Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On clothing and style

So the wonderful blogger over at sozowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.com hosts Me Made May. She is currently taking pledges for May 2014. I participated last year, and plan to this year.

It's for people who have made stuffs- clothing, accessories, etc, but who might not wear their creations. It's designed to push people into using the items they have created, whether sewn, knitted, refashioned, etc.

I often fall into this category.

I have been making clothing for half of my life. More than pj bottoms for most of that time.

I rarely buy clothing at traditional retail shops. Many factors: cost, quality of material and construction (or lack thereof), personal style, dubious ethical and environmental practices, dislike for practice of 'fast fashion', abhorrence of consumerism.

Grew up in a working class home. Early childhood clothing was hand-me-downs from family, starting in junior high I got a couple of pair of jeans from Penny's or Sear's in the fall other clothing came from  thrift stores. It was economical and fun to spend a couple of hours flipping through racks at second hand stores looking at what I could cobble together. I didn't have a cohesive style, heck I still don't, and didn't follow the trends and fashions of teens ( I grew up before the use of 'tween').

In college, I found many friends that had the same ambivalence towards fashion. Clothing is utilitarian, and comfortable. Fashion comes after that. High fashion at college was t-shirts advertizing the groups you were a part of.

After college, I spent several years working at a large department store, and while I successfully avoided being stationed in the clothing departments, I learned about the practices of the retail fast-fashion industry.  Ish.

I no longer work at the department store (Thank God!) The last time I bought a new piece of clothing (undergarments excluded) was three years ago, it was a bridesmaid dress. My wardrobe is small, I wear all of it in a year's time (with the exception of the bridesmaid's dresses). 

I don't feel like I have a cohesive sense of style I'm inspired by early 1940's fashions-( tailored, simple silhouettes brought on by war time rationing, pants became acceptable for women to wear outside the house.) but because of my job and chronic pain, wardrobe choices are simple- knits for tops because I can't always work buttons. Denim for pants-it's durable.

And now to wrap this up, because it's turning whiny.... 

I guess I have thought of clothing primarily as utilitarian for so long, it's difficult to 'see' style in what I wear. I'm practical-I dress for the weather and for how my body functions (stiff hands and such). Maybe in the next month I can start looking at how I dress as more than just clothes, but as an experiment in self expression.

My pledge this year is to :
1. Wear at least one me-made item a day, five days a week for the duration of May
2. Take pictures of my outfits, if only for personal evaluation.
3. Create two from-scratch garments over the course of May.
4. Reflect on the garments I have purchased and made.

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