Well, it’s really about making conscious decisions that aren’t wasteful. Like with Lanvin, one of my favorites, there’s nothing organic about it. But Alber [Elbaz]’s clothes tend to be very well made, and they never go out of style. So in Lanvin’s case, you’re buying a jacket that you can wear for years. I have a jacket that I bought that’s from 2001, and I’m still wearing it. It’s very difficult to buy 100 percent organic or sustainable, but the number one conscious decision is to not buy more than you need, and to buy things that last. If I had a choice to buy a T-shirt that’s made in New York City versus a T-shirt that’s made in China, and they’re very similar, I’m probably going to choose the one that’s made in New York, you know? And if I choose the one that’s made in China — and that would be because it has a certain look, or a certain fit, or a certain price that’s appealing — then I’m going to buy it and keep it and wear it for a long time. It’s just about not being wasteful.
(my version of a sweatshirt by Dries Van Noten)
- jeans; this year they’re all skinny black jeans (the 4 pairs I have)
- nice pants; not worn too often, I have 3 pairs; 2 wool, 1 silk
- tanks; both loose and fitted (I prefer them instead of T-shirts)
- cardigans; all weights, all lengths, multiples in same colors
- trench coats; all weights and lengths, even ones not for the rain
- flats (though not ballet flats)
- tall boots; to the knee looks best on me
- rubber flip flops
- running /yoga pants
- sweatshirts or hoodies
- cotton-ribbed anything (universally unflattering and doesn’t wash well)
My processes are drawn from my own experiences. I’ve always been neat and organized but defined my sense of style and created home(s) and wardrobe without following any set guidelines. I wrote out the general processes for you and my clients to benefit from, but now here are some more personal notes…
Abbi asks “I would love to know more about your wardrobe! It always looks so lovely in photos. You mentioned a few posts ago that you invest in your clothes over other things like fine art, etc. I’m trying to revamp my wardrobe (with basically no money) and am wondering what your tips are for shopping and what types of pieces you think are essential. To borrow from the book “Nothing to Wear?” I have too many (cheap) “frosting/flair” pieces and not enough “cake/foundational” pieces.”
Since I showed you the art I made for my bathroom, my friend Kate who’s an art consultant, wrote about it on her awesome blog Art Hound. While I appreciated the post, I have to respond to her statement “As Laura would undoubtedly agree, original art is ideal but just isn’t an option for her at this time.”
In the March 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar was a Q+A with Karl Lagerfeld. Although he’s a fashion God, I doubted the relevance of his advice for the average woman. Boy was I surprised! His no nonsense, practical advice was totally refreshing. Karl telling someone to go deeper and not take fashion as ‘end-all-be-all’?! Love it…
I did this last year but thought I’d share this money saver with you now…
I was sick of my spring/summer wardrobe and eager to go out and buy all new things. Lacking the funds to do so, I went through everything piece by piece, trying on what I hadn’t been wearing. It seemed the problem wasn’t that I didn’t like my clothes it’s that I didn’t like the way many things fit. To the tailor I went. Much cheaper, quicker, and less stressful than going out and buying all new things.
Building your wardrobe is like anything else important in your life: it’s best with a clear plan that allows for flexibility over time, with the understanding that it’s not going to be perfect overnight.
Step #2. EDIT WITH PURPOSE
- Does this fit my desired image? If yes, continue
- Does this fit my lifestyle? If yes, continue
- If no: Can it be styled in a new way to fit my desired image and lifestyle?
- How do I feel in this? If positive, continue
- Does this fit, or can it be altered? If yes, it’s a keeper
- Pull Everything out at once. Go thru piece by piece pulling anything out that you know you want to sell, donate, recycle, or bring to the dry cleaner or tailor, leaving the keeps and maybes in the closet.
- Feel bad about wanting to dress better. You deserve to feel and look your best.
- Let guilt make you keep something based on the amount of money you’ve paid for it, or because of who gave it to you.
- Keep anything that you don’t feel comfortable wearing.
- Rush the process. If you are unsure about something keep it until you can decide for sure, once it’s gone, it’s gone. This is a process that can take time. It’s ok!
- Make immediate decisions first. Get rid of anything you know without a doubt you don’t love first, leaving anything you’re unsure about in the closet and keep moving.
- Try everything on!! Your body changes over time, something that may not have fit properly the last time you wore it may fit nicely now (and vice-versa). Why you haven’t worn something is more important than how long it’s been since you’ve worn it. You’ll learn more about this in step 3.
- Downgrade. A work shirt is now for whatever reason, not appropriate for work anymore but still fits and you feel good in it. Designate it for weekend or to wear around the house.
- Have something tailored or altered in a way to make it wearable. Shortening a hem or having sleeves shortened to 3/4 length, or having a dress made into a top or skirt.
- Separate out sentimental pieces that you’re keeping but won’t wear again. These pieces need to be properly stored away, not taking up valuable space in your closet.
- Keep in mind that not every piece of clothing needs be worn all the time. Those special pieces that you love but only wear once a year or two years can be kept.
- Continuing to shop a certain brand or at a certain store that you always have, but for whatever reason doesn’t work for you anymore.
- Buying pieces that are uncomfortable; specific fabrics, style and/or cut like high or low waisted pants, stilettos or too high heals.
- Buying pieces that don’t flatter you; specific colors, style and/or cut like crew or v-neck tops, cropped pants, certain length skirt/dresses.
- Buying something you think you’re supposed to have, but actually don’t love wearing; specific colors or type of clothing like button-down shirts, turtlenecks, pinstripes.
- Shopping with someone who influences/pushes you into buying things you ultimately don’t love.