Last time with my 10 (okay, 5) Style Commandments (yep, uppercase)(naaaaa, modesty is not my best trait)(modesty is so last year anyway), I told you about how I was over accumulating so much clothes and all the fashion hysteria, and how I was rediscovering the joys of editing down my wardrobe.
So I’m back with the last 5 (okay, 7) last Commandments.
You ready? Okay, let’s edit down together :)
- Have a role model.
Ok, it can seem pretty childish to think like that, but it’s been tested and approved (by me) and IT HELPS. It helps with consistency, and consistency is the key to any wardrobe that rocks.
Just imagine, you’re at Barney’s and there’s this amazing Dolce & Gabbana gold piece with inlaid rubies that’s so on sale that you’re ready to get a job at McDonald’s for three months (wait sorry, three years) just to be able to buy it.
You feel the mounting danger of a disaster purchase, but as your senses are running away with themselves and all the marvelous occasions you’ll have to wear the dress dance before your very own hypnotized eyes.
You lose all of your own personality, the one you’ve spent so many years working on, crap!!!
That’s when you call upon your role model.
K, beware, the role model has to have a coherent style.
Like if your role model is Carrie Bradshaw, you’re in rough shape. But at the same time, if your role model is Carrie Bradshaw, you probably wouldn’t give a crap about my commandments. You’re actually just reading this to know exactly what NOT to do. Yep.
- Buy something from last season.
I love buying stuff on the internet because you can find everything, even clothes from last season.
On top of the fact that they’re usually way on sale, buying online guarantees that you won’t be stuck in the middle of fashion hysteria, and that you’ll only purchase something you really want.
[Fashion Hysteria Interlude]
There’s a cemetery in my closet with dozens of pieces that I can’t bring myself to throw away but that I’ll never wear. I’ve maybe worn them once, twice max. They’re all outdated now. I look at them with tears in my eyes and think about all the scoops of Earl Grey ice cream and other pairs of Chanel espadrilles I could have bought instead of these.
If you saw some of these pieces I’m talking about, you’d recognize them immediately.
Designer, season, name of the collection, what year… You’d know it all right away.
That’s the risk you take when you buy something too fashiony. Just imagine… You see something in a runway show that you can’t live
without and you put your name on a long list just to be able to buy it. When you finally get your hands on it you put it on immediately (even if it’s an angora sweater and it’s the middle of August)(of course you do)(who really cares about the weather, seriously now?), so proud of being part of the fash pack who know what they’re doing.
Two hours later, all the fash pack who know what they’re doing is wearing the same thing. Two weeks later, you see it everywhere and you totally realize how uncomfortable that stuff is. Angora is super scratchy! Two months later, you can’t even bring yourself to wear the thing, forever marked as “September 2012.”
The problem? It’s impossible to know what’s going to become a classic (these Balenciaga buckle strap shoes) and what’s going to disappear into the black holes of fashion (I don’t know. I don’t want to know. I’ve already FORGOTTEN).
There’s no exact science, to my knowledge, that will determine what’s here to stay and what’s out the door.
Oh, and PS: it’s impossible to resell.
If you have an idea about what’s going to having some staying power in three months, write to us at [email protected]… You know the rest.
So buying last season allows us to buy a thing we really love, not because it’s the latest fashion thing that we’ll forget in the depths of our closet as soon as the trend fizzles out.
- Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale.
I love sales, but my list of purchase mistakes of things on sale is so darn long, I’ve learned to be weary.
… of something in a weird color that could work from far away at night if the person was wearing sunglasses.
… of something that’s not exactly my size but could work if you had it underneath, say, a giant coat, even if the middle of sumer.
… of something that’s not at all my style but is so much on sale that for like a very special day, or a misunderstanding, or with someone you just met totally randomly, yeah, why not, it could work…
Now what I do is just ask myself if I would buy it even if it weren’t on sale.
Often, the answer is no. What’s funny is that I buy a lot less things on sale, and I’ve ended up with a lot fewer totally bizarre things in my closet.
And hey, it’s always good to…
- Make a list.
If I don’t watch myself, I ALWAYS buy the exactly same thing. Shirts, jeans, jackets, bags. I start to look through my two thousand whatever shirts and think “Dammit, don’t I have at least one nice little top? …No I don’t.”
For example, I never buy dresses. Don’t get me wrong, I love dresses! But my eye just never is on the look out for them. My eye doesn’t SEE them.
So I make a list… Find a spring dress. Buy a top. Etc. It reminds me to mix things up a bit. It’s good.
- Get stuff tailored.
I don’t do this super often, but my best self totally does. Because ready-to-wear is great and all, but we too often forget that clothes were made to be altered.
When you have sleeves that fit just so, or a skirt that’s the perfect length, or a jacket that hangs just right on your shoulders, it’s sheer joy. It’s not too expensive either, you just have to find the right tailor.
It’ll make your clothes go from good to great and people will notice it right away. It’s so chic.
- Dress for your life
I often hear something like “dress for the life you want and not the life you have” and that quote is totally, completely, irrefutably true. I’ve even talked to you about it before.
But finding the right balance is the key.
If, for example, you’re a young student of fashion and your dream is to become fashion editor for Vogue, the idea is not to spend your nights working at McDonald’s (I have no idea why I’m so fixated on this whole McDonald’s thing. I should go see my shrink) to get yourself a Céline purse.
It’s ok to dress for your age and means. What you have to do is be creative with what you got. And don’t worry about anything. People understand and will appreciate that authenticity.
It’s ok to dress for your job. For me, dressing for my life means finding clothes that are relatively comfortable enough to take photos in, but chic enough that I could put on a pair of heals at the last minute to go to an important meeting.
It wouldn’t make sense to have 10,000 pairs of heels or to buy stuff that’s way too fragile – I have neither the patience nor the lifestyle that goes with that, so goodbye to anything that’s too heavy or embroidered or that would weigh three tons in my suitcase…
It’s funny, because just like a reader said last time, “But Garance, you’re French! I thought you already knew all that!”
And yeah, it’s true, I knew it. But when I got swept up in the craziness of New York fashion, I forgot a lot of it.
And right now, after three years in New York, I have the impression that I’m getting back to my roots. It’s a little against the flow of eternal craze that goes on around me, but it’s good to ever so softly get your bearings again and feel yourself anew…
Translation : Tim Sullivan