Cultivating the ultimate wardrobe

I like to think of us sewists as magicians. We take fabric and a pattern which transforms into a garment. We aren’t limited by what’s in a clothing store. As our choices are unlimited I sometimes find it difficult to put together the right pattern, fabric and style.

Nina Fountain - Personal StylistI met Nina from Style Gorgeous at an event last year. She offered me a wardrobe consultation and assessment. Initially, I hesitated. As I’m getting more into sewing I’m taking more time on projects. I want the tools, like Nina’s knowledge, to help me to determine the right patterns, colours and fabric styles before I start a project. I want to make less costly mistakes and make more considered decisions.

Meeting with Nina was amazing! It has changed my sewing practice. I’ll take you through our assessment and what I learnt.

We talked about the four key style personalities, a term I hadn’t heard before. Nina uses a similar system to the one outlined below. Which identifies four main style personalities—expressive, romantic, classic, and relaxed. Most women will have elements of two or three personalities. The varying fashion personalities explain why women have different tastes in clothing and styling.

In my case, I’m a mix of classic and expressive.





Cool summerNina next talked me through my colour palette which is a Cool Summer. 

Nina identified my colour profile using photographs from my blog. She finds this method more accurate than the traditional draping method. This method means she can work with clients who are located domestically or internationally.

Nina then assessed my wardrobe and identified items that didn’t suit my style personality or colours. Funnily enough, the ones she chose were the items that I feel the least myself in. I decided to permanently remove a number of items from my closet. Other items I’ll work towards gradually replacing, altering or wearing these items that do suit me.  Nina and I chatted about how to put together colour combinations, garment shapes, fabric, patterns and jewellery.

She assessed that my body was an hourglass shape. Nina noted from my wardrobe that I should wear more styles that nip in at my waist. Such as wrap tops, slim pants or pants that have pleats which lead the eye to the waist. She mentioned that I should emphasise my shoulders by adding shoulder pads to structured jackets and create garments which show my decolletage which will help prevent me from looking top heavy.

Image result for hourglass figure capsule wardrobe

I then asked Nina to look at my stash. She identified fabrics which didn’t suit my colours.  I was glad she was there to do this, as I would have found it hard to cull fabrics which I had connected to memories. I’ve since sold a bunch of these fabrics and purchased other fabrics which better suit my style personality and colour profile.

My colour swatch at the top. Paul’s at the bottom

This knowledge from Nina has made me feel much more empowered in my decision making. Whenever I go fabric shopping I carry my swatch as well as Paul’s. Which we arranged after I got mine (FOMO).

Nina is collaborating with Sandra from Sew Social to run an event specifically for sewists in Wellington. The aim of the Style Explorer workshop is to discover the power of colours, body shape and style personality for making your own hand-sewn outfits incredible! I’m super excited about this event, I know many sewists struggle to bring all these elements together. This three-hour workshop has been priced affordably at $179.

The amount of money that I have saved in purchasing the wrong fabric and patterns makes this an affordable investment. The workshop has a minimum of 8 participants – max of 16 – and with a couple of spots already reserved, I would book now as this may be a one-off event.

If you’ve worked with a stylist or colourist before I’d love to know! How did the experience impact on your sewing practice?

My sewist friend Andrea Houlihan purchased a package through Nina and it’s changed her practice.  Here’s what she said about it:

I have been working away developing a plan to sew my wardrobe and had selected silhouettes and a colour palette that I thought suited me  – two years worth of effort. I made a couple of items as per my sewing plan, but something didn’t feel right and I didn’t have the skills to work out what wasn’t working. (was close to losing my sewing MOJO)

I engaged the services of a colour and style expert to check in if I was on the right track.

Whilst I was close to what suited my body shape I was missing some vital elements to make each garment (and an entire outfit) a success.

Having enjoyed the wonderful journey with Nina from Style Gorgeous, I now have so much more confidence in what I need to do to make my wardrobe work for me. I have a clear outline of what silhouettes suit my body shape, what colour palette to work with and what influences have developed my personal style. So what does that mean for my sewing practice?

  • I have a more focused pattern stash – no longer will I spend many hours sewing the next perfect item only to find that the style doesn’t suit my body shape and end up donating to charity for some other lucky person.
  • I know the exact colour and pattern fabric to purchase that will suit my style essence which will help not only financially but storage space for my fabric stash.

Overall the results of the journey mean I will save money and time and have gained confidence knowing that my sewing practice will create my “Ultimate Wardrobe” that reflects my style.

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