Yesterday, I responded to a tweet from dress historian Hilary Davidson regarding capsule wardrobes, which resulted in an interesting discussion. For us, a capsule wardrobe is essential for travelling but is not something with everyday appeal. Hilary describes her own wardrobe as ‘a rainbow of expression’ and getting dressed in the morning as ‘a daily composition’, which struck a chord with me and got me thinking about my own process of putting together an outfit. This post is a glimpse into how I decide what to wear in the morning. I’d love to hear how you do it!
1) Is there one item I really want to wear today?
Sometimes a single garment or accessory can be a starting point for the day’s look. For example, in the early and late weeks of summer I like to wear my cape. Due to its straight shape and sleeveless nature, this then becomes something I have to build my outfit around as it really doesn’t work with full skirts or short sleeves underneath. When I got my Alice in Wonderland brooch from Tangerine Menagerie, I came up with an outfit to show it off. The day after President Trump was elected, I built my outfit around my Irregular Choice ‘I am your father’ flats as a nod to the new Evil Empire. My colour scheme that day also had to tie in with my fingernails as I’d added a flash of gold to my hot pink manicure while I was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race the night before, and I’m a stickler for nails that coordinate with my outfit. Which brings me to my next question…
2) Is there a colour I want to wear today?
As mentioned above, this often ties in with whatever colour I have painted my fingernails, but is sometimes linked what colour opaque tights I have left that are clean (in the winter), or even with my mood. When a colleague complimented me on a blue outfit, which was a colour I rarely wore at the time, I decided to make an effort to wear more of the blue garments I have. A week of accessorising with red might make me want to wear green the following Monday. I’m known for my colourful outfits, but occasionally I veer away from that when no colour suits my current mood. The day after a slim majority of Britons voted to leave the European Union, I was so low that an all black outfit was the only option.
3) What am I doing today?
Will I be going out for dinner and need to wear something that’s not restrictive on my waist? Will I be doing a lot of walking or standing around and need comfortable footwear? Perhaps I’ll be staying out late and it’ll be colder when I’m heading home. When you commute via public transport, and so can’t simply throw extra shoes/layers in your car just in case, planning an outfit that works all day takes a little bit of extra effort. I don’t like to take a change of clothes for the evening (as I prefer to look fabulous all day, and the extra baggage is always a drag), so sometimes I need to plan one outfit with both day and evening in mind.
4) What’s the weather like?
Sometimes I decide on an outfit and have to make tweaks to it once I’ve checked the weather. On my birthday this year, I was heading to the LCF MA Menswear catwalk show, having lunch with my ‘birthday twin’ and then going back to the office for the afternoon. It needed to be an outfit that looked good, befitting of a special occasion, with shoes I can walk in. I decided I wanted to wear the Miss L Fire shoes I bought from Revival Retro and built my outfit around their gold and teal colouring, but the weather forecast was wet so I had to have a rethink. Thankfully the Irregular Choice glitter flats I mentioned earlier are pretty sturdy in damp weather and have gold embroidery so I swapped the teal shoes for them. I usually handle cold weather by layering and the addition of a coordinating silk scarf.
This might sound like a lot of effort but, when you have a wardrobe filled with garments you know well and love wearing, it’s actually a joy. It also gets my brain working before I’ve had my first coffee! If you want to see more of my daily adventures in colour coordination, follow me on Instagram.
UPDATE: I also sometimes spot outfits when looking through my old Instagram posts and realise that it’s a combination of things I’ve not worn in a while. So that’s my fifth way of composing an outfit!