Shout out to ALL of you, actually.
Subtitle: All I Really Need to Know Was Sitting in My Lap
Una said that her angst filled moments usually preceded a breakthrough. I'm like that in my creative work. Looks like I'm like that with wardrobe planning, too.
Because just as she predicted, I've had my breakthrough.
It arose out of a PM from Steph (Mrs. Eccentric) and a subsequent conversation. Now, I tend to listen to Steph. As you know, she was the catalyst for my first big style breakthrough, about a year ago. http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....e-my-style
Like many of you, in our most recent conversation, she had lots of good insights and experience to share regarding my sense that my wardrobe lacks a core.
And the crux of my problem, she suggested, was that I need to pick one dark and one light neutral and start building the wardrobe around those.
How many times have I seen and read that advice?
And how many times have I said, "Yes, yes...that makes sense." And then gone out and bought whatever fit and whatever I could get my hands on, as long as it was in a semi-flattering colour that "went" with the rest of my wardrobe somehow.
Or said by myself, "Yes, yes, but "my" neutrals are never available, and in the meantime, I need something to wear!!!" Or, "Yes, yes, that's all very well, but I happen to LOVE colour and it makes me happy." Or, "I know, I know. But black is so USEFUL and DRAMATIC." Or, "Yes, yes, it sounds really good in theory, but I don't look good in a light neutral. SSB? No thank you! And even light grey is "iffy" on me....those light colours just wash me out completely!"
And so on.
All of my objections, by the way, are true. And - let's face it. A year ago my closet was essentially empty. I wasn't crazy to think I needed to populate it with SOMETHING ASAP. A girl can't go round naked in my climate.
So I populated it. With sale rack finds. With consignments finds. With the occasional "real" purchase. And then felt disappointed at the mish-mash that resulted.
Sure, it was better fitting and much more fashionable than my previous wardrobe. Sure, it was somewhat more expressive of who I am. And it certainly worked better for most of the occasions I'm called on to attend.
BUT IT WAS STILL A MISH-MASH!!!!
Don't get me wrong. For some people, it would be perfect. This is temperamental. Some people crave variety, don't mind lots of different colours in their wardrobes, and have no problem with what, to me, was visual noise.
Those of you who were mystified about why I felt I needed a core may well belong to the group that LIKES mishmash. Or the group that loves a large wardrobe. Nothing wrong with that. It's just a different preference!
But I am who I am, and I need coherence. Not just because I have an OCD streak, LOL. But because without it, I'm not fully expressing my ideal fashion personality.
I will be EVERLASTINGLY grateful to Angie and her guidelines to dress for our dominant climate and lifestyle - these are two ideas that I feel have really had an impact and made it possible for me in the past year to get dressed most mornings and feel reasonably good in an outfit. .
But despite that, my wardrobe was still lacking in what I longed for - that indefinable sense of "chic" and coherence.
Unifying neutrals. Unifying neutrals. But what?
Black? Well, I still have a closetful of it (especially bottoms) but it's not the kindest to my face.
Beige? Totally, completely soul-sucking on me, in all its permutations. ANYTHING with a yellow undertone spells death to my complexion.
Tan? Even worse than beige. (Though I adore tan accessories like bags, etc.)
Light grey? Well...maybe. But while charcoal and medium greys look quite nice on me, lighter greys can really wash me out unless it is summer and I have had some sun. Plus, I associate light grey with my mom in the 80s. I DO like a soft dove grey now and again....but as my basic wardrobe? Not so much.
White? I can "get away" with it as an accent, but winter white is much better for me - and naturally, 10 times as hard to find.
Then Steph innocently said, "It doesn't have to be a dark and a light neutral. It could be two darks if you are comfortable wearing darks."
I pondered. I thought. And I realized...I'm a fairly low contrast person. While I really enjoy high contrast outfits on others, and occasionally wear high contrast items/outfits myself with some success, typically I look better in MEDIUM tones with some dark or light for accent.
Steph also said, in passing, about her own neutrals, that she wore them on a continuum. It's not just ivory. It's ivory, cream, tan.
AHA! Bingo!!!!! Lights flashing up in the tired ancient brain.
So...what if my neutrals were:
Blue - everything from ink blue to navy to a soft smoky grey blue or blue-grey - INCLUDING, of course, that complete staple of my work-at-home wardrobe, and with what good fortune, some of my most flattering colours of all, DENIM blues. Oh - and bonus - navy/ ink blue/ and other blues work with black.
TAUPE - yes, taupe - that indefinable greyish/brown mousy tone (like my own mousy colouring) that never washes me out (unlike beige). Taupe, that colour beloved of avant-garde designers ALMOST as much as black. Taupe, that soft, unassuming neutral that works so brilliantly not just with blue, but with several other of my favourite accent colours....not to mention with all the BLACK that I still have in my wardrobe and can't easily purge. And with white/off-white.
I then took another leaf from Steph and checked out the wardrobe planning sheets on Sewing Plum. These are brilliant - more flexible than many I've seen, and a great set of basic guidelines. http://sewingplums.com/categor.....-planning/
I have already started formulating some concrete wardrobe plans. The MINUTE I hit on this neutral palette, I could see gaping, horrible holes, not-quite- emergency-needs, and desires (and I could distinguish between these). I will write a post about that this weekend.
But in the meantime, taupe, in general is a big hole in my wardrobe right now. I do have some items, not all of which mix and match perfectly (due to the tone of taupe, mainly) but some of which do, and all of which mix well with my blues.
One thing I do NOT have is a taupe jacket of any description, apart from my consigned glen plaid jacket, which is sort of bordering on brown/tan. And since jackets are my signature item, I think it would be a good investment.
Instead of a blazer, I was wondering, what do we think of this jacket from Danier? Anyone seen it in person?
Oh. And why do I say the answer was sitting in my lap? Well....it's tough to see Max's eyes. But believe me, they are beautiful blue. And doesn't he look great on that dark blue couch?
Thank you, all, again, and more to come!