Wardrobe Architect – Colour…Solids…Prints

wardrobe architect header

Wow, this post has been a long time coming.  Not only because I’ve been letting my thoughts on the topic percolate, but also because I hadn’t got a clue how to make the lovely little colour visuals to go along with it! You’ll see below that I’ve got a handle on that now…I’m currently working on improving my graphics skills.  More on that at a later date. For now…back to the matter in hand.

The Wardrobe Architect sessions on Colour, Organising Your Palette and Solids & Prints have been astonishingly revealing for me.

Historically I’ve been tempted by shiny, pretty fabrics as much as the latest “must have” pattern.  And, for me, this has been at the root of the lack of style cohesion.


For several reasons.

…When you have a lovely collection of pretty fabrics in different prints and every colour under the rainbow….nothing goes together.  Individually they are all lovely. Together it becomes a hot mess.

…Not all of the pretty fabrics really suit me.

…This lack of suitability means that the fabric doesn’t get sewn up, or, it does and the garment is an immediately fail because it feels off.

I’m as guilty of this with RTW as I am with fabrics.

So I flicked back through my blog posts and through my wardrobe and chose the outfits/garments that:

…Are the ones I reach for first when I open the wardrobe door.

…Are the ones that every time I wear them I receive a compliment…not always on the actual garment…most often of the “hey, you look really well today” variety.

…The ones that make me feel really good when I wear them.

Doing this flicked a lightbulb in my head.  And suddenly it became really easy to identify “my” colours.

Neutrals – the basics that go with just about everything.

WA 1 - Neutrals

Nearly neutrals – like neutrals but have a little more visual impact.

WA 2 - Nearly Neutrals v.2

Statement colours – “have a lot more visual weight, and they tend to make clothing more recognizable”

WA 3 - statement colours v.2


Metallics – “act like neutrals but have a bit more spark to them”

WA - Metallics

But what about prints and patterns?  I’ve always been a sucker for a pretty print.  They’ve not always been the best purchase for me.

Again, it’s become surprisingly clear.

I love a good polka dot and a strong stripe

Checks and “twee” florals are less my style.  (Hey…look…”my style”…it’s working! 😉 )

Bold and modern prints and florals…oh yes please.

Geometrics….not so much.

Image from The Village Haberdashery

Image from The Village Haberdashery

What surprised me the most is that this isn’t a big list.  I think I’d always thought that if I had a wardrobe full of clothes of the same colours, it would all be a bit bland.  In reality it’s completely the opposite.  Not all navy trousers are the same!

Having a wardrobe of garments in colours that make me feel good, in the silhouettes that I love to wear, and which can easily mix and match will be liberating and exciting.

Surprisingly this all fell into place for me last week.  I was trying on some tops and knew that a tunic silhouette with a 3/4 sleeve would be worn to death.  I picked up half a dozen in the colours I now know work for me, and then it was a simple issue of fit.  Whereas clothes shopping is usually an exercise in frustration and futility, within 30 minutes I’d tried on several pairs of jeans and a handful of tops and walked out with one of each.

Painless.  For the first time ever!

Next time I’ll bring the series even more up to date with my thoughts on planning my Autumn/Winter wardrobe.  I know it’s summer, but I’m working my way through stash fabric at the moment…the stuff I do want to wear.  Clearing the decks so that I can plan my next steps without fabric/pattern guilt!

10 Responses to Wardrobe Architect – Colour…Solids…Prints

  1. Suz says:

    I really need to sit and think carefully about my wardrobe. I have so many colours and styles I would never wear and they just take up space and frustrate me whenever I try to find something to wear. Thanks! I’m feeling inspired 🙂

    • Evie says:

      I have to say that this hasn’t been a quick process…but it all seems to have come together very quickly at the end. It’s making my life so very much easier…both sewing and shopping. I hope you have as much fun.

  2. so glad you found it useful – i have got loads of tips and idea out from it. it has stopped me buying all the new patterns if they don’t fit my style, and i buy fabrics that i really want to wear! all good for a me made wardrobe that you love!

    • Evie says:

      I’m the same with new patterns. It’s so easy to get sucked into buying the latest, particularly indie, pattern even if it’s not something you’ll ever make or wear. I’m in the middle of a big old clear out of patterns and fabrics and looking forward to the next chapter of my making career. It’s going to be fun!

  3. Marianne says:

    Interesting! I sorted out my colours some years ago, but am new to experimenting with prints. Working on a small print now and although it’s too early to tell, I suspect it’s not a good choice. Wee florals are probably not my style too!

    • Evie says:

      For me I think I’ve just reached an age where some florals can look just a bit too junior. Some of the more modern small prints are just perfect. It’s a very fine line though! I do hope your project works out for you.

  4. I have been following this series with interest as I have a tons of fabric/patterns/clothes and still fall back on the one or two colours (black/grey) that I always wear. It is great to find colours that you suit and it does make a big difference. Looking forward to seeing your next instalment. xx

    • Evie says:

      Thank you. I’ve found it to be a complete revelation and can’t believe I’ve got to 48 without cracking this thing. I’m actually starting to feel comfortable in the few clothes I have and know that soon I’ll be turning out more items for me…I’m planning to fit blocks for me that I can use to draft or tweak patterns with and save time/improve fit.

  5. It’s such a good and usefulthing to do. We invest so much time and money making beautiful items only to find sometimes that they’re just not us 🙁

    • Evie says:

      I know…and I’m totally over having that happen. I know there’ll be times when something doesn’t quite work out, but I’d like them to be the exception rather than the rule.

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