It is my favourite time of year, Autumn Winter; and actually the shortest fashion period, yielding the highest turnover in retail, primarily because this season sells higher priced items.
As it is taking such a long time for me to make my clothes at the moment, because my time is becoming limited, I am actually going to do the one thing I have not done since I was at school with a £50 quarterly clothing allowance. Which was quite a lot in 1994, however it did not go so far then, as there was no such thing as Primark in this country, and Topshop was unimaginably atrocious. Clothes also relatively reflected their value then. However I will leave that to a later blog.
It is time to plan my winter wardrobe.
To enable my mission to succeed it is important for me to incorporate all the most important things I used to tell my customers to allow my wardrobe to work effectively for me.
I am buying fabrics and pulling patterns together, trawling through Pinterest, magazines, websites etc to draw all my ideas together. But this time as I am not totally constrained by the colours that have been dictated to me by trend setters, I can utilise the advice I have gained on dressing in the colours that suit my skin tone.
I am really lucky to have worked at a fashion house that really celebrated colour, the rainbows that would land in our deliveries each season helped many of us learn a really good grounding into how colour could change you from looking like a corpse to looking healthy and bright.
There are companies that will for a fee give you consultations to help you identify your most complementary colour pallet. A little advice however from someone who regularly had these little books thrust at us, and told that it had to be that exact colour. Don't always use them as a steadfast rule. Rules are always there to be broken and massaged to fit what we require in life, as long as it is not harming anyone.
Fabrics will take a colour differently, even from the same vat of dye being used. I am not going to go into how light is absorbed and reflected, just yet. But if the colour of the cloth reflects off your face and makes you radiate health then that colour works for you. I am so allergic to the colour mustard that even trying on a pair of mustard shoes instantly drained the colour out of my face. So I am pretty sure when you actually try it for yourself you will see how astonishing the effect of colour can be on your general look.
The other thing that I should also mention is that your skin tone will also change over time as you get older, so don’t continue to rely on the little booklet if it is no longer working for you. It could be time to try colours you would never have considered ever working for you.
These are a few of the colours in my pallet that suit me, I have Dark hair and very dark brown eyes with a very blue undertone to my skin. These colours complement the blue undertone to my skin.
I am excited about really focusing on my colour pallet and using it in a tight capsule wardrobe for once. Because I know that with really good planning, and not allowing my magpie eye to stray from the colours that really suit me, every new piece of clothing I choose to add to my wardrobe will work and compliment each other as well as they compliment me.
I will endeavour to put as much of the information I have learnt about colour together for your reference in a subsequent blogs.
Over the past few months I have been telling all my friends about what I am trying to do. The simple idea that I want to just use all the clothes up that I acquired while working in fashion retail, has changed and evolved most people want me to define exactly what I am doing and what I am trying to achieve.
Fair enough because it has always been a pretty flexible idea, however for my friends to define my success or ultimate failure to succumb to my default consumer drone mechanism, the lines need to be drawn.
Let’s face it, I may be able to make hats, draw up patterns, sew but I cannot and am not about to go out and learn to make my own shoes. If I need a new pair to walk to work in then I am going to have to buy them. I will not be weaving my own fabric so I will have to buy fabric at certain points. I will perhaps buy the odd garment from a charity shop, mainly jumpers, as my knitting skills are terrible, and I will need to keep warm as I live in Britain and it gets cold, windy and wet.
What a box of worms I have opened up; simply not wanting to waste the clothes I had acquired and had never had the chance to wear.
Now is perhaps when I have to lay down my own ethical ideas about where I want my clothes to be made, where I place the value of where I spend my money, whose work I want to pay for and why I consider it worthy to pass my money over to them. While I figure out these ideals, I can utilise my own skills in making, which is ideal for me.
This is not a make do and mend in the sense of WW2 make do and mend. It is not that meaningless an exercise as to recreate the skills that got us through rationing. This is a make do and mend in the sense of mending the ethics, morals and consumer ideals which have become my norm over the past decade or so, as the consumer bubble grew and grew and grew.
It is meant to be a mend for style, and substance over fast fashion. Facing ageism in fashion and growing older by not succumbing to the brain washing of the misogynistic media, which seems to continue to avoid realising we are all different and have qualities that supersede the vacuous avatar of the homogenised female ideal portrayed to us every day.
It has a lot more gravitas than reducing landfill with useless low quality clothes, it is about re-evaluating why I like fabric, clothes and fashion so much. Clothes to me have always been about expressing my own personality; this is possibly why I have so many. I would be a fool to believe that this exercise was going to reduce my wardrobe size, and in fact I would never want to. It is an expression and why should I censor myself. But this expression needs to come back into balance with the way I want to lead my life.
Having graduated in Costume design from Wimbledon school of art, London, in 2001.