As part of my vow to
a) plan my wardrobe more thoughtfully
b) spend less money
c) only buy what I was truly missing in my fall wardrobe this year
I decided to follow in the footsteps of my stylish mentors, Miss Fabulous Florida Mommy and Miss Dani BP Mop.
The former, in her thoughtful post "Planning your fall purchases, part one" (read it here in its brilliant entirety) and the latter, in her much heralded Frock Philosophy manifesto (read it here if you want to understand a wardrobe!) have been a HUGE inspiration to me this year, most particularly this summer as I begin to stop the madness of buying without a plan and then wondering why I have nothing to wear, Or at least nothing I love or nothing that fits well or looks good on me!
According to FFM:
Step 1: Go through your closet to see what you already own.
Oh Lord!!!!!!!!!!!! I hauled my scrawny butt (it is scrawny by the way) out to the back room and began to haul it all out. The result was both humbling in the amount and shocking in some of the multiples. Variations on a theme you might say. Ahem...
The top of my bed....I know that I have a small closet and only a small storage space in the back room and many of you have much more storage space and more robust wardrobes than I and may think this a small pile compared to your closets, but I was GOBSMACKED by the amount of fall and winter clothing I had!!!!!! Dear Lord!!!
In Frock Philosophy, Dani talks about colour theory and set theory. The latter was particularly useful for me - I had never divided my clothing up by what it was supposed to accomplish in my life...
In the end, I chose to combine the two concepts to a certain extent. I found it easiest at this point to divide the clothing up by colour family, although I did divide out my party clothes and a few pieces that I tend to only wear in the month of December. Within the set theory concept, I have embraced the multiset concept - outfits or articles of clothing can fit within many categories and that, I guess, is really how one mixes and matches and builds one's wardrobes.
Considering this is my first time looking at my wardrobe in its entirety, I have forgiven my trespasses, and will be able to divide it even more fully as the fall arrives...
Step 2: Try it all on.
She describes this as the UGH part of the exercise!!! I think it could be more than UGH - I believe I might have sworn a bit!!! However, this was an incredibly important part of the process...I realized why I kept avoiding things and I forgave myself for my wanton disregard for money and common sense. I also decided that things could only stay chez WMM if they passed my 4 questions:
1) Does it serve some purpose in my wardrobe?
If the answer was no, I put it aside. Thank goodness there was a party frock category - you recall my aspirational dressing. There was also the odd item that served no absolute use in my wardrobe but made me feel great. These were few and far between, but made me feel great and so got a pass!
2) Does it fit/is it flattering?
If the answer was no - it was put aside. This was hard - I realized that I had some multiples and that was actually embarassing. This was a result of forgetting what I had or buying styles that were so similar that they could be mistaken for one another. This does not make for an interesting wardrobe in my humble opinion. Some things just didn't fit me well. Others were old and needed to retire. Someone mentioned last week about Tippis and capris. I get their point!!!
3) If I love it, but don't wear it, what's it going to take to get me to wear it?
Do I need to buy something that will match it so it is no longer an orphan? Or - if I love it, but don't wear it, does it not fit with either the image I want to project at this point in my life? Remember WMM - you want to enter your 50s looking elegant. You may love this, but you love a LOT of things! Does it belong to another life or lifestyle? Would Rita where it? How will I feel having my picture taken in it????? (That is another humbling experience folks!)
4) Is it the Image I want to project going forward? If not, it was cast aside!
This is related to #3 for sure. If you recall, I want to look more like this going forward:
Okay, this but with lower heels.....
and Miss Rita Wilson:
Now, I gave myself some kindness here as well. I am not going to get there all in one season. But this is where I am going and my wardrobe must go there with me....
At the end of the "Try it on" step, I had three items I was not sure about. You will be my advisors here! Please be kind, as I am not wearing a stich of makeup below, nor am I wearing appropriate footwear!
A Nicole Miller dress - a yes or no? I think with a nice pair of boots, could be a yes....And a red lipstick. It might help if i combed my hair...
A shot of the dress on a hanger:
A JCrew suit in super 120s in soft graphite. I think this is a flattering cut. But......
People - I put EVERY colour under this suit, nothing could make this look good on me!!! Unless you tell me differently, this is going to the donate pile! Am I not combining this with the right colour? Or is it simply washing me out too much?
Boy - I REALLY wish I had worn makeup....And this was only day 2 of summer vacation!!!!!
Be kind, but be honest! DO NOT BE HONEST ABOUT THE NO MAKEUP!!!! REALLY!!! LIE!!!!!!
Okay. Those are the things I wasn't sure of....or was particularly scared by...
So I flipped back over to Dani's colour theory:
I realized that my wardrobe has some basic colour stories in it:
This set is comprised of a lovely black lightweight wool suit, a lighter black skirt suit, a boiled wool skirt, some cardigans, my new snakeskin skirt, a lovely Judith and Charles Jersey/Black leather trim skirt and various trousers.
Various black cotton tshirts and sweaters and cashemere sweaters round this out. It is not particularly exciting, but I think these are great staples in my wardrobe and I always feel very chic wearing them with the right accessory...
This set is comprised of a JCrew navy pinstripe 3 piece suit (jacket, trousers, little flaired pencil skirt), some royal blue and periwinkle sweaters, my Naomi polka blouse, a navy lace skirt from J crew and cute little navy lace Banana Republic Cardigan.
My new navy polka dot tie blouse, the navy feather paisely, the morse code schoolboy and matching capris...
A navy silk popover blouse by Michael Kors, a Navy wool schoolboy blazer, navy trousers, etc.
The navy/blue colour way is lovely and makes me feel good when I wear these colours...
These two colour families will form the "foundation" of my fall wardrobe.
I have two other more neutral colour families:
I have had the beechwood 1035 blazer and matching skirt for about a year, I decided to purchase the trousers as an early fall neutral. I think this could be a good workorse for the office, mixed with other colours (including those above).
Likewise, with the greys. I am not typically enamoured of grey, although it is one of the colours that is said to suit someone of my colouring (particularly in the charcoal shade):
This is a small group - a lovely polka dot grey/silver pencil skirt by Calvin Klein, the herringbone capris from JCrew last winter, a Michael Kors grey velvety blazer, a pair of Ralph Lauren wool trousers, J Crew charcoal pinstripe trousers, a plaid wool skirt from le chateau which I mostly wear on the weekends in the fall and a pale silvery-grey short sleeve sweater by nougat london with some flowers attached to it. You see I have thrown in some periwinkle blue as the sight of grey alone leaves me bereft.....
Sooo - this is the beginning. I have basics. They all fit and they fulfill the intent of my questions above. Tomorrow: my identified accent colours for the fall!