Hand on heart: Are you actually 100% satisfied with your style? No? Then you are like many others: Full closets – and nothing to wear. I recently took a look at my own wardrobe and developed a system. The goal? A wardrobe that is as SMALL, as EFFICIENT, and yet as INDIVIDUAL as possible. And here it comes: The way to the perfectly extravagant wardrobe
It’s not about throwing away as much as possible and then replacing it with something new. Rather, it is a matter of UPCYCLING, UPGRADING or DONATING as much as possible. Because the perfect style is all well and good – but it should be as sustainable as it is individual. So what I have in mind is a sort of TETRIS game with the closet. One that makes us think but also FUN – I promise!
1. Step: Check the FIT!
Your perfectly extravagant wardrobe stands and falls with a few very basic questions. Before you spend a lot of time thinking about your style, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions. As simple as it sounds, the first questions must be:
- Do I LIKE it?
Just check the basic feeling – and distribute 1 to 3 points (1=No / 2=Sometimes / 3=Yes)
- Does it FIT me?
After that: Clearly check the fit! Is it too small or too big? (1=No / 2=Only, if I don’t eat / 3=Yes)
- Do I WEAR it?
That, too, is quite fundamental. What use is all the style in the world if it’s always gathering dust in the box? (1=No / 2=Sometimes / 3=Yes)
- Can I COMBINE it?
Your goal is to have a productive wardrobe. So the more often you can mix and match your clothes, the better! (1=1 Outfit / 2=2-3 Outfits / 3=4+ Outfits)
Answer all questions realistically and honestly and add up all four categories of points per garment.
4-6 points: These clothes are leaving the active closet (for now). We put these pieces aside and will either upcycle them later, resize them, donate them or throw them away.
7+ points: These pieces have passed the first test and move on to the next round.
2. Step: Find and develop your STYLE!
Ask yourself the simple yet highly complex question: what style do I have and/or what style do I want to have? Find the answer with these three options:
- Start with your favorite styles!
If you know your style, break it down into individual styles. Yes, none of us has ONE style but likes to combine – THAT is what makes individuality. And styles are de facto a dime a dozen. Here I have compiled a selection of the currently most present.
- Pick out your top 10 clothing items & describe them!
Look directly into your closet: Which ten pieces do you wear most often & most like? Pick them out and try to describe them. Of course, you can directly work out a wish list here – developing your own style is just as important as knowing it.
Once you’ve worked out a few styles using these methods, write them down on post-its and then button up your whole closet. In addition to style groups, it’s also smart to make a few occasion-related side groups right away: Basics (T-shirts, jeans, …), Casual Wear (Home Wear,…), Beach Wear, Sportswear – these groups can be hung right next to each other in the closet in the future.
MIX & MATCH
After you have examined and assigned your clothes, you have to look, of course: Which outfits will work now? You’ll see right away: The individual style is of course the styling – the combination. And that’s what you need to track down: Do you like your outfits from a single mold or when similar things are combined? Or when really harsh contrasts meet and when it becomes ironic?
I styled one of my favorite dresses in four different ways. The dress is basically classic modern – but I can style it very differently with accessories to develop my personal signature. Take your time and be playful about it. When you’re satisfied, take a photo to be perfectly dressed quickly in the morning in the future.
At this point, you’ll also see that some pieces – even if they super suit your style – don’t always have the perfect partners in your closet. Create a list of desired clothing items. This will help you the next time you go shopping and prevent the impulse buying frenzy – a disease that has never led to the perfect wardrobe. Looking at this list will show you in the future what you need and what you don’t.
It doesn't FIT? Then make it FIT!
In addition, now is also the time to look at those clothes that you would like to UPCYCLE or change. You want to change the size? Either you dare yourself and leave out, for example, the side seams of a skirt and make it narrower or wider. You can usually do this by hand. Or you go straight to the nearest tailor, and see what is feasible and affordable.
The color is faded? Then buy textile dye, which is usually available in any drugstore and which works per wash cycle in the washing machine. You can refresh the color (especially black is such a candidate for fading!) or change it right away. I’ve recently extended the life of several pieces.
As for upcycling, the possibilities are endless. You can find some on my pinboard!
3. Step: Find and add the FACTION!
And now that we’ve all done our homework, here comes the FUN: Find the FACTION in your WARDROBE! FACTION has many faces. But all these faces have one thing in common: They are EXTRAVAGANT. FACTION is always something that is out of the ordinary, that surprises, and that comes from another world.
FACTION comes from the PAST
Of course, VINTAGE is one of the very big themes that are very special. In a perfectly extravagant wardrobe vintage fashion, which after all really comes from another, past world, can not be missing. A very great example are the full skirts from the 50s – THE symbol of that era. It is said that Christian Dior was literally invited by the French state shortly after the war to design a fashion that would need a lot of textile to boost the (textile) economy.
Well, whether this is true or not, one thing is for sure: These full skirts shaped a whole decade. Nowadays, women hardly find such skirts in contemporary stores – it’s simply too expensive for H&M, Zara and others to produce them at their prices. Due to the cut, a circle skirt needs about 3 meters of fabric, a pencil skirt only max. 70 cm. To explain: Spread out on the floor, the cut results in a full circle, i.e. a “plate” – and of course that needs decent material. So you have to rely on vintage or sew the plate skirt yourself. But it’s worth it: Skirts like this always cause a stir and guarantee the FACTION moment! And apart from the Vintage glamour, they are also insanely comfortable because they are so wide.
