Where do you like your outfit variety ?
Do you like each of your garments to have a different style ? Or perhaps you wear mainly similar styles, but in different colours or textures ?
Janice of The Vivienne Files suggested a simple wardrobe as unnoticed background to interesting accessories. Here’s her post, and my post on patterns for it. This wardrobe has :
A very small range of colours : mainly white to black, and denim blue.
A very small range of surfaces : all smooth solids.
A very small range of fabrications : cashmere knits, broadcloth, denim.
A very small range of shapes : close fit knits, crew neck tees, shirts, slim pants.
And only one overall clothes style : very casual.
Minimum variety in the style elements of these clothes – though the general idea of this ‘creative’ style is not minimalism at all, as there is a lot of emphasis on noticeable and individual accessories.
Of course you haven’t got to use minimum style elements in your clothes for a small wardrobe. Here’s some of the usual ways of adding variety.
Colour and surface
Janice chose white, grey, black/ tan/ chambray and denim blues for colour.
All in smooth fine textures and solid colours.
In general, use your own best dark and light neutrals to copy this idea.
Or of course use only dark or only light, if that works best for you.
Black and chambray-denim blue aren’t flattering colours for me. My basic neutrals are white, grey, tan.
No accent colours in this wardrobe, as the clothes are background ! All the accent is in the accessories. You may be the opposite, dislike neutral clothes and have a closet full of colour
And what about fabrication ? Imogen Lamport at Inside-Out Style has an interesting piece on changing the level for refinement of your clothes from casual to formal by changing the quality of the fabrics.
And what about tonal variations around a main colour, or variations in print, texture, embellishment and trims ?
Even in my minimum wardrobe, I would be unhappy without cream/ oyster/ caramel. . . nubbly textures. . . low contrast prints. . . a little embroidery or lace. . . a small ruffle. . . subtle deviations from classic style elements. . .
I may wear mainly simple styles in light neutral colours, but I keep thinking of ways of adding inherent interest to these simple clothes. I’m a happy scarves and bags person, with a few brooches/ pins and bangles – but my accessory choices are not attention-grabbing.
My style comes between ‘all the interest in accessories’ and ‘all the interest in the clothes’.
What type of minimalism ?
Perhaps you like the idea of a small unobtrusive wardrobe with few style elements – but not this particular version.
Would you like more elegant basics ? The simplest designer lines, made in quiet high quality fabrics and no denim. (This is a version of the idea that I would be happier with :D)
Variety of shape and style elements
Janice’s ‘common wardrobe’ has 3 very similar tees, 3 very similar shirts, 3 very similar pants. Slight differences in colour and fabric. Plus 3 knits with the same fit, colour and texture. That makes these clothes easy to interchange and co-ordinate into ‘background’ outfits.
As I’m not such an accessories person, I go along more with Judith Rasband’s idea (Wardrobe strategies for women ). If you only have a small number of blouses etc., then you want them to be as different as possible in colour, fabric and style (while still co-ordinating with your other wardrobe capsule items). So you can get very different looking outfits from your small number of clothes.
But that’s a different strategy for wardrobe building and getting interesting outfits than the accessories based approach.
And – if you like variety/ interest in your clothes rather than your accessories – which clothes ? Many wardrobe plans have equal numbers of tops, bottoms, and layers, but that isn’t right for me. My bottoms (pants) are ‘background’ and I have few of them. In winter I wear lots of layers. My tops can hardly be seen, so are simple basics. But I love variety in my pullover tunics, vests and loose jackets.
Looking at the key patterns I picked out before thinking about this topic, most of the variety is in the neck area, to draw attention to my face. And high necks are essential for warmth. I would be disappointed if I was only allowed one pattern for each of my layers
Here is what’s currently on my desk top for inspiration and pondering :
McCall’s 6606 shirt, Sewing Workshop Hudson top
Vogue 2779 pants, Wiksten Tova top
Wiksten Tank top (worn as over-layer), Craftsy Sewing with Knits Hoodie
Vogue 8838 vest, Sewing Workshop Deja Vu wrap, Indygo Junction Origami wrap
Loes Hinse Boat neck top, Butterick 5789 View D jacket
Loes Hinse Cowl neck top, Burda 506E parka
(I focussed on easy patterns when I chose these.)
And which style elements do you vary ? The interest in my clothes is not just in the layers. It’s particularly in the neckline/ collar, which draws attention to my face. You may like style elements to draw attention to your bust, waist, rear view, hands, legs. . .
How much variety do you like ? and what type ?
The simplest possible clothes as a background for accessories – good for a travel wardrobe, as scarves and jewellery don’t take room to pack. But perhaps minimalism in clothes is not a good everyday style for you.
Which clothes do you like to have a wide variety of ?
Or can you be happy with just a few different styles ?
And what sort of variety do you like ?
- closeness of fit,
- texture (inherent in fabric, or in the way fabric is used such a ruching, tucks),
- style elements such as collars, cuffs, added seam lines.
What are your personal favourites to add to this list ?
What would you be unhappy without, even in the smallest capsule wardrobe
Of course you haven’t got to be so analytic. Just notice what you like to wear. I think like this because it helps me understand why most wardrobe plans don’t work for me.
As ever, the aim is to enjoy your clothes and your sewing
Links available November 2012
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