How to Avoid a Fashion Don’t (aka “The Sloppy Syndrome”)

Somewhere in my research folder (aka the pile of papers stacked in my sewing room) is a September 2007 Vogue magazine article by Jean Hanff Korelitz titled “The Sloppy Syndrome.”

After taking the ASG Chicago fit workshop with Sarah Veblen, I want to find this article because I need to read it again and reinforce how wonderful and important it is to sew clothes that fit. Fit as in the clothes look like they were made specifically for me, my body, my shape. 

Let me start by stating that the workshop was life changing because it was the first time I was fitted, and I mean truly fitted, to make sure the pattern I made lined up with my shoulders, waist, hips, boobs, you name it. Practically everything we covered in the class is in The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting. The only thing you’ll miss is the time with Sarah, who was a fantastic and patient instructor.

Taking the workshop got me thinking about that article. I walked in on the first day feeling that my muslin was looking good enough and I’d have few adjustments to make . . . I would have gone out in public had I made it in fashion fabric. Five muslins later, we reached a point when the darts flattered my figure and the sleeves looked streamlined instead of like fabric tubes randomly attached to my sides. This is when I remembered that Korelitz’s article asked the question, “Why are women so afraid of dressing up?” Was I afraid to dress up or afraid to take the time to make a garment that looked better than good enough.

Dressing up, in my opinion, is about being presentable in public. Take a look at El No, a Chicago street-smart fashion blog. I love this blog because it is an eye opener that people do look at each other in public. Wearing those faded black skin-tight leggings doesn’t make you invisible. When we see someone on the street who is in sloppy clothing we may look away, but when we see some who is wearing an outfit that fits we tend to stare. Sarah even mentioned that she takes special notice when a woman is wearing a garment that fits and flatters. We want to look!

Back to Korelitz. In her article she consulted psychiatrist, Julia Temple who took it to the psyche level by explaining that some women purposely avoid looking their best, or at least better, because they may not believe they are worth the time, the money, the effort, or the admiration of those who may compliment them on their appearance. The article goes on to explain that a lot of women don’t want to look like they took the time to think about an outfit and they want it to be effortless. But does effortless equal less effort?

Maybe it is time we ask, “Am I afraid to take the time to fit my clothes?” If you looked at your wardrobe, does it inspire you or make you cringe? Personally, I’m starting my piles of what to keep and what to trash from my closet, my supply of patterns, and my fabric. Then I’m going to take my newly fitted muslin dress and create my own patterns for a blouse, skirt, and jacket . . . because I want to be on El No for the right reasons!

4 thoughts on “How to Avoid a Fashion Don’t (aka “The Sloppy Syndrome”)

  1. Very interesting (and accurate) observation that well fitting clothes make people ‘look’ longer at the wearer. I think the psychology of why people (women in particular) don’t make/take time to find/create well fitting clothes is more complicated than suggested in the Vogue article – but it certainly is motivating to personally figure out what fits well!. SInce I started sewing my clothes, I find I wear me-made items more than RTW, mainly cos they feel more comfortable….do they fit well? Hmmm, well, they fit better than most RTW…but could definitely fit better. I recently purchased Sarah’s book and plan on building up to much better fit. I envy your newly perfected muslin!!

  2. Great post. I really strife to get the best fit when making my own clothes. I can say that the majority of the clothes in my closet make me smile. In July I will take the Palmer/Pletsch workshop and I am excited about learning from a trained expert. It will be interesting to know and see how close I am to getting the best fit. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts on fitting.

  3. I so agree that fitting time with Sarah is eye opening and life changing. Your dresses look so fantastic. Well worth the effort. I had forgotten about that article so thanks for referencing it.

  4. I never thought about how I look to others. I know that when I’m sloppy I don’t feel good about myself and I feel poor in spirit. I’m intrigued by this book, I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip. I love your posts, post more often!

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