Robin left this comment on my Erdem Inspired Dress post:
"After seeing your dress, it motivated me to learn more about Erdem. Honestly looking at the runway models does very little for me. It takes too much imagination for me to see how I might make it wearable for my age, my figure and my lifestyle."
Robin I'm sure you won't mind that I pulled your comment to use as the basis for this post because I think it will help not only you but other sewists.
First let me state that I love designer fashions. I spend a lot of time on style.com, net-a-porter and other designer sites (especially the iPad apps, which I love!) peeking at details, checking out colors and silhouettes. So here are my five rules/guidelines for deciding if I can "interpret" a designer look.
1. I always look at silhouettes and never at the models.
Come on let's face it, I look nothing like the models used in publications or on internet sites. But I'm not looking at them. I'm looking at the silhouette of the dress, just like you look at the line drawings on patterns, each garment has a line drawing (silhouette) and that's how I choose if I can interpret a garment.
2. I know which silhouettes work on my body.
And here is the catch...the thing that I believe trips up a lot of sewists...knowing exactly what styles work for them. And that's really important...see I know that I don't look good in waisted dresses. I love those styles but if I want to look pudgy, dowdy and fat, I should make one of those type dresses. I like long lines. I think that they make me look slimmer, taller and more attractive. So the first thing I look for is that long clean line.
3. Color and pattern
I'm always looking for an interesting play of pattern and color. The reason the Erdem line caught my eye is because he is doing a really fresh take on the play of color, print and pattern. I honestly did not care for his Fall 2011 line...it looked really grim and Morticia Adams dark to me. However, his Resort and Spring Lines for 2012 have a lot of color and pattern. But this is what I like. Have you determined what you like? What colors make you feel good when you're wearing them? What colors get you the most compliments? What styles are guaranteed to get someone to say, "Boy are you looking good today?"
4. Does it work for my lifestyle?
I think if you have a defined dress code for your job it's easier to pick garments. But, it is also easy to fall into the bland trap which is dressing like everyone else in dull colors. I know what the requirements for my job environment are and I try to stay within those guidelines but I need color so I try to add it in my jewelry, shoes and certain pieces (top, skirt, dress).
Now to me, working in a business casual work environment, gets a little dicey because I think you need to determine what you want to look like and that's where it gets a little confusing. At my last job I worked in a business casual atmosphere and I had to chose a path that wasn't very casual but not very professional. I solved this by wearing alot of twinsets with skirts and pants with the occasional dress. I never wore a suit. The minute you showed up in a suit, you were asked if you were interviewing.
Also you need to determine what is comfortable to wear on your job. I can't imagine wearing a suit as say a kindergarten teacher. I would think it would cause a distance between you and the children. Any job where you have to wear a uniform (nurse, policewoman, contractor, postal person etc.) means that you are only determining what to wear when you're not working. A SAHM has a different need than someone going out to work and I think you have a degree of freedom that I don't have.
I'm saying all of this to say that you have to determine what clothing is comfortable and appropriate for your job or lifestyles. Now there are books on this subject, magazine articles, people who have "the credentials" to tell you how to do this. I'm just saying that this is a journey...just like learning to sew is one...so is determining what to wear.
5. Is it fresh and new and does it touch something in my creative spirit.
That is a huge thing for me when picking which designer gear to interpret. I also keep a large file on my computer and with magazine clippings to inspire me. I'm looking to the fresh, the new, the different that inspires me and makes me want to leave work and sew. It's just something that grabs me. And if you like it, copy it! That's pretty much my motto!
Now these are all my opinions. This is what works for me. This may or may not work for you and please feel free to ignore me. But I thought I would respond to Robin's comment and tell everyone that first and foremost, I don't look at the models. They are a non-issue for me! *LOL* They really are just the hangers wearing the clothing, sad to say.
And Valerie C., feel free to copy anything you see on my blog. I'm honored that you like what I make enough to want your own copy of it. Finally to my plus size sistahs, having the ability to sew means that we can have alot more than what is available in RTW and even in pattern sizes. If you have a few TNT patterns and an adventurous spirit, you can cut them up and get the clothing you want.
...as always, more later!