~a style quandary~

Have you ever got into a style rut? 
I’ve decided I’m in one right now – nothing in my wardrobe seems to work anymore.  I’ve been aware of it for a while, and think it’s from a combination of factors:

  • changing shape – I’ve gone up a size and my waistline has increased proportionally more – and nothing fits!
  • changing occupations – I’ve switched from a career where dressing well was important, to working from home where dressing up is important some of the time, and dressing down is important some of the time too (I also paint things, garden, do housework, and run)
  • a major clean-out, where I threw half my wardrobe contents away….. darn it!
  • Darn it is literally what I need to do to a lot of my clothes now as they are wearing out, or have paint splatters on them, and they need replacing.
  • No money to replace them – but I do have lots of stash!
  • Getting older – suddenly it is like a corner has been turned, and some things just need to be ditched – like short skirts, or covered up – like knees. 
  • After giving up on fashion for a while, I am gradually becoming re-inspired.  I blame my fave sewing bloggers for that 😉
  • and the most idiotic factor of all is that I used to be a clothing designer, so you would think I would have this style thing completely sorted – right? No, not at all!  

My conclusion is:

  • I really need to stop giving my wardrobe zero thought and refocus on building it up again
  • I need to stop making oddments that don’t go with anything else

So when I was in the library the other day and saw this book, I quickly added it to my already-heavy-pile-of-books-to-get-out:

Isaac Mizrahi seems really down to earth, and I kinda liked his realistic approach:

(click to enlarge)

Mmm… I get the feeling he has dealt with women having a mid-life crisis before…

In his book Isaac recommends making an inspiration board for a week or so to help define your style.  I used to do storyboards for every collection, but it is obviously about time I did one for myself.  So that is my project for the next month – I promise to share it when it’s done!

Making an inspiration board is a fun exercise, and you can continually update and rearrange it as your whims change. Some images will come and go quickly, and some will stay on your storyboard for years – I think these are the ones that really define your style.  Here are some examples of inspiration boards of the women featured in the book:

What about you – have you ever made an inspiration board to help define your style?  If you haven’t – join me in an inspiration-board-a-long!  Grab a corkboard and some pins and gather images that really connect with and inspire you.  Here is some suggestions of Isaac’s to get you started:
Interiors and architecture, Crafty bits and pieces, Books, Music, Advertising, Fabric and paint swatches, Fashion icons, Photos, Flowers, Movies, History, Memories, Nature, Art, Travel…..
oh, and Fashion of course!
Make sure you share it on your blog!
Now I’m off to get my magazines and some scissors….

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

16 thoughts on “~a style quandary~

  1. The board is great. I have a massive one in my sewing area. It holds bits of fabric and little things I'm fiddling with, photos of family, but mostly postcards from art exhibitions and ripped out magazine pages. When I'm working, I like to glance up at my inspirations… It's constantly evolving, I take something down or put something else up every day.

    It might be useful to ask yourself a few questions, too… What pieces do you need? What style/fabric is best suited to the activity? And an important one I just learned: What do you love to wear and sew? I kept making myself knit tops because I “should,” but I realized recently I don't like wearing or sewing them much.


  2. Been there, doing that. Two other books I've found really useful are Staging Your Comeback by Christopher Hopkins and Nothing to Wear by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo.


  3. ~Gail – yes, back to basics!
    ~Steph- a future blog post maybe? hint, hint! I get the feeling mine is going to be massive too!
    ~elise and Myrna – I'd love to see what you come up with!


  4. I always loved the idea of a mood/inspiration board. I may try one in my soon-to-be sewing area (no one would appreciate this in the dining room, sadly…) And I totally feel you on the midlife-crisis-my-body-is-changing-help-please!!


  5. Thanks Sherry – a style board is on my list of things to do as well. Am re-organising my sewing room and that is exactly what I need for inspiration, whether the styles would suit me, well that's another matter……I too have turned that corner. I'll post it when done.


  6. I was given Isaac's book a couple of Christmas's ago and found it to be very useful as I was at the start of my style mid life crisis. Rather than an inspiration board, I have a “mood” notebook filled with cuttings from magazines etc with ideas and themes, and a “project” notebook with pattern notes, comments, a very badly drawn sketch of item, fabric swatch, snippet of trim etc. I like how he teams up things like turquoise jeans and yellow shoes. Looking forward to your updates!


  7. And I thought that I was the only one in the world going through a “style crisis”! I found “Nothing to Wear” that Myrna mentioned very helpful.


  8. What a great idea, I never thought of doing that for myself (duh!) But what I do do, is have a mini sketchbook beside my bed & I am constantly drawing things I'd like to make or bit of things that look interesting, when I see things in magazines, on TV etc…
    BTW, I've given you an award on my blog as I think you are an inspiration to many of us in blogland… (http://mazzygirl.blogspot.com/) – enjoy!


  9. What a neat idea (and a neat book—how many people do I know who feel that way about themselves, and really it has very little to do with how you actually look). I'm at a bit of a turning point myself, both with my age and the new horizons of sewing.


  10. That's an interesting idea! I've been thinking about my style and building up a wardrobe as well and I've resolved to use my sketchbook not only for sketches of garments I'd like to make but also for magazine clippings, photographs etc… I'd love to see what other sewers are inspired by, so an inspiration-board-along sounds like fun… 🙂


  11. mmm I have been going through this too . I remember after I had my first child I went through a very unco period and just avoided looking at myself at all with not very good results. Now thyw kids are growig up and I have lost about 23 kg and again I feel wierd. i am very tall and so patterns all have to be altered to fit me . I have just about finished a year long course in pattern drafting and am hoping that I will be able to do my own thing and not be hemmed in( pun intended) by patterns which dont fit. I do have a comfortable wardrobe that I wear to work but I supect thatmaybe that they are a bit too loose fitting and that I am hiding under too much fabric. People do tell me that I am stylish but I DONT feel it I thought I would be over this by the time I was an adult!!!!


  12. I'm constantly evaluating my style – what do I look like, does it reflect how I feel, and is it how I want to be seen? Especially since we sew, the possibilities of style are endless! We're not limited to what's in store, in stock or in our size. It can be overwhelming! I'd say the best tip is to be critical but not hard on yourself, that's what I try and do! If I don't like how I looked at the end of a day.. I think about why. Is it the colour, the comfort, the overall look? And then I try and change it up for the next day. Good luck! I can't wait to see what you come up with.


  13. This Isaac Mizrahi style book is one of the very few books of this genre that is actually worth a damn..TWO damns, actually! I've read a zillion books of this type over the years so I KNOW. I take great exception to the notion of being told what to wear by some gay designer who lives in his delusional fantasy world of what women are all about, but I.M. seems to have his head on straight! [sic]

    And, don't be discouraged…think of it as an opportunity to RE-INVENT yourself! Nowadays, there really ARE “no rules”; nothing you can put on can look quite as ridiculous as having your bum crack showing or wearing clothes ten times too large with the crotch of one's pants at knee level, or socks with high heels, or midriff-baring tops and hot pants for the office or mishmashed prints combined in one outfit… All these have been or are becoming “fashion standards”, so the bar has really beem “lowered” in terms of “what's acceptable”- so take this opportunity to 'stretch yourself' in terms of “personal style choices”!


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