When most people think of updating their wardrobe for spring, it usually means making new purchases. For me, refreshing my wardrobe means ruthlessly decimating what I already have. I feel so good getting rid of stuff- like a butterfly newly emerged from its chrysalis, ready to spread its wings and fly, unencumbered by excess weight. Probably Kim Kardashian felt the same way after lasering her hairline. Anyway, sometimes all it takes to give an old outfit a fresh look is a little tailoring.
The best closets are perfectly adapted to your life and mood, a snapshot of where you've been and where you want to go, an assemblage of possibilities tempered by pragmatism. In other words, your wardrobe is a filtered selfie, LinkedIn profile, and driver's license photo all in one. People aren't static, so it should change and grow as you do. Like, for the past five years, I did not live a real life, and my wardrobe reflected that, consisting primarily of runway pieces completely inappropriate for walking, eating food, or being around humanity in general. I also had no idea who I was, so my clothes were, at best, an expression of who others wanted me to be. Now, my clothing still connotes both the regrettable choices I've made and my propensity for attention seeking behavior, but it's also well suited for my life right now, which frequently includes being knee deep in algal blooms. I also like to think recent forays into technological fabrics such as tencel symbolize the bright hope I have for the future.
Point is, no wardrobe "plan" should be so rigid it doesn't allow for modifications, however sentimental or impulsive they may be. That being said, I have a few rules established for myself. I only wear full length coats, because I'm not an animal. Only seamed stockings, patent leather heels, and always matching lingerie. I'm over cardigans or layers of any kind, for that matter. A coat looks better over standalone pieces anyway. As far as keeping things minimal, I don't consciously try to limit the number of items in my wardrobe. I have six pairs of shoes, but I wear all of them, so I'm not going to try and pare my collection down to some arbitrary amount. My best advice is to approach clothes shopping the way you approach relationships. For instance, you might find a really cute dress, but if it needs a special bra or major tailoring or a cami underneath to make it wearable, forget it, because that's the sartorial equivalent of a project, and you will never change him. If you're tempted to just settle instead of waiting for something better, don't. Don't lower your standards and get stuck with some sus option, because clothing is a gateway to other poor decision making habits, such as dating a guy who likes his own Instagram photos.
With age, I've come to dread shopping. I have no patience for sifting through thrift store racks and only buy things I find quickly and fall in love with on the spot. I don't look at everything, either- only the colors I like, that are already in my wardrobe or match what I already have (and if a place is not sorted by color, forget it. I can't handle it). Everybody asks for tips on thrifting designer stuff. I always say the same thing: Don't look for labels. Learn to spot good finishing and fabrics. Visit a fabric store, touch everything, read up on warp and weft, train your eye to recognize overcast edges and handstitching. Designer doesn't always mean quality, but looking for quality materials increases the likelihood of finding branded items. Par example, I was in Beacon's Closet for five minutes and a cursory glance yielded a Balenciaga dress, Valentino shirt, Sergio Rossi and Ferragamo heels, Agent Provocateur lingerie and a white cashmere vintage coat. My camel coat? Spotted from a Lyft cab on the way to Laguardia, just hanging in a thrift store window. Some people are gifted musically, artistically, or kinesthetically. My gift is I can literally smell Prada.
Anyway, here are my clothes. It's my most ethical / sustainable wardrobe yet, with solar powered or social justice-centered brands breaking up thrift store finds. I'll do in depth posts about each category soon. In the meantime, everything fits in a carryon, and I still manage to travel more than a week at a time out of just a Longchamp bag. One of my Instagram friends sent me a link about bag-free travel, which is interesting, but impossible for me since I don't really like to wear pants. Handwashing clothes in the shower and hanging them to dry has become a cherished evening ritual, though. Since I don't wash my hair or do anything with my face anymore, I save the time I would have spent on that to wash clothes as I wear them, with lavender castile soap. Nothing needs to be ironed, everything dries overnight, and most all my clothing is odor absorbing and temperature regulating anyway, so it doesn't need to be washed often. I freeze dry my things in cold climates, and freezer wash clothes whenever I can, too. Since I'm usually working a few different jobs at any given moment and long hours and am never home, doing an actual load of laundry is difficult at the moment (I reserve that for things I absolutely need to do in a washer, like sheets and towels). Having a small, deliberate wardrobe makes maintenance a lot easier.Above: Madewell t-shirt, American Apparel ribbed dress, Levi's wedgie jeans and shorts, all thrifted. Thrifted H&M lace up shirt, American Apparel ponte foil tank dress, American Apparel crop top and high waist skirt. Thrifted Longchamp bag. Thrifted Louis Vuitton and Dior coats. Navy, grey, and black dresses, secondhand Dior. Secondhand Louis Vuitton wool skirt, pants. Thrifted Reformation Piper and Axel tops. Etoile Isabel Marant Tom shirt, and merino turtleneck (all pieces but one are at least 96% natural fibers- I handwash the ones with small synthetic percentages and water indoor plants with the water). Thrifted Stuart Weitzman patent leather ankle boots, Ferragamo shoes, Louboutin Simples, Nike Dunk Sky Hi's, Flyknit Air Force 1's