Style crisis inspiration: My reading matters

Reading matters


I’ve been a conscientious soul this week, taking a few moments every day to seek out eye-candy for my Style crisis inspiration Pinterest boards. Sometimes my interest is sparked by a magazine or a book – other times it might be a random thought or connection that leads to a spot of internet research and some enthusiastic pinning. It’s no effort – although it takes a little while to adjust my brain. My categories (colour, garments, people) are working well for me – the only difficulty is in stopping once I’ve started..

The interesting thing is that I can feel my mind stretching itself in a way that seems distantly familiar. I’m deconstructing garments in my mind as I see them; my fingers are itching to play with folds in a piece of poplin or drape a length of crepe. For now, though I’m holding back from diving headlong into the ClothSpot stock (promise!). I’m only too aware of the danger of  getting caught up in a single garment for the sheer pleasure of it. An example – however much I adore the ‘Genevieve’ jacket from last autumn,  I have yet to have the opportunity to wear it. (Shocking, I know – and I only realised this week.) To paraphrase one of the commenters on an earlier post: “Dress for the life you have”.

Clearly a little thought is required here. Either I need to broaden my mind in terms of what I wear day to day –  or I need to come to terms with the reality of my daily routine. Or both, perhaps? However much I might be inspired by individual pieces or looks, I do want to understand more about the choices I make. For that reason and others besides, reading obviously matters. Whether to find out about how trends are developing, to learn from how other people make their choices, or to make sure I don’t end up in the same place a year from now.

I had already unearthed quite a bit of reading material as I began to get to grips with my style crisis – but a bumper crop of emails as well commenters on previous posts (thank you!) gave me some fabulous suggestions too.

For the most part these aren’t sewing sources – it would be a much longer list if I put all those in! As with the images this is a bit of a work in progress – my blog roll is much longer than the few listed here but these are becoming my regulars. In due course I can see there might be cause to re-organise these sources in a separate location but here goes…

Blogs I’ve been inspired by

These are just a few of the blogs where I’ve been hanging out recently. Not only have they offered lots of food for thought, they’ve lifted spirits and given me hope as well as inspiration.

That’s Not My Age (The grown-up guide to great style) This is a great blog by fashion journalist Alyson Walsh, ‘…for every woman who refuses to be invisible’. It has lots to offer, from alternative style icons to suggestions on how to wear the fashions (or not!). Although aimed at over-50s the inspiration here is far more widely applicable and there’s a book too – ‘Style Forever – How to look fabulous at every age‘ which avoids patronising the reader (unlike some) as well as being better value for money than some on the market.

Wardrobe Architect – As it turns out, Colette Patterns had already come up with a process taking readers through the evaluation of their wardrobe and suggesting ways of inspiring and making decisions about what clothes to buy and make. So – as ever, there’s nothing new under the sun – there’s lots to go at here. (Thank you to NotSewSimple for drawing my attention!)

Bag and a Beret is a reminder, should I need it (I do! I do!) of where the joy is. As far as I’m concerned this blog from Canadian Miz Bagg (aka Mel Kobayashi) is the visual equivalent of getting your groove on down Wardour Street in the 80s – wild, exhilarating and completely unpredictable. Also she gets extra points for quoting Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, thus: “There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us, and not we, them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking.

Bag and a Beret - Food for thought
Inimitable style at Bag and a Beret

Thank you to Cate and Sarah for that one – my lunchtimes are set for some time to come! I should also mention Cate’s own blog at VintageGal – I have always had a penchant for vintage dressing and although my approach has never been as painstaking as VintageGal’s, it doesn’t only provide me with inspiration but also reminds me that there’s beauty in the execution of a garment.

Not Dressed as Lamb is another suggestion from Cate – it sets out to do away with the notion of ‘age-appropriate’ dressing (hurrah!) and among other sources of inspiration, it’s based around ex-Londoner/fashion photographer Catherine Summers’ documentation of her outfits under the hashtag #iwillwearwhatilike She manages to get out a bit from the depths of Devon so there’s hope for us rural inhabitants yet.

Accidental Icon is the determinedly urban home of Lyn Slater – a bit scary but beautifully elegant and well-read. She describes herself as a woman who (among other things) ‘Has original style without being eccentric’ which appeals to me so here she is. I’m not sure if she has a photographer hanging around the whole time to catch her in endlessly aloof, thoughtful and stylish moments but whatever her secret, it’s a good one.

