Sunday, March 16, 2008

Organising your wardrobe

With less than a week to go before the baby is due, and my stomach seemingly expanding exponentially, being chic is rapidly flying out of the window simply because very few of my maternity clothes still fit me (I'm down to one pair of pants, one skirt and about 4 tops), and I can't bring myself to buy new ones with only a week to go. To make myself feel a little bit better, I have been browsing all the new seasons fashions, and have even made a few purchases for my post-maternity wardrobe. It got me thinking about how i shop, and what i shop for, to achieve my aim of being a chic mummy.

In my opinion, having an organized, co-ordinating wardrobe is the key to being a chic mummy. Obviously, having a co-ordinated range of clothes is the first step; if your closet is made up of orphans that don't work together, then it doesn't matter how many clothes you have in there, you are still going to feel that you have nothing to wear.

There are various methods to achieving a co-ordinated wardrobe. Some people work on a capsule system, some limit their palette to one neutral and a couple of complementary colours, others make sure that each item goes with at least three others. All have their pros and cons, and will suit some people better than others. Personally, i find all of these methods too restrictive for me, so i follow an expanded version of a limited palette.

Through trial and error as well as colour typing (I am cool and deep, or deep winter), I have narrowed down my wardrobe to a selection of colours. I have four base neutral colours - black, grey, cool dark brown and navy. These base colours have been selected firstly because they suit me, but also because they go with each other as well. The bulk of my pants, skirts and jackets are in these neutrals. My accent colours, found in my tops, sweaters, accessories etc are mostly soft blue (ranging from icy blue to periwinkle), soft green, camel and winter white. I also have a few hints of soft pink, berries and reds. The great thing about my accent colours is that they go with ALL of my neutrals. This makes them very versatile, and helps to limit the number of bottoms and jackets/coats that i need. I think a good rule of thumb is 5 tops for every bottom.

The key is to focus on your palette, and try not to deviate too much. For example, i was recently browsing the new Boden catalogue as I was looking to purchase a few key pieces to expand my soon-to-be post maternity wardrobe (yeah!!), and the first few pages are made up of capsule wardrobes. There was one that I absolutely fell in love with - however, it was in a beautiful coral colour. Now, there are two problems with this - firstly, coral is not a good colour for me at all - it looks great on my mum, but makes me look jaundiced! Secondly, it wasn't going to go with anything else in my closet. If I had been seduced by the glorious bright colour and the lovely clothes and purchased these items, they would have sat in my wardrobe, sad little orphans, glaring at me. Instead, i analysed what i liked about the outfits, and then purchased a few of the pieces in more suitable colours (in this case, navy and french blue and white).

Once you have the items in your wardrobe sorted, organising them is the next step. When my wardrobe is not organized, and things are out of place, or unwashed, or unmended, then it becomes so much harder to quickly look, pick and outfit, and get out the door. In contrast, when everything is in its place, being able to pick a chic outfit from the carefully selected range is really a no-brainer. The first step for me is to group like with like. I have the luxury of a large walk in wardrobe, so i have separate hanging space for skirts, pants, dresses and coats/jackets. My shelves are organised into sections for sweaters, long sleeved knit tops, short sleeved/three quarter sleeved knits, short sleeved tees, and sleeveless tees. each section is then sorted by colour from light to dark.


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