I know that I was just being a little salty about the concept of slow sewing because it’s all I can manage, but I am still interested in the concept of slow fashion. I’ve particularly enjoyed following along with Karen Templer’s Slow Fashion October on Fringe Association. But I’ve never felt like I was ready to respond to her thought-provoking prompts until this year when she announced that SFO this year would focus on (slowly) building a closet of clothes that you truly love. Because if you love what you wear, you will care for it and wear it for a good long time. In other words, clothes that we love to wear and feel connected to are the antidote to the dissatisfaction and longing that so often fuel unreflective participation in fast fashion.
I think this is a really intriguing idea, and it intersects nicely with lots of things that I’ve already been thinking about, so I decided that I’d make this the year that I finally participate in Slow Fashion October. Karen plans to present a new action item each Monday of the month, and this week’s action item was to create a mood board or pin board that reflects your ideal style.
I’ve had various style boards on Pinterest for years, but only recently created one that I feel really happy with—and by that, I mean a pin board that feels like it really reflects me and is therefore actually useful for things like project planning. I’ve read lots of style advice and followed along with things like the Collette’s Wardrobe Architect series, but nothing really clicked for me until I read Anushka Rees’s The Curated Closet in May. The way that she explained and framed the process of creating a pin board was so helpful for me. She not only had practical advice that helped focus the process, but her perspective allowed me to finally stop limiting my sense of what I could or should wear. In reading her book, I realized that I had been telling myself for years that the styles I was drawn to were no good because they were too boring or not right for my body or that I wasn’t the right person to be wearing them. It was weird to finally recognize, and then let go of, a huge limiting belief I didn’t even know I had.
Anyway, here is my pin board.
Karen also included a number of different discussion prompts at the end of the post, so I thought I’d answer the ones that jump out at me.
Do you have a color palette?
Definitely. It’s all black, gray, burgundy, olive, and dark denim (weird to consider that a color, but it is in my closet.) At this point, I think I only have few items of clothing that don’t fall in that palette. I often go through phases of telling myself that I should wear more or different colors, but the truth is that these are the colors that I feel at ease in.
What shapes and styles of garments work best for you, your life and your body? What are your clothing pet peeves? (lengths, necklines, sleeve types …)
I want my clothes to be comfortable in the sense that they should not be restrictive in any way, they shouldn’t require any fussing (rearranging anything, pulling a hem back in place, adjusting a collar, etc.), and they should be in fairly soft fabrics. Lately, I’m finding that I prefer things shirts with a slightly looser or boxier cut and that I prefer a slightly higher neckline than I used to wear, and I think both of those things are a response to how my life has changed now that I’m chasing a little monkey around.
What is your favorite garment or outfit (right now or always) and why?
Right now, my favorite outfit is black or dark cuffed skinny jeans, a blouse, black blazer, and oxfords. I feel physically comfortable in this but I also feel solid and present.
What is the image you would like to project with your clothing?
I don’t know if it’s an image that I try to project specifically with my clothing, but in general I aim to project an image of myself as unshakeable. It’s funny to think about this question, because as a person I think I am warm, good-humored, caring, empathetic, and very relaxed but those aren’t necessarily the parts of myself that I want to publicly project. Instead, I seem to work hard to present myself as, more than anything else, a cool head, a steady hand and as fairly reserved. I don’t want to change that image—in fact, I think I’m so satisfied with my pin board because it feels like it reflects that image. I just find it interesting that it seems so substantially different from who I am on a more intimate level.
Can you describe your style in five adjectives?
No. I can’t seem to find a good way to describe it and was never able to describe my style in the model that Rees sets forward in The Curated Closet either. Maybe that’s because I think about the things that I want to wear more in terms of the way they make me feel and less in terms of how they might be characterized by others? But I would be fascinated to know how other people might describe it after looking at my pin board.
What showed up in your mood board that surprised you?
- All the jeans! I shouldn’t be surprised, because it’s really just proof of a truth that I already embody in my day-to-day dressing. But I guess I’ve always had the idea that I only wear jeans because I struggle to find different kinds of pants. I think it’s time to fully embrace that I just really love jeans.
- I’m also surprised by how coherent my mood board is. I think that because I spent so much time unconsciously limiting my idea of what I could wear that I always just thought I didn’t have a coherent style, but it turns out my style is just all the stuff I used to exclude.
- There were lots of things that I think I like in abstract (moto jackets, more traditional trousers, certain fabrics, etc.) that just don’t show up on the pin board at all. And that just helps me clarify that I may like them on other people but they aren’t for me, so maybe I don’t actually need to have five different moto jacket patterns.
What’s an example of something you own and love (had to have!) but never wear, and why not?
I recently got a pair of straight-legged, chino-style olive pants from Stitch Fix. And I kept them because I liked the fit and it seemed like they would be perfect since they were in my color palette and would offer me a non-jeans option. But I’ve only worn them once so far, because when it comes down to it, I would much rather just wear jeans. Even though my olive pants are just as comfortable as jeans, they just don’t feel quite right to me.
I’m already thinking differently about project planning after revisiting my pin board and thinking through some of Karen’s questions, so I’m excited to see what the action items and discussion prompts for the next few weeks will be.