Winter has finally lifted her snowy hand from the ground. Birds sing in the trees, crocuses spring forth delicate and colorful, the weather turns practically balmy. As I prepare my cold weather clothing for storage, I wanted to share an example of putting theory into practice.
Spending the past four years in a warm and temperate climate did not prepare me for the chills and freezing weather of this Northern Clime. I had one sweater, one pair of winter socks and no long underwear or other layers to my name. When the first snow fell, my impulse was immediately to run to the nearest thrift store and buy as many sweaters as could fit into my arms as possible- regardless of size, material or color.
Such desperate measures do not become an Aristocratic Lady. How many times had purchases of desperation tided you over and then remained cluttering up your closet, never to be worn again? This was the perfect opportunity to practice designing a rational, aesthetically complete wardrobe. To purchase pieces I would love to wear, would match what already hung in my closet, and hold true to my aesthetic. But first, I needed to develop that aesthetic.
My first stop was to various blogs, tumblrs, cold weather adds and more. I skimmed through hundreds of pictures, sending any photo that even remotely caught my eye or my interest to a Winter Wardrobe file. After a week, a sizable collection had developed. This time, I flicked through those collected photos and took stock of any themes in the photos. While a fur skirt is out of the question, alas, there was a noticeable trend towards fair isle designed, oversize sweaters, and many layers.
But, in the course of my wandering through various books, I just finished "Overdressed: the surprisingly high cost of cheap fashion" by Elizabeth L Cline- an easy, informative overview of what is wrong with the modern garment industry. It was this book, however, that cemented my desire to only buy and wear natural fibers- but that is a blog post of it's own.
My final consideration was the realization that I disliked cardigans. No matter how good they look on the web or hanger, no matter how classy they seem, I feel frumpy when I wear them. Short, long, thin, thick, belted, not- I feel as though I've gained twenty pounds and fifty years with a single garment. No matter the price, fabric, or design- I was not going to add another item to my closet that would make me feel awful by the end of the day.
Armed now with a set of themes, the axiom of only 100% natural fibers and the resolve of no more cardigans, I finally ventured into the thrift store. What could have been an overwhelming selection, was now manageable I passed over the solid colored sweaters and went straight to the patterned- flipping past the cardigans until I found 100% wool sweaters.
Now, three beautiful, adored sweaters are sitting on their shelf, ready to be packed away for the summer. They will keep me warm and elegant feeling for years. Plus I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that they are a result of not random chance, but careful consideration and planning. I am planning on doing the same with my summer wardrobe soon after the success of updating my winter one. I hope that you found this case study interesting and possibly helpful. There are so many fashion blogs and magazines, but so few that actually give a solid example of how to turn your aesthetic into reality.
Has anyone had similar success with their wardrobes or have a different method for choosing clothes?