I’ve talked about wardrobe clear outs before and at a time when mine is once again bursting at the seams, I have been thinking of all that waste. Yes, some goes to charity, some gets passed on to friends, some goes on eBay or Depop, but actually how much of what I buy do I even need?
We naturally navigate to our favourites in our wardrobe – for me, it’s skinny jeans, flats and a printed t-shirt with a jumper to throw on over the top. If I could just wear this style everyday I would be happy. But I also like to update my look, whether because I just fancy a change or because I like a current trend. And of course I love to shop!
This leads me to thinking about what we actually should keep in our wardrobes.
As per usual, I say forget the rules. Don’t just google ‘capsule wardrobe’ and tick off everything on the list (although this is a helpful place to start!). You have to think about how you want to dress – and that includes your own style, the season, what you are comfortable in as well as what you need to wear, to work for example. And most importantly, the shape of your clothes is dependent on your body shape and what suits you, everyone’s wardrobe should be different! Also, basics are best plain, but you don’t always have to stick to black, white or grey; again, work with your own colour preference.
So here is my list, this is the ‘capsule wardrobe’ that works for me.
Tops – plain t-shirt, breton t-shirt, shirt, dressy top (quantity of each depends on what you prefer to wear – but remember, there are only 7 days in a week so two of each is plenty!)
Jumper/Cardigan – thick knit and fine knit jumper in neutral colours e.g. black/grey/maroon tend to go with most other colours; simple fine knit cardigan, long cardigan (covering the bottom area!)
Trousers – cigarette, leather (my must have for casual and ‘going out’ styles), print
Jeans – skinny black and blue denim (on trend pieces – boyfriend/flares)
Skirts – pencil, mini, midi (this is the area most dependent on style that works for you. I wear short skirts in winter, pencil or midi in summer)
Jewellery – one essential…a statement necklace (how ‘statement’ is up to your personal style)
Outerwear – parka, three quarter length coat, fitted jacket (mine’s leather), gilet (I suggest faux fur of course!), shawl/blanket scarf
Shoes – flats (of course I will recommend brogues), trainers (for fashion, not for running!!), ankle boots, knee high boots
Now, using this list, check out what you have in your wardrobe, it’s time to sort! Quick trip to Ikea, buy a clothes rail for £6 (the perfect clothes sorting essential).
And here’s your step by step guide –
1 Put on the rail anything that falls into the above points
2 Sort into categories and eliminate any items that you know you will never wear again (I have a rule – not worn in a year, bag up and leave somewhere convenient to access if necessary. Not taken out of the bag the next year, bin!)
3 Go back to your wardrobe and sort the rest into categories (this includes any on trend/print/best loved pieces)
4 Repeat Number 2
5 Put your basics back in amongst your wardrobe, keeping in categories
6 Sort through each category – do you have too much of anything or need to shop for a particular category? (I would leave it a week or two before writing any shopping lists)
This next section may be on a separate day and maybe needs a whole post of its own!
7 Try on what you have left – make outfits from items in different categories. This is where you need to get out your accessories too – try it all! In fact, put on one pair or trousers, one top – and see how many combinations you can make by changing cardigan/jumper/necklace/adding a scarf etc, etc. And take photos of all the combinations, know what you have, what looks good, and wear it.
And by the way, you will find at this point you are one of two people…
One who plans to repeat this process every season. You can now happily write your shopping list to include any key pieces that are missing.
Or the other who cannot wait for the process to end and only to swears they will never buy anything again so you don’t have to go through this process one more time!
This is normal, but now your wardrobe is organised, you can plan the next month of outfits, easy peasy!
Search online for ‘Body Shape’ and you will find an array of websites guiding you towards selecting the size of your hips, the width of your shoulders, how well endowed you are in the chest area and so on.
To any female, this is a good guide for how to shop. But as a lover of personal styling, identifying which category you come into is not where it ends.
So technically, I am a pear shape because my hips are wider than my bust. That means I should wear tops with fitted waists, off the shoulder or wide at the neck. I should wear flat fronted wide legged trousers and avoid tight trousers and pencil skirts. That wardrobe clear-out I was doing, I may need to start again?!
