So this post has been gestating for a looong time. But my only sewing-related New Year’s Resolution (re-sew-lution?) is to tidy up and complete all my UFOs, including my Curated Closet wardrobe revamp, so let’s get stuck in. If you have the book, this post corresponds to Chapter 5: Discover your style, phase 2 and Chapter 6: Putting it all together.
After gathering lots of ideas and inspiration in part 2, I steadily put off going to try them all on. But at the start of 2018 (yes, 2018!), I ventured to the high street and road-tested a few things in the changing rooms…
This was quite an odd experience for me. Anuschka Rees’ book, The Curated Closet, explains that at this stage the aim is just to try on all the possibilities you’ve shortlisted, and see which ones you actually like when you put them on. Without buying anything. Weird, right?
Part of the reason I didn’t write up and complete this step until now was that I also found it quite demoralising. Like a lot of people, I’d put away more food than usual over the festive season, and my reflection and I weren’t getting on brilliantly this time last year. I also tried on a lot of things that were poorly made, ill-fitting or just plain ugly, which is never a cheering experience.
When I did find better quality items to try on, I road-tested all the things I’d listed in part two. Some worked really well, some definitely didn’t. I remember why it is I’ve always admired – but never actually worn – pencil skirts and tapered trousers, for example!
After trying on lots and lots of things, here’s my edited style profile.
Overall vibe: classic, tailored, minimal, relaxed, grown-up. The CC book suggests coming up with a name or short description for your personal style. My working title is ‘Scandi Beach Chic’!
Colours: lots of neutrals including white, charcoal,
dove grey mid-grey, taupe and navy, but not black, sprinkled with a few pastels like pinks and pale blue. Low-contrast stripes and colour blocking, and a side order of cool-toned jewel colours like ruby, emerald, sapphire and purple for statement pieces and accessories.
Prints and patterns: I liked geometric prints, bold florals, and plenty of spots and abstract patterns in muted colours. I’m loathe to go anywhere near anything that’s cutesy (sorry, no cats), vintage kitsch, or anything with a more bohemian vibe to it.
Dove grey wasn’t working for me, but all the other colours were spot on. I ‘had my colours done‘ a couple of years ago, so I was fairly confident in my colour palette. For prints and patterns, the Atelier Brunette fabric from my recent Caro London robe sums up everything I love in a print.
Individual items: plenty of trousers – wide-leg and
slim-fitting straight-leg cuts, wrap jersey tops and blouses, collared jackets and shirts, shirtdresses, wrap dresses, cosy cowl-neck, scoop-neck and v-neck knitwear, simple shoes and boots – no spindly heels.
Slim fitting trousers did weird things to my proportions, so I’ve replaced them with straight-leg versions – unless worn with statement boots that draw the eye downwards. Anything asymmetric always works well, partly because I’m naturally a bit lop-sided. And after trying on lots of shirts and jackets, the common theme was collars – I need more lapels in my life!
Outfit silhouettes: wide-leg trousers with slim-fitting tops, snuggly knitwear over narrowish trousers with boots, wrap tops with A-line
pencil skirts, fit-and-skim dresses.
I’m loathe to delete pencil skirts because I really love that look, but they made me look unbalanced (and possibly even unhinged) overall because I’m larger at the thigh than at the hips. A-line it shall be, then…
Materials: wool, leather, well-worn darker wash denim, tactile materials like silk, smooth, slinky and
crisp textures, matt finishes rather than shiny ones.
Crisp textures aren’t my thing, it turns out. My shirts are more likely to be chambray than starched from now on. I see a lot of ponte roma in my future, too, and probably a whole load of wide leg trousers a la Kate and Meghan.
Styling: long, choppy layered, natural-looking hair (phew – I don’t have to get a pixie crop!), earthy/natural make-up, big sunglasses, fedora hats, silver necklaces, rings and earrings.
This is probably the area where I feel most like a novice and most in need of help. I don’t have an instinctive feel for how to style an outfit, or lots of time to spend in front of the mirror trying to work it out. In the short-term, this is going to involve lots of copying ideas I’ve seen online, or in person and trying to make other people’s ideas work for me.
Next up: My style profile is coming together now, and the next chapter is the grand closet detox! I actually can’t wait for that one – I might have to go and have a rummage around now…
If you’ve tried a wardrobe series like Curated Closet, or Wardrobe Architect, I’d love to hear what you found useful, and how the plans you made worked out in practice.