Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Revamping Your Style Part 2

This post picks up where this one left off - if you missed the first one, I recommend starting there!

Step Three: Compare your list to your Wardrobe 

Basically this step involves doing a big closet clean-out with your new "list of shit I like" in hand.

Start with four piles/bins/boxes: "Keep", "Storage", "Ditch", and "Fix."
Caveat: You ONLY get a Fix box if you know you will actually fix things, either by DIYing it or taking it to a tailor. If you know in your heart that the Fix box will sit around untouched for months (*coughcoughIdontknowwhatyouaretalkingabout*) then skip it. 

Now go through your wardrobe piece by piece and ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I love this and have I worn it in the past year? 

2. Does it fit well and flatter my shape? 

3. Is it in good shape? Or could it be improved with repairs/tweaks/a dye job? 

4. Does it fit in with my list of style elements? 

A "no" on 1 goes immediately to Ditch (exceptions can be made for things like "the dress you only wear to other people's weddings" as long as you like it a lot and you're pretty sure you'll need it in the next year. Otherwise, ditch it, you probably won't like it anymore by the time you need it.)

A "no" on 2 goes either to Ditch or to Fix, if the fit issue is something that can be fixed (if it's too big, it can usually be taken in, but if it's too small you're probably out of luck.)

On 3, if it has issues but they are fixable and you know you'll do it, put it in Fix. Otherwise, Ditch.

If you get a "no" on 4, but you otherwise love the piece and want to keep it, put it in Storage (same for anything else you just can't bear to Ditch. You can also put out-of-season stuff in there.)

Everything else is a Keep and can go back in the closet- I recommend doing the "backwards clothes hanger" trick- hang everything up backwards and then when you actually wear it, hang it back up the right way. That way you can easily see what's not ever getting worn.

The Ditch box gets donated/sold/given away/tossed. Schedule a time to tackle the Fix box, ASAP- if you need to drop it off at a tailor, do it TODAY. If you're doing it yourself, pick a time to sit down with your sewing machine and get on it. Put the Storage box somewhere out of the way. In a year, if you haven't needed or missed something in it... Ditch it.

Step Four: Identify Gaps & Shop Smart 

What elements on your list are woefully underserved by the clothing you currently own? In my case, I love long oversized sweaters and own precisely ZERO (I've been on the lookout for the perfect one recently, but no luck yet- I'm very picky about fiber and softness. I'll probably have to make one, hah.) It has also become clear to me that I should buy a nice trench coat, and some more flannel shirts. I've managed to fill some other gaps: basic foundation layers in blacks, whites, and grays, things with stripes, black leather leggings, some jackets, some boots. By trying to limit my palette to the colors I'm most drawn to (neutrals and almost-neutrals, mostly, with some reds thrown in) I'm left with stuff that coordinates pretty well, which makes getting dressed easier. Put those missing items on a list and keep it with you so that when you're shopping, you know where your weaknesses lie.

Also keep that list of elements with you, so you can see where a potential purchase fits in (or if it does fit in at all.) Avoid buying things on your "conspicuously missing from my style board" list- they're probably missing for a reason! Obviously you don't have to be too strict about your list - if you love something, you love it, whether or not it "fits in" with your lists, and who the hell am I to tell you what you can and can't buy? - but by keeping your lists in mind you can avoid falling into the "but it's in style!" trap. It doesn't matter if it's in style if it's not in your style, you know what I mean?

And Voila, you're done!  Keep pinning to your boards, and revisit your list a few times a year- your list is bound to change over time as new trends that you love crop up and you get sick of other ones. I try to brutally cull my wardrobe about once per season (which is also a good time to peek in on your storage box and see if you're ready to part with any of it yet, or if you absolutely want any of it back in the drawers- plus you can swap seasonal things in and out.)

Anyone else have a great style-identifying or wardrobe-organizing tip? I'm all ears!  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Revamping Your Style with Pinterest

I have an almost pathological fascination with categorizing things, particularly fashiony things. I used to buy books like this and devour them (secretly of course, since they were pretty embarrassing,) hoping on some level to come across a style, and label, that fit me precisely.

I didn't, of course. Most people don't fit neatly in those subcultural style boxes. Which is a good thing, I think! I realize now that being too easily defined is kind of boring. Why be "goth" when you could be "Mad-Men-Secretary-Glam-Goth" or "90's-Grunge-Meets-Cyber-Goth"? Or, you know, both, and more, on different days, whenever the mood strikes. But nonetheless, knowing what your personal style is (no matter how many hyphens it takes to define it) is really useful when it comes to putting together outfits that you actually feel good in and shopping for clothes that you'll actually wear. And that is where my bff Pinterest comes in.