The idea of the body shape guide is to balance each part of your figure, with the aim of a flattering look. I agree with the aim, but if I wear tops tight at the waist I look short, if I wear wide neck tops, I just look wide all over, and as for the suggestion of strapless tops – an impossible style for me because of the length (and size!) of my chest area. I love wide trousers, but they need a pleat to extend my leg length, and my favourite jeans and skirts are tight! On the other hand, I know another ‘pear’ who could stick to every rule!
It’s not just your chest, hip and waist measurements that define your body shape – if you really want, you could measure your neck to chest, the length of your stomach, the length of your legs, in fact, even the length of my hair determines some styles I wear! Of course, some of the rules will work for you, but what is important to remember is to not limit yourself! We are all different.
Unfortunately, if you are not a shopper, here comes the bad news. The only way you will learn what suits you, is to try it on – all of it. But never fear, tips at the ready!
- Start by using what is already in your wardrobe to build a picture of what you feel most confident in – and the biggest tip, if you don’t feel confident in it, it probably doesn’t suit you.
*However, just a quick story to go with that point…on my final day helping out at Fashion Week, taking the heat backstage and the ‘black’ rule into account (I own very little black!), I decided to wear a pair of vintage palazzo trousers and a little blouse – you can see the image here. I felt this style worked best on me after trying a few tighter tops and loved this when I left the house, but as soon as I was walking, I felt uncomfortable. I wore the same trousers and top the following day, only with different shoes – different feeling; I loved my outfit the whole day! So don’t discard straight away, items may need a few attempts!
- Think about what you need your clothes for and try them on as you would be wearing them.
I’ve said it before, I wish I wore heels more often. But as this has never happened, there is no point in me trying on an outfit for work, or for an afternoon out shopping if I will never wear it. Be practical!
If you are happy with an item, take a picture and keep a separate file stored on your phone or computer. If you area anything like me, I generally do this photo shoot at the end of a long day and therefore take the picture without a head, these are not posing shots but rather think of it like a catalogue to your wardrobe – and you don’t have to spend any more money to look this fabulous;)
- When you shop, try something new
We often develop our style and get so comfortable it is hard to divert from this but our body shape and colouring changes over time and between seasons. What may not have suited you even a year ago, may suit you now – so if you like it, have a go!
And again, if you are not sure how well a piece of clothing, or an outfit suits, feel free to tag me on Instagram, message on Facebook or Twitter or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss. Remember, its all about ‘style that works for you…’.
Over recent months I have been having a fight with my wardrobe. I normally love summer fashion because it is so easy, not so this year. As we move towards winter I cannot find a thing to wear! I find so little I am totally comfortable in at the moment, so I have come to the conclusion that my personal style must be changing and finally, all those clothes I have been hanging on to are slowly but surely making their way out of my wardrobe!
What determines your personal style? Has your style changed and what has led to the change? Here are a few pointers to help you clarify your personal style…
1. QUANTITY DOES NOT DETERMINE QUALITY
I definitely think the change for me has been determined this time by the fact that I have too many clothes! Some would think this is a good thing, but many of the clothes have been gathering over the past I don’t even know how many years. I regularly clear out my wardrobe (read here for some tips) but I still hang on to the old favourites. Feeling my style change has helped me to finally get rid of many items that I know I will never wear again – be brave!
2. WORK WEAR VERSUS WEEKEND WEAR
This is where I need to practice what I preach. My wardrobe often overlaps because some days I just want to wear a favourite item, but then by the weekend I am uninspired by my clothes again, my favourites now also remind me of work. Have your work clothes in one section and separate your weekend wardrobe to be reserved for your days off. That way, not only can you keep your work wardrobe professional, but you can also feel inspired by your wardrobe each weekend.
3. I WANT WHAT SHE HAS
You are different – your height, your bust, your hips, your skin and hair colour – it’s all different, so just because it suits her, does not mean it suits you! Use your style icons to inspire your style, but do not copy! Quick tip to help you through this one – on a day you feel really confident in your style, take a photo. This will help you begin to build a picture of your personal style.
