January is just one of those months that I generally find a bit miserable, and neverending! And this January is a little bit more stressful than normal, because we’re in the process of trying to move, so I’m totally behind on blog stuff! I think I’m starting to catch up a little bit now though.
I filled in the first Wardrobe Architect worksheet, but wasn’t planning on putting it on the blog, because it’s pretty in-depth, and basically is just all about me and my life, and seemed a little navel-gazey to have on the blog, but whatever! It is my blog after all, and I’m going to want to talk more about the Wardrobe Architect stuff later, so I might as well have all my WA stuff in one place. Feel free to skip this, since it’s just me talking about myself.
How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystallize? Have they changed over the years, and why?
I guess my childhood and teenage years probably influenced the way I dress more than I realise. I went to Catholic schools, so I wore a uniform every day until I went to sixth from college when I was 16, which basically meant I didn’t have to think about what I was wearing most days. This might be part of the reason why I struggle so much to put together ‘outfits’ in the morning. I definitely wasn’t much of a ‘girly’ girl – when I wasn’t in school, I was either lounging around reading, playing on the computer (yep – I’ve been a gamer all my life!) or out having ‘adventures’ or playing street hockey or basketball with my elder brother and his friends. I pretty much lived in jeans and tshirts out of school. Since most of the books I read (and I read all the time) were sci-fi or fantasy, I think I always that clothes either had to be eminently practical (for during the quests and adventures) or very elaborate or beautiful (for those scenes at court or whatever) So I relished the few occasions where I had to wear a pretty dress, but I was always happy to get back into my jeans and t-shirts.
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 guess I’m a humanist. I just want to do right by my fellow man, and the world we live in. I think that’s a big part of the reason why I try not to buy fast fashion anymore, and why I try as much as possible to think how to use whatever I have as much as I can before I get rid of it. More and more I’m starting to realise that material possessions are not necessarily what makes me happy.
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?
I really struggled with this one, and actually had a look at other people’s responses to try and give myself an idea of where to start. Um… Okay, so I’m English, and I partially grew up on the coast in the North-West, but because of my dad’s job, we did a lot of travelling to visit him when I was small, and we actually moved to Port Moresby in PNG when I was 6 months old, for a few years, so my earliest memories aren’t of England at all. I definitely think that having a dad who spent at least half of the year travelling has definitely given me my wanderlust, which has in turn solidified my love of practical clothing. I lived by the sea (in various places) up until the age of 21, and definitely feel that I’m most at home next to, on or in the sea. Also (I guess this belongs in culture??) I’m a massive nerd and I guess it’s fair to say there’s something a little ‘preppy’ about the clothes I like.
How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?
I have community of pretty close knit friends and family around me, and I think it’s fair to say that we’re all pretty sociable, are very into doing things ourselves (pretty much all of us brew our own beer) and we all tend to go surfing and camping and skiing together, and generally like to enjoy the big outdoors.
How do your day to day activities influence your choices?
My job is 100% desk based at a university, and we have a totally casual dress code, which effectively means I can wear what I want to work. In some ways, this is a blessing (I never have to worry about whether or not I can ‘get away’ with an outfit) but in other ways, it’s a curse. With no particular outfit ‘rules’ I find it very hard to choose clothing to wear. I want to be comfortable, yet ‘professional’ but not ‘frivolous’. I want to look feminine, but not girly. I want my clothing to be practical but aesthetically pleasing. ARGH. My attitude towards clothing feels very very contradictory and slightly schizophrenic! When I’m not at work, in the week, I’m generally in the gym! I lift weights and kickbox, and I need comfortable workout clothes, with bottoms that are tight fitting but not restrictive in any way (particularly so that I can kick at head height etc) and tops that aren’t going to ride up and expose more flesh than I necessarily want.
At the weekend, I like to be practically dressed, so that I can spend all day walking around either in the woods or in the city, so I can curl up on the couch all day and read books, or head to a local coffee shop and, er… read books, or go to a nearby bar for a drink with friends. I might be heading to Wales surfing, and need warm and comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and take off (the LAST thing you want after stripping off your wetsuit in a windy, rainy car park on the Welsh coastline is to find that your jeans are difficult to pull on, or your top is a bit tight in the shoulders!) BUT, despite all this, I don’t want to look frumpy, androgynous, or masculine. I want to be able to make the most of my ‘curves’.
Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?
I live in the Midlands in the UK! There aren’t any extremes of temperature requiring any specific clothing, but rather, clothing that can do for cool days and warm days alike. It rains pretty often and can often be pretty grey, but then we also get occasional bursts of sunshine! The clothes that tend to get the most use are those that you can layer up when it’s cold, or wear alone on warmer days.
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 love what Sarai herself said: ‘body acceptance is a daily practice, not an achievement. It can ebb and flow with little relation to physical reality.’ I think that generally, I have a relatively good body image. However, I’m fairly hourglass-shaped, and I can sometimes be quite self-conscious about my bum, hips and legs, but then, these are part of the reason I can kick so hard at kickboxing, or squat with a heavy barbell on my shoulders, so on the days when I’m irritated at my muscly thighs or big bum, I try to remember this, which does help. I like to try to wear things that accentuate my relatively small waist, but am uncomfortable in any clothes that restrict my movement at all.