Sunday, 18 January 2015

7 Steps to Style

As I have already posted, I set a number of goals and made some resolutions this year. So far I'm doing okay, but then we're only halfway through January!

I'm a RTW Faster

I resolved not to buy any ready to wear (RTW) clothes in 2015. This had a multi fold purpose
  • I have too many clothes already. My wardrobes are full. With weight gain and loss, I have wardrobes of different sizes. I do need to lose the weight I've put on in the last year, but I also need to alter or discard clothes which don't fit.
  • I actually find it impossible to buy well fitting clothes. I'm tall but even tall-specific outlets don't cater to the combination of my height, age, style choices etc.
  • If I find gaps, then I'm going to fill them with self made garments and therefore increase my skills. I'm continuing with my dressmaking and pattern cutting classes.
MAGAM and Pattern Review Forums

I signed up to MAGAM to encourage me to make one garment per month for myself. Again to help increase skills - and speed.  I'm very slow. I've also resolved to make garments with a plan, not just for the sake of it and apart from trousers, I haven't yet decided what the next item will be. So far this month, I've been dealing with UFOs.

I also joined two forums on PR, as also already blogged. One to encourage regular commitment to sewing and sewing related activity, of any kind and the other to encourage looking at our style. Like many, I started with organisation - of fabric, sewing books and then wardrobe. I'm still in the middle of that.

Through that forum, I began to read a lot of blogs suggested by others.  I particularly enjoy The Vivienne Files and Inside Out Style.

The Vivienne Files has a section, 'Starting from Scratch', where she recommends building a wardrobe starting with one pair of trousers and building up from there. This appealed to me as the biggest gap in my wardrobe is that well fitting, slim legged trouser. I'm going to have to make the trousers but fortunately this term, starting next week, my dressmaking class is covering trousers and trouser making techniques. I'm likely to have most of the items recommended from that point.

My reasons for starting to read these blogs

Many years ago I had my colours 'done' - I knew categories had changed and also knew that with increased age and grey hair I was finding that some colours which suited before didn't any more. I wondered if I had become a 'Winter' rather than a 'Summer'. I should say, I do feel I have a reasonable idea of what suits me.
I tried to insert some old photos that we had scanned into the computer, but Blogger wasn't having any of them, for some reason. Some from my own wedding and graduation and some from around the time I had my colours done just a few years later. So, instead, I've inserted a photo of me at my oldest daughter's wedding, with my other two daughters who were bridesmaids, and my mother. 2010
However, with colour change and maturing figure change, I began to feel fat, frumpy and dowdy. Also, with my difficulty in buying clothes, not everything fitted as well as I would have liked and some items were bought because they did fit but colour or style might not have been ideal. In addition, the change in my lifestyle brought about by retirement clearly had a significant impact on my garment needs. Physically, I have some problems and can no longer wear higher heels. This meant that some skirt lengths are now just 'wrong'. My hourglass figure was changing to something else with weight gain. So the time was ripe.
'7 Steps to Style' by Imogen Lamport

I signed up for '7 Steps to Style' by Imogen Lamport from Inside Out Style.  I thought I would briefly blog about each step as I went through it, as suggested by some others on the programme. There is a very active Facebook Group for this programme. I can't actually put photos on as that would infringe copyright etc, though in the next post I am willing to post my own pictures.

Step 1 - Personality

This step involved thinking about why you were doing this programme,  what you wanted to achieve,  how you are seen and how you would like to be seen and considered some of the clothes styles in various categories. I liked that there was no putting someone in a category box. It was perfectly permissible to have elements from a number of categories. Imogen also gave a number of examples and this was very helpful.

I've felt for a long time that the element missing in my wardrobe was 'smart casual' - not actually a category in 7 steps but this was very helpful in considering what I meant by that.

My main style was 'classic', my second element was 'elegant chic'. Interestingly, my husband identified a feminine element that I hadn't really considered and there was a relaxed element. In my style recipe, there was no real drama, rebellion or creativity, although I recognise that I was more inclined to the dramatic when younger.

I must admit that I was disappointed at first as I initially felt this was just confirming me, continuing me in the same direction I was in previously, with my clothes always a bit too formal, occasionally sophisticated, for my needs. In other words, a wardrobe that was too smart and not casual enough. However, the examples given show how I can move this to where I want to be. I'm definitely going to increase some of the casual elements and some of the elements from the other categories are not quite as formal as I previously thought - it appears you can be elegant yet relaxed and casual. I guess that's where I want to be.

Does my wardrobe meet my needs? That's a later step

Next step is body and face shape.


  1. You have quite a plan for the year - and lots of work to do. Good luck with the trouser making project. It is very hard work making all your own clothes -I just keep plugging away. Don't worry about being slow, just be consistent on a daily basis and you will get there.

    1. I prefer working with a plan, on the whole. I don't think there will be that much making, for myself at least. And this year at least. Who knows about next year? I'm still trying to sort what I have into some semblance of sense and bracing myself to get rid of things. DH are both hoarders, which is not a good thing esp when thinking about downsizing! Tonight it's pattern cutting (skirt and sleeves), and hopefully the trouser journey starts on Wednesday. Thanks

  2. Don't be too hard on yourself! Your colouring always reminds me of Helen Mirren. Now there's one style icon who's looking better every year!

    1. Thank you - I wouldn't mind being mistaken for Helen Mirren!

  3. I love the blogging community for its openness and support! We will cheer you on!

    Isn't is funny that RTW isn't really RTW and that it is so hard to find something to fit properly!? Best of luck with you plans -- I look forward to reading about them!

    1. Thank you, Annie. The blogging community is great. You're absolutely right about RTW! I've started with my plans but nothing to blog about as yet. BTW, sorry, I thought I replied to this post when it came in. I obviously didn't (don't get older!!)

  4. The Smart casual is in the Your Lifestyle section step rather than the personality section as we all need more casual and more formal clothes to suit our lifestyle. What I find interesting is that you felt disappointed that you were on the right track personality wise - remember there are so many different ways of expressing those parts of your personality that it doesn't box you into boring at all - but frees you to accept who you are and try lots of different ways of expressing those elements of your personality.

    1. Thanks, Imogen. Yes, I agree. When I started doing 7 steps, I was trying to go too quickly. I resolved to slow down and take each step a it came.


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