Or perhaps I should call this, “Getting Over My Own Ego”

OK, so this is Consciously Spending Less to Create More – Part 2. In Part 1, I outlined what my project was about and explained its aim and intention. Part 2 is a summary of the planning and organization I had to do prior to beginning it and the problems I encountered along the way.

The first and foremost problem I had to deal with was my very own, self important ego. Ahhhh… That old chestnut!


Laughing At My Own Ego


As I’ve said many times before, my background and qualification is in fashion. I’ve worked in many different areas within the industry including designing, styling, merchandising, PR and marketing, sales and events. I’ve designed and produced my own fashion label, I’ve worked in fashion PR and marketing for a leading luxury branding agency in New York and I’ve organized industry events, from launch parties to awards evenings. I understand textiles, fibres, what constitutes a quality product through craftsmanship, materials, and design aesthetics. I can make clothing patterns from scratch, sew said clothing patterns and make fit adjustments where necessary. I can embroider, knit, bead, dye and can forecast fashion trends. So deciding to undertake a fashion project with the main focus being ‘creativity’, I come very well equipped (aka “Play to your strengths”, it’s relatively fool proof)!

However, because I have all the skills to pull this off, I was hesitant to involve any other creative. Why? Basically, at the end of the day, it to came down to me being self important and wishing to be the only one allowed to bask in ALL the glory of my hard work. Quite unsurprisingly, thinking like this is like driving on an almost empty tank of fuel – initially optimistic, always risky, very lonely when pulled over on the side of the road and will only ever get you so far!

Thankfully, once I had done my research and had a clearer understanding of what my project looked like and what I wanted to get out of it, I realized my intention for doing this didn’t actually have anything to do with me! Instead it had everything to do with fashion, art, creativity, innovation, confidence and perhaps most importantly, You! And for me, that is far more interesting and exciting!

I knew my project would be about style, shopping my own wardrobe and showing you ways and examples of how to create more from less. I knew I wanted to place emphasis on the ‘creating more from LESS’.


Creating more outfits from fewer clothes


As I mentioned in Part 1, I’m already a mindful shopper and conscious consumer with a relatively small existing wardrobe so depriving myself of clothes shopping wasn’t going to be enough of a challenge or of an incentive for me to see this through over 12 months, nor was it going to be realistic. Designing and creating clothes to work back into my existing wardrobe, on the other hand… ignited the creative flow flame and also made me a little nervous – this is going to challenge me!

Around the time of me coming up with my challenge, I was engaged by Stylist, Anna Mabin for some fashion illustration work in April and after I met her, worked with her, tested my jokes on her, did my due diligence, complimented her on her tres chic style upon every meeting, and commented on far too many of her Instagram stories to be considered cool, I thought to myself, “this could be someone I can engage for my project”.

So I did and here we all are! The reason I engaged Anna is not just because of the above mentions but also because we have common ground. She’s originally from the country (as am I), she has a similar approach to fashion to me, she has street cred and expertise in the styling field, she writes witty captions to her photos and she’s just got it going on! I know over the next 12 months I will need to be talked down from the ledge due to a lack of spending, a lack of feeling stylish or a lack of motivation to design and sew. Let’s all herald Anna as she will be the lucky ladybug, fielding those calls!


Now, paying a professional stylist to do something that I already know how to do was a REALLY FLIPPING HARD PILL TO SWALLOW! I felt a little bit foolish, lazy, inadequate, nervous and only just a little bit excited.


I fell in love with this Megan Park top as soon as I saw it. It goes back with multiple bottoms in my current wardrobe.


However, then I thought of all the brave men and women who have the courage to admit that they have lost their style mojo or have never really found it, and reach out to Stylists for help. I think it’s brave and courageous because a lot of people who I have spoken to about this very topic, have scoffed at the suggestion of such a thing (which sometimes I find amusing given their own lack of style/ dress sense and awareness, but most of the time I just find it ignorant – first Zzzzzzing for the project). It’s hard to admit that you find an everyday, supposedly easy task, difficult to do; It’s hard to spend money on yourself on what many perceive to be an indulgent service, without feeling guilty; It can be hard to ask for help when you don’t want to or know how to.

So I decided to get over myself and worked out a plan of attack! To begin this project, I needed to look at my entire wardrobe and work out the gaps, the outfit combinations, the “no longer’s” and its overall workability and cohesiveness.

*Insert Anna

We determined where the gaps were in my wardrobe (unfortunately for me, and maybe luckily for you, I have A LOT of them) and what items I need to fill them. We discussed all the events I have coming up which I need outfits for and workshopped a few of these based around items from my existing closet. Due to my “spending less to create more” pledge, we decided I would have to make most of the outfits myself using some of the existing fabrics in my sewing cupboard.


I have a lot of designing, pattern making and sewing on my hands!


It quickly became apparent that I am fantastic at buying statement pieces and not so fantastic at buying basics, t-shirts in particular.

Side note: (T-shirts are something I have always struggled to get my head around, especially printed tees. Basically it all boils down to the fact that I don’t like paying money for things that I don’t like, and almost all of the printed tees I see are not my style and/or too expensive. We did however reach a happy medium, I’ll buy blank t-shirts and will create my own prints for them.)

The session (or as Anna calls it – The Wardrobe Cleanse) took 4 hours and at the end of it, I had a clear and tidy wardrobe, 2 ½ bags of clothes for Vinnies, a game plan for Consciously Spending Less to Create More, a list of clothes which I needed to buy, a list of items which I needed to design and sew, an reassurance that I know what I’m doing and a helpline if I find myself lying in a gutter somewhere along James Street in the months to come, drowning in my own tears of petty and unattainable wants!

To satisfy your curiosity, I’ve included the list of items I needed to buy, below:

  • 3- 4 x Blank t-shirts (to be detailed)
  • 1x Pair of navy blue denim jeans
  • 1 x Culottes (will be sewn)
  • 1 x Tailored pair of shorts
  • 1 x Harem pants (will be sewn)
  • 1 x Textured clutch
  • 1 x Statement jacket
  • 1 x Maxi skirt and top (will be sewn)
  • 1 x Plain long sleeved top

The list of items I have to sew is long and overwhelming and for another day!


Fancy a ‘tee’ with nudes? T-shirt designed by Penelope Bell.


The hardest part of the project so far?

First and foremost, getting over my own ego (Why, God, Why?!). Secondly, realizing I would have to spend a lot of money up front, when I’m meant to be consciously spending less. And thirdly, writing Part 1 and Part 2 of Consciously Spending Less To Create More!

So that’s it for Week 1. Next week I’ll be back to show you some of my ‘creative pursuits’…

To read Part 1 – Consciously Spending Less To Create More, click here.



About Penelope

I’m a fashion illustrator, designer, storyteller and ambassador who helps brands in the fashion, lifestyle and travel industries, build brand recognition, credibility, loyalty, and trust whilst offering a fresh perspective.

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