People often assume that style is something easily acquired. Fashion is often looked at as something flimsy or something that is only about consumption. While it certainly is also about consumption, you can eliminate a big part of the latter by knowing what works for you and focus more about using what you have in different ways. So out with consumption and inn with the creativity. We often gravely underestimate the effort that people with a certain aesthetic have putt in to their appearance. Just like finances, having your style under control requires knowing who you are and what works for you, and just a lot of discipline. Discipline meaning that you can say no to things that are cute, lovely, on trend, marketed but don’t suit you, your style, your life and how you spend your time. This means having the discipline to make the right choices even if trends or marketing are presenting something else. Discipline to not spend our hard earned cash on things that will just sit in our closet. Because, that’s not just disrespecting your style but also your earnings. We all know there are much more meaningful ways to spend or invest our money than on clothes that won’t get worn.
In the grand scheme of things you could ask yourself, is dressing (well) even that important? If you don’t care too much about style, and your appearance, or your money, it’s certainly not. But if you care at least a bit about the previous, or you aren’t a nudist, I think it kinda is. And if you care to build a wardrobe with classic items that suit you and will last for years so you don’t waste your money, it’s definitely worth it.
I’ve written a lot on finding your style and capsule wardrobing on this little blog. First and foremost… Capsule wardrobing is not about a firm set of numbers or items. But I see this as a great tool to start building your wardrobe again, when you’ve kind of lost your way. That’s the only importance I give it. It’s really trending right now, and if you take it to heart, it can help you reduce your footprint on this earth. But many people also just do it because it’s trending or they want a perfect wardrobe, or for the sake of minimalism ( which is also for some just a trend) . Fashion isn’t supposed to be perfect, it’s supposed to be fun and creative. And if you go about this capsule thing and minimalism too strictly, you will kill creativity, and you will get bored with your clothes. I don’t want to generalise, but I see people with capsule wardrobes eliminating and adding all the time. Buying a brand new capsule wardrobe every six months is so not the point. I advise you to lett perfectionism go. Capsule wardrobing is a great way to start building by beginning by the items you wear & love every day. Obviously they work and you should try to add to that foundation.
So lett’s get started…
To get your finances in order, you need to track what you spend money on for a month or two, getting your wardrobe in order is also about tracking and inventorying what is already there ( so you don’t buy another grey sweater ) what you wore a lot, what you didn’t and figuring out why that is.
The first step is actually about splitting your wardrobe into seasons. If you don’t do this, you’ll get discouraged because it’s really way too much work to go about everything at once. Just like sport or financing or anything in life, you have to build slowly.
Forget about the shoes, underwear, sport clothes , homewear. These are different categories and not important right now. Ok let me rephrase. Shoes are the most important element of an outfit really. But not important right now, one step and one shoe at a time.
I live in Belgium. We have a lot of changing weather here. This morning for instance it was bright and sunny like I could go out with my flip-flops. While I’m writing this over my lunch break it is currently raining like I’d live in Scotland. So I’m writing all of this with that in mind. If you live somewhere near the US west coast and you don’t have extreme climate changes, this will be a whole lot easier.
Step one : Make piles for the four seasons.
Right now we are in spring leaning in towards summer. This means: keep your summer stash but also keep your fall and spring pile. As I said things can get chilly in the evening and the morning, or in between too ;). This is the ideal time for instance to wear a long summer dress with you fall and spring ankle boots and throw a long trench over it.
Store the real thick winter clothes, you’ll deal with those later.
If you are in fall, but leaning more into winter – store your very light summer things.
I find it’s handy to keep spring and fall items near by as they are easy to layer and you will have to pull them out a lot if you would store them. Whereas real summer and winter clothes , that’s only like 3 months ( or even shorter ) a year.
Step 2: Putt everything on and photograph yourself while wearing it. This is really time consuming, but worth it. Because you can reflect on an item longer while looking at the pictures and really see why things fit you and why not. If you happen to find really good outfits or outfit combo’s, keep them in your phone. This is handy for days when you don’t know what to wear.
This first step has nothing to do with the life you lead and if you actually will wear those items, but it’s really more about finding your true personal style. You could have a really vampy dress in your closet that looks amazing on you, but never seem to wear it because you never have occasions like that. Note: I don’t own a vampy dress, It’s just an example. And yes, I also never go out. See how I already cultivated everything I’m writing here…
To come to the point. It’s about what works for you. Later when you actually know your style, we’ll figure out what works for your lifestyle. These are indeed two very different things.
When pulling something out of your closet and trying it on, go over these things:
- The fit ( if it’s too small, too narrow, brings out the wrong features … It needs to go )
- The style. An item can be very nice on you but if it’s not your exact style you’re going to feel weird in it and it will stay in your closet.
- The texture. If you can’t stand itchy wool, or you don’t like polyester blouses on your skin.. it’s going to stay in your closet. Even if it’s your style and it fits you.
- The colour. This has everything to do with your skin tone. Almost every colour goes with every skin tone to a degree. If you like beige, you have to wear the exact kind of beige that will flatter your skin tone. Colours that make you look washed out, are gonna stay in your closet. Unless you find hacks to pair them with colours that suit you. This is advanced level, forget about that for now.
- The cut of an item. This has everything to do with your style. You can have two black blouses. One is avantgarde and has clean edgy cuts, and the other has boho frills. I don’t have to explain that it depends on your style and the other things that are in your closet that you’ll pick one over the other. Because if you like romantic things, and your closet is full of those, what are you going to pair that one edgy blouse with? Indeed, it will stay in your closet. The cut is also important when we are talking about your body proportions & choosing items that flatter your body type. For instance, I already have broad shoulders, it makes no sense for me to go for items that are cut in a way that they would accentuate my shoulders. Some people have narrow shoulders, and would like to add proportion, or others like the broad shoulders and would like to accentuate them. It all depends on your personal tastes and body proportions.
When you look at all of the photo’s try to think about why an items looks great on you and why not and take in to consideration all of the above.
That’s why style is personal, not THAT easy and a lot of people make many mistakes, and spend so much money on the wrong things & the fashion industry benefits hugely from that. It’s also a bit more complicated than just making a Pinterest board with all the stuff you like.
Doing all the above is very time consuming but worth it if you want to really see what works for you and stop spending your cash on in retrospect ‘ silly things’. If you want to make the most out of this exercise, you can upload the items you definitely like on on the app ‘ stylebook’ ( only for iOS- but I’m sure android has something similar – otherwise I have to create that android app, what am I waiting for lol). Stylebook is a tool to take inventory of your wardrobe, and very easy to use if you are assembling an outfit. This can be very useful later, because you kind of also want the items in your wardrobe to be able to all work together, like a team, or a good relationship. Otherwise, they will stay in your closet. And an item that stays in your closet is basically very badly invested money.
You have to see this as a gift to yourself, getting your finances organised is a real gift to yourself and your peace of mind, and so is a wardrobe that functions according to your needs. Unless you like the fifties just flyin’ out of your pocket.
Hope this was useful in some way. Looking forward to writing part two next week and taking pics of my outfits in between.
Also I don’t know how long this online course is going to be. Depends on what I remember from all of my stylist classes I took 15 years ago, just kidding.