4. LOOK TO THE TRENDS
This does not mean you have to shop. Instead, go back into your current wardrobe and look for items that fit with the current season (watch out for an A/W trend post to keep you up to date), dig the items out and see how you could give them a fresh look.
5. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT, OR TAKE SOME ADVICE
Sometimes I put an outfit on that I know isn’t me, or doesn’t look as good as I want it to – but you have to try these things to see what works and what doesn’t. And believe me, you will know – you will either feel confident for trying something new, or uncomfortable and wishing it was hometime! And if you’re not sure, ask! A close friend/relative/an e-mail to silverbrogues;)
6. DEFINE YOUR THOUGHTS
I wish I was a heel wearer, who didn’t think being comfortable in my clothes was one of the most important things – but I am not that person. My style? I love skinny jeans, printed t-shirts, and layers. I love simple jewellery and brogues. I love including one extra or different piece to my outfit (you may never notice it, but for me it works) to change the whole outfit. I am relaxed, I am (reasonably) stylish…and I am gaining confidence.
How about you?
The work wardrobe is one of the hardest to build. It should be easy, a few pairs of smart trousers, a couple of jackets in different colours and a dress or skirt thrown into the mix.
But unfortunately, then come the rules. The colours and textures allowed, the length of the trouser or skirt and the height of the heel. My biggest issue in fact is the budget required – I want to spend that extra money on a new pair of jeans or trainers rather than the essential work item!
As I write this, it feels a little strange because many of these rules are ignored for my work wardrobe. My job thrives on colour, print, patterns and goes between being casual (some weeks I feel like I live in my trackies!), to getting the heels out, depending on what we are doing. But never fear, I will continue the work wardrobe theme of posts with other working environments!
Back to The Office with Rules – a few things to think about first –
1. What requirements your employers have on you about your work wardrobe. Is there a rule book you need to follow?
2. Who are you coming in to contact with in work? Whether we like it or not, people judge us by how we look – dressing appropriately helps to build credibility and a sense of authority.
3. What do you feel most comfortable wearing in work – consider what your job is and how this effects you feeling confident – wearing ill-fitting clothes or clothes not suitable for your employment will distract and may make others feel uncomfortable.
Now for a few fashion tips
1. The tagline – style that works for you. What works for one person may not work for you.
2. The fit – I’ve said it before, size doesn’t always matter. Try your clothes on and look at all angles in the mirror. This is also a good time to mention good fitting underwear!
3. The jewellery – in work, one statement piece is enough. It helps to give an idea of who you are and what your personal style is without hindering you job efficiency or distracting others.
4. The colour – if colour is allowed, block colour is usually best.
A few fashionable inspirations…
Remaining fashionable whilst maintaining a smart look.
So what to do? You’ve no doubt heard it before – have your capsule wardrobe. Before having a look, please remember, not every style below will work for you – try different combinations out to see which is most flattering to your figure.
The Work Wardrobe
All above Dorothy Perkins for a grand total of £84
(This is the original price, however when I first researched there was 30% off everything – watch out for the deals!)
Just add these details…
My final tip (briefly mentioned above), go for the bargains! Shop when there are deals on online or instore, check out voucher code websites or buy during the sales. Now, go build that work wardrobe!
Since buying my New Balance (with the very good excuse of fashion show styling!), I have been loving the casual look again. One look I have always loved is the palazzo trouser. Now that it has gained status on the catwalk again, with the silhouette being ‘wide and free’, I am on the hunt for the perfect pair.
I have a few suggestions for styling this sort of trouser.
1. They must touch the floor, no ankle skimming allowed!
2. They must be the perfect waist fit (whether high waisted or on the hips) as this balances out the wide bottom.
3. Personally I think these trousers are best with flats – I love the trainer or the sandal, however, whether a high or low heel, the shoe shape is very important – try out a few different shoes to see how flattering they are (I do think body shape dictates your shoe choice in this instance).
4. Slouchy trousers are all about balance. For me, I think your top half needs to have a ‘tidy’ fit – not too tight, not too loose.
5. Colour block in this style is most flattering.
And for once, it is only one thing! I love these palazzo trousers from Zara. Priced at only £29.99, this is definitely a trend you could try out for the summer.
What is your current ‘One thing…’?