The Personal Style Project, phase 1 cont.: Who are you?

Oooh ooh, ooh ooh! (Great, now I’m going to have that song by The Who stuck in my head.) Anyway…

Moving on to part 3 of the Retro Chick guide to defining you personal style–now that I’ve more or less established the basics of what I like in fashion (note: that post is slightly edited because I pretty much entirely forgot my lower half in the original post), moving on to who I am.

My Job: I’m lucky…my actual career is being a musician. Most of my actual income from that comes in the form of teaching flute lessons. While I try to look somewhat professional for that (mainly so the parents will take me seriously, because the kids probably don’t care), I do feel like I can allow my wardrobe to be a more funky, casual professional. No suits for me! I do teach band one day a week, and since it’s a private school, I do have to make sure to respect the teacher’s dress code–nothing too short, too tight, or showing cleavage. (Though, honestly, since the majority of my band is middle school boys, I’d prefer to do that anyway. And hurrah for camisoles.) I do occasionally get to perform, either as part of local groups or as a background musician for weddings and such, but generally all I need for that is something black. (I have a habit of grabbing anything slightly funky and black that I can find at the thrift stores as a result.) I also have a seasonal part-time job as a cashier at a garden center (this being the season that I’m off, obviously.) I do have a uniform of sorts for that, in the form of the T-shirt or hoodie that has the company logo on it, keeping my hair in a ponytail, and wearing some kind of sneaker and jeans (or longer shorts/capris in the summer) that it’s ok to get dirt on. But I’m not going to consider that last part for this project, for obvious reasons. πŸ˜‰

What’s my body shape? I’m actually pretty much an hourglass, which I think is why I tend to favor the stuff that’s more fitted at the waist and the V-necks–those are my better features. (Though with the deeper V-necks, I do prefer to layer with camisoles and such. Don’t really like the feeling that everyone’s staring at my chest otherwise.) I’m definitely way more self-conscious about my lower half (especially my thighs), which is why I don’t like really tight pants. Or if I have the more fitted thighs, I feel like I need the flare at the bottom to balance it out. (This is why I really need to have a more successful run at making my own jeans–so I can get the perfect amount of snug-but-not-tight at the top, without the gaposis at my waistband problem!)

[rant] Believe it or not, one of my biggest fitting challenges is actually my feet. Depending on the shoe, I’ve been ranging between a 9.5-10…and my feet are double-wide. Though I can often get away with just a regular wide, especially if I go for a size 10. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find affordable, stylish shoes in that size? Especially boots…apparently there’s this assumption going on that double-wide feet also equal double-sized calves, which is not the case with me. I was the girl who had to wear boy’s sneakers the whole time I was growing up, because they were the only ones that fit me, and this is why I got into wearing stuff like Converses and Birkenstocks–they’re unisex and therefore they fit me. This is also why shoes are my fashion nemesis. [/rant]

What’s my coloring?
I guess this one requires a picture, so here’s one from when I was goofing off the other day trying to take an outfit picture. (Definitely not living up to the fashion blogs here on the background!) As you can see, I’m pretty pale, and I think I have a slightly warmer undertone to that–it’s hard to tell sometimes since I also have rosacea and tend to sunburn easily. My eyes are actually dark brown, though they probably look black in this pic. And I like to pretend I’m a natural redhead…my hair actually was rather reddish (with gold highlights) for much of my 20s, but now that I’m getting close to the end of that, my hair is going mousy brown again. (My mom’s did the same thing.) So now I help it remember that it’s supposed to be auburn with the help of some henna. πŸ˜‰ I think I look best in greens, blues and browns, especially the brighter and/or warmer shades of those. Though I do think that black also makes my hair look redder, and therefore I like it. Purple works too. I like yellow and orange, but I have to be careful with those because they can make me look kind of jaundiced. I can wear red as long as it’s more of a burgundy-toned one–bright red looks awful on me. And I refuse to wear pink. Even if it needs help, I’m enough of a redhead that I can claim that it clashes with my hair! (Of course, I wouldn’t wear it anyway…it’s my least favorite color.) I don’t like pastels on me in general, and I’m undecided about white–I do think that the more ivory tones work better on me, but I wear white anyway too. Sometimes white just goes with the outfit better.

What are my hobbies?
I actually think that my hobbies tend to influence my style–especially since, obviously, one of my biggest hobbies is making stuff! So let’s set sewing, jewelry design, and all other things crafty aside for the moment.

I’ve always loved to read. I most often go for things in the fantasy/sci-fi, historical fiction, and classics genres. I have been known to do fashion based on books– for example, this dress was kind of a mash-up of the 60s (via the tie-dye) and a somewhat modernized corset-over-bodice silhouette–it always made me think of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This shirt was a direct inspiration from, of all things, the description of the cloak that Faramir gave Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings. And the main reason I bought this top at the thrift store was because the silhouette and especially the sleeves made me think of a modernized Jane Austen look.

