Wardrobe Architect Week 3: Exploring Shapes

Compared to the previous weeks’ assignments, this week’s exercise was a breeze. Rather than a battery of questions that benefited from deep reflection or a wide search for inspiration, it consists of tables of common style elements found in clothing and asks you to rate them on how much you loved or hated them. Sarai even encourages participants to go with their guts and not to second-guess their decisions—marking something favorably or unfavorably doesn’t in any way represent a commitment to sewing something or not sewing something else.

For anyone who else who has gone or is going through the exercises, I want to point out that I did deviate from the instructions in one small but meaningful way. Instead of using a 0-10 system to indicate how much I liked something, I used a simpler four-point scale:

0 – I would never wear this
1 – I would rarely wear this
2 – I would sometimes wear this
3 – I would always wear this

I chose this approach for two reasons: 1) It’s a lot less prone to over-analysis, since I felt like I could rate each style individually rather than trying to rank styles against each other, and 2) By framing the question in terms of things I would wear rather than things I do wear, I don’t feel like my answers are in any way constrained by my current wardrobe/dressing habits.

Now I think it’s time to let the numbers do the talking.




A few things stood out to me:

  • I like wearing skirts, but since it’s been so long since I’ve actually worn one—a combination of purging several that no longer fit comfortably and favoring pants in the winter because I chill easily—I don’t have particularly strong feelings about skirt shapes.
  • Any time that I strongly liked a very fitted shape, it was because I was imagining it in a knit, or at the very least a stretch woven. I’m a lot less fond of snug woven fabrics.
  • I had no idea what a jewel neckline was. Apparently it’s synonymous with crew neck. I’m not sure why you’d choose to use one term over the other; I guess “jewel neck” is considered a prettier or more feminine way to describe the neckline of a dress than “crew neck,” which has martial connotations?
  • Like many people (I imagine), I’m loath to say I’d never wear something—hey, if the right outfit came along, I could be persuaded, you know?—but I’ve finally realized that having sleeves stop at my waist, which is not narrow, does me no visual favors, and off-the-shoulder tops are just a pain, so why bother with either? It was kind of liberating to say, “Nope, not for me!”

What do you think of rating styles like this? When you think about your own preferences, are there any surprising favorites or seemingly conflicting preferences? Are there any styles you feel confident you would never wear?

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