Looks like everyone (Grechen of Greche’s Closet, Talia of Ethel Grace, and M of Work From Home Wardrobe) is thinking about planning their future purchases and style tweaks for the year, and I am, as always, feeling the inspiration.
Something good came out of my (too many) Instagram outfit pictures: looking back through that record of outfits I was able to form a better idea of what clothes I enjoy and which ones don’t really work for me.
I like oversized, generous volumes, both on top and bottom. I like layers, in full black, but also in black and white, and black and grey. I like full length coverage.
I enjoy natural fabrics: linen, cotton, cashmere, silk, wool. I own one tencel pant and one bamboo shirt and I like both, but I am not looking to add more of these fabrics to my wardrobe (although they are somewhere on the sustainability spectrum).
The world and everyday life are a complicated spaces to navigate. Some people try to simplify everything, and wouldn’t that be so easy if it were possible? It’s not. For me there is beauty and a lot of merit to the complexity of our modern lives and choices at large, but I know I can simplify some aspects of it, and my closet is one of those places.
And simplifying might be too simple a word, because closet choices make political and social statements of their own, and are in no way shallow and meaningless as they might seem to the untrained eye.
I like basic shapes that float away from the body. Cuts that allow for movement. I like to be enveloped in beautiful fabrics that feel luxurious and natural to the touch. I like to lose myself inside my clothes. Hide. I wear them as armor for sure.
The few silhouettes that I want to wear are very clear to me: the boxy shirt, the long skirt (basic A-line, bubble, harem), the long sack dress, the wide leg pants and long cardigans. These are the main elements. Short cardigans, tunic dresses, skinny pants and fitted tees are often useful for layering, but not key style elements on their own. The slouchy pants are somewhere in the middle: I kind of love them, they are practical at times (running after kids at the town park) but they are not the first thing I think of when I consider what defines my style.
With the exception of the long cardigan, I can sew all my (preciously named) “defining-style elements” myself, which feels very freeing and gives me a lot of control. I like control. I have made the boxy shirt in cotton and linen and am planning one in raw silk now, and maybe a fine wool fabric later, although I do have a couple of cotton&cashmere kimono sweaters from J.Jill that serve me just as well in cold weather. I have made the wide leg pants in denim and I have several linen and wool versions, from J.Jill and Eileen Fisher. I am planning to sew a raw silk pair any day now (I already bought the fabric). I have made the sack dress in linen, cotton and raw silk, and I don’t see any other need there.
My wardrobe is over ninety percent thrifted and handmade, and I am very content with that for many reasons, ecological and budgetary. Accessories are also predominantly second-hand or handmade. I have a few too many bags, but I am coming to accept it as my big weakness, and I’m trying to let it be, for now. Although I don’t know if that’s so smart—I am these days making a packing list for a five-day trip and seriously considering taking five bags: travel tote, travel hobo crossbody, plus two small crossbody bags and one fanny pack!
Shoes are sometimes difficult to thrift, but I try to find them second hand in online shops. I feel like I have the staples I need, like Birkenstocks clogs and sandals, canvas sneakers, and army boots. I own some oxfords and loafers too, but I’m not crazy about pairing them with most of my wardrobe, as they feel insubstantial. I like a platform or some sort of heavier feel to the shoe.
This year I am going to test these revelations and stay on course. I’ll try to observe if anything else of importance comes up, but I doubt it. I’m feeling very good about my clothes right now. They are fun and cause me little to no anxiety. It’s nice.
I wish my wardrobe had your illustrations in it instead of the bunch of crap clothes I have 🙂 Every day would be like paper dolls.
I’d love a wardrobe full of silk and wool, but I have to settle for cotton and some cheaper fabrics because the sun rots everything so fast here. You are a total style guru.
Yeah, climate makes a big difference. Cold weather is more conducive to nice clothing. In the sun, who cares about clothes!
Well first of all, I love the wardrobe illustrations! Now I feel inspired to post some of my own illustrations. Yours reflect your style so well! I admire the thought you’ve put into picking apart and naming your comforts and preferences. You’re wardrobe sounds luxurious in it’s tailoring toward your style.
Oh, thank you so much. I know you’re just being kind. But you should definitely publish your work. You are the actual artist! I would love to see your work. As for the wardrobe, yes, I probably give it too much thought, but I try hard not to be apologetic about it, because it’s a worthwhile preoccupation. And this year I feel like I have a good idea about all the parts and how they fit together. I don’t want to make it completely into math, but into a better system that results in more successful outfits and fewer bad purchases. Although I am allowing myself space for experimentation too–clothes should still be fun.
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