Following the previous article in the October edition, which focused on the idea of sustainable fashion by creating and curating a capsule wardrobe, the aim this time round is to suggest a few outfit ideas that you can easily put together from the comfort of your home, by not only ‘shopping your own wardrobe’, but by blending classic and seasonal pieces. As already outlined, a capsule wardrobe consists of a finite number of classic, timeless pieces.
Additionally, good quality is a step in the right direction for durability and getting as much wear out of the items. However, the questions that are most probably at the back of your mind at this point are: What do we do when we are bombarded with around 52 micro seasons every year? How can we resist the allure of the ‘New In’ section in stores? How do we make informed decisions about what we need versus what we want? Moreover, if the capsule wardrobe restricts us, then is it feasible or realistic?
The suggestion is to start slowly, because initially it will not be as easy to narrow your wardrobe down to 50 or a 100 garments, let alone to around 37 pieces. One way of going about it is reorganising your clothes in such a way that you become familiar with every piece you own, so that you do not run the risk of buying an item that is very similar to what you already own, just because a lot of your clothes are piled up on top of each other and you cannot find something. When that happens, chances are that you will forget you have a particular item, and will be more inclined to buy more of the same.
When it comes to choosing your staples, focus on the type of clothing. Starting with the base, it is useful to think of the environment you work in or the pants and skirts you might find yourself wearing (or that suit your style and body shape). Denim is probably high on the list so decide how many pairs you really need. Then move on to formal pants and skirts. The latter could be divided according to their lengths and materials.
Moving on to tops, you can never go wrong with shirts that do not present button issues – hence, the blouse-like shirt and other tops that have an interesting pattern but does not bother you too soon, too quickly. The fussier something is, the more likely you are to get tired of it. When the first layer is sorted, then outerwear is next. First choices gravitate towards the type of classics mentioned in the previous article, namely the trench coat, the leather jacket, and the blazer. Add a proper coat but also allow some space for those extra pieces of outerwear that will definitely make winter more colourful. Ditto for shoes and bags. These are the departments where you can be more creative while investing in long-lasting, well-made pieces.
Suggestion 1: Leather jacket + denim + slides + ruffled top + small black bag
The first combination is really very straightforward. It involves pairing rather traditional pieces such as a leather jacket and a light-washed pair of jeans but instead of opting for a nondescript top, I chose one with a ruffled detail on the sleeves. A small black bag is very understated and it allows the focus to be on the embroidered slides, as its colours match the red of the slightly knitted top.
Suggestion 2: Structured trench + cotton track pants + blouse + heels + bamboo bag
Starting off with the bag this time, it goes to show that you can easily transition certain summer pieces – such as this bamboo bag – into the autumn, especially for a daytime look. The track pants might look casual if it were not for the stiffer material of more formal pants. Making this type of pant look more put-together can be done merely by opting for a pair of heels, a smart blouse tucked in, and the trench, of course. There are many trench coats on offer this season, but be sure to choose one that is not too flimsy or looks cheap; after all, this is a staple that is meant to last for years.
Suggestion 3: Leather-look skirt + striped shirt + (tan) blazer + top handle bag + trainers
This might not be your conventional pairing of a skirt with trainers, but when the latter is Vans and the former is on the shorter side, you want to keep the look feeling effortless by not adding further height, no matter how short you might feel in flats. I chose Vans rather than other trainers because its simple design makes it look less sporty somehow. Other classic staples to form part of a capsule wardrobe are the striped shirt, the leather skirt, and the classic blazer – these three have not gone out of fashion. Adding some colour by replacing a black blazer with a tan one changes up the colour pattern, and makes for a good match with the top handle bag. In the bag department, having a tan bag is surely one of the capsule pieces. You will reach for it endlessly, as it goes with anything.
Suggestion 4: A pinstriped dress + a camel/beige coat + over-the-knee boots + an office-style bag
You can also call this the office-to-drinks / day-to-night outfit, for its versatility and relaxed feel despite looking formal. What keeps it so is the heel height of the boots and the simplicity of the dress. Draping the coat over the shoulders gives it a bit of an edge and the type of bag adds a touch of class to the whole ensemble. The coat is very lightweight but is made of wool so it will keep you warm enough without feeling too bulky. This is what I look for in winter coats, as well as the hue of camel/beige which helps to establish this coat as the camel winter coat in my wardrobe.
Suggestion 5: Leather-look pants + checked blazer + red shirt + crossover bag + ankle (sock) boot
This final look turned out to be quite a surprise for me, as I was not too sure whether it would work. When you pair something really classic such as a checked (houndstooth) blazer with leather pants, it can go either way. However, what works in this pairing is the balancing out of different styles and textures with the play on red. Matching the shoes to the shirt detracts from the attention while retaining the sleekness via the sock style of the ankle boot. The latter is a seasonal piece that adds a dose of joy to your wardrobe without compromising on following the capsule idea. The last piece in this look is this pinkish-hued bag which acts almost like a neutral and complements the red, proving that red and pink do really go together.
The rationale for the photo shoot was firmly rooted in the idea of creating a number of outfits to test the so-called capsule wardrobe notion. I chose pieces I had in my wardrobe – three-quarters classic, one quarter seasonal – and challenged myself to match them in ways that were slightly different to the norm.
Overall, my aim was for the looks to be straightforward but creative, minimalist but lively, and with some colour thrown in for good measure. Hence, the location that was selected reflected the brief of my outfit creation.
After getting my makeup and hair done by Marlene Vassallo and Bernice Catania respectively (at Bliss Hair and Makeup), I met up with Ron Camilleri, the photographer, at Inhawi, which is located just up the hill from Balluta Bay in St Julians.
I was pleasantly surprised that despite being a hostel, Inhawi has all the makings of a welcoming, high standard hotel, from its sleek design to its Scandi-inspired minimalist look. The first three outfits were shot in different areas of Inhawi, whereas the last two were shot at ROCKSALT, which is the restaurant next door. The design of the restaurant made for a perfect backdrop to the more evening-style looks. Needless to say, the hair and makeup looks, as well as the setting for the photo shoot, chimed in perfectly with the choice of outfits, thereby consolidating the premise that a capsule-style wardrobe need be anything but boring!
Finally, it can be mentioned that thinking outside the box when it comes to choosing your looks could make the difference. Whereas we cannot always go by the maxim that ‘life is too short to wear boring clothes’ because that might lead us to unnecessary purchases, we can adapt this to mean the following: despite having a more restricted number of pieces in our wardrobe, the pairings and combinations can still be representative of our personality, lifestyle, and identity. We can still have fun with clothes, but maybe we can be more strategic and conscious about our fashion choices.
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Stephanie Xerri Agius