Monday, April 13, 2015

S & F Series--The Essential Wardrobe Revisited, 2015

Some of you may remember a couple of summers ago when I did my big wardrobe purge, donating several large bags of clothing and accessories to the local thrift store. This was in large part inspired by Jennifer L. Scott's Ten-Item Wardrobe philosophy, extolled on her blog, The Daily Connoisseur, and in her Madame Chic books. Jennifer designates 10 core items for each of two seasons, spring/summer and fall/winter. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.

Jennifer is not hung up on the number 10. That is the starting point for cultivating each wardrobe, and in addition to the core items are "extras", such as t-shirts, blazers, outerwear, shoes, scarves, etc... Today she debuted her spring/summer collection for 2015 at The Daily Connoisseur. She showed 8 dresses, one skirt, and one pair of jeans for the ten core pieces. The extras included 4 t-shirts and 3 pairs of shoes. That makes a total of 17 pieces. Next week she will explain her choices one-by-one, and I imagine there will also be sunglasses, purses, jackets, and similar items added to the extras. Jewelry would be another category, and as with the rest, the number of items is pared down.

As you know, when I recently went through all of my clothing, I decided, at least for now, not to store away the off-season items. So far this has worked out very well, as we have still had chilly weather in Ohio. Yesterday at church, for example, I wore a sleeveless rayon floral maxi dress with a lace-trimmed tank top underneath, and with a long, heavy cardigan sweater over it. The sweater's colors, mostly purple, went well with the dress, and the total effect was perfect for this transitional month of April. Normally I would have stored the cardigan away, but instead I wore it as outerwear with my spring dress. I wore no hosiery, and my shoes were Frye clogs, which I recently purchased for a steal on Ebay. As of yet, these shoes are the only new items I have bought for spring/summer.

If we imagine that Jennifer did not store her fall/winter wardrobe away, then she might have a total of about 35 core items and extras, plus additional coats, scarves, gloves, hats, and other accessories. Her grand total for the whole year most likely does not exceed 50 pieces. I haven't bothered to count all of my clothes, and I still have to go through my accessories. I'll be getting to those today, I have promised myself!

My wardrobe approach is somewhat different than Jennifer's. Her core items are heavy on dresses, which mine for spring and summer also will be. I only have one pair of shorts right now, as well as 5 capris, several jeans, 2 dress pants, and lightweight floral lounge pants. As the weather warms up, those items that I primarily wear will most likely shift and be rearranged accordingly. I find no need to distinguish between the core items and the extras, as Jennifer does. For someone else, t-shirts might be core items, while dresses are extras. The point is not to be a stickler about the exact number, but to cultivate a wardrobe that is essential to you.

I call my style "classic bohemian", like a cross between Ann Taylor and Anthropologie. The best thing to do is to determine a label that reflects your style and to find those brands, of the highest quality you can afford, to shop for your look.

Another important thing to note is that you will often read articles about how to put together a core wardrobe of "basics". These typically include a little black (or grey or navy) dress; black dress pants; a white blouse; a leather jacket; a trench coat; jeans; dress pumps and ballet flats. There is nothing wrong with planning your wardrobe this way if that is your style. But keep in mind that women's personal styles and lifestyle needs can vary widely, and there is absolutely no reason that you have to wear your clothes in neutral colors only, or to have any color scheme at all.

If you purchase and keep only clothing that you really enjoy wearing, you will have plenty of separates that will work well together. You will naturally gravitate toward particular colors, textures, and styles, and it will all harmonize well. There is no need to go out and buy your entire essential wardrobe at once. You can build it over time. And if you choose quality over quantity, your clothing will last longer and fit you better, so you won't need to go shopping as often.

As soon as I have have pared down the rest of what is in my closet--the shoes and boots, scarves, belts, purses, etc..., I am going to show you pictures of my entire wardrobe. I have a small chest with 4 drawers, a closet for clothes that prefer or need to be hung, and a vintage cupboard with 4 deep shelves. Right now one of those shelves is completely empty! The family's heavier coats and other winter gear goes in a closet downstairs, which will be a project of its own.

So how is your home-tidying with the KonMari Method going? I'm thrilled to report that my husband has finished Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and has already gone through his clothes and is on to his books! By the way, husbands and wives need to do the discarding of their own things. I don't keep things just because my husband likes them if they don't spark joy for me; and he had to decide on his own what he wanted to save and give away. It is a private matter for you to do alone, with no input from the peanut gallery.

I hope you are having fun with this process, and I'm eager to have you share how it's going in the comments! 

1 comment:

  1. Good advice on having spouses purge separately! -Laura M.


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