How I F-ed up my Wardrobe Architect exercise

I’ve been approaching Wardrobe Architect wrong. Not in the steps followed, but in the resulting frame of mind. I took what was designed to be an exercise in self-discovery and intentionality, and transformed it into yet another way to stress myself out over the search for perfection.

It all started out fine and good in the spring of 2014. I pinned “some” fashion and color images, identified shapes and styles that flattered me and that I felt good in, and started to take stock of my current wardrobe.

Over 400 pins later, I still haven’t achieved that cohesive, modular, intentional wardrobe that I was promised. (Ok, ok, to their credit the brains of the Coletterie didn’t PROMISE wardrobe nirvana, but I certainly expected to achieve it after the 14-week process. Or at least be on my way.)

I have a series of Pinterest Boards that are beautiful, inspiring, and fucking overwhelming.

In the year since I started thinking deeply about my personal style, I have noticed that those “style” words I ascribed to myself have shifted slightly. What I want from a work wardrobe has changed. What I want from a personal wardrobe has changed. Some of the projects I already bought fabric for are no longer appealing. Change is constant, sure, but I also feel a bit defeated by all of these unfinished ideas. Especially the ones with a financial investment.

Why do I feel like I am constantly playing catch-up? Right now Gillian is leading a very cool photography project that I want to be participating in. But I have nothing to photograph. Nothing even in progress on the sewing table. I make my own to-do list, yet I feel like I am behind. Like: I need to finish X before I can start Y or even think about Z.

I joke that I measure 10 times and cut once. Then measure again before I sew. But maybe I should stop making light of that. I am doing this to my own detriment. I am making myself go through a multiple step process to identify the right styles before I can even let myself buy patterns and fabric, before I can start sewing garments to fill needed gaps in my wardrobe. (Gaps that have been there for years.) In the meantime I keep buying cute dresses from the thrift store. I am not letting myself just experiment. I apparently don’t want to risk putting the time into something that I won’t like or that won’t coordinate “just right” with the rest of my wardrobe. Then I sit and stare in envy at my sewing friends, admiring their new makes, their multiple-angle photos, and their strong knowledge of their own personal style.

I inadvertently turned an exercise in personal discovery into a checklist for creating the “perfect wardrobe,” and in doing so missed the point of the process. To be intentional and thoughtful about what I purchase or create does not need to be detailed out in a blog series BEFORE I start sewing.

So, how about we make an agreement. I’ll get to work on new clothes and share why I made something in the blog post AFTER I finish it. And you’ll share in my joy of a new make. Sound good?


7 thoughts on “How I F-ed up my Wardrobe Architect exercise

  1. This is exactly why I never make checklists for myself – if I feel I HAVE to do something, my brain will find all kinds of ways to come up with something else to do, and then my original inspiration dies.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You have to remember just to have fun! =)

    1. Last night was a moment of slightly negative introspection. 🙂 That said, it was nice to come to this realization. Gillian had a great suggestion – that I dive into the photography project with some of my thrifted clothes.

  2. I read your post and it made me smile. This is my life right now. My WA to quote The Smiths “was over before it even began” and I now feel overwhelmed and frustrated at my lack of sewing, blogging and just being organised. Thanks for making me feel like I am not the only one. 🙂 Xx

  3. I do the same thing with my crochet! I have about ten ongoing projects at any one time because I simply can’t settle on one. Or I’ll try out a ton of patterns to see what works with a yarn but I do it to the point of no longer wanting to work with the yarn! Good to know I’m not alone in the struggle!

  4. Just want to say you are not alone in this! I was just talking a friend about the problem with wanting everything to be so perfect that you never finish anything (if you at all get started). I haven’t sewn anything before the summer, and even though I do have a backlog of work, I can’t seem to get anything posted to my blog either. I keep waiting for the perfect lighting and perfect moment to take the perfect pictures.

    I also measure at least 10 times, but have been challenging myself to just go for it lately. I buy extra fabric, cut after only measuring 5 times and see what happens. Better with an imperfect, finished project, than a perfect project that only exists in your head. It’s hard, but I’m seeing progress. I wish you the best of luck too!

    1. Thank you Kara. You make excellent points. Especially when we are probably the only people who notice the imperfections. I can’t remember who said it, but one blogger pointed out that our RTW clothes often have small imperfections that we ignore, and things we make are unfairly held to a higher standard. Certainly we have the opportunity to improve and reduce mistakes, but that is the learning process.

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