Before you build a capsule wardrobe of boring pieces that match your home decor, read this! We have been sold to the idea of French Chic and how effortless we can look once we have our mythical Parisian capsule wardrobe patted down. However, the pursuit of looking like the perfect “french woman” is nothing but another consumerist dream. Billions have been spent on marketing products to hypnotize the masses into buying perfumes, lipsticks and a barrage of “French It Girl” idealistic products to emulate a mirage.
How can we, then, still achieve chic – without being sold a dream that churns a billion dollar industry?
Below are several steps for you to curb the decision fatigue and make every step cat-walk worthy.
Step 1 : Stop buying cheap dreams from huge racks.
The Asian mindset of saving money and frugality often skews to “buying the cheapest option”. It is NOT a sin to buy expensive clothes IF the quality and price tag match your budget and list of conditions. It is just human nature to assume certain traits about a person from how they dress. Thus, it is perfectly fine to invest in statement pieces that would last years instead of 6-10 crumbly months.
Singapore is an island overrun by malls, shops and all kinds of access to excess. Excessive clothes and food are the number one culprits of reckless expenditure and indulgences that run a long list of regrets. Walk past a shop in your neighbourhood and you will NEVER fail to see a $10 pair of jeans on the rack or a $5 pair of denim shorts.
However, we all know that such purchases are usually on the lose-lose end of the consumption scale. The labour costs unjustified and these shorts or jeans usually wear out within a few washes.
So, how can we ensure that we do not fall into the trap of fast fashion? We need to start knowing what makes us happy when we wear them and cull our bursting wardrobe to fit our happiness scale.
Achieve your well curated closet to call your own, to edit, and to reduce your decision fatigue by only having pieces you truly feel good in. Ultimately, every piece will be something you that assists you to radiate confidence. Right now, it may be just a pipe dream, but you can easily turn that into reality.
Step 2: Know your style
Before you build a personalised capsule wardrobe, know yourself. I’d recommend a “know your style” quiz.
I identify with Sophisticated/ dramatic style. This means that I prefer bold colours (green, turquoise and red) for my statement dresses and accessories, while keeping the rest of my wardrobe neutral in white, black and grey.
Styles I can pull off well:
- Sensual and seductive
- Sophisticated and striking
Styles I cannot pull off well:
- Sweet and romantic
- Super artsy styles
During my teenage years, I was desperate to look both edgy and romantic at the same time. Fashion disasters ensued – flowy dresses and thick eyeliner was not a good combination. However, my sanity and common sense have settled in. Choose something that matches and you will look put together.
Travel hack: Look put together, and you generally get better service.
Ultimately, when you work with your personality, you feel comfortable for you – while knowing your wardrobe is up to date, or at least appears to be.
Step 3: Find out what suits your weather and seasons.
As Singaporeans, we live in a country where is the weather is stable all year round. Singapore is rainy, sunny, humid and incredibly warm just about sums up the characteristics of living on an urban tropical island with 5.6 million people all crammed into 721.5 sq km of land. The only tweaks in weather is that we have the monsoon seasons. That doesn’t really affect our wardrobe changes too much as long as we have a cardigan to throw on, a fold-able umbrella and some wet weather footwear.
Step 4: Know your work environment.
Dress according to your required dress code and create a uniform. If in doubt, always stick to business casual. Being a teacher, I’m lucky to have a smart casual dress code, but I stick to business casual on most days. My staples are:
- Conservative dress
- Trousers and blouse
- Casual blazer
- Closed toe shoes
Step 5: Birds of a feather flock together.
Are you buying clothes to fit in or are you fitting in with whatever you already own? If you need to dress to impress every time you head out for drinks with friends, it’s time to think twice about the people you call friends.
Yes, you do need to network, close deals and have working relationships. But your best friends are friends you cannot let your hair down with, you need to reconsider why you have accepted them as valuable friends in the first place.
Ideally, you should have a few casual pieces that fit into your social events – be it swimming, going to water parks, golf, wine tasting or paint balling. Have a few changes of appropriate attire. You’re only wearing them once a month. Make those dollars count with the amount of time you spend in them.
Step 6: Match your skin tone.
Before you start to declutter your wardrobe, another crucial step in wardrobe curation is to have a skin tone analysis done. My skin tone is of the warm autumn range, thus I choose the appropriate colours that would do my confidence and looks wonders. Choosing the wrong colour tones can make you look ashy, worn out and aged.
If you are in a job that requires you to meet people daily, engage a reputable image consultant and get this professionally done. An image consultant would help you build an appropriate capsule wardrobe and make up capsule that would save you a lot of money in the long run.
Step 7: Accessories
Shoes, make up, jewelry and other ornaments such as bags, scarfs and caps play a role in our wardrobe. It may not seem like a big deal, but accessories can take one’s outfit to from boring to one that gets you noticed for all the right reasons. Choosing the correct accessories can enhance your overall looks, so that you look more put together, professional, yet with a personality.
However, if you are not careful, the wrong accessories might cheapen your appearance or distract from your wonderful personality.
You are the editor of your own closet. Instead of having your clothes owning you, you now have the power to own your clothes. Use a 3-6 month rule to edit your wardrobe with:
- Does this bring me joy?
- Does this bring me value?
- Is this meant from the dump?
- What 10 items can I get rid off to add in 1 item to my closet?
If you are a recovering shopaholic, or one who is looking for an alternative way out of the shopping addiction, you can always update your wardrobe while culling it by attending swaps or shopping at thrift shops.
It is estimated that the average woman (with a life expectancy of 80 years of age) will spend approximately $125,000 in her lifetime on clothing and accessories. This will equate to just over 3,100 different items and include 145 handbags, 185 dresses and over 270 pairs of shoes. With that being said, age is a huge factor in spending habits, as the surveys show that women under the age of 25 are more likely to average $200,000 during their lifetime, based on their current spending habits. Women who are aged 55 or over will average just under $100,000 during their lives, once again based on their current spending habits.
These surveys were carried out in the United Kingdom and the United States respectively, but it’s pretty evident that women from all around the world could easily relate to these statistics.
The reasons behind the spending is usually emotional rather than a physical requirement. The term “retail therapy” is a marketing term coined to spur consumption to fill a void, rather than to step back and analyze what is truly missing.
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