A couple of posts ago I reviewed Kate Davies’ newly released book “Making life more beautiful”, and I mentioned that I was going to write a post relating the book to my particular style and personal attributes. I thought this would be worth doing otherwise part of the point of the information contained within the book will be lost.
I chose to be a bit systematic (for once!) and go chapter by chapter. Chapter 1 is Colouring. I spent some time in this section. I have rat brown hair with grey appearing as I age. If I left it alone it would be called “pepper and salt”, and my 95 year old mother still has this colour hair, whereas my Dad had a full head of snowy white hair from when he was around 65 until he passed away at 99. My hairdresser recoils in horror if I ask him whether we can let the colour grow out, and I have to agree with him; it wouldn’t be a good look!
I think I fall into the mutedcolouring category although I desperately wish to be something more exotic. To go with my rat brown hair, I have green eyes and funny coloured skin which can be fair but which tans easily, so perhaps it’s olive. I have no freckles at all and always wanted a few.
When I look at the colour palettes though I find that I like some from the “Muted”, but more from the “Brights”. Kate predicts this by suggesting that the inclusion of Brights appeals but fights with the colouring – oh dear, this is probably me!
I have just re-read the chapter and realise that, hang on a minute, I might just be “Warm”. This is the palette for warm and these colours are ones that I consider would suit me. There is a notable absence of black, white and grey, but look at all those luscious greens which is my hands down favourite colour.
Having read this section I decided that my jumper for the Elizabeth Zimmerman raglan sweater knitalong might not be quite right. It was just going to be orange and blue stripes. Now I have added various other orange/red colours and brown to reflect this palette. All wool is from my stash and some of it is just scraps, so I’m really pleased. Here it is as a work in progress.
In her book, Kate goes on to discuss the four key colours approach as suggested by Christian Dior. I can’t fathom my colours from this and olivey skin teamed with light eyes doesn’t feature. I did think that I fitted the palette of deep muted charcoal, deep cool browns, blue pinks and purple. Hmm. I might park this one for now as I’m not how these relate to the other colour palette. Perhaps as an extension. I like the idea of the charcoal though…
Chapter 2: Body Shape.
I think I have a semi-straight body, but I like to wear things designed for the straight body as I love 1920s and 1960s fashions and column dresses. I’ve read the classifications several times and still can’t decide, but I do know for sure that I don’t have a curvy body!
Chapter 3: Wardrobe Style
This chapter is divided into five wardrobe personalities and I initially thought I was a Natural, but on reflection I think I’m more Gamine, although I’m no Audrey Hepburn. I fit nearly all the categories for this personality, although I’m not sure about the crisp, medium-weight fabric preference. I almost certainly suit small patterns more than large ones, which is a bit sad.
Capsule Wardrobe: I really want to say that I have a capsule wardrobe but I don’t and I don’t think I even really want one. I do so much travel that every time I pack I am creating a capsule wardrobe of sorts and I get so bored with it all. I even find myself craving different underwear when I get to the end of the trip. However I may put one together for my next trip following Kate’s formula.
Personal Style & Fashion: When I was embroiled in building a career I paid close attention to my personal style. I worked hard on a cohesive “look” which evolved from a corporate look when I was on the promotion ladder, to an authoritative but less formal look when I reached the pinnacle of my career. Much of my wardrobe at this time was black and grey but I did add quite a bit of colour as well. My favourite interview suit was a green Italian linen suit which I loved. Kate has a lot of advice on dressing for work but, thankfully, I can ignore all that now!
As I cruise around my fabric stash I see that 26% of it is black or grey or various combinations of black, white and grey (yes, I counted!), none of which are in my colour palette. Kate also advises to avoid black unless your hair is black, so I might need to work on my stash somehow. I do rather like black at times and deliberately chose my feature image as this is a faux wrap column dress made from t-shirt fabric, including long scrap pieces (blogged here).
There is a section on looking younger (too late for me), but I have taken note of her hints, especially the section on attitude. I don’t have too much trouble with enthusiasm, except that I become rather voluble when I’m excited, and constantly work on my fitness and general health, as well as doing the whole cleansing/moisturising routine.
Kate has formed a Flat Shoe Society and I have immediately signed myself up to this, although will occasionally wear heels where I spend most of the time sitting down. Although I don’t like the idea of looking shorter, my feet are beginning to show signs of years of abuse and I need to preserve them!
There is a large section of the book on Making and think I have a good handle on this, although I have, for a while, been wanting to create my own textiles. I am particularly inspired by Kate’s silk painting and have a bit of block printing and painting planned for this winter.
The book then moves on to Life, Time and Territory and again, I think I have these elements under control. I am fully immersed in the creative community, doing workshops where I can and going to a patternmaking class when I need help or inspiration. I also enjoy the social media aspect of my life and am amazed at the community of practice that is out there. When I was working we tried to set up various communities of practice (CoPs) around my professional field and it was a lot of work for little reward. It brings home to me that to make a CoP successful you need enthusiastic, engaged people who are willing to contribute and who are supportive of each other without being critical or judgemental. I love the fact that I can pretty much go anywhere in the world and find a like-minded maker to catch up with, which is how I met Kate in London.
As I end this post and look back at what I’ve written, it occurs to me that most of it will be of little interest to other people, but it is a bit of a record for me. My family might also enjoy it, having similar colouring (except my extremely blonde sister). I do hope though that if you buy Kate’s book “Making Life more Beautiful”, that you won’t just read it, but use it as a guide to helping you sort out your personal style and make your own life more beautiful, whether you are a maker or not.