me!

Layering pieces, such as cardigans, jackets and outerwear, I may go a bit longer and with a bit more ease, if I can belt them. I can also go cropped length with these as I will wear something underneath.

For skirts (both separates and in dresses) I prefer knee length or mid-thigh. No minis or midis (mid-calf), but the occassional maxi could work. As for fullness, I do like everything except very fitted, with a preference for somewhat full and A-line.

I like my wasitline natural or a bit low, skirts I like to wear on the hip. No dropped waistline in dresses and rarely no waistline. However, I do want to try and make a dress with no waistline to see how it would look. As I said above, it must be belted to give me definition. I do not care for clothes which hang straight down from the breasts.

Regarding necklines it is easy to draw the conclusion that I don’t like things high up around my neck, turtlenecks and boat necks are out! The cowl also go low rating do to the fact that I don’t like adding things to my chest. Plus I wish to wear a proper bra, so anything that would show bra straps is also out. That leaves v-neck, u-neck, squarte, sweetheart, jewel and scoop.

With sleeves I want no sleeves, short sleeves or full length sleeves. Nothing in between. And no cap sleeves, I really don’t like them on me.

There you have it, a bunch of text on which shapes I like. It wouldn’t be too hard to figure this out by looking at the things I’ve already made, but it’s good to think about and have it written down.

Next week, I might even publish a creation. Imagine that!

Wardrobe Architect: 5 Words of Me

When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy, poised, powerful, etc)?
When wearing clothes I like, I feel poised, confident, empowered. I feel as if I can do anything and no one can get to me. Like I mentioned last week, I get this feeling when I put on my judo gi (which is the correct term for judo outfit) and that’s a feeling I wish to move over to my regular clothing. I think this will be more evident when  go back to work, right now I’m on parental leave and don’t really dress well since I spend a lot of time at home, on the playground and all outfits musts be breast-feeding friendly.

When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?
When I was 18 I was given a corduroy blazer by my parents. When I put it on I felt like a little girl playing dress-up in my mum’s clothes and blazer still give me that feeling. I don’t feel old enough or haven’t been feeling confident enough to pull that off. I’m working on it. The feeling I get is best described in body language, it’s arms crossed over the chest, shoulders down, hunching and, if the clothes feel too short/too much cleavage, it’s a lot of tugging.

credit – http://www.fanpop.com

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?
I don’t really have style icons that I follow. I like looking at red carpet photos as much as anyone, but I can’t really apply that style to my wardrobe. But I do remember I really liked the looks of the Gilmore Girls. Earlier I was drawn to the put together, but still young and fun, look of Rory, but I now realise that I am in fact closer in age to Lorelai. She is a bit boring, too perfect, but I like her look at work as a ground to start from. Both of them are always put together (Rory at least in later years) and it was fun to see everyday wear as well as the more fancy Friday night dinner. I like that they were not afraid to dress up and use fancy fabrics in their choices.

Credit – http://www.fanpop.com

I’m skipping the next questions on finding words on styles I like but aren’t me, gathering plenty of words and skip straight to the last task of defining my core words. I must admit that remembering the Gilmore Girls as style icons really help me a lot since they look like I want to look. Really. Maybe a bit more modern, but I think I have plenty to learn from them. (Can you tell I miss them? Whatever happened to them? Did Lorelai and Luke end up together? Is Rory a big shot journalist? Who can tell?) Obviously I won’t copy them right off the bat, but take inspiration from them. Another one I’m inspired by but don’t know as well is Zooey Deschanel and I’m a frequent reader of What Would Zooey Deschanel Wear? I love that the site has regular wear from New Girl as well as red carpet.

Put together
This is a word I really want to live by. Both for work and playtime I want to look put together and polished. I’m not a fan of torn jeans, cut-offs (well, maybe for yard work) or things that just hang off. The last summers I’ve resorted to skirt/shorts and a plain tee or tank that doesn’t really fit. I don’t like that. I want to be happy with my look, regardless of if I’m at the office or at the playground.

This doesn’t probably come as a surprise since I’ve been working on this previously. I want to wear more colours, it’s a challenge of finding colours that look good on me as well as daring to stand out.

For myself I like wearing structured things. Interesting lines and definitions. Flowy and loose, especially on top, is not for me. I do like an occassional maxi skirt or dress, but that is pretty much as flowy as I’ll ever go. I definitely want waist defintion otherwise I’ll look huge, but I also like shaping clothes with darts and interesting pleats. Fitted and structured are key.

