Step Two, Make a Well Built Wardrobe

Part two in our read along focuses on the Art of Less. Cline says, “The Art of Less is a philosophy based on the thoughtful, intentional consumption of fewer items of clothing.” It’s a philosophy that is not anti-fashion but instead it’s anti- mindless consumption.

The following chapters have some great advice and tips. There is the practice of sustaining from buying clothes and learning from that and then how to use that information and go out and add to your wardrobe. Cline recommends trying a fashion fast and chapter 9 is full of ways to identify quality in garments.  Even as someone who makes clothes and understands finishes, I found this chapter helpful. There is also a section on footwear and it concludes with tips on how what to ask yourself as your buying new clothes.

The section I want to focus on here is the Well Built Wardrobe, chapter 11. I’m interested in using Cline’s principles and applying them to things I make as well as things I buy.

“When every garment has a purpose and every color and cut goes with something else, your wardrobe can carry you through life in style, no matter the occasion.” There are so many options for clothing to make and buy, it can seem overwhelming, especially at the beginning when you’re just learning how to sew. There are plenty of times I’ve made something only to realize that, nope, that’s not something I like to wear. Using Cline’s Four Fundamentals is a great starting point to looking at what I want to add to my wardrobe and what I can enjoy on others and not bother making myself.

Identify Colors This is something I recently started paying attention to. Last summer I fell in love with the color yellow but for whatever reason, I had it in my head that this was a color I “couldn’t” wear. But I found fabric I loved and had a dress in my head so I went ahead and made it and now it’s one of my most worn things in my closet. From there I’ve fallen in love with wearing mustards, terra-cotta, and other earthy tones. Without consciously doing it, I started creating collections that followed a specific color scheme.

Jasika has been really detailed in documenting her color journey and it’s because of her that I started taking a closer look at what my colors are. After investigating, it turns out, I’m an autumn palette, which absolutely falls in line with all the clothes I love and the ones that get me the “that looks great on you!” comments. I’ve just started this color deep dive, but judging from my winter collection and a snapshot of my handmade clothes, I think I can safely say that warmer colors are becoming my go to. I also know I love black, and maybe that doesn’t count, but a great black dress or top will absolutely get worn.

I think it’s worth looking at prints and patterns in your wardrobe along with colors. I’ve learned that I prefer rich, solid colors to busy prints. I love looking at prints, turns out I just don’t wear them much.

Settle on cuts and silhouettes This is one I’m still learning about. I’m excited to look at all of my documented outfits in May and examine what it is that I like wearing. I know I like simple, more modern shapes and don’t love frills or stereotypical girlie clothes. I like to feel strong and grown up in what I wear and need more time to articulate exactly what this means for me.

Say no more than yes Like I said, there are so many options in the sewing world, which is fantastic!, but it takes some practice in saying no. My best tips for deciding on if you need that new pattern is to think about the following

-It ain’t going anywhere. Yes, it may be on sale, but I like to have a wishlist going of patterns I’d like to try. When I go back and check the list weeks later, if I still want to make something or see it clearly in my wardrobe I may pull the trigger

-Follow the hashtag. Look up the hashtag to the pattern to see it made up in different fabrics and on different people.

-Make sure you don’t own basically the same thing! I’ve gotten a new pattern and realized quickly why I love it so much, I already own it!

-Copy ready to wear. I love to find clothes in ready to wear and copy them. This helps me know if a pattern is just well marketed or if it’s actually a shape I’m drawn to and want to wear.

Hone your Personal Style Another work in progress, but I’m getting close to being able to define my personal style. I like simple clothes with a bohemian twist. I like sexy details but not overtly sexy clothing. I appreciate prints in small doses but tend to like solid colors more. I love when clothes play with masculine lines more than I like frills or girly silhouettes.

After examining these four fundamentals Cline says to look at your core pieces and then add in accents and accessories from there. I think the Me Made May challenge is a great way to look at your handmade wardrobe and see what makes up your core pieces. A lot of the challenge files into Cline’s ideas nicely, planning outfits, experimenting with what’s in your closet, documenting what you wear. I’m going to look at everything at the end of the month and decide what my core pieces are then and also come back to these four fundamentals and see if  anything has changed for me. Already I’ve found a few holes that I want to fill and they are not things that were at the top of the list a few weeks ago.

I hope your week is going well and that you get to celebrate Cinco de Mayo today with delicious taco and a margarita if that’s your thing. Stay safe and well and I’ll see you next week to talk about part 3: the art of more.





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