Personal style is a strange thing. Constantly evolving in some way or another, being influenced by everything and everyone around us, the changing seasons, changes in our lifestyle, new jobs, where we live.
And yet, it’s such an important thing on a personal level. It’s one of the ways we project to the world “this is who I am”. It reflects what we value, what we care about, what we like (or don’t like). It’s part of our public persona – the face we show to the world, and that people use to help them decide who we are, whether we’re like them or not, whether they want to get to know us better.
It gets even stranger when you start thinking about the mass-produced, disposable “fashion” that’s prevalent everywhere today. Trends, passing rapidly through urban landscapes like freight trains, nowhere one week, visible everywhere the next, and then gone again a few weeks later. And when somethings not “on trend”? Yeah, pretty much impossible to find it anywhere. Add in the media pressure to be “on trend” and wearing what’s currently “in”, and you start to wonder – why are stores, designers, media, etc all trying to convince us that being clones of one another is not only a good thing, but something to aspire to? Have the same hair (GHD’ed to straightness, with ombre dye job, maybe?). Wear the same clothes. Do your make-up in a certain way. Same, same, sameness everywhere.
This is one of the key reasons I like to sew, and why I love reading about and seeing things that people have made. It gives us back a way to celebrate our own diversity, to show part of who we are as individuals – the shapes we like, the combinations, the colours, the prints. The things that call to our emotions and our senses.
And because we are all different, those things are going to be different for each of us. And quite frankly, I think that’s freakin’ awesome! And seeing a parade of those differences, those individual likes and preferences and emotions and values represented in choices of style and fabric, print and colour? It makes me happy. It makes my heart sing and my mind click into creative mode.
Now, why have I been thinking about this? Back in May, I had a bit of a personal style crisis, which co-incided with Me-Made-May. I was at the stage of pregnancy where most of my normal (non-preggy) wardrobe didn’t fit, but I hadn’t yet made things that did, so I was dressing most days in hand-me-down maternity clothes from lovely friends. Which is all well and good (and quite frankly, a bit of a wardrobe life-saver!) but something was fundamentally missing from each day.
My sense of personal style. My ability to choose things that I wanted to wear, that spoke to me and made me happy.
Instead, I was just wearing clothes. Functional, but not inspirational.
And it impacted on my mood. On my happiness.
Once I realised that, I kicked into overdrive, and rapidly stitched up several patterns that, while they may not be my normal non-pregnancy style in some cases, are things that I want to wear, made in fabrics and colours and patterns that call to me.
I still don’t have enough me-made garments for this stage in my pregnancy to be able to wear them everyday, but it’s a start.
And those days when I do wear at least one me-made garment? Yep, turns out I’m just a bit happier those days, a bit more confident.
Strange how all that works, isn’t it?
Something that started out as a hobby (well, in my case, it started out as the only way to ever get tops with sleeves long enough!) has become that intrinsically linked to my sense of self. I think it was always that way – personal style, sense of self, ability to represent oneself through what we clothe and adorn ourselves with. But sewing has really made me realise how important that is.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it all!
(In the meantime, guess I’d better go and sew some more, haha!)