So I've been talking a lot lately about sorting my wardrobe. I've been reading a lot on other blogs and in books (books! GASP!) about having a 'capsule' wardobe, a wardrobe where everything goes with everything else to create a look that perfectly defines you, or at least how you want to be seen that day. I want smart but quirky outfits for work, pretty and romantic clothes for the summer, warm but stylish looks for the winter, practical but chic outfits for dog walking and gardening and other 'down and dirty' activities (raises eyebrows...).
More than anything else, I want to feel like a Grown Up. You know the type, the one who looks good all the time, regardless of the activity. The one with the cute hair, matte smooth skin and perfect make up. The one with the clothes that are quirky and unique and yet classic and timeless. The one who doesn't sit on a Wednesday night watching the Simpsons slumped on the sofa with a large bowl of pasta and garlic bread in front of her, whilst simultaneously poking her belly and complaining to her boyfriend that she's not toned and svelte like Natalie Portman.
Basically I want to be Coco Chanel.
I been feeling over the last year that my style has been changing, I'm moving away from the 'I buy everything in charity shops to avoid sweatshops' look (which I still subscribe to in my head) and want to start looking a bit more...put together. I want clothes that suit me in style, size and colour. I want to be able to go to my wardrobe in the morning and find everything goes with everything else, rather than the age-old dilemma of "I want to wear this jumper, but it only goes with that t-shirt, which is in the wash. But if I wear this jumper instead, then I have to change my trousers and I don't have any shoes that go with the second pair of trousers but then I don't have a jacket that goes with the first pair..." and so on.
I have come to the conclusion that the way round this problem is to make my own wardrobe. Although it means more time and effort than just going out and buying something, it means I can still stick to my original avoidance of sweatshops as much as possible (obviously if you're buying material then it will probably have been made by a penniless 5 year old in China but you have to draw the line somewhere), hopefully save money and end up with a wardrobe where I can choose exactly the styles and colours of each item. No more wandering hopelessly round the shops looking for the perfect white blouse or summer skirt, I can choose the pattern and material and knock it up myself.
I've been reading the wardrobe, reimagined and the author there suggests a number of criteria when choosing or making clothes (paraphrased by myself):
♥ The Rule of Three - each item must either match 3 other things in the wardrobe or be worn at least three times.
♥ The Remake Rule - each pattern must be versatile enough to be made again
♥ Stash Bust - brownie points if you use fabric from your stash
I like these rules, they're quick and easy to remember and will definitely help me choose my patterns and materials wisely. To help this even further, I went through my wardrobe and did an inventory. This is written here mainly for myself, but feel free to read away if it interests you!
♥ Lingerie. Everyone needs nice pants right? I thought I had 8 pairs of nice pants, the sexy seductive kind...except 4 pairs were dreadful. So in the bin they went. Also 3 matching camisoles-and-pants, one of which needs altering. Inventory: 4 pairs of nice knickers and 2 and a half matching sets.
♥ Normal every day pants. Wow, I have a lot of these pants! And wow, so many of them were horrible. 7 were kept, 14 are in stages of removal (by which I mean, I'll be operating a one-in-one-out policy). Inventory: 7 pairs of nice normal pants.
♥ Socks = plenty. Thank you Mum!
♥ Tights. Oh the shame here. 8 pairs, 1 bright neon pink (in the bin, hanging head in shame for owning these at all), 1 purple (hole in crotch, into bin), 1 weird salmon coloured (thank you Topshop and your strange definition of 'skin coloured'. Off to car boot sale). 2 brown, one with small ladders, 1 navy, 1 black (both 100 denier, what is wrong with me?!), 1 actual skin coloured. Inventory: 5 pairs of tights, the 100 denier to be replaced with a more Grown Up thickness.
♥ Gloves - 4 pairs. 1 handmade, 1 riding, 2 leather (one of which was from Andrew's gran and so I can't get rid of, even though I don't like them or wear them). Inventory: 2 pairs of wearable gloves, no wooly gloves.
♥ 1 ugly swimming costume. Buy or make another then ditch this one.
♥ 5 bras: 3 boring practical, 1 pretty, 1 strapless. Inventory: needs at least 2 more pretty bras and a sports bra.
♥ 7 summer scarves, only ever wear one. Need more outfits that go with these scarves.
♥ Trousers. 3 pairs of jeans, 1 with hole in crotch (straight into bin). 1 every day pair long enough for boots, 1 rough pair for the garden. Need another pair for wearing with flat shoes. 1 pair of cords that don't really fit - into the 'salvage the fabric' pile. 1 pair of work trousers and 1 wool pair for winter (to wear with boots). Need another winter pair for flat shoes and another pair of cords. Inventory: 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of work trousers, 1 pair of winter trousers. 1 pair of rough trousers.
♥ Sorted for pyjamas, sports kit and thermals (again, thanks Mum!)
♥ Jumpers. 2 wool for work (falling to bits but doesn't matter too much with animals). 1 cashmere jumper that doesn't suit me but is warm and I sleep in it sometimes. 1 sweater vest that I don't wear enough. 1 short sleeved fairisle that I never get to wear because it's a bit short. 11 jumpers - 3 are fit to wear (but need more things to go with them - white/cream blouse to start), 8 are too small or too large but I like so need to alter. I need to sort these jumpers, there's nothing here that works, everything is either too small, too large, too short, the wrong colour, the wrong type of neckline...Inventory: not sure, we'll see how things pan out.
♥ Skirts - 2 wool, one short for going out, one long for uni. Neither are suitable for summer.
To make or buy:
♥ Alter the camisole so it fits
♥ Knit pair of winter gloves
♥ Buy or make a swimming costume
♥ 2 pretty bras and a sports bra
♥ Pair of jeans/trousers for flat shoes
♥ Pair of winter trousers for flat shoes
♥ Pair of cords
♥ At cardigans
♥ A summer skirt
♥ A summer dress to wear with belts
♥ White/cream blouse
♥ Tank tops in various colours but starting with white, green or purple
♥ T-shirts in the above colours
♥ Another going out top or dress
I have several nice belts that I never get to wear, so outfits that go with belts would be a bonus. For the moment I think I'm sorted for bags but I need to go through shoes yet, I'm just putting it off because I can't make shoes and they're expensive to buy. So I'll make do with what I've got for the moment.
It's a bit incoherent and messy, but I think having made a list, over the coming months when I start buying or making clothes, it'll start coming together. It's just to give me a vague idea of where to start and to give me something to look back on as I go.