Maybe you remember a post titled Anatomy of a Dud: The Green Scarf, in which I modeled a regrettable purchase.
I’ve rethought that post.
Oh, I still think the scarf is a dud for me. And I was imposing a look on myself, and that doesn’t work.
So, what does work?
If I want to do more than just avoid duds, but to find and make things to create a wonderful wardrobe, I need to distinguish what works and what doesn’t.
What I’ve realized since the green scarf post is that no item in my wardrobe is all good or all bad. That almost everything has features that work for me and features that don’t. And that it’s extremely useful–even entertaining–to take one item and sort out what works and what doesn’t.
I tested this idea on the green scarf using the chart I sketched out. For each category in the Individual and Context columns I asked myself, “What works? What doesn’t?”
- Color: Does this color work for me? It matches a shade on the Chartreuse card of the 3 in 1 Color Tool. Those yellow-green shades go great with my eye color. Yes.
- Personality: Does this work with my personality? When I wear this scarf I feel upstaged. I feel like it’s getting the attention, not me. So, that’s a no.
- Silhouette: Does this create a silhouette that works for me? It does bring the eye up, which is good, but because it overwhelms me, this gets a no.
- Style: Does this work with my sense of style? I like texture, and that’s part of what attracted me to this scarf. But actually, it doesn’t have a whole lot of texture. What it has a lot of is bulk. I hadn’t made that distinction before. Aha!
- Fit: Does the way this fits work for me? I thought this was a funny question to ask about a scarf. Then I thought, no–it doesn‘t fit. It’s the wrong scale for me. Too much scarf is crowded into too small a space.
- Physical characteristics: Does this work with whatever physical characteristics apply? I get cold a lot, and I like warmth around my neck. This is wool and silk, so it should be warm.
- What I’m growing into: Does this work with any new ways I’m seeing myself? I’m certainly not seeing myself as a bulky scarf person. No.
On to Context.
- Occasions. Does this work with the occasions I attend? I keep seeing this as the kind of thing you’d expect to see at a gallery opening, or at an event at the Textile Center of Minnesota–places where artsy, handcrafted garments and jewelry are the norm. But I never go to gallery openings or Textile Center events. This is a big no.
- Activities. Does this work with activities I do? I wouldn’t sew, or iron, or cut out patterns, or work in the kitchen wearing this scarf–it would get in the way. I wouldn’t wear it sitting at a dinner party or standing with a glass of wine or a plate of appetizers for the same reason. So, no.
- Roles. Does this work with roles I play in social situations? Right. I can just imagine hosting a tea and getting jam and clotted cream all over this. No.
- Physical conditions. Does this work with the kinds of weather or indoor conditions I find myself in? Yes-cold weather, and I can see myself wearing this on a plane that’s drafty and chilly.
- Mood of the occasion. Does this work with the formal or informal, happy or somber, businesslike or casual moods of the situations I’m in? Good question. I see that I can’t quite figure out where this scarf falls on these continuums. I don’t know what mood it expresses, which is somewhat maddening.
- Other wardrobe items. Does this work with anything else in my wardrobe now? Does it work with outfits in my wardrobe now? A resounding no. It doesn’t work within my present wardrobe at all. In fact, I can’t think of an ensemble it would be part of. This scarf is a classic wardrobe orphan.
- Fabric, pattern and button stashes. Does this work with fabrics, patterns, or buttons I own, or inspire clear ideas of fabrics or patterns to find to complete an outfit using this item? I’m stumped. All I can think of is to make very simple knit pieces as blank canvases for this scarf. And I don’t dress that way.
- What I’m moving into: occasions, activities, roles, etc. Does this work for occasions, activities or roles in my future? I don’t see myself moving in circles where I’d feel average wearing this scarf. I’d always feel self-conscious. Trying to be something I’m not.
This exercise drove me to the same conclusion as before: this scarf doesn’t work for me. The difference is, I know much better why it doesn’t work.
Not only that, but now I know better what does work for me. Soon I could find myself thinking, “That green scarf: great color, but too bulky and fussy for me. But I have this red-violet, soft, chenille-like fabric in my stash that has texture but not bulk. I could make a simple scarf that would be smashing: warm, easy to wear, great color, and I can see it with some of my coats and jackets.”
Now that works.