Special thanks to Marc Leclercq, info below or @MarcLeclercq on Soundcloud, Facebook and Instagram.
Mix and (-game-set-) Match
(or how creating my own style feels like winning every time – because life’s too short to wear boring clothes)
As I mentioned in my first blog, I created my own style early on.
My Granny had a real old hand-sewing machine, which was handed to my Mom and then to me, when I was around 11. My Mom taught me to sew, knit and crochet. She was a talented seamstress and good at any creative handwork. Which she taught herself, basically. My Granny did not share the same love for it, but she was an awesome woman and the only Grandma I knew, wearing jeans… She also had quite a smart mouth, so mine is not a total surprise after all.
My Granny’s ‘little’ sister however, was an avid knitter. She would knit you a sweater in no time, with just one tiny mistake….one sleeve would always be longer than the other…. She would be the first to make jokes about it. After she passed away, I ‘inherited’ her complete wool collection, about 8 big trash bags full of the most luxurious wool in every desired color. I was in knitters heaven and I think there is still some of it left in our storage.
Unlike my Mom, I had a really hard time reading sewing patterns. I would just lay whatever piece of clothing I would want to copy, onto the fabric and cut the parts as I saw fit. This would usually work just fine. And to be honest, any adjustment could be done afterwards with some smart thinking and some elastic band 🙂 I told you, in no way I am claiming any professionalism….
I rummaged through old clothes from my Mom, as well as my Dad’s. I revamped them to my personal taste and style. My Mom still had amazing dresses from the late sixties and seventies, which I was allowed to alter at my hearts desire. My Dad still had really fancy shirts (you know the ones with the really large collars), which I would let my creative mind let loose on.
I even went as far as using old – white – bed-sheets. For the latter, I would just dye the created ‘pieces’ myself in any color I desired. We used an old large soup pot and an – maybe even older – large skimmer to boil and dye the clothes in.
I remember my Mom dyeing two sets of clothing pink (for my sister and me) for one of the previously mentioned wedding parties. I never lacked anything, but money was not around in abundance and my Mom had to be creative. I am sure that is why she picked up knitting and sewing in the first place. I had new dresses every summer. Another way to find outfits that I could feel and express myself in, was to go thrift shopping: charity shops to this day, are still very much fun- shopping for me and way cheaper!
Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures available anymore from that time, but I did find a scene from a play I was in, in which you can get a small hint on what I dressed like when I was younger. It is a dance scene – well…dance.., from a play ( Dutch, sorry, but the song is in English), I was in. This was in The Hague, where I met my husband at a Christian organization we both worked for. Apologies for the quality of the video…it was like 1988/’89 and not digitally recorded. Enjoy and it’s really okay if you want to laugh.
After this first part I was asked to take one of the leading roles as…a witch. Well, if you ever heard me laugh out loud…Let’s just say it was fitting and I loved it .The play was about the unseen world and I was clearly on the dark side ** insert evil laughter** I was allowed to create my own outfits for on stage. What you saw in the video fragment, was what I could be wearing on a normal day.
But, as I mentioned, we worked at a Christian organization and although the plays had a Christian message, we really tried to not look like we were totally out of touch with the world… To add to that, the director chose really great music to go with the stories, some of my all time favorites were right in there.
George Duke (one of those artists whose music I grew up with), The Star Wars Theme, Deniece Williams, just to mention a couple.
Work and church on the other hand…that was a different story. Of course there was a dress policy we had to adhere to. To be honest, It was not very hard for me.. I got to dress up nicely every day for work and even on Sundays for church. As workers, we had to sort of set an example every day. I still tried to keep some of my quirks, just toned it down a little bit. I just went through a ‘quieter’ phase. There were always phases in my life, sometimes you just have to make the most of it, especially if it is worth it!
Not long after that, Steve and I got married and our 2 kids came along in rapid succession. You can Imagine I knitted quite a lot of baby sweaters. The last time our son wanted to actually wear one of my creations, was after the release of Toy Story 1 and I created his very own Buzz Lightyear sweater. My daughter gave up even before that, due to the very nature of my great Aunts luxurious (and very itchy-) wool…. it was time for them to develop their own style.
