This week is all about reflection and identifying where you want to travel, stylistically speaking. It’s full-on blank-slate stuff, no preconceptions and certainly no feeling confined by your existing wardrobe. Dare to dream and experiment with expressing yourself.
I used Caroline’s excellent Wardrobe Planner to help guide myself. I initially thought that thinking about this was enough, but I found that the act of writing everything down really did help to solidify my thoughts and provides focus when making new purchases. If you’re serious about defining your style and minimising your wardrobe the Planner is a great tool, as are many of the exercises devised by Anuschka on Into Mind. I would recommend keeping a Pintertest board to visually hone your thoughts as you work through the exercises. I still use mine as reference when I (occasionally) shop. It stops me being distracted by colours, prints and sales. No more impulse buys! If you consider yourself to be at high risk of cracking, take a screen-grab encapsulating your favourite 4 or 5 images and set this as your phone backdrop; that way you only need to wake the screen for a reminder. Create a vision you are so excited about that you want to respect it by giving it life.
Identifying what you don’t like and what doesn’t really work for you is just as important as defining what you do like. Sounds negative, but it’s more about finding focus than concentrating on hating things. Unless you’re thinking peplums. Am I the only one who despises them? #endthepeplummadness
Creating a colour palette is another excellent way of keeping you focused (and so very French!) Once you have between 4 and 7 colours/tones, ingrain the idea in your mind by walking around a big clothes shop only looking at things that match your palette. It completely shifted the way I browse – often I’m in and out in a matter of minutes.
For the curious, my own palette looks a little like this: black, charcoal, deep greens, burgundy and the occasional chalk-coloured item. I also love minimalist jewellery in a mixture of tones (I never have been able to cope with dangly earrings). I love Still With You. Renathe makes the most beautiful, simple items. The simple ear cuff hasn’t left my ear yet*.
Unsurprisingly, I like simple shapes and clean lines – skinny jeans, slightly boxy jumpers and tops; cute mid-thigh (so not really mini) skirts and simple dresses. I’d love to be able to really work layers and the trend for masculine, over-sized fit, but these don’t work with my figure and I end up feeling frumpy. I also don’t like anything frilly or flowing – I’ve never been a girly girl. I don’t subscribe to the idea that an answer lies in magazine quizzes designed to place you in a body-shape box, maybe I’m an hour glass, but I don’t really know or care, and another quiz could tell me something different anyway. The best course of action is to really pay attention to what you feel good in (and what you don’t) and work from there.
All of this distills into an easy filter system:
- Does this match my palette?
- Is it in a shape I like?
- Is it in a material I like?
- Does it fit well and look good?
- Does this fill a hole in my wardrobe? – Do you need it? Be completely honest here!
- Will it work my existing clothes?
It’s amazed me how much work I still had to do to simplify my wardrobe, but I’m so glad I kept working on it. If you want to always feel put together, completely yourself and to stress less and spend less, I’d definitely recommend a capsule wardrobe experiment.
*I haven’t been paid to say that, and I didn’t receive anything for free. I want to get better at talking about items I love from independent makers and craftspeople and feel like that doesn’t compromise my minimalist message. You won’t find me waxing lyrical on H&M, Topshop etc. I do truly believe in handmade, small-scale production and fair treatment of people.