Step One: Start Pinning 

First things first, if you're not already on Pinterest, join up! Or you can use a folder on your computer, or some other sort of bookmarking app... I like Pinterest because it lays it all out nicely (and you can usually click through and find out where to buy items you really love, or at least look at other outfits that that person put together.)

Make a board or folder for style inspiration and start filling it with outfit pictures you like. The more, the better- it will probably work best if you give it a week or so and just keep filling it up. To find outfits, you can use the "Women's Fashion" category on Pinterest, or check out "social fashion" sites like Lookbook and Chictopia. One of the best ways is to look at other people's style boards on Pinterest- you're likely to find people who have similar taste, and they'll have a goldmine of great pics. Finding the boards in the first place can be tricky but just searching for "outfits" or "fashion" will turn up lots of goodies- and when you find a picture you like, it will show you other places it has been pinned, which is a great way to dive down the rabbit hole. Try to include some outfits that are work appropriate, if you work in an office or other environment with a dress code- you definitely want to keep those in consideration too!

Be very liberal in your pinning. Don't worry if you don't like every detail about the outfit- if it catches your eye, pin it. My rule is that if I stop and ask myself "hmm, should I pin this?" the answer is always yes.

Step Two: Analyze 

Now the fun part. Once you've got lots of pics, start looking for patterns. What colors turn up often? What sorts of garments? What textures? What silhouettes? What "feeling"? Do you have tons of romantic dresses, or lots of very structured blazers? Lots of pastels, or neons, or blacks? Make a list of all the different elements that seem to come up time and again.

When I look at my board, my list looks something like this:

  • layers 
  • grays, blacks, rusty autumn colors, other neutrals 
  • long and oversized tops, especially over leggings or skinny jeans 
  • tall boots, both leather and rubber 
  • ankle booties 
  • combat boots 
  • leather everywhere 
  • knits 
  • solid colors 
  • stripes 
  • flannel 
  • distressed elements 
  • tights (esp with shorts) 
  • tall socks (often layered over tights) 
  • trench/long coats 
  • leather/biker jackets 
  • sweaters over button-up tops 
  • jeans with heels 
  • cut-offs 
  • skinny jeans 

Overall impression: cozy, a little bit classic, a little bit grungey. (I still don't have good words to define it but at least that's a starting point.)

Notice also what is conspicuously missing (in my case- ruffly, feminine, romantic things, and most pastel colors) and write them down. Weigh the items on this list against what is practical for you, and remove anything you know won't work, no matter how much you like it- for example, I almost never wear heels and probably am not going to start (I love them, but they hurt, so if I have to walk at all they are right out.) You may know that certain colors or silhouettes don't flatter you, so take those off the list as well.

Continued in Part 2! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Outfit- May 16


 Oh snap, did I just do the second outfit post ever after a long delay and totally wear the exact same sweater? Yes, yes I did. But it's a good sweater. Also, look, a hype button! I barely know what it does but I think if you click it, good things happen somehow. 

Tank: James Perse - it is a very pale minty green though you can't quite tell. 
Tee: "One Step Up" ie super cheap shitty tee that they sell for $5 around here. You'll notice I have a bunch of those, from like three different brands. 
Jeans: Grane Jeans- this is such a weird brand, I found this pair secondhand and it fits me better than any pants I've ever owned. But I keep trying to get another semi-duplicate pair off ebay (same brand, size, and in one case style) and all the other ones fit like crap. 
Boots: Minnetonka fringe boots. I think this style was discontinued- I found them on sale at DSW, whoopwhoop! 

Styling tip: See how I have a wide horizontal band of light color around my hips? Both the horizontal-ness and the light color will make them look wider, especially on top of the black jeans (which have the opposite effect, being vertical and dark.) If you're like me and don't have a ton of curves, it's a neat trick. My hips are one of my more lady-like features so I don't have a problem with playing them up. But if you're not looking to widen your hips (which most people aren't, I think) then darker colors and avoiding horizontal lines there would be better (maybe by having a longer top layer that covers the bottom layer).

Other styling tip: Who am I kidding, 80 degrees is too hot for a hat and cardigan. I cling desperately to fall fashion all year round, I'm afraid. 


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