Small ACCESSOIRES – big EFFECT
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in second-hand clothing, then accessories will do just as well. These are often easier to find and are not so much related to your own clothing size.
Headwear is a perfect example: Hats were an essential part of every outfit until the 20s – men who didn’t wear a hat were called REBELLS. Until the 60s, headgear was also very common, with not wearing a hat also already mainstream. Hats are relatively UNCOVERED nowadays. Veils are downright EXTRAVAGANT. Fascinators are seen MANY times at weddings and other festive occasions. Headscarves are discussed at most in a political context – and that’s hardly about style. And yet, it’s so much fun to walk around in the middle of the day with one of the above glam accessories – promise!
Beyond that, it doesn’t take much more than unusual headwear. You don’t need an extraordinary outfit to stand out when you’re just walking around in the middle of the day with a hat and a veil.
Another vintage glamour guarantor is FUR (of course fake fur or vintage)! Whether as a scarf, as headgear, as bag trim or glamorous detail – fur always provides FACTION.
Beyond that, you can take a cue from vintage accessories in general. There used to be so many adorable accessories that don’t exist at all these days: Fur muffs, for example, or parasols, crocheted white gloves, extravagantly carved walking sticks, a real flower in a buttonhole, and and and! Again, Pinterest is your endless inspirational catalog – find my favorite vintage accessories here.
FACTION goes UNUSUAL WAYS
But not only VINTAGE but also some other things can dance out of line: An unusual MATERIAL (brocade, for example), or even unusual PRINTS or COLORS. Extravagant can also be the CUT: Large volumes, a lot of textile, long dresses or coats always stand out.
But you can also COMBINE in an unusual way: monochrome outfits are quite rare nowadays. It was normal until the early 90s – since then they have long been considered frowned upon and too “wanted”. But my experience shows: If the clothes themselves are contemporary, then a monochrome combination in the FACTION game can only do good. The important thing here is, on the one hand, to take different tones of one and the same color (gladly combine warm and cold). On the other hand, you should not wear black or beige accessories with it – that quickly looks old-fashioned and too well-behaved – but set a complementary color contrast in the accessories. This gives the whole thing a contemporary touch. After all, we don’t want to look like a carnival version of the Denver Clan. But we do want to take the chic of that time with us.
FACTION comes from an OTHER WORLD
Cultural aspects also play a big role when it comes to looking unusual. In our so-called ‘western world’ (and in the one that is strongly influenced by it), there are a number of established garments: A pantsuit, a sweater, a trench coat – these are all established forms of dress in our cultural circle.
WESTERN & EASTERN
Established forms of clothing exist all over the world – but they look different in every culture. What is particularly exciting here is that almost everywhere except in our Western world, clothing is seen as something long-term. It does not change several times a year. A sari from India, a kimono from Japan, traditional costumes from all over the world – these things are usually worn longer than a top from H&M – and they look much better.
For quite some time I have been buying and collecting clothes from those worlds and wearing them with pleasure and for years. They don’t go out of style easily, so they are sustainable – and are always FACTION. In my case, they are often pieces from the former Yugoslavia and thus represent a piece of my homeland and identity. Apart from that, for me they mean memories of travels and are therefore, in my opinion, the best souvenirs that one and woman can have.
FACTION is ART
Of course, finally, we must not forget artistic aspects. After all, Dadaism and Surrealism, but also abstract art can be found again and again in contemporary fashion. So the question is: Does your clothing have its own artistic statement that goes beyond the usual aesthetics? This can be optical illusions (via embroidery or prints, for example), splashes of color, or even animalistic elements. Any perfectly extravagant wardrobe should include one or more surreal surprises!
My own surreal stunner is this 50s skirt: a circle skirt that, in terms of cut, represents flowing movement par excellence, and at the same time features a wooden, stiff print.
In the mood for more surrealist fashion? Browse my pin board right here, which includes just such iconic as contemporary garments. Or have a quick look at the other articles in my #ArtsyFashion column, where you’ll find, for example, an article on pop art meets Louis Vuitton or even an article on the vulgar in (haute couture) fashion.
FACTION is CULT
For the collectors among us, it’s also a matter of going in search of ICONIC pieces. So ask yourself: Is my garment a fashion classic? (Biker leather jacket, pinstripe suit, Versace shirt or pattern, Adidas All Stars, Duffle Coat, Chanel ballerinas & tweed blazer, YSL Saharienne, …). What is not in your wardrobe, needs to be put on your wish list. At the next flea market or on the now numerous vintage luxury online platforms you will certainly find one or the other piece – and at a reasonable price.
Last but not least, here comes a list of some iconic dresses that should be in every extravagant wardrobe – even if only as an interpretation. Because you will hardly find them in the original. But you can find dresses that are at least a reminiscence of some cult dresses. Or you can try your hand at sewing your favorites – that’s what I do on a regular basis. I’m thinking, for example, of the iconic cape dress worn by Anjelica Huston in Witches Witch (see my version below), the brown white spotted dress from Pretty Woman, Audrey Hepburn’s little black one with feather trim from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Carrie Bradshaw’s pink Oscar de la Renta cocktail dress, numerous dresses from Federico Fellini’s films – Anita Ekberg’s dream dress from La Dolce Vita – and many more! After all, what could bring more FACTION than looking like a famous character from an iconic movie?! In my opinion, this is the top of the GAME when putting together a perfectly extravagant wardrobe.