Reflecting on personal style

Actually this post should have been on the blog three weeks ago and I should already being preparing the third post of the Wardobe Architect Series. I have to say I’m not able to keep track regarding the schedule for posting, but I’ll try to do as many of the WA Series’ excercises as possible.

The first topic in the WA Series is called “Making style more personal” and is to make reflections on your personal style: “How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalize” and “How has your cultural background shaped the way you look?”are some of the questions to start thinking about what kind of clothing you have been wearing at different life stages and why.

I began to delevop my own taste at about the age of 13 or 14. Since then, my clothing habits have always been influenced by my music taste, by subcultures and pop culture. I had always loved music and as a 14-year old, I started collecting vinyl records and getting interested in subcultures. At that time (it was the mid to late 90s), the Internet was only accessible to few people and did not offer a lot of possibilities, so to get information on music and music cultures you had to read magazines or fanzines, go to the local record shop (if there was one in your town), to concerts and youth centres.

Clothing has always played a role in youth culture and subcultures, to show that you belong to a certain group and to distinguish you from the mainstream. Indeed I didn’t want to be like the popular girls at school. Through my style I tried to communicate my music taste. When I started buying records, I was into HipHop and Reggae, later on I discovered rare Soul records and got interested in British subcultures, especially the Mod scene. Though, I never really felt like belonging to the regarding scenes. Nowadays, I often think about this “belonging to a scene (or not)”-thing, maybe I’ll write a post on that later on.

As a young person, clothing can have a significance for figuring out who you want to be, to deal with your identity and body image. Between 13 and 16, I never wore skirts or dresses, I dressed rather “baggy” as I didn’t feel comfortable with my physical changes and the way people at my age defined or stressed “feminity” and beauty.

Through subcultures and also through films I discovered styles of the 1970s and 60s, which in my opinion looked so much better than the stuff that was fashion in the late 90s and early 2000s – ugly platform shoes? Cropped tops with elastic straps at the back? No, thanks! I started looking for vintage clothing (back then it was just called “second hand clothing”) but seldomly found something I liked or that fit me. So I relied on the high street shops having something “retro” in their current collection. I also discovered brands that were popular in the scene, and having started an apprenticeship at the age of 16, I disposed of some money to spend on records and clothing.

I think over the last years I’ve found a style to stick with: I mostly like dressing smart with 60s style dresses, skirts and shirts, no matter if I go to uni, work or a party. I rather like the early to mid sixties fashion than the psychedelic late sixties style many people associate with 1960s clothes.

Two to three years ago I started sewing my own clothes as I still found it hard to find clothes suiting my taste and budget and that also fit well. Furthermore, the poor quality offered by high street shops to relatively high prices annoyed me – and it still does!

Having moved from Hamburg to Barcelona, I faced a new problem: Chelsea boots and button down shirts are not at all practical during the three months of summer heat we have over here. So in one of the next steps of the Wardrobe Architect Series I’m going to figure out how I can translate my taste in a appropriate summer wardrobe.

Are you a person who is into a subculture or has a certain taste in clothing and started sewing for a lack of approppriate clothing? Would love to hear your story.