Lately I feel like I’m on autopilot with my wardrobe. One day this week, I ran an errand before work. I was wearing dark-wash jeans and a grey turtleneck. Before work, I planned to add my blue cardigan, but it was stuck in a corner of a drawer and was too creased to wear. So I threw on a red one. It was functional, but I felt I had put in no effort. I don’t really “do” scarves, chains and prints. My non-negotiable accessories are earrings, watches and shoes.
I rarely plan new outfits to wear. I buy individual pieces, then find or buy things to go with them and make a basic outfit. It is then “locked in,” with minor variations! I don’t think much about new combinations. The “outfit planning” happens only once, when I buy a piece and then work around it.
I have a lot of solid-colour basics that I can mix-and-match, not because I have memorized a bunch of stunning ensembles, but because they are plain enough not to set off any alarm bells no matter how I wear them. Also, since I have black and grey trousers, and lots of bright-coloured shirts/cardigans/jackets, I impose limits on how I wear them: maybe grey pants, white shirt, blue cardigan. Not grey pants, yellow shirt, purple jacket. I am just not that flamboyant!
Is this versatile or uncreative? Hard to say. I can pull on anything in the morning and it will look presentable. I just don’t go that extra distance to make it pop.
You would think I’m a no-fuss person and don’t mind looking plain. Here’s the catch: somehow, I do mind. While I don’t clamour for attention, I usually find a subtle point where I look in the mirror and think to myself, yup, that’s it. Two steps down from flashy and two steps up from invisible!
There are times when I really don’t want to make an effort, but that’s not the norm. My idea of acceptable effort is a little more than having a selection of clean clothes, and a lot less than designing a new Polyvore page each morning!
I am trying to think of how to step it up, without spending money on accessories I may soon abandon. I put myself in the not-quite-clueless category. I tend to rule out new looks too easily. I have to stop and think, would other people do that? And then, “But is it ME?”
Some of my thoughts:
1: Shop my closet! Instead of wearing the same tunic sweater with those black leggings, consider my options: what are ALL the tops I can wear with the leggings? What are ALL the bottoms I can wear with the tunic? Could I wear the leggings with a short top and a long layer over? Am I just one pair of shoes away from another combination that works?
2: Accessorize! Maybe a print scarf or some chunky necklaces would break the monotony. Maybe that Mondaine watch I’ve been eyeing is just the thing! Are last year’s fedoras over yet?
3: Go for prints! I have so few. Everyone knows you can wear animal prints as a neutral, for example, but I have yet to do it.
4: Buy more stuff! I could pick up seasonal, holiday or trendy items in the least expensive versions. I could get more variety through thrifting.
5: Decide on a signature look – limit my style and colours. Then everything I wear would be a variation on a theme. I could even go so far as to have a uniform-like work wardrobe.
6: Buy only top quality items, built to last, and get maximum wear out of them.
I have two pluses right now. One is that my weight is stable right now so I can wear anything I own. The other is that I need a 4-season wardrobe, so I rotate stuff into season every 3 months. I don’t get excessively tired of things because I am always swapping them in and out according to the weather.
I haven’t decided on a plan yet. I’m just dreaming of Spring. What do you do when you’re in a fashion rut?
These pix perked me up (click on any photo to start slideshow):