Sunday, 1 October 2017

A limited rainbow

As promised in my last post here's more, or everything, on my developing wardrobe.

Kaffesoesters yellow and white t-shirt and red leather jacket
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!

A selection of Kaffesoesters new dresses and coats
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 Kaffesoesters returned items
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.

Pictures from the films that inspire Kaffesoester
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 stylists
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?  

Kaffesoesters colour palette of nine colours
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?

A close up of brocade fabric of Kaffesoesters jackets
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 Kaffesoesters wardrobe, picture one
Most of my wardrobe, without all the dresses though!

Most of Kaffesoesters wardrobe, picture two
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).

Leopard print in not natural colours
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

A spirit who planted a forest of trees for others to walk in

Karen Palsgaard

Rest in peace Karen


  1. Dear Tine,
    I am so sorry to read that your friend Karen passed away. The picture tells us you lost a warm and cordial person. In your mind and memory she will stay forever.
    Thanks for comprehensive and detailed explanation of your wardrobe composition. I think about making a mood board staring with mmy favorite films. I am curious what finaly comes out.
    Sabine xxx

  2. so nice to read your post, I think it's very interesting to pick the colors you really like and create your own color palette!, very useful!

  3. I luv the distillation of your wardrobe pallet and making it work for you. That must've been a lot of work! I can't imagine doing it myself. I'm just not that disciplined. So sorry to hear of your friend's passing. Very thoughtful of you to dedicate your post to her.