In my quest to look good, I have been thinking an awful lot about style lately. It seems that although I have always enjoyed sewing, I have had a love/hate relationship with the things I make. Over the years, I have tackled various challenges to increase the love part. At first, when my body was younger and able to fit easily into RTW clothes, I was disappointed with the quality of my sewing. The seams weren't straight enough. There was rippling and asymmetry where I didn't intend it. The drape was "off". Things looked homemade and I would have thought it a supreme compliment to be able to sew something that looked purchased and have someone comment that they were surprised to hear that I "made that". I focused my learning on technique and equipment. I upgraded to a computerized sewing machine and was amazed at how straight my seams became. I used better thread and learned about types of interfacing and linings and how they made a garment hold its shape. I learned about pressing and clipping. Eventually, my sewing began to look fabulous. I loved watching my creations come to life - only to try them on and hate the fit.
So my next frontier became fitting. I began to accept that altering a pattern was a necessary step in the sewing process. It took a long time to accept, because I never had to alter ready to wear garments. I expected the things I sewed to just fit like the things I brought into the dressing room. As I learned more about fit, I began to realize that the ready to wear things didn't always fit me. I began to understand the difference between wearing ease and style ease. I had been choosing styles with ease in the places I needed more room to fit. Meanwhile, my body is decades older. I have more fitting "uniqueness" and my standards for fit are next to impossible to satisfy. I still wear mostly RTW clothes, but I am less satisfied with the fit as I learn more. Project Runway introduced me to the concept of draping and my understanding of fit has undergone a quantum leap. Now, I never sew without making a mock up first to refine the fit. As my fitting skill improves, I am more satisfied with my sewing, but still not in a place of what I would call bliss. I find myself approaching another frontier. Style. What good are impeccably made, well fitting clothes that do not flatter the figure or suit the style of the wearer? I still have not made a single thing in all my years of sewing that I feel is amazing. I have been proud, but there is always something I wish I could have done better. I have been blaming my body, but I think that is akin to accepting defeat. I have been taking pictures of the outfits I wear in an attempt to figure out what looks good and what defines my personal style. My goal is to figure out what to sew. It is heartbreaking to work on a jacket for months only to love it on the dress form and not on me. I have posted many pictures of outfits I have worn for the last few months here. Some I like. Some I don't. I thought each was a good outfit at the time, but as I look through them I think I can do better. These make me cringe now. If you are reading this directly from my blog, you can click them and they will get bigger.
Also, I have included a critique which shows up when you click. Click again to make the images get small again. Sorry the script does not work in Google Reader.
Here are some of my favorites. Someone recently used the phrase a little bit of va-va-voom to describe my style. I hope it was meant to describe a subtle undertone. I would like to be thought of as less vamp-y and more classic or elegant with only the tiniest hint of sexuality. I wear these clothes to work. I am a semiconductor mask designer and most of my coworkers including my husband who works with me are male engineers. We are not required to dress up and jeans with polo shirts are the normal attire. I think I look terrible in pants - especially jeans. Based on my favorite outfits above, what do you think? Too much va-va-voom? Do I need to turn it down a notch?