…but here’s how to maximise a more flamboyant wardrobe
I’ve always loved women who have a very clear minimalistic style. You know, the ones who even though all they seem to wear is a crisp white shirt, Levi’s and loafers, still manage to look totally now. Or the ones who admit to you that they’ve worn a variation of navy cashmere sweaters with black tailored trousers for a full week but you didn’t notice because they just looked incredibly chic. I have one such friend with a trench coat addiction: to the trained eye she has at least half a dozen, but I imagine the majority of people would think she’s just got the one.
But as much as I like to admire a minimalist, I have to be honest and say I’m not one myself. I’ve always been drawn to bright colours and prints. Which is great…but it does make it a little more tricky to shop my own, more distinctive wardrobe. Because a minimalist is likely to have lots of variations of similar stuff in muted colours (and crucially, not prints), it would be much easier to get away with not buying anything new and lots of repeat wears. If you’re wearing the same patterned dress all summer, however, it’s pretty obvious that it’s that same patterned dress every time.
READ MORE: WHY I’VE GIVEN UP SHOPPING FOR A YEAR
Now obviously, my biggest problem here is just my attitude. I have to re-train my brain to think it’s actually fine to be seen multiple times in the same pieces. I want to remember what it is like to love my clothing, and the reason that I love a lot of my wardrobe is BECAUSE it is bright and stand-out. I’ve been having a good old think about it this week, and I’ve come up with three top tips to help my fellow flamboyant dressers get the most out of their eye-catching wardrobes without having to constantly look for something new.
- Stop saving your favourite pieces for best
Monki polyester dress (polyester is not a sustainable fabric and I would not buy this now); Converse purple canvas and rubber All Stars, 29 years old; adidas suede and rubber trainers, 6 months old
I’m so guilty of not wearing the things I love most in my wardrobe simply because they are my favourite pieces. What if my amazing yellow suede shoes get ruined? What if some of the people I saw at that last party are at this party and remember that I was wearing my fav frock? What if I go off these trousers just by wearing them too much?
I’ve worn and worn this Monki dress since I got it a few months ago even though it’s incredibly distinctive. And despite two of my best friends having a skirt and a top in the same print and the risk of us all turning up for a night out in matching patterns is very high! I get endless compliments whenever I wear it and it’s really helped me to remember to keep wearing those stand-out pieces that I bought precisely for that reason.
2. Know what you love and own it
Whistles viscose dress (not sustainable), 2 years old; BAIA leather spotted bag, 3 years old; Rogue Matilda suede shoes, 6 months old, £159 (roguematilda.com) | COS roll neck cotton sweater, 3 years old; Ganni leopard print camisole, 3 years old; Baukjen Lenzing sustainable viscose spotted skirt, 1 year old but still available, £99, (baukjen.com) | Rose Rankin black and white trainers, 3 years old
It turns out I have a thing for black and white spots. I appear to have collected rather a lot of the stuff over the years. I also have a thing for yellow, but you already knew that. Although it’s predictable, I rather like that people know me for it now. I have a look; and yes, it might be a more niche look than a classic blazer with jeans, but it suits me and I intend to bore you all to death with it. This Baukjen skirt in particular has been my go-to when I need to look vaguely put together since I got it last year (you can tell from the length of my hair in the picture that it’s very much not new!).
READ MORE: 6 SUSTAINABLE JUMPSUITS
3. Audit your favourite prints
Various leopard print items | Boden red and white striped linen jumpsuit, 1 month old, £98 ([AD] boden.co.uk); Sabah handmade leopard loafers, £160 (sabah.am) | Zara polyester leopard slip dress, 1 year old (I would not buy this now!); cotton Breton top, bought 5 years ago in a French supermarket; Grenson suede and ribber Nanette boots, 1 year old, £275 (grenson.com)
As well as spots, I really like leopard. I recently got it all out to have a look at it in one go. And while I’m not into wearing multiple leopard items all at once, I do like to mix it with something else that appears time and again in my wardrobe: stripes. I find it helpful here to get lots of similar pieces and lay them out. Have a good look at them. Think whether or not you’ve worn them together before. Try some stuff on.
I’d previously only really mixed a Breton stripe top with a leopard shoe, but I’ve recently branched out into a full-on mash up. The revelation of a Breton under a leopard shift dress (above) was the turning point (thanks to Erica Davies for that particular inspo. Erica is a master of maximum styling). This trick is great way of refreshing older pieces and making them look a bit different, when you might have thought it wasn’t even possible because they make such an impact on their own.