Saturday, September 08, 2007

I Have My Own Style

Style - now there's a word! And sometimes it's an overused word. defines it as:
1. a particular kind, sort, or type, as with reference to form, appearance, or character: the baroque style; The style of the house was too austere for their liking.
2. a particular, distinctive, or characteristic mode of action or manner of acting: They do these things in a grand style.
3. a mode of living, as with respect to expense or display.
4. an elegant, fashionable, or luxurious mode of living: to live in style.
5. a mode of fashion, as in dress, esp. good or approved fashion; elegance; smartness.
6. the mode of expressing thought in writing or speaking by selecting and arranging words, considered with respect to clearness, effectiveness, euphony, or the like, that is characteristic of a group, period, person, personality, etc.: to write in the style of Faulkner; a familiar style; a pompous, pedantic style.
7. those components or features of a literary composition that have to do with the form of expression rather than the content of the thought expressed: His writing is all style and no substance.
8. manner or tone adopted in discourse or conversation: a patronizing style of addressing others.

9. a particular, distinctive, or characteristic mode or form of construction or execution in any art or work: Her painting is beginning to show a personal style.
10. go out of style, to become unfashionable: The jacket he's wearing went out of style ten years ago.
11. in style, fashionable.

Okay - they define the heck out of this word but I have highlighted the definitions that pertain to where I'm going. Where I'm going is this, I have a style, a particular form of dress that makes me happy, looks good on me and most times works for whatever situation I find myself in. Every once in awhile I have to remember that my "style" is right for me, that I shouldn't relinquish it because of the crowd's idea of what is right, or that I don't necessarily need to change it because of what is presently being worn in my environment.

I say all of this because, for the last week there have been a series of important meetings in our office which will continue through Wednesday of this upcoming week. When these types of meetings occur in my office, the prevailing dress is black pantsuits. While I understand the convenience, ease of wearing and uniformity of this look - everything in me rebels. So I am left with the challenge of expressing my style without standing out in the sea of uniformity. Also being me, I can't stand wearing the same old pieces of clothing to each and every type of meeting that we have like this (and trust me we do this ALOT!)

So I have been trying to come up with new ideas to sew...last weekend's sewing was a bust! And this morning it finally hit me as to why. I was trying to "imitate" a look instead of being true to who I am. And then I started to wonder, how many of us do that? Even with our ability to sew and make what works for our body types, our lifestyles, our favorite fabrics, etc. How many of us sew for who we would like to be? Or who we think we should be? Or even who someone else wants us to be? And if so, why do we do this?

I think I am going to have a better sewing weekend - this weekend - because I am going to make something that's me, that is my style but that will work in the pool of uniformity that I go to everyday.

So talk back to me people...tell me about your style. Why does it work? And if it doesn't, why doesn't it? But also are you sewing for you and your lifestyle? Or are you sewing for who you want to be or who you hope to be?


  1. Great post! Let's see, when I sew "regular" clothes, I sew what fits my personality, fits my needs for work and what works (hopefully) for my body type. This explains my edict this fall that all my work clothes must have pockets of some kind. Pockets work for me. Regardless of other issues, if I don't love it, I don't sew it. I put too much time and effort into making things to hate the final product. I've done that and I'm not going there again.

    When I'm sewing art garments, that's when I sew for fantasy. I get to dream and play and basically create a "look" or better yet, a "character" from head to toe. These garments of course, have elements of my personality, but take those elements beyond my everyday clothes. Take American Beauty for example - there's my love for elegant 50's gowns, the color red, fur cuffs and red roses, too. Waiting for Spring has my love of beadwork, diamond quilting and the requisite matching of said diamonds.

  2. Really good post! I began sewing again with everyone's inspiration, but also to perfect my style as a "woman of a certain age". But I don't want to wear sneakers, sweats and tee shirts. Or shorts all the time (life in an age-restricted community shows some very boring, aged clothing). And I still like "cute" things. So perusal of these many sewists', sewists of all ages, work is helpful! I guess what I am adding to a more classic style is some femininity, much as you are, Carolyn!

  3. Great post as usual!

    I work with three teeny-tiny young (21, 34, 35) women who wear those trendy little tops from H&M/Forever 21...and look adorable . . . But it must be something in the air, because I'm back cutting out my TNT Palmer and Pletsch tailored shirt as well as an olive denim straight skirt after buying many, many trendy knit top and full skirt patterns this summer. I never could wear "cute" - I don't know what I was thinking (wishful thinking1) I'm big, I'm 52, and "cute" has always looked pretty awful on me. Again, really enjoyed your writing!

  4. I dress for me generally. I think that I sometimes sew an easier piece so that I have something to wear now, when really I am a more complicated piece (if that makes sense lol).

    But I think to do this you need to be where you want to be in your profession/career. I am a believer that for work you need to wear a style (but not without your own kwirks thrown in) that will lead you to where you want to be and to be taken seriously. So this is more for the younger ones. But for us more mature ladies who are respected in their field can wear whatever we damn please!!!

  5. In the winter, I like long double knit tube skirts and sweaters. This is my uniform and although I make the skirts (quickly, just wrap the fabric width around me and stitch up the back seam), I have to buy the sweaters because there just aren't enough sweater knits out there. At least I can't find them. I wear all solids. This look is me. I'm kind of a bookish type.

  6. Great post! Right now, I'm in a transition period of going from the government work world to clothing for a casual lifestyle of being retired with no one at home during the day except my dog. I'm losing weight (over 70 pounds in the past year) and have not completed anything to wear. My size has changed so much. I'm still drawn to suits, skirts with nice fitted blazers, and the clothing of a work environment. What style am I? I'm still trying to figure it out and how to adapt to my wheelchair. Thanks for the inspiration that I find on the different sewing blogs.

