TheSecretCostumier - Wardrobe Architect
From scratch, Ready & waiting, Wardrobe Architect

Week 2: Defining a core style

Looking at the latest (12th!) addition of the Wardrobe Architect project over at the Coletterie, and the pace at which I’m doing this, I’m thinking about figuring out a capsule wardrobe for fall/winter instead of this coming summer. Which would also mean that I could carry on sewing mindlessly whatever pops up in my mind on any given day. That would be crazy good. Or just crazy… So here are the questions I’ve been thinking about in the past few weeks since Week 1 and Week Zero.

When you are wearing your favourite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy, poised, powerful, etc.)?

When wearing my favourite clothes I feel comfortable, confident and cool, sometimes with a feeling of  not-too-apparent  sexiness… if that makes sense.

When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?

On those occasions I mostly feel like I’ve tried too hard, or I feel like I look sloppy, way too boyish with no sex appeal to my taste, or far from being a grown up/too old for my age.

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

I guess I’m like a child in the candy shop when it comes to clothes. The shiny, dreamy, exotic pieces catch my eyes, and the women who can make them look like they are perfectly normal for daily wear are my heroines. These four, for example:

TheSecretCostumier - Catherine Baba

TheSecretCostumier - Frida

TheSecretCostumier- Alexa Chung

TheSecretCostumier - Carrie Bradshaw

What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?

Although these two styles are the most inspiring for me right now, I just couldn’t wear them head to toe.

Etno – I love the colours, the materials, the close to nature feeling about it, but I’m a city girl at heart and it feels like being in somebody else’s skin most of the times I try it.

Minimal – I really love the simplicity and the emphasis on clean shapes, construction and colours, but in reality I feel like those clothes were designed with athletic bodies in mind, and I just seem to be curved at all the wrong places.

Look over your answers from last week on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body. List at least 15 words that you associate with your answers. Think about descriptive words, moods, and feelings you associate with these things:

Unique    Comfortable    Casual    Playful    Sensual    Urban    Cosy   Sultry    Multifunctional    Easy    Cool    Carefree   Quirky

Are there other words you would like to add to this list? What other words describe your core style?

Nope. It was hard enough to come up with those 13. 🙂

Look over the answers to all of the questions above. If you had to narrow your list to only 3-5 words to describe you, which words would you choose?

Comfortable    Playful    Sensual    Quirky

Visual exercise
 Collect 15-20 images that represent these 3-5 words for you. You could create a pinterest board, a folder on your computer, a moodboard, or a collage. Be creative and have fun!

Next week (which could be in August, but I’m on holiday now, so do watch this space as anything can happen 😉 ), I’ll be exploring shapes and silhouettes that usually work for me, and put together imaginary outfits from those shapes.

Image sources from top left: 1, 2, 3456, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12131415, 16, 17, 1819202122232425, 26. 
Catherine Baba images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Frida Kahlo images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Alexa Chung images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Carrie Bradshaw images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
TheSecretCostumier - Wardrobe Architect
From scratch, Ready & waiting, Wardrobe Architect

Week 1: Making style more personal

Dear friends, curious old classmates, fellow pedestrians, if you ever wondered why I dress the way I dress, this post might help you find out! I am waaaaay behind the Wardrobe Architect project, but it’s better late than never, right? So here it goes! (Please excuse my excessive use of brackets (I do apologise (for the personal photo album too.).).)

How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystallize? Have they changed over the years, and why?

As you can see I had killer style when I was in kindergarten. 🙂 I also remember being pretty happy in the clothes my parents picked out for me and my sister, (my dad was the fashionista in the family back in the days…). As a teenager, I guess I just wanted to feel comfortable in my clothes and with my body and not stand out from the crowd even more (I am not the typical Hungarian looking girl, you see). It basically meant covering up as much of my body as possible, in fact that photo of the blue sundress is a rare one. It was taken in Athens and it was extremely hot and that was probably the only time I worn something like that since I was a child. When I moved to London I experienced what’s it like not to be bothered with what other people might think about me for the first time in my life, so I started experimenting with my looks. In the past 2 years I think I’ve managed to be more conscious about wearing the pieces I feel best in, although I sometimes feel like I dress a little old for my age.

How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?

Although I find many “green” movements rather questionable, I feel very strongly against wasting anything. I would like to explore more ways to reuse existing resources and reducing the clutter around me. Having a wardrobe that expands only by adding handmade pieces to it, would be another step for me in moving away from the way too fast high street fashion. When I discovered the magic of buying vintage/charity shop clothing, the most appealing factor was not only the uniqueness of the pieces, but also the fact that you are saving a piece of history by giving it new life.