Yeah, I still want to be comfortable. I don’t want to feel restricted. Right now I’m even considering ditching pencil skirts, even though I love the shape, since they are not practical for the life I live. Who doens’t want to be comfortable?

I like dressing in a feminine way, with skirts, dresses and shaped. So I want to keep that up.

Once I did talk style with a co-worker. We talked about “European Fashion”, she had recently lived in the UK and said she did not care for the fashions there. It was flowy, loose, not fitted. French fashion on the other hand is structured, feminine, fitted, so you can say I want to be more French in my style. (If there is a country I love, it is France. The landscapes, the wine, the food… I dream away)

So, this exercise left me with the words put together, colourful, structure, comfortable and feminine. It’s where I’m aiming. Plus I want my clothes to show attitude, not necessarily a tough attitude, which usually is the first thing associated with the word, but they should get noticed, which I think they will if I stick to words above.

Wardobe Architect: 7 Bits of Me

For the first step in Colette’s Wardrobe Architect we are supposed to describe how our experiences and views effects the way we dress. There were seven questions to answer for different parts of ourselves.

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

During my defining years, junior high school and high school, I was an outsider. I was never really bullied, just not a part of the usual groupings. It was more during junior high school than high school, but my feelings were carried on. So, I dressed to blend in as I didn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to myself. Plus I attended a fairly snobbish high school with lots of focus on brands and appearance, which I wanted to distance myself from (if I had only sewn then!), so my way of dressing was trying to show that I wasn’t trying. I’m now 31 and it was only in my late twenties I realised that I could sew my own things, look good and dare to stand out. So now I want to stand out in a way I didn’t want to in high school, I want to redeem myself and be that girl I wanted to be all along, but didn’t dare.

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?

Just recently I’ve opened my eyes to what I’ve known all along about 3rd world textile industry. After the fires and generally the working conditions in those factories I can no longer justify to myself that I should buy the cheap H&M t-shirt or skirt. Plus I’m disgusted by the consumerism that is flowing over Sweden (maybe other parts too, but I don’t follow that scene in other countries) where people just shop and shop until their wardrobe are sold off, each item being unused or used just once or twice. Disgusted.

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?

This relates to the History as well. I grew up (and still live) in Sweden. During the eighties and early nineties the law of Jante was very strong in Sweden. Another way of describing it is that Sweden is the land of lagom. This means that you shouldn’t try to stand out or think that you are better than anyone else.  It is quite hard to explain if you haven’t grown up with it (see the “cultural significance” under the lagom link), but it means that you shouldn’t do anything to draw attention to yourself, you should blend in. So this portion, in combination with my not wanting to stand out really shaped me. This was phased out in the Swedish psyche during the nineties, but it’s still a part of us, if a small part. I’m trying to break free as it is no longer “un-Swedish” to do something different.

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

I would love to wear beautiful dresses more often, but most times I feel overdressed. I am working on bringing in clothes that look good but are still relaxed (I just bought two cool jerseys for this purpose). I tend to dress for the occasion and people. Dinner with our best friends are in a casual skirt and top whereas dinner with the parents I can get away with a bit more.

How do your day to day activities influence your choices?
Right now I’m on maternity leave and the days I’m just at home I don’t make much of an effort. Jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t particularly like it, but, especially now in Winter, I don’t know of anything else to wear since most days I spend at least some time at the playground. Going away, doing indoor activities, I prefer a casual skirt and cardi.
For work, since I have to go back in a month and a half I can dress pretty much any way, but I prefer too look polished and put together. However, since the kids arrived, I want clothes that I can wear to work and still have room to move about in, no pencil skirts! Again, jersey dresses.

Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?
We live in a four season place so I need clothes for all weathers. I’m not very good with layering, even though I should, and my summer outfits feel too easy from time to time.

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?
I’m pretty comfortable in my body, but I am working on finding an exercise and food routine that can help loose a few pounds. I don’t like the way clothes look on me right now. Also, being busty, I don’t care for too much cleavage or things that aren’t fitted, they just hang down from the chest. I’ve just taken up judo again (which I practiced as a teenager) and I love the feeling I get when I put on my judo gi. I feel strong and empowered and that’s a feeling I want in my everyday life as well.