Lyn Slater - food for thought
Lyn Slater of Accidental Icon

Oonaballoona is the exuberant home of Marcy Harriell. Based in LA, I love dropping in here for a jolt of energy and joy – she reminds me of what it’s like to make a dress and wear it out that evening.

Embroidered top by Oonaballoona - food for thought
Marcy in a lace embroidered top – a French suggestion (thanks to Anastasia on the blog.) The author is a stylist – and she goes into more detail that one might have thought possible on issues such as how best to tuck your shirt in based on your trousers and body shape. Clearly there are issues here that I didn’t even know were issues – but it’s very on-the-ball and informative.

My email correspondent Miga frequently reminds me to cross La Manche for inspiration, where Aime Comme Marie not only has lots of lovely sewing ideas and patterns to contemplate, but links to lots of French sewing blogs. I haven’t had time to follow them all – and I suspect that European sources might be a whole blog on their own…

Secondo Piano is an Italian sewing and style blog. There’s something about the understated simplicity of it (despite the egg-print shirt…) that appeals to me.

Other reading that matters

Other regular reads range from online newspapers to newsletters and other stuff in between. They include some retail sites – as a commenter pointed out last week it’s not always possible to get to a city with a wide range of shops – but their websites can be invaluable.

In addition to subscriptions to Vogue & Elle magazines (among others) these are just a few of my other regular online haunts. Not many surprises here.

The Pool – I like the mix of on-the-mark fashion with comment and culture and the fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Sign up for a daily email which will give you three articles every morning, categorised by how long it takes to read each one.

The Guardian Fashion – particularly Hadley Freeman’s ‘Ask Hadley’ column for a reality check ; Jess Cartner-Morley for a bit of honest perspective.

Lilith – a French shop with occasionally outrageously-wonderful fabrics and very laid-back styling (although their summer collection is looking a bit porridgey to my eye)

Cos –  stylish aunt to H&M – pared-back shapes, excellent fabrics and inventive cutting.

Cos - food for thought
Some typically-understated styling from Cos

& Other Stories – the older sister to H&M – less overwhelming, interesting patterns – blends edgy with classics.

Stories - food for thought
& Other Stories – a classic blazer with bit of attitude

Like many of you I’m keeping an eye on the Modern Rarity from John Lewis, although I do think my mother was on the mark last week when she declared that the only place she could see herself wearing one particular draping cream ruffled shirt, would have a lid on it.

I like browsing Matches Fashion – their images are good for linking garments to runway shows and for zooming in to look at construction. I also get newsletters from Whistles, Jigsaw, Toast and other usual suspects.

Finally, I’m a great user of Pocket to stash articles for offline reading as they cross my path.

So – this is my ‘starter for ten’ – please, do let me have any other suggestions! My next job is to start making sense of all of this. Getting back to that plan…
















3 thoughts on “Style crisis inspiration: My reading matters

  1. Louise says:

    I love these links – I just added a few more to my blog reader – I really like Dress like a Parisian. I usually find that I add a few things to Pinterest each season to give me some starting ideas – then get distracted and sew random things…

    I’m not interested in the fast fashion side of things, but I am enjoying adding some style blogs to my reader and trying to pick out the things that work for me or that I can adapt. I am currently trying to decide whether drapey wide legged trousers could be made to work for me – my head thinks probably not (last worn when I was considerably thinner… but my heart wants to have a go!)

    One of the things that I picked up from Wardrobe Architect was Polyvore which I quite like for putting together ideas about outfits – its quite soothing to pick out and combine incredibly expensive clothes, shoes and accessories and can be a quick reminder of the kind of shapes and styles that I am drawn to without thinking too much. Wardrobe Architect was based on a series from another blog (I believe) – which has more about personal style.

    Thanks for sharing – its been really interesting!


    • ClothSpot says:

      Thank you for the Polyvore and Anuskarees links Louise – I will add them to my roster! You made me laugh about the ‘add to Pinterest then get distracted and sew random things’ – I am determined to try a more planned approach this time around (but that may yet turn out to be as aspirational as my 13 yr old self intending to keep her room tidy!) I promise to own up to it if I fall off the planning wagon…

  2. Anastasia says:

    Thank you so much for so many brilliant links to different sources. I have not checked even half of them yet. It is going to be my “indulging ” reading. Hopefully I will be inspired for making new things for my crying wardrobe 🙂

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