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Friday, March 7, 2014

The Philosophy of a Wardrobe

Continuing in the vein of the Wardrobe Architect series -- I want to take a look at how my personal philosophy influences the way I dress. Sarai asks, "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 [in your wardrobe]?"

I am a Christian, but I never particularly considered how that plays into my personal style. When I was younger, it meant that I dressed more modestly -- but I no longer apply this too heavily. Now, what does being a Christian mean for my wardrobe? I think that, more than my beliefs about Christianity, my beliefs about being a good human being play into my personal sense of style.

While previously I'd spent a lot of money on fast fashion -- cheap, easy to buy, easy to wear, quick to fall to pieces -- I've started thinking about my clothes as investments. If I buy quality pieces that feel nice, look nice, last, and cost a little more money, I'm more likely to have my items of clothing around for a longer period of time. I feel like this is a good thing because being wasteful is never good! I'm always disappointed with my Forever 21 that fall into disrepair quickly and must be thrown away.

On top of this, I recently started realizing that those same fast fashion stores are so cheap because they employ cheap labor! There are so many chains (Forever 21 included) that don't even pay their garment workers a living wage, and don't keep track of the way their workers are taken care of. In fact, recently, a fire in a garment factory in Bangladesh caused several companies (one such being Zara) to create and sign a code of ethics that enforces better quality work environments -- people passed away in this fire, which was due to unsafe working conditions.

Because of my growing knowledge in this area, I strive to make myself aware of where the clothes I am buying come from. Two posts prior, I wrote a blog entry about ethical fashion which included a list of companies who are better to buy from than others. I also provided links to helpful sites which can help track the production of garments for various companies, and give the consumer more of an insight as to each company's policies, procedures, and social ethics.

I've cared about cruelty-free makeup for so long... I think it's time that I care about cruelty-free fashion, too. I don't want to wear clothing that was made based on the suffering of other human beings. I want garment workers to make fair, living wages, in safe, quality work environments -- and because of this, I choose the places I buy from carefully. I want to support those companies that align with my ideals, and I want to avoid giving money to those that do not.

Overall, I want to ensure that the clothes that I wear are created in a way that benefits those that make them -- or I want to promote the re-use of clothing by buying second-hand -- or I want to know that the labor required to make my clothes is fair simply by making them myself.

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Style -- Influenced By My History

I love Sarai of The Coletterie. Her style is brilliant, her creativity boundless -- but the thing that drew me to The Coletterie was my search for wardrobe simplicity. I have been in the process of preparing to move while simultaneously trying to "spring clean" my life, and as a result have begun trying to pare down the mass amount of things I own and surround myself with. However, when I got to the point of addressing my closet, I felt overwhelmed. I own so many pieces of clothing that inspire me, that were cheap and easy to buy, that are beautiful to look at but uncomfortable to wear, that are silky, that are itchy, that suit my figure, that don't -- I didn't know where to start.

And then somehow, somewhere, I stumbled across Sarai's Wardrobe Architect series -- and everything fell into place. It clicked. I've only read through the posts once, and haven't actually begun doing any of the wardrobe cleaning and reflection she suggests, but this post is the starting point for my little journey to my. style. My very own wardrobe, full of items that inspire me, that do not pointlessly take up space, that are not throwaway pieces.

Sarai writes, " ... [Lately], I've been feeling that my wardrobe -- the thing I spend so much time building for the sheer fun of it -- is created a bit haphazardly." This rang so true, and here I am -- at my first blog post about, my first step towards, the architecture of a wardrobe that reflects me.

Week One - Making Style More Personal
Favorite quote:

"Today, in addition to the ever-rotating whims of fast fashion, we are constantly being exposed to trends through sites like Pinterest, or through blogs. I won’t argue that this wealth of visual inspiration is a bad thing, necessarily. But how do we keep it from diluting our own unique aesthetics and tastes? How do we prevent becoming part of a homogenized, singular “style” rather than expressing who we truly are through our clothing or our homes?"

Today's influence on my personal style: HISTORY.
"How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystallize? Have they changed over the years, and why?"
My mother dressed me almost up until junior high school. She liked cute, frilly clothes and dresses, and liked to do my hair in tube curls with dramatic bows. That's what I was used to, though often, when I got to school, I would untuck my shirts, unroll my socks, and try to shove my hair into a ponytail. When I reached junior high, I was more interested in the "emo" scene -- probably, in a way, as a rebellion against the frilly outfits of my childhood as well as the conservative aesthetic of my family. I wore goth parachute pants, torn skinny jeans, Pokemon shirts and shirts with band names plastered across them, and neon, plastic barrettes with Converse Chuck Taylor hightops. I stuck to what I saw as a "rocker aesthetic" even through early college. In late college continuing through today, my style moved more towards an indie and alternative rock look, and finally became more refined to what it is now -- a little more classic, a lot more simple, with a love of subtle, alternative-inspired details here and there. The little details are important to me -- the quality of the buttons, a small embellishment right there, a quirky hem on a skirt. I think along with me, my taste in clothing has grown up, but I still have a love for those little dark embellishments that show a little rebellion. Black leather moto jacket with a pastel shift dress and buckled ankle booties? Bring it on.