COLETTERIE WARDROBE ARCHITECT
Homework #11. How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalize? Have they changed over the years and why?
I wouldn't say my tastes have crystallized; I always seem to be shifting between the black-heavy, almost punk edges of the style I favoured when I was a teenager, and the more woodsy, autumn style I gravitate toward recently. I've always rejected cutesy, twee or overly 'feminine' clothing mostly out of a desire to avoid the concurrent stereotypes, and favoured muted, more 'serious' tones in an effort to not draw a lot of attention to myself. I much prefer simple styles, patterns and colours because I feel that anything too busy very quickly overwhelms my features.
2. How does your philosophy, spirituality or religion affect your aesthetics or buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?
Attending Catholic schools for 13 years (K-12), complete with strict uniform guidelines, affected me aesthetically if not morally. I enjoy clothing that doesn't take a lot of effort to pick out, a uniform-esque approach that now manifests in having a lot of the same category of clothing. I appreciate how subtle changes to a uniform create a certain effect, and the small rebellions against the dress code set me up for the counterculture influences still in my style.
3. How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?
Dressing a certain way was never a huge priority for me as a kid; often I'd wear boy's clothes and not give a single shit about it. I find that still reflected in my love of 'masculine' styles like pants, button-down shirts and boots. Thriftiness and quality were always thought about in my house re: clothes, and my mother made a lot of my wardrobe before my other 4 siblings came along. That means that, despite gravitating toward a high rotation of cheap trend pieces when I could finally afford to buy my own clothes, I now try to look for simplicity and high-quality in the pieces I buy.
4. How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?
My immersion in the emo movement when I was 15-17 (and die-hard metalhead status for a few years afterwards) still inserts tiny influences in my style. I still like blacks, reds and greys, still wear black skinny jeans a lot, etc. However, it's tempered by my tendency toward nerd-quietness and seriousness, and the country background I grew up with and its own muted palette and practicality. Wearing bright or aesthetically LOUD items in my small country town meant people would notice, and not always in a good way. I would also cop a lot of shit in my country-based family for any kind of out-there style experiments.
5. How do your day to day activities influence your choices?
My day-to-day is not particularly active; many of my hobbies involve the indoors. However, even though that would mean I can experiment a little with style, I still try and wear things that don't interfere with whatever I'm doing. Bracelets and rings drive me nuts, my hair is tied back 80% of the time, my favoured earrings are studs - if it's distracting me, it goes. Same goes with low necklines or high hemlines - if I'm more preoccupied with keeping myself decent than whatever I'm doing, I try and adjust.
6. Does the place you live in inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?
Yes, yes, yes. Australia means a) casual, b) factor in the heat and c) don't draw attention to yourself. Flip-flops and shorts are acceptable wear in an extraordinary amount of places and months, and resisting that in the name of style isn't easy. It never gets truly cold where I live so the coats, jumpers, scarves and boots I adore wearing are often too warm even in winter, except on perhaps five days of the year. Because the general population are so casual it means that any kind of style that asserts itself can be seen as pushy or pretentious unless you're in the heart of a decent-sized city.
7. In what way does body image affect your choice in clothing? What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?
I see myself as quite short and cute, in a childish kind of way, and so my clothing choices reflect trying to always make myself more adult and serious, intellectually. This is then tempered by a desire to be approachable and/or friendly, a contradiction I'm still not quite on top of. I feel good in practical clothing that doesn't require constant adjusting, and colours and styles that I love. Anything too frilly or revealing makes me a little uncomfortable, as do things that are a little costume-y. I prefer slouchy, not-fitted things but struggle with the resulting silhouette in photos, particularly as I am not photogenic at all and tend to look fat in pictures.
Overall I think my taste is largely still evolving, and will change as I move from student to professional, novice to... not a novice? (I want to say 'master' but... no, there has to be a middle ground. Google is saying 'novice to ninja' so that will do. Ninja.)