How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?

I’m half Hungarian and half Nigerian. Although I appreciate my fashionable “heritage”, the well known traditional Hungarian embroidery, and I love the African print fabrics and headwraps worn all over Nigeria, none of these  have inspired me in choosing what to wear in my everyday life…yet! I do find the so called “etno” look desirable on others, but I don’t feel like myself when I occasionally wear an afro during the summer, when I’m too lazy to straighten my hair.

Image sources:  from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?

I have never dressed according to any subcultural “dress code”, since I never belonged to any such groups. I kind of hate to admit it, but the biggest influence on my style is my sister, who has a flawless style and always inspires me to at least try to be a tad bit more elegant and classy. Although while she likes to dress appropriately to every occasion, I prefer to wear whatever I feel good in.

How do your day to day activities influence your choices?

I stubbornly cycle  e v e r y w h e r e. Come rain or shine, I’ll go by bike. I would like to think it’s not mere stubbornness though, or my hatred of public transport, but a statement I make everyday about not being lazy and doing something no one around me does, something I’ve never thought I could do. Long story short, I need clothes to do all that cycling in. And I don’t mean head to toe lycra obviously, but normal clothes that allow me to move my legs, heavy enough to retain my modesty in the London wind, and won’t be destroyed by a little rain every now and  then.

TheSecretCostumier - Wardrobe Architect - Activity

Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?

I am a Londoner now, and even though everybody hates this weather, I kind of love it. I come from a place with four seasons, two rainy ones, one extremely hot and one extremely cold, so I’m happy with the moderate climate and I’ve made peace with the sometimes constant rain too (it really is just water!). This means you can wear pretty much whatever you want, and I bet that’s why London is one of the fashion capitals.

In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?

Since I was a teenager I’ve had rather sensitive skin which is actually why I got interested in fashion. I had to find creative ways to hide the problematic areas and show whatever was left. I also turned from alarmingly skinny to healthy, to bigger… and now back to curvy (I guess), but to be honest, my weight has never played as big a part in my wardrobe planning as my skin, even though I wouldn’t mind having leaner legs…and arms, etc. Because of this, I feel most comfortable in flouncy skirts and black tights, high neck- and waistlines, short jackets and I’ve learned to love anything backless. I don’t really like wearing jeans or trousers, anything low-cut and short skirts or dresses that hide my waist, which happens to be the slimmest part of my body.

In the next task I will be making a moodboard based on the the words I associate with the clothes I wear and the way they make me feel, but before I bore the hell out of whoever reads this (thank you guys! ;)), I’ll show you my brand new little pleather skirt (that’s not a typo!).

Ready & waiting

Marrakesh by night

Marrakesh by night

Ready & waiting

The Pyjama look

I have this weird attraction to wearing fancy nightwear as day wear. In general I am very open to mixing things up the clever common way, like wearing sequined skirts with t-shirts, or boyfriend jeans with sharp jackets or pretty blouses, but my favorite rule breaker must be the silk pyjama thing.

TheSecretCostumier - The Pyjama Look - Dolce and Gabbana

It’s funny because it wouldn’t be my first choice to wear it in bed, but there is something so appealing about the satin, the silk, the piping, and the polka dots, that I feel like it would be rude not to show it off to whoever is lucky enough to see it. 😉

It seems to be coming back again after the S/S 2009  Dolce & Gabbana collection that inspired so many people (from fashion bloggers to editors that is). Since then we have seen many variations from the head to toe look to the one piece of lounge wear at a time approach. Stella McCartney’s S/S 2012  collection is really fresh in many other ways too, but the pyjama prints, silky trousers and oversized jackets are the ones to watch out for.

TheSecretCostumier - The Pyjama Look - Stella McCartney S/S 2012

TheSecretCostumier - The Pyjama Look - Paul Smith A/W 2012

TheSecretCostumier - The Pyjama Look - Elizabeth and James A/W 2012

TheSecretCostumier - The Pyjama Look - Louise Vuitton Resort 2012

While I personally find most of these pyjama shots inspiring, I would not go for the full look as I think the slouchy bottom + slouchy top combo is extremely hard to pull of, even for the skinniest models, especially if the whole thing is satin silk and/or printed. Although Viviana Volpicella…’s pyjama suit is truly flawless (1. photo).

TheSecretCostumier - The Pyjama Look - Street style pyjamas

I just stumbled upon this blouse recently and while it is well out of my price range, it is now definitely on my “Future Projects” list, as it is basically a chiffon shirt with some contrasting piping on the edges. I guess it would make a versatile addition to my wardrobe (especially to the imaginary one).

TheSecretCostumier - The Pyjama Look