Part of the new My Monday Series on reasonstodress.com
I find that each year as the seasons change I go to my closet and, even though it is filled to the brim, I feel like I have nothing to wear. Colors change, textures change, moods change, and “staples” change. Being “in-style”, I think, is a combination of learning what you like and what your natural style is and then supplementing that with a few key pieces every season.
In my opinion there are 2 categories of things in every women’s closet:
Category 1 – Your Personality
These are the things that say who you are. These are YOUR staples, not staples because some website or magazine told you they are staples. These things can be accessories, tops, skirts, bags…etc. It doesn’t matter. These items exemplify your personality.
How can you tell if an item is Category 1
- You would buy it at the end of a season
- If it’s on sale you jump at the chance to buy more than one
- You don’t mind spending more on it because you want it to be better quality and last as long as possible
- You are always reaching for it
- You feel most comfortable in it
- You feel sexiest and most confident when wearing it
Personally, for me, Category 1 clothes are usually about the fit. My Category 1 things are cinched at the waist, are skinny jeans and not wide-leg jeans are high-waisted and not low waisted, are “femme fatale” and not unfeminine.
Then there are Category 2 Items.
Category 2 – Things that keep you “In Style”
These are the things that aren’t really your personality, but sometimes you find that out after you’ve bought them! You buy them because they are “in”, and then after one season never want to wear them again. They are the items that everyone seems to have on in a given season and they help identify you as someone who keeps up with the trends.
Category 2 items are also important because they help evolve your style, they keep you from becoming dated and they keep your wardrobe fresh.
For example none of your Category 1 clothes have studs on them, but your pointed ballet flats do! You bought those studded, pointed , ballet flats last season after everyone started copying the Prada pointed ballet flats. You loved them…..then, but this year you are already thinking about getting something different. They were a Category 2 shoe, and their time to shine is over.
Whereas, your brown, leather riding boots that come up just below your knee have been with you for 3 years and you pray they make it through another season or two.
Those riding boots are Category 1’s and most likely, as soon as they wear out, you will either consider taking them for repairs or investing in another quality pair that will last you a few more years.
When it comes to shopping and spending money you should try to spend as little as possible for Category 2 clothes but still strive to buy items that are not cheap (you want to be cheap not dress cheap).
Your Category 1 clothes should be the BEST YOU CAN AFFORD and should be well made, well researched and dress you well.
Try to keep big ticket items like shoes, bags and coats in Category 1, staying away from “trends” for these items and following what you really love, what really suits your body type and what you can picture wearing year after year. Invest in things that are made well, with excellent quality leather or fabric, that are lined and that are not made out of polyester or synthetic fabric. Define your own “classic” and keep within this definition when shopping for “legacy” items.
With Category 2 items you have more flexibility but still be aware of what you are buying. Polyester looks cheap, and you don’t want to spend your money to look cheap. So search for a trendy item that is in linen, wool, cotton or other natural materials. If it MUST be synthetic make sure that it is nicely stitched and hemmed. If all else fails get something synthetic and poorly sewn and destroy it even more to get that “distressed luxury” look (I did a post about it here!)
Personally I think that a well balanced wardrobe is made up of lots of Category 1s and a few Category 2s that are bought each season as a style update.
In my next Fashion Foresight™ post I will talk about how to shop for Category 2 items way in advance so that you spend as little as possible and prepare your wardrobe for the upcoming season.
The goal here is to stay away from being a fashion victim while staying “in style” . When I was working in a corporate office job in downtown Toronto (I wrote a bit about that here) there was this girl that worked as a secretary. She was the secretary to one of the Corporate Executives and EVERY SINGLE DAY had on a different outfit from H&M. I swear that she went shopping at H&M daily and NEVER wore the same item twice. Not a single article of clothing that she had on was “grown” every single stitch was plastic based polyester and the latest up to the second trend. I think she must have spent her entire paycheck on whatever H&M had in the window daily.
Did she dress well? No. Do I think anyone admired her personal style ? No. Did she have a personal style? In my opinion, No! She was a pure Category 2 dresser and had not taken the time to think about what she really loved wearing.
I don’t think anything in her closet ever made it out more than once. But, then again, she was in her mid-20s so it could be a matter of age. I certainly feel, now that I am approaching my mid-30s, like I have a much better grasp of who I want to be when I dress.
What about you? What is in your Category 1? What defines you? What are your go-to pieces? Have you found wardrobe balance?