It was clear from the wardrobe visit how much emphasis participant 1 has placed on clothing and how it has played an important part of significant stages in her life. She has reinforced the physical and symbolic connections between her clothing and events in her life such as her 21st and her wedding. She did this in a very considered way, as she selected a small section of the printed fabric of her 21st dress to cover the buttons on her wedding dress (see picture top left hand corner). This is a wonderful link, which reinforces the bond to her clothing as they are something she will never throw away.
Participant 1’s selection of garments are connected to her belief system as she supports local designers or second hand buys as she is mindful of the waste in society.
As a creative person involved in music and part of a local community of creatives it is interesting to see how her taste in art, and culture has influenced her wardrobe in subtle ways. The swan pictures (see middle photo) were purchased after the swan skirt (picture, right). It’s an interesting example of fashion influencing art.
Creativity is part and parcel her life- she knit the bedspread (picture bottom left) and has an abundance of ideas for her less worn items but admits to not having the skills to follow them out.
Participant 1 has relatively recently become a mother and this change of role means she has had to adjust her wardrobe accordingly to work with the practical consideration of motherhood.
She has a number of special colourful pieces that are not getting as much wear as they once did as her most used garments are not necessarily her favourites. We wondered if there was a way of bridging this gap?
The romance, fun and the high level of engagement participant 2 has with her clothes were evident from the outset.
The combination of discipline and spontaneity work in tandem as the participant has in place some very simple yet effective strategies in place that allow her wardrobe to work for her. She states that her drawer provides a ‘tipping point’ or a visible measure for when she needs to recycle items within it. “If you find yourself buying a-shirt, it’s a sign that you can’t find a t-shirt that you already have- time to clear the drawer”.
“The apparent lack of money when I haven’t had much of it hasn’t stopped me.” Quite the reverse it seems, as “not spending too much on a item gives me the permission to be free. It’s not tragic if you don’t wear it.”
Participant 2 is really in tune with her wardrobe and has items at her disposal that can dress up or ‘finish’ an outfit with ease so it is no longer ‘ordinary’.
Her minimal wardrobe was a conscious decisions she made after becoming a mother as her priorities changed she decided that she had ‘enough clothes for my life.” She decided to turn her “critical eye to my clothes”.
She is very confident and clear in her thoughts and motivations towards her wardrobe as everything she does is rationalised and connected to who she is and what she believes in. We found this very inspiring.
She doesn’t believe in excess and doesn’t buy into consumer culture; she says she ‘wants to be mindful’.
She thinks about the day in terms of clothing, “what outfit does today look like?” She sets herself parameters – as she never does too casual or too formal which allows her wardrobe to operate within a narrow but clearly defined band.
She enjoys shopping, and finds looking, not necessarily buying, and meditative. But before embarking on a tip she makes a list and asks herself the question before buying, ‘do I like what I am buying more than what I am wearing?”
Participant 4’s varied categorises and enthusiasm for his wardrobe was quite infectious. The power his clothes give him is evident as the items in his wardrobe items enable him to fulfill a role/function in his life.
His hat collection exemplifies this as she has hats for every occasion (see photo) summer, rainy day, and roles “Sherlock specialty’ “creepy paddy cap.’ He says he wears the crazy patterns on his party shirts “to show I’m not fucking about.”
His collection of animal t-shirts is quite extensive (see photo) and interestingly the prints are getting progressively more colourful and louder- a sign of his increasing confidence with clothing?
He attaches a lot of sentimental value to clothing and has kept band, event t-shirts from events he attended.
Participant 5’s wardrobe was as mentioned previously surprisingly extensive. She has amassed a beautiful array of vibrant, pieces, which she has sorted with care.
She was delighted to try on a large portion of her wardrobe to show us how pieces worked on her. We spent the longest amount of time with this participant swapping stories and advice about garments. We all enjoyed this interaction.
She expressed a degree of anxiety about knowing how to wear garments, what was appropriate and how to style outfits. She mentioned about how she used to be a very active sports person and how she enjoyed wearing a uniform, as you didn’t have to stress about what to wear.
It was interesting to us that participant 5’s outer layers that she wears everyday were not really shown to us or talked about at the hack.
Participant 5 showed us so many versions of herself though her wardrobe when asked what image of herself she wanted to portray, she was a bit unsure. We wondered if she might want to embrace all these aspects of herself- creative, sophisticated, practical as some of these ‘images’ do not get public visibility.