If you’re stuck in a rut and you want to blame your clothes, consider that it may not be their fault. Today, let’s open our wardrobes then open our minds. Here are three tips to get you started on a wardrobe refurb that requires zero shopping.
BUT BEFORE YOU START…
TIP: whenever you take part in a Slogue exercise that requires lots of trying on, remember to take selfies of every look you like. This is integral because most of us have about a quarter of our brain cells actually working before 9am/coffee* so outfit options should be readymade, as pictures on your phone or wardrobe door.
[*quasi scientific stat pulled out of own brain but based on 43 years of morning experience]
There are tens of ways to rework any wardrobe, especially if you have access to a good tailor. Today though, I’ll focus on some of the most simple ways to revive your daily look without even leaving your bedroom; by re-thinking how you combine your separates. Let’s look at three ways you can do this, through colour, texture and cut.
- Colour me GOOD
On your bed, sort your separates into colour piles. That’s pants, skirts and tops altogether and only categorised by colour. Even if you don’t have much colour, do the same with neutrals, separating warmer neutrals from cooler neutrals (Google ‘colour temperatures’ if that means nothing to you!).
My guess is that many of you are afraid to wear two colours together, whether it’s two contrasting colours or, as in this exercise, two similar but not same colours. (It’s usually considered a no-no but then so are most really interesting style ideas.)
Do you find that your fail-safe method is to combine block colour or multicoloured pattern with a ‘neutral’, black or white? You’re not alone. And since so many other people revert to the same method of styling, it’s rendered rather ordinary, kind of cookie-cutter. Another method when styling a multi-coloured garment is to ‘pick out’ one of the colours and find a separate in only that (eg the navy of the floral background). There is nothing wrong with this, except that it’s a bit predictable, which most people don’t mind I guess. For me, ‘predictable’ is found in the same supermarket aisle as ‘boring’ and ‘sensible’.
Do you have your little colour piles? Now look for tops and bottoms in the same pile. For example, you might have a baby blue jersey and a pair of faded jeans. Magic! Put that combo aside, into your try-it-on pile. Okay, find another in the same pile if you can.. navy pants and royal blue blouse? Bonza! DO IT! Into the try-it-on pile it goes. Continue in this reckless, colour-clashing abandon until most if not all of your separates have at least one potential partner for the dance that is daily dressing.
Now depending on the variety of hues in your wardrobe, you might now have a few all-black outfits, a few double-denims, a few reds and oranges or reds and dark pinks – maybe even some cream-on-cream (note: as I write I am wearing cream pants and a cream blouse, which is very risky when your lunch involves red cabbage).
Dressing has a way of daunting us all, and the fear of judgement from others is mostly to blame. I don’t know which specific fashion dictators have inflicted all this nonsense about rules on our society over the years, but we are to be free of their antiquated snobbery and must GO FORTH combining any damn colours we fancy on the day.
I call this technique ‘tonaling’ which is a horrible term but there you go. See the images here of women in one colour or two or more colours that all look to be close cousins.
2. THAT LOVIN’ FEELING
Touch is a sense too often neglected when we’re choosing what to buy and what to wear. In fact, a silk slip rather than a synthetic one can feel so good it’s like a wearable revelation. Texture and feel can also transcend into visual pleasure – I love the fluffy fun vibes of a (vintage/secondhand) mohair or angora jersey, for instance. Embroidery and appliqué can add rich texture that makes you feel like you’re wearing something very expensive.
So herein lies another opportunity to restyle your separates through new combinations.
On your bed (again!), categorise piles according to fabric. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what fabric everything is made of. Put the silky stuff together, the scratchy stuff, chunky woolies, sheers, denims, t.shirts and stretch, business-shirt cottons etc.
This time, you’re cross-breeding the piles. Take a top from one pile and then find the pile that is the most opposing in texture or weight and take pants or skirt from there eg a chunky knit with a silk slip skirt. Keep doing this until you have a nice selection in your ‘try-it-on’ pile.
If you never thought of wearing your chunky knit with your silk-feel midi skirt or velvet pencil, this may be concerning news, but opposing textures are like salt and caramel; they shouldn’t work but by God they do. It all adds INTEREST, you see. And that is the point.
3. BI CURIOUS
My final tip of the day is a personal favourite. I think it’s a pretty modern concept, and it works magically when integrating vintage pieces with your contemporary wardrobe. As with the textural play, this one is about opposites too; it could go for any ‘style opposite’ you like; masculine versus feminine, tight versus loose, pretty versus fugly (seriously! there’s always room in my heart for fugly).
This time really throw caution to the wind. Your clothes are by now probably all over your bed and floor so just turn up the volume on your 90s dance hits, pour yourself a glass of rosé and whack the most random garments together in the manner of a drunken Eddie from Ab Fab (dahling). Hey! Why not raid your whole family’s wardrobes for more options? Boyfriend’s marle grey hoodie? Dad’s suit? Mum’s hat? Voila! Snapped at Milan Fashion Week and smug for days.
Yours in slow fashion,