On a related note, I also enjoy movies and my particular tv series, usually of the same genres. And again, I’ve been known to make things for everyday wear based on those. A few examples: This shirt was a direct inspiration from this dress in the Keira Knightley version of Pride & Prejudice. I pretty much blatantly copied Inara’s shirt from Firefly (though in a different color…and I’m still tempted to copy that skirt!), and later stole some more inspiration (though not as obvious) from Kaylee in the same show. And more recently, there was turning one of Eowyn’s signature dresses from the LotR movies into a more everyday shirt. (There’s still a big temptation to attempt to do the same to this dress of Arwen’s at some point.) Sometimes I can find jewelry inspiration from oddball sci-fi sources too, like this necklace–the idea came from an episode of Stargate SG-1. (Hard to see, but it’s really the pattern of the necklace that inspired me, since I couldn’t make it work with chunkier beads like I first tried. I need to fix that one…currently broken. Either that or remake it into a bracelet, since it never quite lay right anyway.) I’m also currently getting into Avatar: The Last Airbender, and am seriously considering a jewelry series inspired by that…

In my post-college days, I have gotten into more outdoorsy activities, like hiking and backpacking and canoeing and such. I do have somewhat of a specialized capsule wardrobe for those trips, so again, that doesn’t really factor too much into this project. But I can see the influence on that in my fashion choices–I think a lot more about the ecology of fashion than I used to, have gotten into recycling clothes and jewelry via refashioning, and I do have way more of a tendency to go for nature-inspired colors and natural materials than I used to.

Music is a huge part of my life, aside from my flute-related activities. I actually spend way more time listening to non-classical music, and I have a rather large and ever-growing music collection– since August, I’ve been doing a side project where I’ve been listening and blogging through my entire iPod (on a different site, since the RL friends I have who are most interested in this are there. Currently, I’m on albums that begin with R, so I have a ways to go yet!) Most of the time, it’s either stuff from the 60s and 70s (especially The Beatles, which are pretty much my all-time favorite band…yes, I actually have 3 Beatles band tees, and no, I’m not getting rid of any of them!) , the 90s alternative I grew up with (which I still like for the most part), or the more modern stuff. I have to admit that I don’t like the majority of mainstream music (read: pretty much anything that got nominated for the Grammys. I’m probably the only person in America who doesn’t have a clue what Lady GaGa sings at this point!) and tend to listen to a lot more indie stuff, like The Decemberists, Andrew Bird, Arcade Fire, Death Cab For Cutie, Vampire Weekend, etc. (Kudos to you if you know anything by any of those groups.) And I love going to concerts– I went to several last year, and have another one coming up in a couple of weeks (going to see Muse in Philadelphia!)

By this point in the project, I think I can actually summarize my style–it seems to be “Boho-fantasy hipster.” Given my taste in books, movies and especially music, this actually makes perfect sense.

I have been working already on part 4 of her series, which is looking at what I have already. Though at the moment, I’m focusing more on my spring and summer wardrobe, since that’s really what I’ll be needing to sew for soonest. And I am already seeing things in it that either need some reworking or that just aren’t appealing to me…at the same time, though, I’m reluctant to just get rid of them because, you know, I made that. Does anyone else have that problem?

Oh, and lest you think I’m spending all of my snow days obsessing over fashion, I’ll have you know that as of today, my room has curtain rods, so that will help with measuring and getting those done. And I actually made a pretty good dent in quilting my leaf-covered bedspread today. I still have to quilt within the blocks (15 large-sized blocks in all), but all of the blocks are outlined and all of the borders are stitched around.) So I finally feel like I’m making some progress in here! If only I could make better progress in straightening up and organizing this place…really, all I want is to be able to wave a wand and have everything magically sort itself out!


4 thoughts on “The Personal Style Project, phase 1 cont.: Who are you?

  1. That's a great picture of you! I bet you'd look great in teal or turquoise. And you might not like pale pink, but you should try on something in the rose family, 'just to see how it looks.'
    Do you remember when people used to get their colors done? (Are you even old enough to remember that, LOL?) I'm a winter, myself. Red and purple are my best colors. I like orange and yellow, but they generally make me look like death. Oh, well, glad we have a lot of choices out there!


  2. Thanks for your comment about my sketch.
    I'm really impressed with your take on this series. I've read but so far I'm only pondering the advice, maybe I need to do like you and really write down my thoughts on each of the points. So far, I'm only gathering inspiration from different sources, but then again I don't want to rush myself. Yeah, I'm confused.


  3. Nice! You seem to have lots of insight to who you are fashion wise.. I'm still working on the look book and making notes. Finished my color analysis up today… I used pretty good info on this sight all around.. about shapes, colors, etc.
    Seems I'm a “soft summer”…


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