This is a process I’ve tried and failed to execute multiple times. Here’s hoping the New Years DO ALL THE THINGS momentum will help me renew this project with a vengeance.
Here’s my shortlist of inspiration and refinement tools:
Into Mind on wardrobe refinement. (http://into-mind.com/) This site is full of checklists and exercises and even a workbook to help refine one’s personal style into a steamlined, satisfying source of inspiration and pleasure. The author writes from a minimalist perspective, which I love, and even her blog page layouts are enjoyable examples of her aesthetic.
(Coletterie’s Wardrobe Architect.) Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. How to define your style, your colors, etc, and actually plan your sewing in such a way that you create a wardrobe based on those principles. I cannot heap enough praise upon this series. I’m working through it right now to choose my sewing patterns/projects after way too many meh projects that aren’t exactly everyday wear anyway.
This might be weird, but, The Well Dressed Home by Annette Tatum. (It’s on Google books here.) While it’s intended to help you develop a style for your home decor based on your personal style, I find it very inspiring in a broader way. I like the way it establishes general styles and then shows creative ways to combine those styles. There is so much visual interest here that it’s impossible for me not to be inspired when I read this.
Style Statement, a book by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPointe (see it on Google books here) which has a weird cult-ish following online and which is maybe 20% useful/80% too hippy fluffy for me, is nevertheless a useful tool for clarifying one’s own aesthetic. (They also love the Pareto principle.) The Manifesto of Style is fun food for thought. I very much enjoyed the book and the gorgeous visual design, but wasn’t struck by the lightning bolt of clarity when I “discovered” my two-word self descriptor. (Creative nostalgic. Pardon my French, but no shit. I could have identified that without doing all of the touchy feely self explore-y pages.) Mostly I find it interesting as a book full of beautiful things and interesting studies in specific personal styles. There’s also something intellectually important about exposing yourself to other worldviews; sometimes I find happy-hippy-self-fulfillment-actualizey speechifying to be a nice change of pace from my internal McConaulogues.
I also have a hard time with the concept of identity as anything fixed or as anything so simplistic; I identify more with David Bowie figures who transform themselves repeatedly throughout their lives in accordance with whatever speaks to them best at a given time. So, in a nutshell, I’m thinking my sewing and wardrobe curation for winter/spring can be boiled down to: What would catwoman wear? Vintage style lines and silhouettes in a very simple, monochromatic palette (blacks, creams, a splash of oxblood here and there). Elegant and understated. Form fitting but allowing for movement and not revealing. Subdued feminine. My next move is to select about five patterns to stick with until I get them just right.