Saturday, August 20, 2011
How To Get Unstuck
Ravina Sniper hits a wall that all of us are familiar with in this post. Your wardrobe is kind of there, but not really. You don't have the time, energy, money, style icons, creativity, aesthetic resources, skill, fill-in-the-blank to move towards the wardrobe goals that have become even more important to you. banananutmuffin started a very interesting thread on the You Look Fab forum recently stating another common reason for style-stuckness. She titled the thread "What to do wear when your style is incongruent with your lifestyle?" banananutmuffin is a stay at home mom with an infant and toddler plus chickens to much out every morning - with a bombshell/minimalist style profile. You end up getting a job that will allow you to afford those gorgeous designer duds you crave - but the job involves solvents, adhesives, and grubbing around on your hands and knees. Your checkbook is finally flush and J. Peterman goes bankrupt. ***
I've been there more often than i like to think about, certainly! But happily i have learned from these times. So i'm embarking on a series of posts to set forth what i've learned - tips and tricks, strategies, what/how to research, helpful philosphies. If you have any questions about this general area, send me an e-mail or leave a comment and i'll answer as best i can.
Today - monochrome looks and the power of newtrals. For whatever reason, monochrome looks and newtrals read as higher quality, classic, and chic. Monochrome looks are straightforward to put together, the color scheme automatically gives the look a cohesiveness and that 'pulled together' vibe. As in the pictures for this post, there's no need to do the 'matchy matchy' thing - mix up a range of camel-ivory, dove grey through to charcoal, navy blue through dark wash denim. The first outfit was dirt cheap - no piece cost me more than $10. But the overall feel is much richer and more chic.
Now i'm a notorious newt-lover. Take this into account while reading the following. I'm not suggesting everyone compose a newt-only wardrobe. But including a nice proportion of newtrals that flatter you and work well with your favorite colors can really grease the wheels of your wardrobe. It can be really hard to find enough acid-green pieces to coordinate into a great, chic look. It's much easier (especially with limited resources) to find one great acid green showcase item to blend with some tan, camel, and khaki items to make a great look. Newts are flexible and play well with many, many colors - a wardrobe with 1/3 newtrals will offer many more mixing options than one with 100% 'color colors'.
Neutrals also come in many shades and colors. Black and white are standard. But don't forget denim blue, navy, charcoal, dove grey, olive drab, army green, khaki, camel, ivory, tan, taupe.......i'm all about tan, taupe, beige, khaki.....but Ravina's wonderful purples and burgundies would blend beautifully with medium to dark greys and inky navy blues. And individual newtral colors come in many many variations. Denim blue ranges from inky dark blue all through to faded sky blue. If you choose one newtral to bring into your wardrobe, don't neglect the options you can make for yourself by bringing in a range of that newtral.
This part is a wee bit technical, but i hope i'll get the point across. The fibres used to make fabric are dyed with chemicals. These chemicals all have various properties - some are cheaper, some more expensive, some 'take' better than others on various fibres, some fade very quickly and others last forever. All of these qualities have impacts on your garment - price, life length, etc. For whatever reason, most neutrals seem to come form less expensive, better quality dye chemicals. So a nice black or khaki will be cheaper, look richer, and last longer than, say, your average medium pink or mustard yellow. This is just a general rule gathered from long years of experience (hanging onto clothes for much too long!) But i have found that many cheaper 'colors' just look - cheap. And they don't last that long. If you look around and find yourself persuaded of this idea, you may wish to take it into consideration in your own wardrobe planning.
*** not that this still bothers me. a dozen long, excruciating years later.........