On Dressing Up..

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Image via the Sartorialist

Recently I have been working through the concept of minimalism and not in a crazy freaky sort of way, just in my outlook towards aspects in my personal life; around the house and my wardrobe. I spent the month of February doing a 28 day Minimalism Challenge. It was a challenge to get rid of one thing everyday of the month and for me I did it through selling things on eBay. I managed to get up to day 25 and the rest went into 2 big garbage bags of Brian’s and my own stuff to the Salvation Army.

There are many ways of applying a minimalist approaches to daily life. The reason why I have decided to embrace certain aspects of it, is to get rid of clutter and keep only what I need. Yes, I’m a sentimental person and there will be a few things I cannot bear to part with but mostly it will hopefully be the beginning to a more free-ing lifestyle.

So far it’s been good however now that I have purged my wardrobe I am left with the feeling of “why don’t I have anything to wear?”

That’s a story for another day… xx

Building a Capsule Wardrobe

In my recent post I defined what a capsule wardrobe is. Here I will explain a bit more on how to start building your own capsule wardrobe as I go on my own journey to do so.

 

Essentially, a capsule wardrobe is minimal wardrobe that comprises of basics and key items, that are statement pieces. Personally I like to have a seasonal capsule wardrobe that I change twice a year. I think it’s good for the different seasons. So for example in Australia, have one for Spring/Summer and another for Autumn/Winter, that way you have clothes suited to the appropriate temperatures. This also means you can choose different colour varieties throughout the year in a more organised manner. As long as you have the essentials for the season, a few spontaneous purchases added in later won’t hurt. (Says the shopaholic in me!) Just let me add that I don’t buy a whole new wardrobe every season!

 

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There are many different ways of doing this but to facilitate the process, I use four main points. I start with the first (fun) part of creating a concept where you define the style of your wardrobe specifically for this season. The best way to do this is by compiling inspiration for your concept. I look for inspiration everywhere; on the Internet, magazines, on Pinterest or Tumblr and a common one now is from street style blogs. Also, list down elements you want to have in your wardrobe such as textures, colours, combinations, specific items.

 

A digital or paper based mood board helps collate all your inspiration in one spot. Pinterest has become very popular this way because other than creating your own boards you can peruse other people’s boards and get ideas from there.

 

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The second step is to build a basic structure for your wardrobe. After collecting inspiration, the ideas have to be translated for the visual concept to be useful. The easiest way to do this is to look for similarities in proportions or silhouettes and list category items. A proportion is a combination of a item categories. You may find that you like maxi skirts worn with short-sleeve tops or a leather jacket paired with slim fitting jeans as a staple for your winter wardrobe. Pick about 1-4 proportions to work with your style and lifestyle. You may already have a uniform even if you don’t realise it. Then choose a colour palette that you are comfortable with.

Once you have the basic framework for your capsule wardrobe draft, it makes things easier to form outfits like filling in the blanks. Based on all the proportions you have picked out, list items for each category and set quantities for each item you would like to have. Keep in mind your wardrobe will be between 20-30 items (just an estimate). When you have your draft, the organisation process begins.

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I would start from my own wardrobe first and go through everything I have to see if it will stay in my capsule wardrobe. If you have a relatively well-defined wardrobe then you may need to get 20% of your draft list. Then from there, I go through the draft list see what else I need. I don’t necessarily buy brand new items. Sometimes I scour through eBay or second-hand shops for a bargain. You’d be surprised what you’d find.

 

The last and final part is creating a working wardrobe and here is where you implement and test the wardrobe you have built. Once you have the core preparation done, create different looks and learn to maximise the versatility of each item in your wardrobe. To make your wardrobe work for you, it may take a bit of adjusting and time until you find the right combination. Below is an example of a small capsule wardrobe.
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Image: Pinterest

 

I believe that your capsule wardrobe has to be tailored closely to your personal style and suit your lifestyle. I know this may seem like a lot of work however a bit of organisation will definitely help spend less time planning your day-to-day look and probably even some money. There are no set rules so have a little fun with it. For more insight into capsule wardrobes, check out Project 333. It is a great idea if you want to challenge yourself to a more simple  life.

 

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? What pieces would be in your capsule wardrobe if you did?

Capsule Wardrobe

When I moved back to Malaysia, I had to pack most of my belongings and clothes into storage and when I arrived back here I started from the bare minimal. I figured I would just get new clothes along the way because everything I own or buy will have to shipped back to Australia. Since being back 5 months ago, I have (most definitely) acquired a few new items in my wardrobe however I have decided to go on a personal challenge to create a capsule wardrobe for myself.

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What is a capsule wardrobe, you ask? Well by definition, it is a collection of essential clothes paired with seasonal pieces. This is a combination of interchangeable items to maximise the number of outfits created. A capsule wardrobe represents a set of clothing and accessories normally range from 20-30 pieces items (including shoes and jackets but not underwear or accessories).

There are many reasons why a capsule wardrobe is helpful in daily life. In an earlier post about being a minimalist (here), I explained that this concept aims to simplify life and get ride of the excess to be able to focus on more important aspects. In this context, creating a capsule wardrobe will allow more time and money spent on excessive items that you don’t need in your collection in the long run. With being a minimalist, you would be able to concentrate on getting good quality statement pieces instead of wasting it on lots of clothes you don’t wear or are not well made. Quality instead of quantity. Lastly, as your sense of style may evolve through the decades, a change or revamp your personal style could help inspire you and keep things fresh.

A capsule wardrobe may differ from person to person. Each individual has different needs according to their lifestyle. But for me, a capsule wardrobe will help me live a little simpler and focus more on quality rather quantity. It will also help me a have an essential wardrobe while I’m here in Malaysia on a short-term basis. Stay tuned for more on wardrobe building in the coming weeks…

 

 

Have you thought about revamping your day-to-day clothes? I’d love to know what you think. Please share a comment:-)

How to be a Minimalist

One of my goals for 2015 is to strive to achieve a more minimalist approach to life. The concept of minimalism does not necessarily mean surviving on nothing but for me it means to be able to get rid of all that is unnecessary but yet enjoying what is important.

On my journey to read up about this subject I have found an interesting read of a blog, The Minimalists. As the Minimalists sum up the term minimalism to be  “a tool used to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” 

I love shopping and for some this can create an accumulation of things. I have learnt that when I shop I ask myself, “Do I really need this?”. Now for someone who loves all things fashion, you may think it clashes but when I shop I try to have an idea of what I want to get and how I will wear that piece. If I see myself wearing it only once then the I won’t buy it. It has taken years of development (and moving many times) to make me realise I’m better with signature investment pieces that I create different looks around. This way I have more quality over quantity.

I have listed some ways to help begin adopting minimalism in your life. There are no rules with minimalism however by taking small steps, you develop a habit and hopefully in the long run you achieve a way of life.

Set yourself a personal goal: Define in your own way, what you think will create minimalism in your life. In other words a stress free, simple life.  For some it may be to stop procrastinating or to declutter. This can be adapted in your work, life and at home. Focus on what you want and what is fulfilling for you and strive to find ways to make that happen or eliminate the things that prevent from achieving your desire to live simply.

Declutter: Some folks out there do have strong attachments to material possessions and some hoard. A cleanup of all the things you don’t need in your life by selling or donating will help the accumulation and unnecessary things around you. Start small and slow, but you’ll get there if you have the right mindset.

Train yourself to live with less: To life outside your comfort zone, so to speak is good training to life the simple life. This is a hard one for me because I’m used to treating myself to luxuries but I guess it’s being able to do so and so I do try my best to practice it.

“Do I really need this?”: As I said before, it is a vital question to ask yourself before you buy or acquire something. Does it really matter if I don’t get? How much of a difference will it make? Are there other things I have that I could use instead? Out with the impulsive and in with the justification.

Become a re-user: In other words, become a bit more green. Don’t always just take the easy way out, try and look for alternatives to improvise and re-use or recycle.

Invest in quality: Quality over quantity is emphasized as it always nicer to have things that you really like and even though there’s less you appreciate it more compared to have lots of things you don’t really like. You don’t necessarily have to pay top dollar for everything just be a little bit more wise when shopping around.

Be clear about why you want to be minimal: Reiterate the objective of why you started doing this and it will help keep you motivated. It’s easy to give up however you define how minimal you’d like to be and even if you need to start over just breathe and try again.

Hope this is helpful especially at the beginning of the year. Time to clean those cobwebs!

 

Are you a minimalist? I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you have any lessons to share, please leave a comment.

Spring Cleaning: Detox your Wardrobe

My personal style has definitely changed over the years and as time goes it continues to evolve with a hint of my signature taste in colours, shapes, textures and print.

I love shopping for new things however with buying new things, comes the collection of apparel over time. Over the last 3 years I have come to a realisation that there is no point in hoarding clothes when someone else can benefit from it or even that you make someday fit back into that dress you once wore 5 years ago.

Now that minimalism has become a theme ringing through my mind, I do a regular spring clean at least twice a year. This comprises of a general edit of the clothes; the pieces that I have to add to my wardrobe and also to get rid of the clothes I think I’ll wear but don’t.

Normally the process takes a whole afternoon for myself but I find with some music it’s something I enjoy doing and helps me maximise my wardrobe space and use for everything I have to wear.

 

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Step 1 – Get some trash bags, 2 boxes and some post-it’s. Then, label the boxes with Alter and Give Away/Sell. 

Step 2 – I personally like to work on a specific category like dresses, jeans etc and then put them in the appropriate places:

Back into the closet: All the clothes that are essentials and clothes that you want to remain in your wardrobe. For the few things that may need replacing take note and keep a list of things to add to your wardrobe at a later time.

Give Away/Sell: This is for all the items you no longer wear, does not fit or you just don’t want anymore. You can either give away to any charity bin’s, pass it on to friends or sell on eBay.

Alter: For clothes that need mending or might need some alterations, send to a tailor to as soon as possible. This could also be for things that you may want to DIY and turn into something else, maybe for a different look.

Trash bags: Fill the bags with all pieces that have been worn to death and should be replaced or anything that is torn and dirty that cannot be worn anymore.

Do this with everything single thing in your wardrobe. Try the items on as I find this helps a great deal.

Step 3 – Now throw all the trash bags out and next decide what to do with all the things that needs to be given away or sold. Make plans to work on altering all the customisations by either sending to tailor or start getting things together for DIY.

Step 4 – This is the fun part! Write down all that need replacing in your wardrobe and also plan the new pieces you would like to have.

 

I love editing my wardrobe more than twice a year myself and I find it helps purchase clothes wisely and make use of what I have. I hope this way helpful to all of you:-)

How do you detox your wardrobe?

Image via Sex and the City