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Figuring out who you are is hard. Translating that into a visible manifestation? Near impossible. So we purchase TONS of clothes. Trendy clothes that pass into “why did I ever wear that?” within the season. Staples that we “should have”, but never can really bring ourselves to wear. Bold statement pieces that we wish we could wear - hope we will be brave enough to wear - but instead end up languishing the back of our closets. Eventually, you end up like me: a habitual early-bird who is constantly running late, arriving angry, frustrated, and out-of-sorts because of the extended “I have NOTHING to wear” fight that rages each morning, leaving discarded clothes, inside-out jeans and crumpled shirts lying around the bedroom like so many dead soldiers on the battlefield of fashion. I got tired of it. So, I started to ask myself why I suddenly had so many things and nothing to wear, and that led me to this series.
Reader, I realized that I had nothing to wear because I hadn’t purchased for who I was and what I loved. So, in an attempt to compensate, I had purchased too much. I was cluttering my physical and mental space. I needed to simplify. Create some effortless outfit planning and some space to just breath and genuinely enjoy my clothes and the way they support my lifestyle by expressing who I am. As Rachel Zoe said: “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”
In this series, I will walk you through a few simple thought-processes that will help you to define your style, purchase the right type of staple and statement pieces to build your core capsule, and keep your wardrobe full of things you love without letting it becoming cluttered and unmanageable. Ready? Let’s get started.
First off, let’s talk through some basic concepts/ideas we’ll be using to create our perfect wardrobe:
1) STOP BUYING THINGS YOU LIKE
Instead, only purchase things you genuinely love. Think for a moment about your favorite (I mean FAVORITE) pieces. The pair of shoes you wear so much they’re obviously more lived in than any other pair you own. The jeans you slide into six days out of every seven. The top that you shuffle under different jackets so you can wear it again and again and again. These are the pieces you love. Keep them in mind. We’re going to talk about them more at the end of this.
2) YOU NEED STATEMENTS AND STAPLES
No perfect wardrobe is made up of just one or the other. If you purchase only staples, you end up with a wardrobe you easily become bored of, perpetuating the "I have nothing to wear" syndrome. Purchasing too many statements, on the other hand, leads to a mismatch of bright colors, bold patterns, chunky pieces, and morning headaches as you try to put something together that doesn’t shout “Crazy!” as you enter a room. You need both, and you need balance. Bonus if you embrace concept (1) above? Purchasing just the statement pieces you love – just the ones that really speak to who you are – can actually transform your statements into staples! We’ll revisit this concept in Week 2, and talk about how to pick the perfect statement pieces for you.
3) DRESS FOR YOU WHO ARE
But remember, you're more than one person. While we may be soft-hearted romantics on Tuesday, we could very well be edgy rockers on Friday and effortlessly casual brunchers on Saturday. So buy for ALL of who you are. I need variety. You need variety. We need variety! The trick is, within that variety, to still have the pieces speak to the soul of who you are. Week 3 will dig into the nuts and bolts of this idea.
4) DESIGNERS ARE GREAT. SO IS TARGET.
This is my final overarching tip before we spring into the contemplation of the pieces we love from concept (1). I have a decided affinity for designers, and a somewhat strong sense of brand loyalty (remember my “What’s in My Bag?” post? Notice anything? Like the fact that my purse, wallet, and sunnies are all Kate Spade? Or when I talk about/photograph sparkling water, it’s always Pellegrino?) but some of my favorite things are non-designer. Example: my favorite t-shirt is from Madewell! It's soft, show my shape without being snug, and hangs just a little bit loose. I L-O-V-E it. So keep an open mind when shopping. You never know where the perfect pieces might be hiding.
Okay, ready to get started? Go grab that favorite piece from your closet. Sit with it. Why do you love it? Is it soft? Is it tailored/structured or a bit more free-form? Is it pastel? Bright and bold? Black? What is it about the color that speaks to you? The softness? The boldness? The understated elegance? Does it have a pattern? Is the pattern repeating, or haphazard? How does it make you feel? Strong? Sexy? Romantic? Write it down, and repeat the process with one or two more pieces. Do any words come up repeatedly?
For example, here are mine:
PIECE 1: TROUVE TOP
Structured, black, soft, comfortable, relaxed, quality, understated, edgy cutouts in the back. It makes me feel confident, comfortable, and just a tad sexy; ready to take on my day.
PIECE 2: BOYFRIEND JEANS
Structured, hugs my curves without being too tight/uncomfortable, upscale casual, fun detailing, a bit edgy with the distressing. They make me feel sexy, strong, beautiful, ready.
PIECE 3: COACH SADDLEBAG
Structured, simple, clean lines, classic shape, effortless. It makes me feel prepared and beautiful.
PIECE 4: EXPRESS HEELS
Clean lines, classic ankle strap, neutral color, gorgeous structure, adds edge to any outfit. They make me feel confident and ready to take on the world.
From this, I gather that my personality tends to lean towards things that are versatile (i.e. can be casual or dressy), are a bit more structured and classic, and have a little bit of edge. I like things that are simple but elegant. I like to feel confident and ready to handle my day, so I need pieces that are multi-functional, and allow me to walk 30 city blocks but still look beautiful and put-together when I meet a girl friend for coffee.
These words define my style. These words give me a good starting point for figuring out what belongs in my closet. Did you get yours? Good. Keep them handy! We’ll be using them in the coming weeks.
P.S. feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or comments! You can even post pictures of things you’re working on to your Instagram, tag me (@simplicityandcoffee) and I’d be happy to comment back and work through finding your words with you!