Since I decided as a frugal and creative measure to make my own clothes, I've been doing some trawling through various sewing blogs and discovered the Wardrobe Architect. Designed specifically for sewers, this is a series of exercises that lead you to a better understanding of the kind of clothing that works for you. You'd think, at my age, that I would know this - but I've found the exercises useful, engaging and thought-provoking.
The first is a question/answer sheet with a series of questions, including:
How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalize? Have they changed over the years, and why?
Answering that question made me realise how books and writers have influenced my attitude to fashion/costume. In my teenage years, I devoured Colette and it was my fashion ambition to dress like her in her Claudine days. Eventually I found two shirt-waister dresses, both with round white collars and cuffs. One was in autumnal colours and the other a grey and blue floral print. These were as close as I could get and I wore them with little kitten shoes and cream tights. One of my other influences were the journals of Anaїs Nin and I was utterly delighted when a boyfriend gave me a pale silk shawl with black embroidery. Even when I bought mainstream fashion, I was thinking of characters - a spate of pale blue Country Road purchases made me think of wheatfields and girls with heavy plaits. Brzilian stilettos and a honey coloured raw silk suit turned me instantly into a young business woman, a change from the Indian muslin I floated around during the summer months.
The next worksheet asked for words to describe your personal style - and words that didn't. I was particularly delighted when my daughter suggest the word 'artisanal'. Other words I used included 'foraging/gathered' and 'eclectic'.
So far I've skipped the third workshop (which is about silhouettes) and went on to investigate colour and style icons. Both of these exercises made me investigate tools and programmes I'm not that familiar with - Pinterest and PicMonkey. My style icons were: Colette, Anaїs Nin, Frida Kahlo, Diane Keaton as Annie Hall and Helena Botham Carter. Not a bunch known for their restrained elegance!
The colour excursion showed me what I already know - I have no strict 'palette'. Coolest of all the things I discovered was the ability to pull out certain colours from a photo or image using Adobe Kuhler. This is really exciting - and in particular for future spinning and dyeing. Then I tried COLOURlovers - which I actually seem to be able to use, after a fashion - though linking to my own photos has also meant signing up to Flickr and I have been unable to access my own photos. I don't know why! However - here is a palette - not that it has any relevant to my clothing choices, although black is a colour I often wear!
And, let me tell you - if you knew how long it took me to work out how to get this posted here, you'd fall off your chair laughing.
These are colours I wear: