Style scrapbook

Ages ago I read an interesting post on A Dress A Day about finding your personal style, or something along those lines. I can’t find the post now to check. The gist of it was to read fashion magazines, tear out all the pictures you like, and once you’ve collected a few sit down and work out what they have in common.

I’ve been tearing pictures out of mags for years but never did a lot with them. I have a scrapbook but I manage to stick pictures into it at a much lower rate than I accumulate new ones. So recently I dug out my folder of pictures to see if there’s a common theme. Turns out that once you remove the completely unwearable, there are several categories:

  • Silver. Any item of clothing made out of a silver fabric gets selected. Since I started making my own clothes I have made three silver dresses and two silver skirts. There is a much smaller group of gold metallics too, but gold only appears in heavily textured form – hello, Balenciaga C3PO leggings.
  • Sheath dresses. Mostly in black, grey, or red, and especially ones by Roland Mouret. Again, my collection of homemade sleeveless sheath dresses is alarmingly large. However I don’t own a copy of Vogue 8280, the Roland Mouret Galaxy knockoff pattern, despite having carefully preserved every picture of the Galaxy that ever appeared in Vogue.
  • Colour-blocked dresses. I’ve made two of those so far. Both sleeveless sheaths so two for the price of one! Lots of Marios Schwab here.
  • There’s a large category I can only describe as ‘cyberpunk’. A lot of black shiny stuff with some very acid brights. I’ve mostly failed to find fabric to make anything like this. I do have a favourite black dress in a 100% nylon stretch twill which came from Oasis over ten years ago. Sadly it is now too tatty to wear. I’ve never found fabric like it on sale anywhere so this category is not contributing to my dressmaking yet.
  • Tartan, mostly as dresses, and mostly Alexander McQueen, but the occasional Vivienne Westwood suit.

So, does this tell me anything useful (apart from the fact that I have horrifyingly expensive taste and therefore better learn to sew…oh wait)? The strange thing is that I don’t own anything at all in tartan, nor have I ever bought any tartan fabric. I once saw a tartan Yohji Yamamoto dress in Selfridges that I’d love to make a copy of, but I suspect my sewing skills aren’t up to it yet. It was fairly punky with a very uneven hem and a zip down the front. It had a V-neck and I think was sleeveless. The fabric was mostly blue.

So tartan is something I should probably try out some time soon. That’ll mean learning how to match those stripes though. In the meantime I’m working away on my plain blue Burda shirt, which doesn’t fit into any of my style categories, but certainly comes under the heading of learning new skills. Hopefully I’ll have that finished next week.

16 thoughts on “Style scrapbook

  1. It’s a good idea to do all that snipping and collecting, based on what you like in the magazines, BUT most of what I really love just doesn’t suit me because I’m 5ft 2 and have to be careful. I do have to adapt things to be pretty close fitting so they don’t swamp me. You might think a sheath dress would look good on me, being quite petit, but no! Most annoying, as I like that style on others, you included. I have to have a bit more shape in my clothes. I think Vogue 8280 would be okay on me, though.

    Now, to me you are so lucky, as you look as though you could carry off lots of styles without too many alterations. Is that just a case of the grass being greener? I must say, there can’t be too many people that could get away with that space-age silver dress you made!

    As for that Yohji Yamamoto dress you liked, and you wondering if your sewing skills are up to it…if it was pretty punky you could probably get away with it, as long as the hem was wonky enough to look deliberate! Why not try it? Start off with a basic pattern and go crazy!

    1. I know what you mean. I love some of those very androgynous looks like Le Smoking but being so tall I’d probably just get mistaken for a man!

    1. Oh yes, absolutely my favorite designer. The draping on the bodice of that dress is amazing. As well as her clothes I particularly like her personal style as well – she always looks dramatic but comfortable with it. Something to aspire to!

  2. Enjoying your blog very much. I like your edgy taste and wonder if your folder contained any photos of the actress Tilda Swinton? Although I think you are much prettier than she, there is a similarity somewhere that makes me think you should keep up the kind of bold and graceful lines that she favors and we saw in your orange balloon dress.

    1. Thanks! I do like Tilda Swinton’s style although she’s a lot braver than I am. There was a great piece about her in Vogue a few years ago. I particularly remember a picture where she was wearing an Alexander McQueen suit. Got to admire that asymmetric navy Lanvin dress she wore to the Oscars too, although it’s strictly red-carpet stuff.

  3. Totally agree with Fearless Reader.

    And I really don’t think you’d be mistaken for a man (not from the front, anyway!)

    I was just trying to take a flattering photo of myself in that DKNY side-pleated lycra dress and it would have been so much easier had I been your graceful shape. I’ll post soon. Have been lazy!

  4. MacDonald tartan is the one our Viv usually works with it’s red based. Maybe instead of going Wales for your hols you ought to get Mikey boy to take you to Scotland. Lots of Tartan shops. You might also be able to get a family tartan made or found. Maybe you could get a black red and silver tartan made. I think you ought to go on a weaving and printing course then you’d get exactly the materials and patterns required. Get a little flock of sheepy sheep. I could shear them for you lol maybe not. I used to have a MacDonald tartan skirt. Loved it. Don’t know if I am a memeber of any of the clans. As for mags I could send you some. There was some lovely red and silver material in a mag and I can’t for the life of me remember which A/W10 collection it was from. Not much help is it. We ought to set up a business you do the clothes and I could do the accessories. Mind you I’d have everyone in Trainers and with Nicole Lee bags. I got a cool one from John Barrowman’s favourite shop.

  5. What about a bt of Paloma faith Style. Some of the materials used in her clothes is amazing. The yellow tights I am not so keen so lol. It’s classic with a modern twist. Promise me you won’t go Lady Gaga on us. I am sure a mirrored dress could be quite dangerous. I know Chris Lowe of The Pet Shop Boys had to have a second mirrored jacket made as it was doing him mischief on stage lol.

  6. Yikes just had magazine avalanche which landed on my toes and I haven’t got my shoes on. A few choice words have now been spoken. Still can’t find the mag with the red and silver dress I was on about in. I think me and thee ought to go to Clothes Show live to get some inspiration some day at Brum. Nothing like ripping off the best.

  7. Maybe your (unhealthy) liking for silver goes back to your Dr Who fetish. Maybe you sbconsciously want o be a cyberwoman instead of Drs assistant. See Dalek post

  8. Can’t find the one with the silver and red dress in it but have a Jason Wu one that is made out of gold and red material. Looks as though he Ha just goldleafed his way down the front of the dress it’s lovely. What about denim that timeless and if you made one this year you could always chop or change to make it more on trend.

  9. Soz for the typos. Just a pair of black Laboutain studded pumps got a bit distracted.

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