As promised in my last post here's more, or everything, on my developing wardrobe.
|A close up of a former orphan t-shirt (and my red leather jacket)|
After you've bought a bouquet of lovely dresses (because they’re easier to fit), a handful of cheap, ill-fitting t-shirts, a few random trousers plus two coats that strangle you - you discover your wardrobe is a kindergarten of orphans!
|Great dresses and strangulating coats|
What to do?
You experiment and find that a uniform of jersey trousers and fitted t-shirts are great combined with a kimono or a longline cardigan - so far so good. There’s a small problem though - having to return so many things bought online that the extra shipping expenses would buy you several new outfits. What’s wrong? Could it be buying without a plan? Or trouble meeting those fit requirements (as well as problematic feet)?
|A selection of returned items|
The elements of a buying strategy
First you need some style direction - how do you get that? I have read so many style guides, and unless you see yourself fitting into one of the cliches “Minimalistic”, “Classic”, “Boho” and so on, you’re on your own. Particularly if you love dressing in a riot of colours with lots of gold and glitter on top!
How do you then determine your style?
Anuschka Rees has a post on her blog called “50 ways to break a style rut”. Not doing all 50, I found one in particular was clever: Name your 3 favourite movies (for their visual qualities).
If for example Marie Antoinette (by Sofia Coppola), Memoirs of a Geisha and The Devil wears Prada make your list, you could then identify the elements from each movie that you especially appreciate - like luxurious fabrics of the 1800th century French court, with a good dollop of gold, anything Asian, and how Miranda Priestly always uses layers and looks so polished. These are the elements you translate into your style.
|These films are a visual feast to watch!|
The dreaded colour palette
Now all style guides will tell you to come up with a limited colour palette based on a couple of neutrals like black, navy or charcoal, and a few additional accent colours ensuring everything in your wardrobe goes together. If you’re a peacock sort of person those neutrals are probably not going to “speak” to you and the accent colours will be too few.
|The colours so often recommended by professional stylists|
Again, turn to Anuschka Rees! In another blog post she suggests 36 different colour palettes each consisting of nine colours. It may be that none of them are a direct hit. Then how about you then select the nine most common colours from your wardrobe and turn them into your colour palette? Unless of course, you’ve filled your wardrobe with colours that you hate - but how likely is that?
|I'm quite relaxed about matching the colours 100% as long as they still work|
With the basics determined it’s time to add the style elements: Brocade, silk and jacquard from one film, Asian flower prints and kimonos from another and maybe more attention to make up and hair in order to look polished or a few tailored jackets, from the third film?
|Lovely brocade fabrics|
Marriage of style elements and colour palette
The result could then be that you only buy items that are in the colours of your palette, with focus on jersey basics and top layers in luxury fabrics. Step by step you would then build a cohesive wardrobe based on what was already in your closet and hopefully stop waisting money
|Most of my wardrobe, without all the dresses though!|
|The red leather jacket isn't mine, but I was missing a proper photo|
Since we all have mood swings you have to leave room for that too. In my wardrobe it’s statement necklaces in natural materials, a well worn denim jacket, and leopard print in not natural colours, that has nothing to do with the style inspiration for the rest of the wardrobe. I’m also dreaming of a pair of combat boots (something to give a good kick when called for).
|Fun leopard print in not natural colours|
The last check list to go through is the different situations you have to dress for - have you got everything covered? Have you got outfits for all the things you do on a daily basis? Personally I do, however, I know many of the locals think I’m overdressing (I’m really seen as the village idiot by many) in far too many colours with way too much bling. But you know, I couldn’t care less!
Anyway, I feel I’ve come a long way with my new wardrobe. I have given myself buying guidelines for the future and hope to save money and have more options in combining everything.
Later I may try and expand the colour palette, or build another one. I like to see a rainbow when I open my closet doors!
Finally, as I wrote this post I got the sad news of a friend’s death. I dedicate this post to her.
In loving memory of Karen Palsgaard - a dear friend who fuelled education, personal growth and friendship across continents and cultures, through decades
Rest in peace Karen