Tuesday, 13 April 2010

How to Create a Core Wardrobe for Every Season

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What is a wardrobe without a core? A mass of material strewn here and there, dragged together to form, occasionally successful, but largely confused ensembles, with new additions thrown in to add to the chaos season after season. What a mess. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Think of creating a core wardrobe as creating a skeleton for the rest of your clothes to fit around; a vein that draws everything else together and makes your style hive magnificently manageable at last.

♥ Think multi-functionality. You’ll see in my example that each piece could work with all the others, and that’s what you’re trying to achieve in a core wardrobe. A useful way to think of it is as a capsule wardrobe, imagining how it would work if it was all you had to wear. Pick complimentary colours, but also cuts, fabrics, quality and styles. My striped top could work just as well with jeans as it would with the feminine skirt or smart shorts.

♥ Coin a colour palette. A palette is vital in a core wardrobe, but the beauty of this is that you always have the potential to draw in other colour influences. Your core wardrobe doesn’t simply have to be black, white and grey – you can see I’ve brought in pink hues and a camel colour, and I could have added even more. If you don’t wear black, don’t include it, and same goes for white and grey. This isn’t ‘new you’ this is old you amplified, and we must cater for and consider the essence of old you. The trick is to work with around three colours, deviating with caution, and keeping in mind that these are colours that will need to work in all seasons.

♥ Load up on layers. The reason my example is season proof is because the items can all layer over one another. The pussy bow blouse and shorts would be fab in spring, but layer over the sweater dress or cardigan, plus maybe some thick tights and boots, and I’ve got a winter outfit to boot.

Quality comes first. Yes, yes, you’ve heard it a hundred times, but it is common sense – if you want your clothes to last season after season, then they must be high quality. Moreover, if you want to be happy about wearing them over and over, they have to be the kind of clothes you’ll really adore, not throwaway bargain buys. It’s all about balance, and high quality doesn’t necessarily have to mean high price – if you pay over the odds then these pieces won’t be practical, as real life will get in the way. You’re not looking for irreplaceable items, just long-lasting ones, because grass stains happen.

Add a splash of you. A beige trench coat and classic white shirt are all well and good, and seem to be right up there on the ‘classics’ list, but what the heck is the point if they’re not you? My example is classic, it’s practical, but it is also true to me – these are things I know I’ll wear and enjoy wearing. Consider your day-to-day, consider what you’ll feel comfortable wearing, but also consider change and the magic of being whoever you want to be in the clothes you wear.

Visualise before you realise. A functional core wardrobe is not an easy thing, and it certainly won’t fall into your lap through a series of haphazard shopping trips and ill-considered fashion choices. Start by making a Polyvore set like the one above, then keep revisiting it over a few weeks to see what is/isn’t still working for you, and make alterations where necessary. The items in your set don’t have to be the exact ones you’ll buy (the set above, believe it or not, came to over £2000!) You can always print what you come up with and head to the high street for replicas.

Don’t expect it to happen overnight. The more you rush it, the less likely you’ll be to end up with a usable result. I’d expect it to take around a year, maybe more, to pull together this kind of starter-point wardrobe. You might think differently, and that’s okay. You might even have a few pieces that make up your core wardrobe already – brilliant. What I’m saying is that you should allow it to take as long as it takes; let the perfect, quality items come to you and don’t compromise, or you’ll always be compromising in your wardrobe.

Have a play around on Polyvore and share your results, we can all be inspired by each other’s efforts! Ooh, and let me know what you make of mine.

5 comments:

A.D said...

This is a capsule wardrobe idea (made by me):
http://www.polyvore.com/capsule_wardrobe/set?id=17812152

I like yours! It's feminine, which I like a lot, and I like the colors.

mariaik said...

Very nice - love the way you broke it down into manageable pieces.

Rachel said...

Brilliant ideas... thank you!

Kim said...

This is my first take.. v sketchy. I chose grey, blue and black as my colours..
http://www.polyvore.com/core_take/set?id=17895995

Hong said...

Out of all of the 'create a new wardrobe' blog posts & sites I've read in my life, this is the most useful resource I have ever come across. Practical, logical and inspiring. :D

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