Recently my sister called me from the middle of a Nordstrom Rack unsure what to reach for. She had the sudden realization that her wardrobe did not match who she was on a day to day basis and thus when she decided to put together a look for when she wasn’t at work she had no clue what to wear and how to start to determine who that was.
I happened to go through the same thing. Somehow I had acquired ten large black rayon teeshirts and denim, denim, denim. Nothing wrong with it but it was a watered down look. Very watered down, there was no intention behind the dressing, it was lackluster and there was no wow factor. It was a case of “well I guess I'll wear this….again…” I felt drained, and I felt invisible and borderline embarrassed to be caught wearing such a drab outfit and then telling people I design clothing and handbags for a living.
Begin with how you want to feel — not even the story you want to tell or the vibe you want to put out. But the feeling, how do you want to feel dressed in your clothing, ready to take on the day? Glamorous? Effortless? Elegant? Timeless? Unique? Vintage? Funky? Calm? Seductive?
What do your words mean to you? What do you picture? Think only of the outfits not of the errands you have to run, or the things you have to get done. Tailoring will come later, first let's find your closet core.
For Vivian Vette, the words that come to mind are elegant, fun, effortless and timeless. To me, this means vintage styling, structured garments, finishing touches, soft fabrics, and great colors. Embody the feeling first, and the rest will follow.
Determine a silhouette that looks great on you. Dress in thirds; you never want a line directly at your absolute middle. For example, I always reach for a high waist, whether it be pants, skirts or a dress with a waist seam. Invite your girls over, go shopping somewhere with a three-way mirror so you won't see yourself from all angles, take photos so you can honestly see what fits and works from a scientific viewpoint.
Think back to your words, now think of fabrics and colors. Are you a denim babe? Velvet? Patterns? For example, Blair from Gossip Girl wore a modern Victorian aesthetic, lots of structured, tailored garments, decadent fabrics, lots of patterns, colors, textures and accessories, accessories, accessories. No matter what the scene depicted, what drama plot was exploding for our characters, Blair was dressed to the nines as an absolute lady ready to rule her world.
If you were to dress as Blair, you would reach for multiple layers of clothing, think polished heels, tights, a complete outfit with fun textures or a pattern with maybe a belt if it called for it, a coat; plaid or wool, jewelry and always a hat or a headband. She had a certain look that you would recognize anywhere as a Blair ensemble. Blair was all about taking fashion risks while still looking elegant and in control.
Now you know how you want to feel, what looks good on you, what you want to tell the world, so let's nail now your closet core. Blair would need tights, high-waisted skirts in elegant patterns and textures, a wool cape coat, jewelry, and of course headbands. Carrie Bradshaw another favorite of mine for style inspiration would need fashion-forward pieces that push the boundary of what is catwalk and what is real life. She would need fun high heels, little purses and her ever favorite “Carrie” necklace. Dita would need high waisted skirts, heels or elegant ballet flats, ladylike tops that can be tucked in to create an hourglass silhouette, large sunglasses, a red lip and a color palette of black, grey, navy and the occasional pop of color. Silks, wools, tweeds. So what are your core pieces for your look? Do you need structured jackets? Sheer kimonos with fringe? Baby doll dresses? Skirts? Fun colored tights?
This little study is to illustrate to you that even through across many seasons of unrepeated outfits, the stylist was able always to capture the character’s feel which was very different than the rest of the characters as was Serena’s or little Jenne Humphrey or Dan. Another favorite example of mine is Dita Von Teese, we all know she’s the queen of Burlesque and pinup, but a lot of her clothing is modern designers that she knows how to wear to obtain that vintage style she adores so much.
It shows that once you nail down your vibe, your silhouette and your closet core than you can always end up dressing as you no matter what clothing you’re handed to wear. Plus this saves you from owning ten pairs of the same jeans to get your point across that you love 70’s attire. You would know what type of silhouette to wear, fabrics and colors, then be able to put your flair on it. If you need help determining what qualifies as certain styles for certain vibes be sure to check out Instagram or Pinterest for inspiration or a starting point if you know you want a certain vibe. It will help give an idea to colors or fabrics or silhouettes.
In short: A Recipe for Finding Your Core Closet:
1. Determine how you want to feel, what words describe this?
2. What silhouette looks fabulous on you?
3. What kind of vibe do you want to tell? Refer to your feeling words.
4. What fabrics and colors do you love?
5. Think of critical items you would need in your closet to tell this story.
Post a picture and be sure to tag #vivianvettecorecloset