It’s the new year! So it’s time for a new you, right? Or, eye roll, maybe not. While there’s no harm in taking a moment to reflect on where you’d like to be in 2017, throwing the baby out with the bath water is not only unsustainable, it’s often ill-judged—especially when it comes to style.
Confession time: I wear a lot of old clothes. The vast majority of my wardrobe is full of ancient things and I only throw things away when they are truly dead and done for. This may sound like a regular thing, but working in fashion and consuming social media can give you a totally skewed perspective on many things including how new pieces you should be adding to your wardrobe on a monthly basis. Even thought I know most of the things that girls are wearing on big Instagram accounts were gifted or lent and that incessant churn of merch isn’t actually reflective of what their wardrobes actually look like, it can be hard to not feel you need something shiny and new too.
It is true that I get given a lot of clothes and accessories by brands that I work with or have relationships with too. But I donate the vast majority of those gifts to friends or charity simply because I live in 54 square metres with my boyfriend and an occasional flat mate/ family squatter. And there is NO room for a walk in closet or even a second rail to hold my treasures. I’m also pretty fussy, too short for most clothes (you actually can’t alter everything) and not up for wearing things ‘just for Instagram’ then sending them back. On occasion—especially over fashion week—I do borrow pieces. But mostly all the things I wear on social media are mine, chosen and purchased (sometimes at a discount or at a sample sale) by moi.
While I whinge about the space situation on the reg, it does mean I have to be ultra-edited in my clothing options which has the side effect of making me very clear about what my style is all about. And though it’s a total cliche, guess what? Classics really are the best. When it comes to this time of year it’s easy to struggle with switching your look to shield against the plunging mercury. But if your closet is stocked with a great selection of cashmere, well-fitting denim and solid outerwear you will always have something chic to wear.
Striped T-shirts, white shirts, blue denim, Chanel bags… not rocket science, clearly. But if you don’t have the best versions of each of these pieces in your closest, it’s time to consider investing. Obviously some of those pieces are expensive and you might have to save (I got my Chanel bag from designer resale site Vestiaire) But often the best versions of classics won’t totally break the bank. A striped tee by Comme des Garcons Play is £100 and these Levi’s Wedgie jeans are £85. So pricey, but not leagues away from regular high street buys.
Just because these pieces are timeless doesn’t mean they have to be dull—and you can definitely play with your cuts to bring quirk to your staples. This shirt with the super extended sleeves was a H&M bargain that’s paid for itself in cost-per-wear hundreds of times over (as it’s old, apologies you can’t buy it). The jacket is equally old school—I bought it from The Kooples in 2012, because I loved the cut and bobbled wool.
“You can be stylish and even work in fashion without giving Joan Collins’ closet a ride for its money. You don’t need an extra apartment like Anna dello Russo.”
What is new are my black Liza J Brand jeans (£315) a pair of gold shoe boots by Aeyde (£212) and a classic pair of patent kitten heels from Christian Louboutin (£100 at the sample sale). The J Brands and gold booties are fashion concessions—they may not make the cut in five years time, but a girl can’t live on bread and water alone. The kitten heels are imho a modern classic, so come 2022 I’ll be making them work with the new season’s hemlines.
So what’s the pointI’m driving at? Ultimately it’s to say that you can be stylish and even work in fashion without giving Joan Collins’ closet a ride for its money. You don’t need an extra apartment like Anna dello Russo. You just need good things that you love and will wear for years. And yes, one of my resolutions is to do what I can to reduce the fashion industry’s waste, so I’m also trying to subliminally convince you to consume less, in a not entirely subtle way. But if 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that the age of subtlety is dead. So buy less, wear your things more, get more connected to your personal style handwriting and feel totally smug about helping the planet. I promise, you won’t look back.