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Friday, July 12, 2013

Cheap Chic


“Fashion does not have to prove that it is serious. It is the proof that intelligent frivolity can be something creative and positive” ~ Karl Lagerfeld

A few weeks ago I blogged that part of my plan for this summer was to go through my closet and get rid of the old, and worn out, and everything I was just plain tired of. For the past few days I've been stuck in bed with a nasty little cold/flu combo, so that's just what I did. It was an interesting experience. Maybe because I'd been planning on this for a while I had, in my subconscious mind, been going through everything in the closet and deciding what was to go and what was to stay. It must have been something like that because the moment I started it just flowed- I knew exactly and without hesitation which things were going in the 'out' pile. And may I say, it felt wonderful. 

For the past year or so I've been getting tired of my wardrobe. I knew I wanted a new 'look,' but I wasn't sure what I wanted that to be. The other problem is that now I've got myself on this lovely budget there's just no $$ for an entirely new wardrobe for me. Not even half a new wardrobe. *Sigh* But as I went along I realized that I'd apparently developed a plan for what amounted to a pseudo-new wardrobe, anyway. I say 'apparently' because all this seems to have been going on subconsciously as well.  (I find my subconscious rather frightening sometimes.)

The new plan is based on something I've talked about in this blog in the past- I like to call it the 'European' approach. From what I've seen in Europe, they have tiny closets- compared to ours, anyway. This would logically mean they have fewer clothes as a result. So this 'European' approach of mine is to have a smaller, harder-working wardrobe, and have almost all your wardrobe personality in your accessories. 

For me, this meant paring down. Like most Americans, my wardrobe was entirely too large to begin with, anyway. It was all fairly organized, but still, too much. Truth is I had fallen into the all too common trap of only wearing a small percentage of what I have- not necessarily because I didn't like the things I wasn't wearing, but because I'd simply gotten into a rut, and wasn't using my imagination with how I was dressing. So as a result there's been lots of perfectly well fitting, good clothing, in my best colors, taking up prime real estate in my closet not earning it's keep. And therein lies the secret to my 'new' wardrobe.  


As I have a lot of black clothes (and who doesn't?) I settled on that as my base color. Now the majority of my clothes are black. I have a few dresses, skirts, pants in prints and/or color, (I jettisoned all but my absolute favorites) and as for suits- one print; one neutral, the rest black. These pieces I think of as 'base' pieces- the backdrop for the real personality in my wardrobe- the accessories. I have a few casual jackets that I think of as 'accessory' pieces because they're pretty strong statement pieces by themselves. So my accessories are my casual jackets, shoes, boots, scarves/ruanas, purses and jewelry. I'm also going to think of my makeup as an accessory, too. Why not? I'm a makeup artist after all, and I'm always trying new things- might as well use it as an accessory, right? In any event, I won't look like a Greek widow because of all the color with my accessories. This 'new' wardrobe is much sleeker and maybe more sophisticated than before. Which is just fine by me. 

I reorganized it all too- now I can put together an outfit much more easily because now it all fits in my closet (I knew someday my son would actually want his closet back.) I think it's easier to get out of the using-only-10%-of-your-wardrobe rut if you re-organize; you're forced to 'see' more of what you've got if it's all rearranged. So now when I lay out my outfit the night before, I'll pick my accessories first- jewelry, scarf and/or jacket, shoes and makeup- then decide what 'base' of clothes to put it all together with. Before I'd usually pick the dress or ensemble first- then the jewelry and any other accessories based on the clothes. I think that's what most of us do. But since now my focus will be on the accessories, and the 'base' clothes are there to accommodate them, it's like a new wardrobe…sort of. So far I'm finding I have endless options, and most of them are outfits I've never put together before. And it seems I have quite the range- I can go all minimalist, or totally over-the-top. And all because I had too many clothes, and not enough money for a whole new wardrobe. 

How' THAT for some cheap creativity? I'm calling it 'recession chic.'

Happy Dressing!