  7. I understand! I wear only empire waisted or princess seamed dresses. I sew tops that are long enough, but not too long - everything in stores is one extreme or the other. Lots of A-Lined skirts, too. And when I need to dress it up or business it up, I turn to the blazer for assistance. I've greatly enjoyed your recent dresses - the ladybug dress is adorable - and love the seafoam green one. From what we see, it looks to me like you do great with your styles!

  8. Working in the corporate world for so long my style centered on that corporate look and I found I would actually wear a suit whenever I went out regardless of anything. Now that I'm crafting, I'm slowly realizing what style I want, clothing that suits my body shape, and the need for more diversity in my wardrobe. Although I've only made a few pieces.. It is giving me more incentive to sew, knit & crochet for me and create a style for just for Sheila.

  9. Great question. Who doesn't like to talk about their own style? I am always drawn to complicated, fancy things, and I have to work to match to how I actually like to dress - pretty simple but with a twist. But a quiet twist mostly. I made one garment that really really got me there - a burgundy velvet vest that I quilted really thickly and not too expertly, so the quilting makes the velvet more casual; but the lines are really unique and it looks fantastic on me. I wear it with black jeans and boots. At the moment, with two little kids and strictly rationed sewing time - that means an hour a week, two if I'm lucky - I spend a lot of time thinking about what to sew. Current conundrum - dark denim jumper (works for work and home, totally will get worn) or something more interesting? Oh for the time to sew to match my ideas!

    thanks for the sewing inspiration!


  10. This is s very timely post. I finished grad school in late April, moved to another state and on Monday, I start my new job in new field. (I was in the technology field now I'm a librarian.) I'm rediscovering my style. After almost 2 years of shorts or jeans, t-shirt and sandals, I'm looking forward to classics. Nice tailored pants, a-line skirt, blouse and a jacket. Accessories and colors are my nod to trends. That's my work style. I'm developing my casual style. I'm tired of jeans so I'm into skirts, dresses and capri pants. This is were I will take a risk. Right now, I'm sewing skirts for work. I can't wait to sew casual skirts with bold colors.

    Thanks for bring up this topic.

  11. After many years of not really paying that much attention to my'style', I am in the process of 're' discovering my sense of personal style. It has become something that is quite important for me. Part of the challenge that I am experiencing-with now adult children-is coming to terms with the fact that I am older and the styles that used to work on the younger, carefree me don't sit to well with the present day me. And let's not even talk about hair-'to dye or not to dye'. In trying to be true to myself do I accept myself as I am-older-or do I present myself as I see myself which I actually think is an idealised younger version of myself (-why is that?). Don't get me started on the horrid, shapeless, styleless garments sold in the shops for women of a certain size/age-ugly-absolute proof that to get older is to become less visible. Such limited options-and when looking for inspiration I presently get very very annoyed with the fashion glossies that offer me images of beautiful 14 & 15 year girls in the fashion spreads-goodness gracious there are beautiful 35+, 45+, 55+, 65+ women-I would love to see that in the fashion magazines. Wow-thought provoking questions Carolyn-apologies for descending into a rant.

  12. When I decided to go back to work after 10 years as a stay at home mom, I went to a job fair in a teal suit with black trim. I was knocked over by all those polyester black pantsuits. Boy, did I stand out. Got the job, too! At work I found many women in black, too. I have been slowly incorporating black into my wardrobe to tone down my bright colors. I'm trying to dress like the dean, who is always in a colorful suit with classic lines. I actually dress like the chair, who is in colorful floral skirts and dresses. Hopefully my career path with follow my wardrobe path!

  13. That's a tough question! I think my favorite style is corporate chic, and that's because I spend a lot of time at the office so that’s kind of natural. I like classic clothes with distinctive details; many of my favorite clothes are garments that never go out of fashion. Yes I can wear trendy clothes and I most certainly do (I like being up to date on new trends, colors, shoe styles, etc) but my core wardrobe is made of classic clothes with a twist of originality. I believe one must dress according to the occasion too and a beautiful garment can be totally off, style wise that is, if it does not "fit" the occasion.

  14. I think my style and my life are in justaposition. I love suits and beautiful dresses, but I teach elementary school in a rural community. I have been in the process this past year of trying to define my style. Although I have learned a few things, I keep thinking that when I make the garment I will somehow transpose into the shape of the woman modeling it!

  15. My work style, if you can call it style, is scrubs since I'm a nurse. It's the rest of my wardrobe that I'm trying to figure out. I think I'm trying to go for some sort of a classic/casual look. I am 54 and have adult children (how did that happen?!! The years go by so fast). I am just getting back into sewing and am learning to make alterations that I didn't used to have to make several years and fewer pounds ago. I enjoy your blog so much and thank you firstly for your example of being happy with your body and secondly for teaching me to slow down and enjoy the process of sewing instead of rushing and taking shortcuts just to get a final product. Heather

  16. Luckily I don´t have to worry about working clothes (flight attendant). My personal style has always been rather casual. Jeans, Tshirt, sweater, gore-tex jacket. During university (I studied biology) it was just right, afterwards it was okay (as it was private anyway) and so wonderfully practical. But now that I am getting closer to 40 I sometimes wish I was more stylish. Not to dress like in student days... To mature, also dresswise.

    Looking at my friends I find they all did this already (though none of them are the suit type), probably because they have to think about working clothes.

    So since starting to sew 1,5 years ago, blouses and shirts and recently dresses startet to made their way into my wardrobe. I often like this and feel well dressed. Nonetheless I sometimes get a little uncomfortable with such attire, feel overdressed- and reach for the jeans and tshirt in my closet. This is just me! So I guess I just live through a sort of transformation...


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