Sunday, July 20, 2014

Starting from Scratch

   I have been following an interesting fashion blog for a while now called The Vivienne Files. The author, Janice, is a proponent of small but highly functional and lovely wardrobes, often designed around an inspiration piece such as a favorite scarf, painting, or favorite flower.  She puts together stylish but hardworking capsule wardrobes for travel too.
   One of Janice's latest endeavors has been a blog series that she calls "Starting from Scratch," which is a step-by-step process of how to logically and systematically create the most useful and attractive wardrobe for yourself, hypothetically starting from nothing.  Perhaps you have entered a new season of life (entering or leaving the work force, transitioning from youth to maturity, etc) or perhaps you are dressing a new body (weight gain or loss, post partum, etc), or whatever your reason is for desiring new clothing options.

   I have read her "Starting from Scratch" series, and it was very interesting for me.  I don't need a new wardrobe at the moment, but I am currently on a journey to better health, which presumably means I will need new (smaller!) clothing eventually.  I like the idea of planning what kinds of items are most useful for you, given your typical activities, and creating a sort of "shopping list" to work from to keep you from wasting money on things that won't match anything else or that won't fit into your lifestyle.  So I'm going to hypothetically design my ideal wardrobe for my current life, and when the time comes that I need to replace some articles of clothing, I can do it knowing that my investments will be sound.

   Janice recommends starting by choosing which colors you will work from when building your wardrobe.  She likes to work from a "wheel" of five colors: two neutrals, some form of white/ivory/cream, and two accent colors.  This is where I think I will diverge from her plan just a bit.  (Nothing like doing your own thing on step one, right?) I think that a five color wheel is a fine place to start if it suits you, but I like just a bit more variety.  Also, I'm building this imaginary wardrobe based on what I currently have and love.  I don't want to truly start from nothing because I can't afford to get rid of everything and buy new.  Here's the color wheel I came up with based on my needs:
   I chose black and grey for my neutrals because 1) I already have several items in these colors that I like and 2) this is my fall/winter wardrobe, and I think these colors will be most useful for the events/weather I anticipate that time of year.  I think my wheel could best be described as "Black, Grey, and Brights."  These bold colors look best on me with my coloring (although I'm contemplating a change of hair color...), and I wanted some of these colors specifically.  I MUST have orange in my closet during football season (and all year, really), I knew I would want some red for the holidays, and I have some pieces in the other colors that I love in pink, blue, and green that just look good on me.  Vanity is a strong motivator.

   This may turn out a lot like my Project 333 fall wardrobe, and that's okay.  I still have many of the same pieces in my closet from that time, and like I said, I don't want to buy anything I don't have to.  I don't think I'll be as strict on the "rules" for building this new wardrobe as Janice suggests, but I think to get the most enjoyment out of my clothes (and really, other than covering nakedness, isn't that what it's all about?), I will want a bit more variety than she suggests.  So I may add a bit of camel, or a yellow necklace, and I KNOW I'll throw in some leopard print, which I consider a neutral.  Maybe I should have chosen it as my second neutral, instead of grey!

   Feel free to build your own wardrobe with us, be it fantasy or more attainable.  I'll share mine when I get it all built, for anyone who is interested in a black and bright closet for a stay-at-home mom.  What wardrobe pieces will never leave your closet?  Do you have things that you never wear but refuse to part with?

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