Going through several different phases and some travels, we eventually settled down for some time and I started working in a shoe store. There was a dress policy there too, not too strict though. I was happy to dress and express myself the way I wanted.
By now you will have figured out, that off-the-peg-clothes are not really my thing. Of course I love shopping like any other ‘normal’ person and I do buy stuff at the ‘normal’ shops. However, even if I do, I will always look for sale – I do seem to have a gift for finding good stuff for little money, it’s a sport really – and special items. And of course I do buy the basics, shirts and stuff. I just buy them in every color I want.
Let me just say, I am very much aware that looks can be just as deceiving as first impressions can be and are no measure to the person inside. My faith would never allow me to judge ‘any book by its cover’. Now I am not saying I am always succeeding here. It can be really difficult to see through someone’s outer shield and attitude. I know what that is like. Some people can keep up a very good appearance…
Love is not real without acceptance and acceptance is not real if there are conditions to be met first….
That’s why I can really appreciate people dressed exuberantly, it may not be my taste, but it certainly deserves my respect. Not everybody is out solely for attention and definitely not the negative kind. I was not waiting for random people to share their opinions about me, with me, am still not. However, there will always be people like that. They do not care why or how, they just feel like the world is waiting on their view.
Sharing an unwanted opinion, in my eyes, can come dangerously close to judgment. I feel blessed, that I found security in my faith in God while still young, although it certainly hasn’t always been easy. But acceptance is a precious thing we all are in need of one way or the other.
It is the artistic side of me, that just won’t be ‘quiet’. I love, no, LOVE color and it shines through in every thing I am and do. It fills our home, it shows in my outfits, my love for music, painting (in which department I have been lacking to be honest..) , my desire to design, create and…write.
I mention at my home page, that I am a firm believer that my outfit needs at least three colors. If you wish for me to explain… I will try! I just realized one day, that I could ‘never’ walk around in all black, or all white for that matter. I literally can’t. I will end up using a colored scarf – because scarfs are life – or colored shoe laces. Which brings me to…shoes.
I have always been a shoe lover…. – sale was forever my friend – I was not really very aware of that, until I started working in a shoe store. Seven and a half year later, my shoe collection was off the charts… To be honest, a lot of them I have already either sold or given away, but there are also still some pairs in storage….During fall / winter, I will wear my Docs. In summer my trainers rule. Heels I only wear for a very, very special occasion.
Back to the need for at least three colors…. Whenever I start to dress for the day, I would start with, which shoes I would like to wear that day and then I work ‘my way up’. And of course music is playing! I think my husband is going mental about my playlist by now….Starting with my dress or skirt – I do love my jeans, but my dresses are…well let’s call it my latest, signature, vintage, piece of clothing. Most of those pieces are multi colored, hence my ‘at- least- three – colors’ rule…Everything needs to be just right, I wasn’t kidding, down to my shoelaces… I might need therapy…
I don’t think I am dressed as ‘weird’ as I did when I was young, but hey, I am just trying to be a tiny bit age considerate 🙂 But I do still follow my own style. I will wear what makes me feel good and I still refuse to look like there are at least 10 ‘other me’s’ out there. It is definitely a very distinctive way of expressing myself.
Because I still knit, I am able to add my very own creations to my outfits, with sweaters, scarfs, hats and bags. One of my best friends once looked me up and down and said; ‘Wieneke, you’re weird, but good weird’. ( if you read this, you know I am talking about you ) Thank you very nice! That’s why I diagnosed myself ; Fashion OCD.
Creating my own style feels like winning every time – because life’s too short to wear boring clothes. Mix and (-game-set-) Match.
Now hit those like and follow buttons 😉
Today’s special thanks and shoutout goes to Marc Leclercq.
Marc is a Music Producer from the Dominican Republic. Next to the fact I really like his music – all music posted here is kind of founded on the music I grew up with – I respect his work and the struggle he seems to be going through while creating and which he is not afraid to show. I am not a professional, but that process I totally understand, you have to be willing to be vulnerable to the world and hold nothing back. Below some more of his tracks, I hope you enjoy!