I can't believe it is Friend Friday already! This week we are discussing outfit planning. Friend Friday is run by ModlyChic. To participate email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answering this post has been very enlightening for me as I've come to realise I don't really plan outfits for my daily, normal, run-of-the-mill activities. Instead I plan outfits in a very unstructured, spontaneous way, conjuring up some really outlandish outfits I could potentially wear when the time is right. I think this is probably a fundamental flaw in my approach to dressing but organising my wardrobe like clockwork doesn't really come very naturally to me!
For this post I recreated last Sunday's outfit. This is an example of one of these pre-planned outfits which was eventually worn to an art gallery exhibition. I thought that I'd be quite unassuming in a London art gallery wearing a cape and that surely it would be teeming with arty types dressed in far more dramatic things. Boy was I wrong! So many people were fairly dressed down (it was Sunday after all) so I felt a tad overdressed.
1. How do you determine what you will wear that day?
How much thought I put into it really depends on what I'm doing and where I'm going, but the single most important factor for me is the weather.
English weather is very changeable and so mastering layering is important for people like me who really feel the cold. I usually layer up, go outside to do a temperature test, and layer up some more if required. Even in the summer. I have been known to get down the street before turning around and going home again to get more layers as was the case with this outfit, I forgot there are no sleeves on capes so your arms get cold - I ended up with six including the cape! I swear I must be coldblooded. Lying for a long time on a warm rock in cold temperatures before mustering the energy to get up and do anything makes complete sense to me. I'm sure if I donated blood the vials would be rejected and returned labelled "Blood Type: REPTILIAN"
Before deciding on footwear I'll also take into careful consideration if I'll be walking or standing a lot or catching public transport. I do love heels and often carry a pair with me to change into if I'm wearing flats to travel and need to be dressier later, but I'm so over hobbling around a big city just to be stylish! On Sunday I opted for flat biker boots instead of the heeled ones pictured because the exhibition was large and we were going to walk around the neighbourhood afterwards.
Lately I've also been making an effort to prioritise things that I haven't worn yet. I love capes but it has been too cold to wear them until recently. When the temperatures got milder I jumped at the chance to wear this one mainly because the label has been hanging accusingly on it since I bought in back in November.
2. Do you plan outfits out in advance for a whole week, month, weekend?
Never. I wish I could be that organised as I am sure I'd get much more wear out of my clothes that way. I'm much more about throwing something on and running out of the house most days which means I can end up wearing the same things all the time and looking pretty dull.
I do however, regularly think up outfits in my head using the more interesting pieces in my wardrobe, but it's not even really with a specific event in mind at the time or even really thinking about whether it is suitable or practical for what I'm actually doing on a daily basis (which it almost never is!).
Either I think of a piece I own or I may have bought a new piece I like. I will then mentally plan an outfit around said piece. When the planets and stars are aligned correctly and the right occasion arises, then I'll wear it. The result is that I have many of these so called "virtual" outfits which haven't been worn yet! This outfit was constructed around the cape and I was trying to show off the line and shape of it whilst remaining warm under what is really quite a drafty garment.
The only time I do plan ahead in great detail is for big events. Then I will be meticulously planning everything down to the handbag, hosiery, shoes and jewellery ahead of time and even go shopping if necessary.
3. Do you have any specific way of tracking outfits and items already worn so you don't repeat?
Apart from committing them to memory no. However this blog is turning out to be a useful archive of outfits in itself and taking photos of outfits is proving to be a great way of seeing what works and what doesn't for me.
I don't have a problem with repeat wearing of an outfit if I find it really works for me, but I might tweak it a bit by changing the shoes and accessories to keep things interesting. For instance I really like this outfit and would wear it again but I had originally imagined it as pictured here, paired with these sky high shearling boots. So this is the upgraded version I plan to wear next time I feel a calling to wear a cape. The beauty of layering is that adding and removing them is also a sly way of varying outfits. I could change the gilet for a furry one in the cold or lose a few layers if it gets warmer.
4. How do you discover new combinations of items in your closet? (Trial try-ons? Hanging items together?)
Hanging items together does generate ideas for me as I have an open clothes rail in my bedroom where a lot of my clothes are on permanent display. I tend to mentally juggle these and items concealed in my other wardrobe (for which I have to rely on memory) to create new combinations just before going to sleep. But I'm a bit strange like that. It's my way of counting sheep! I would also recommend learning the art of layering - playing around with different ways of layering up generates new ideas for me all the time.
Nothing however, beats a trail try-on to show you whether your virtual outfits look as good as you imagined them to be in the cold harsh light of reality. Trying things on is pretty much how I get dressed day to day. Sometimes I'm working from something from my virtual outfit memory bank and sometimes I'm working from a blank slate making it up as I go along. I try something on, see if it works, take it off if I don't like it, try something else on instead and repeat the process until I either like what I see or I run out of time and need to get out the door. It usually means I end up leaving a huge mess behind me in the bedroom and that I leave late!
5. To streamline the process for 2011 what is one new thing you can do to cut down your dressing time?
Probably to sell everything and start again with a capsule wardrobe of some classic items and wardrobe staples where you could pull pieces out and it all instantly fits together into snap lock outfits! Sounds like I need a fashion fix from Gok Wan. But life would seem a little dull by comparison. I like to think some creativity is born out of my daily chaos!
I would love to be one of those ladies who has Polaroid snapshots of all her shoes pasted on the outside of her shoe boxes and has everything for the week ahead lined up to wear on pristine padded hangers, but that is just not me.
However I do now realise that I'd definitely benefit from more planning on a regular basis than I currently manage for my daily outfits, rather than getting carried away styling special ones I may not ever wear in my head. Or maybe I should just plough through the virtual outfits and wear them regardless of what I'm doing! Just wear that sequin jacket and feather skirt to Tescos! If I also made the time to do more trail try-ons when I have a spare moment rather than when I am about to get dressed to go out then I'll know what does and doesn't work in advance which would be a huge timesaver.
How do you plan your outfits?
Cape, Leather leggings, Wool turtle-neck, T-shirt dress, all Cos; Draped wrap cardigan, All Saints; Hooded zip gilet, Kaylee Tankus; Thermal top and tights worn underneath, Uniqlo; Shearling boots, Topshop; Necklace, Merle O'Grady.