Personal Style, Me-Made-May, and How the World Sees Us

Oh, never mind the fashion. When one has a style of one’s own, it is always twenty times better.

~Margaret Oliphant

I’m so excited about this post, because I’ve recruited some awesome fellow participants in Me-Made-May’12 to share their photos and their thoughts about personal style with us!  I was so inspired by clicking through the Flickr group and checking out everyone’s photos, and by the thought-provoking comments they sent me!

I’ll start with my own style, which is definitely still a work in progress.

When I first started making my own clothes, quite a few years ago now, I chose what appealed to me most, (if you don’t want to know how much of a nerd I really am, please skip to the next paragraph) which was mainly historical styles.  If no one cared what I wore, I could happily wear long skirts, petticoats, 1940’s style dresses, etc. every day for the rest of my life.

But what I wear does affect how people see me, and how seriously they take me.  Sometimes what I’d like to wear doesn’t broadcast the message that I’d like people to get when they see me.

I still love historical clothes, and wear lots of long skirts in the winter, but now I look for ways to incorporate silhouettes I love with more timeless, modern designs and details.  I’d like what I wear to say, “I am unique, interesting, capable, beautiful, feminine, grounded, elegant.”  As I said, it’s a work in progress.

 

My first new friend for this project is Alessa.  I love the playful element her outfits have.  Check out her lovely blog of her handmade adventures by clicking any of her photos, or here!

 

 

 

She says:

I wouldn’t know to put a name to it, but there’s definitely a trend there. I think pretty and comfy sum it up best. I like dresses, because they are less constricting than jeans and I guess I also don’t like to be part of the “uniform” (jeans and t-shirt) wearing masses. Also, they make my stumpy legs look longer. 😉 A lot of people put labels like “nice” and “cute” on me, which I guess I generally am, and which is also reflected in a large part of my wardrobe. I like that I can also dress up to other facets of my personality, though, like “girlishly nerdy” (skirts and sciency graphic tees) and “playfully sexy” (that would be a black polka-dot dress with a red belt, red lipstick and a bowler hat).

 

Next is Oona.  I love how much body language is in her photos.  If you need a laugh in your day, you MUST read her blog!

 

 

 

 

She says:

i’d say my style is schizophrenic, vivacious, and a bit colorblind.  i like to think i make other peeps smile when they see me, especially strangers.  as a whole i don’t feel we dress up anymore, and peeps seem to take happy note of bright colors and thoughtful (if clashing) ensembles.

 

Finally here’s Sallie.  I love how sleek and put together her outfits are!  There’s lots more pictures and witty comments about the outfits on her blog.

 

 

 

She says:

I think personal style is really complicated because it involves a certain amount of self-awareness. Sometimes the things we love, sadly, don’t love us back. For me this translates into my love for vintage, an unrequited love that I think I’ve finally given up on. But the great thing about fashion and making your own garments is that the possibilities are endless. So instead I’ve focused on more modern looks that make me feel lady-like and put together. I like my clothes to fit well and to maybe have a touch of drama – like playing with texture, color or volume/structure. I think other people see me as someone who always looks laid back, but still elegant, and maybe a touch prissy – I’m taking this from compliments and comments I’ve received over the years (and I just asked my husband and thats what he said! haha!).

 

I can’t help feeling like I don’t have much to add here!  These ladies have summed it up and given me a lot to think about.

One last thing I will say, I know many of us who sew (or make anything else for that matter) do it at least partly so we can have just what we want, what’s not available anywhere else.  It’s a great feeling when you can be creative, and make something that you’re proud of, something that broadcasts the message you want to send.

So, how does the world see you?  What would you like your style to say?

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Me-Made-May Thoughts So Far, and my Cartoon Summer Wardrobe

Ok, I realize that it’s the middle of Me Made May, and I haven’t said anything about it!  I have been thinking about it a lot though, and keeping a daily log of what I wear and my thoughts.  So far I have met my goal of wearing one me-made article every day, and on only one day has underwear counted.  (I have one sundress, not a me-made, that I wear when it’s just too hot to wear anything else.)

 

 

I wanted to make some kind of visual record so you could see what I’m thinking about for this project.  I loved Tilly’s photo collage of her me-made wardrobe, although photographing mine during several days of camping didn’t seem very practical.  But one of my goals for this summer is to draw more, a perfect activity for unplugged time.  Then I saw the book Information Graphics on Brain Pickings, and was inspired to make my own graphic for Me Made May.

The space we have in the truck for clothes is quite limited.  Every year I try to pack less, leaving out the things I don’t end up wearing much, but a little more of the most versatile, the things I can wear a lot of different ways and the things I know I wear all the time.  This also leaves me with a small enough wardrobe that my drawing project seemed practical.

 

 

I circled the clothes I made in yellow.  Somehow, this didn’t seem to represent the amount of effort that it feels like goes into what I wear.  So I circled things I had dyed or otherwise substantially altered in green.  Due to the careful selection of these clothes discussed above, there are only a few things here that I haven’t worn a lot.  I circled them in blue.  All four of these I included this season as a change from wearing mostly the same clothes I did at art shows last year – too much of that and it starts to feel like a uniform, which makes me start to hate even clothes I really like.  Still it looks like I have a little tweaking to do to make these pieces fit, and a couple of them may not fit in my summer wardrobe.

I was surprised to see how many tops I had in relation to pants and skirts, especially since I have been thinking I need to make some more.  I even have one about half done at home, based on the shiny top but in a linen fabric more suitable for every day.  Then I remembered that all three of my me-made tank tops are not exactly spring chickens, in fact, they are getting to the only-suitable-for-camping stage.  I circled everything that is wearing out in red.  After that, I does look like I could use a couple more basic tops, and sundresses, I live in those when it’s warm and it would be great to have a couple more.

One of my favorite things about a challenge like Me Made May is that it asks us to take a look at what we are really using and what we need.  For example, you can tell that pants that fit are the hardest thing for me to find ready-to-wear.  And making my own is still a journey, every time I wear those grey ones I think about what’s wrong with them, but I also get inspired to make better ones this fall!  In fact, with the cool weather we’ve been having so the past week or so, I’ve renewed my vow to make pants I like.

I’ve thought a lot the past few weeks about how what we wear is a compromise between what we’d ideally like to wear, what’s available (due to funds and time), and circumstances like the weather, what we have to wear to work, etc.

What do you think?

What’s in your closet?  What do you need, and what do you have but don’t wear?

 

Me-Made-May 2012!

What is that, you ask?  It’s a fabulous idea from Zoe of the blog ‘So, Zo…’ wherein participants make a pledge to wear one or more self-made garments every day for the month of May, and/or to interpret the challenge in their own way.

 

 

What I really love about it is the idea of spending a month thinking about what we make and wear and why.  Does what you wear suit your personality and what you want to say about yourself to the world?  Why do you choose to make things?  Do you wear/use the things you make?

My pledge for May is to wear at least one thing I made everyday, and document my experience here in a way that’s also relevant to those of you who don’t sew, and addresses some of the interesting questions above.

If you do sew, I encourage you to head on over to Zoe’s blog and check it out!

If not, what about coming up with your own Me-Made-May challenge?  Maybe pledge to cook one new recipe or make one up yourself each week, or finish your woodworking project, or even the mending!  I think anything we make has the tendency to push us towards, as Zoe puts it “a more self-sufficient, sustainable and authentic life.”  I love that phrase – I couldn’t have described my own goals better!

The last part of my personal pledge for MMM’12 is to make more friends in the blog world and reach out to the other creative types out here, so I’d love it if you let me know your ideas, and pass on the spirit of Me-Made-May!