What didn’t work so well? Hmm – one of my first attempts at dressmaking – an orange and brown sixties style shift (day 28). I made it by drawing round an outline of an existing dress, cutting two pieces out and sewing them together. Yes, cavewoman stylee. I’m surprised I didn’t drape a cat round my neck for warmth and club my husband for nuptials. Unsurprisingly the dress is shapeless and uncomfortable to wear. But it provides a useful reminder to us all as to why the great seamstress in the sky invented darts. An early Sorbetto (day 20) made me feel and look grey but I did get some great feedback from Portia and Karen on attempting another one now I have some more sewing experience under my belt.
But what did stand out for me during SSS’11 was some of my attitudes to dressing. I like to think I’m a fairly average 30-something woman when it comes to my wardrobe: I’d like to make more of an effort (but I generally don’t), I have a few body hang ups (who doesn’t?) and high street shops, magazines, TV and celeb culture make me feel like I should always be buying and consuming or else I’m going to miss out. This all combines to make me feel frequently unsatisfied with my wardrobe, often unwilling to take risks in case they backfire and scared of going against the flow and embracing my inner style. So in no particular order of importance, here are my thoughts on SSS’11. “We sure all learned something that September…” etc
It’s ok to wear something that isn’t ‘bang on trend’
I know this sounds silly, and of course we all wear old favourites from our wardrobes without giving a hoot as to whether they’re in Grazia this week or not. But by wearing outfits that are distinctly not purchased as part of an ‘Autumn drop’ at Topshop or churned out by the squillions from H&M, I did feel like I was very much going against prevailing notions of how to dress. In fact, at the beginning of the challenge I was convinced that someone would shriek at me in the street, finger pointing and face aghast ‘You MADE that? And you’re wearing it OUTSIDE??’ You’ll be glad to know that feeling eased off after a while.
It’s ok to plough your own style furrow
Who cares if your style is crazy fifties housewife (gin and G-plan) with a dash of Edwardian glamour. Work it. During the challenge I found there were certain things I really liked that I didn’t realise: nippped in waists with big belts, any print with an animal on it, peter pan collars. I already knew I loved polka dots in a big way but woah – how I do love those polka dots. They just call out ‘oh hai, join us for teh fun times!’ to me. I think there is some ‘inner style’ realisation at work here but it’s yet to fully crystallise into a ‘look’. But that’s half the fun surely?
It’s not ok to think you’re not worth the effort
This is a weird one to try and explain but I’ll have a go. By focusing on a daily outfit and trying to make it look nice and match well with other items, I suppose I started taking a bit more notice of my appearance on a daily basis. It made me realise that most days (pre SSS’11) I just threw on a top, a pair of jeans and scampered out the door. I work in an office but my role is considered ‘creative’ so I get away with wearing whatever I want, which usually equals ‘no effort’ in my book. Sounds great, until you realise that you’ve lived in jeans and converse for so long that you’ve forgotten how to put something else together entirely, and you start to think you don’t suit smarter clothes so there’s no point in even trying. Before you know it you’re in a bit of a slump, not valuing yourself, your own style, and even having body woes (because you’ve forgotten how to wear something that shows you have a waist, you think you don’t have a waist). So whilst I’m not going to be all evangelical about how SSS’11 showed me how to make the most of myself again (that would be an exaggeration) I certainly started to think about making more effort on a daily basis, planning outfits more and just thinking to myself ‘yeh – you are worth it’. Hope that makes sense…
God this has turned into a bit of an essay. And no pics to break it up! Oh alright then – here’s one I made earlier.