Oh, traveling! I love exploring new places and I’ve never felt really attached to a particular place. I can easily feel at home in new places as long as I have my basic needs filled. We started planning our trip six months ago right when we booked our flight. After booking the hotel we started to get really exited. Now it’s just few days before we land to our destination and we couldn’t be any more ready to start the vacation.
But there is one thing waiting to be done before you can hit the airport. That’s right. Packing.
Packing can be really daunting and it can feel like a real task but it can also serve as a first course before the actual trip. You get a change to prepare, you can pick your outfits before hand and know exactly what you are carrying. If you do things right.
Our good friend Laura asked us to help with her wardrobe. Laura is also a clothing designer but as it’s always easier to sort and organize other people’s stuff, she felt we could offer her some new ideas. I have worked with Laura before and I was exited to start the task as her style is almost complete opposite to mine.
Figuring out the needs and wants
Laura and her family are moving soon so it’s a perfect time to go trough the closets and figure out what to take and what to toss. I asked Laura to gather some inspiration pictures about her dream look and to think what kind of lifestyle she has and what her needs are. As Laura is a mother of one (wonderful) child and an owner of two dogs her days fill out with runs to work, grocery store and the daycare and taking the dogs out. There’s lot of walking and riding bike as she doesn’t always have the family car to her use. Her own thought that in her wardrobe there’s lots of clothes that don’t have their ‘pair’ in the closet: for example several pairs of trousers without a suitable top and vice versa.
Laura emphasized usability and hoped to have something with bohemian feel and I know she’s extremely visual and sensible person with a soft feminine side. Her dream style included soft layered looks with dark colours, paisley and flower prints with a touch of Jessica Alba. This combination is topped with red hues and some statement necklaces.
Moving to the colours
For us the colours are really important and we found out that there is a mismatch with Laura’s wardrobe colours and her warm and friendly personality. From deep inside Laura is a bubbly and spicy latina but her colours were really cool and winter-like. We figured out a colour palette to compliment her spirit and life style.
The chosen colour scheme has the base with neutral and mixable colours like grey, black, light denim and off-white. The accent colours bring the warmth and spirit and could be vibrant red and more sun bleached coral, maybe sunny yellow in small bits in prints. I would encourage to use warm browns and powdered pastels in printed garments and accessories to bring some earthy bohemian feel to otherwise cool, scandinavian pieces.
What about the actual clothes?
As usual, everyone should have a handful of very basic t-shirts and tops in black, white and grey with few coloured ones. This time I started to sketch the wardrobe from two pairs of jeans and moved from there to college shirt, textured jumper and long knit. Next came an informal shirt (maybe soft brushed denim), casual jersey dress and a long striped jersey sweater. The idea was to offer easy to wear and combine clothes for everyday use. Also these very basic pieces are easy to accessorize with a scarf or a bold necklace.
For tad more clean and chic look I offered one tailored blazer jacket, dress shirts in white and coral and maybe ,if needed, dark pencil skirt or pressed trousers. Laura is very feminine and shuns off from the idea of suited business look. Her dress shirts should have much softer feel and look than your average starched business shirt. Usually thinner cuffs and collar do the trick with draping fabrics and small, delicate buttons. For feminine look I would advise to go without pockets and visible stitching. All of the pieces above can be used to upgrade jeans and t-shirts.
For party wear, I submitted a black cocktail dress, light coloured and airy dress in tea length for daytime parties and a maxi length skirt in flower or paisley pattern and a white (or a patterned) chiffon top to go with it. I would use pearl decorated belt (similar to often seen with wedding gowns) to make the dresses look more decorated and formal. As black tie events are very rare in this case, it’s not a good idea to waste energy and closet space on a full length gown.
For a capsule wardrobe it is useful to think what kind of clothes you can dress up for special occasions. The chiffon top is a perfect example of a multipurpose piece as it can be used with trousers or jeans for stylish everyday look and combining it with a maxi skirt makes a perfect hot weather outfit. But if you dress it with a maxi skirt of same colour and material you get a dress-like outfit. Accessorize it with your better jeweleries, heels and a clutch and you are ready to attend a summer wedding. See, a good top can work for every occasion!
Laura likes to use belts and scarfs so those are her main accessories among shoes and bags. For her sometimes it is the scarf that makes the whole look! The accessories could be made of gold coloured metals, light natural coloured leather and semi precious stones. Accessories work as accents to move the look between the voluminous, ornamental bohemian and the graphic, more minimalistic city chic design. Laura loves big, sparkly necklaces so assortment of those, one nice, clean looking watch and few bracelets would work well as everyday jewellery and to update party dresses.
As talking about bohemian chic there is room for few not so functional but style wise perfect elements. One could be for example a crocheted vest which is perfect for adding layers to everyday casual looks. Always when adding extra pieces one should be careful not to over do it. Bohemian style may be rich but it doesn’t mean that your wardrobe should look like a second hand store. Remember, minimum items for maximum impact.
Where to start and what to get first?
As summer is coming clothes for hot weather are an essential right now. As most of us, Laura also works during the summer so she needs smart clothes to go to “the office”. I would add one pair of light summer trousers made from linen or viscose and then make sure that the top section is under control. Basic t-shirts are the first thing to go after and when you have them you can make numerous outfits with just few bottoms. After that accessorizing is the key to upgrade outfits to the next level. It is always much more useful to have just few multipurpose clothes than a whole section of clothes you can only wear to certain occasions.
We spent busy afternoon going through Laura’s closet. There was plenty of clothing to throw away but also several pieces that were in line with her dream style. It’s always wonderful to see how one’s wardrobe and style starts to get more streamlined and often there’s this happy and light feeling to toss away clothes that are no longer used. It can get sentimental, yes, but the feeling of being free from excessive clutter is unique. We hope Laura got a good feeling and that we can hear how her wardrobe organizing proceeds from now on.
Maybe we could ask her to review her closet again after few months or so to see if she has gotten the style and clothes she wanted?
Underwear is often overlooked when it comes to discussions about clothing. Still, they are used everyday so let’s take a look to our ‘nearest and dearest’. We are talking about quality, quantity and what kind of underclothes one may need. Undergarments are a very personal thing but here is a handful of basic knowledge you can use to get the most out of the least.
Both, me and Janina, are somewhat fluid with our gender identities. That takes the wardrobe problems to a whole new level. The same way as gender isn’t black and white the wardrobe problems can appear in a whole spectrum. For Janina the challenge is juggling with feminine and masculine days.