My clothing philosophy

priscilla-du-preez-638156-unsplashThat fast fashion is not the best option for the environment or the workers has been made quite clear for a while now. However, people keep shopping like there is no tomorrow. 80 billion garments are consumed every year, each item is then worn on average 7 times before discarded. Adding to that the fact that it takes about 7000 liters of water for making one single pair of jeans, one can understand that this is an enormously resource requiring industry. So what can you do about it?

My guidelines for clothing

The perfect option would be to never buy anything and when you do to only buy ethical/sustainable and second hand. But honestly, that is not easy, so I have given me some general guidelines for how to keep a long-lasting closet, that might not always be organic or recycled, but puts focus on buying things that will be used, and for a long time. So what do I focus on when shopping?

Good materials

When it comes to the fabrics the clothing are made of, I like to stick to natural materials. These are made of renewable sources, in comparison to non-renewable man made materials such as polyester and acrylic. They are breathable and help you regulate body temperature better and, in general, I think they are more comfortable. If possible I try to choose an organic or certified option, this is especially important for cotton as it is one of the most chemical heavy productions that also require crazy amounts of water.

My favorite materials:

  • Wool – Keeps you warm. Doesn’t need much cleaning. Long lasting and durable.
  • Silk – Soft as no else. Beautiful. Light and breathable.
  • Linnen – Eco-friendly. Looks good even wrinkly. Light and breathable.
  • Lyocell – Soft. Drapes nicely. Eco-friendly.
  • Organic cotton – Soft. Durable. Easily maintained.

High quality

High quality is not only about buying good materials. It is equally about the garment being well constructed. This means that the seems, hems, buttons, the fit and other parts of the actual construction should be well done. High quality items will last longer since they will not unravel in the seems or just break in general. Since I want to build a closet that will last a long time this is essential.

Timeless designs

Sticking to a timeless design and avoiding major trends gives a more long lasting closet. Style never goes out of fashion and good cuts are always stylish. I am not saying that you can never buy anything “trendy”, but having a closet full of trendy means you will be stuck in a hamster wheel of always needing more because you feel off. Finding a style that suits you will work in the long run. However, just because a Chanel suit is timeless doesn’t mean you should buy it, you should still be true to you.

So all in all I try to choose quality over quantity, to rather spend on fewer and more expensive pieces that are on style and will last. What rules do you follow when shopping?

10 basic garments I base my wardrobe on

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When minimizing ones closet, good staples become even more important. They are versatile, classic and if you buy good quality (which you should if you can, quality over quantity) they will last you for years. Everyone has different preferences, some might feel comfortable in flats, others in heels, some in pants, others in skirts. It all comes down to what you wear the most and what makes your closet more versatile and the morning closet line up simpler.

In my closet there are a few things that are indispensable. They are either garments I wear almost every day or items I returned to every year, even if I don’t wear them that often. Like fancier dresses, they might not be the most useful garment in my closet since I’m not going to that many parties anymore, but the ones I own I have had for 3-5 years and I always return to them because they fit me well and are of a rather classic cut that always works. For fancier events, they are my comfort zone so I would never think of throwing them out even if they only get worn 2-3 times each a year.

Back to the staples! In my closet these are the most important garments that I tend to return to whenever inspiration fails.

White shirt

A classic for people who work in offices with dress codes or people who want to look a bit put together. I own a decent amount of white shirts in different models, fabrics and cuts and it is generally the first thing I reach for on a stressful morning. I’m not a huge fan of the classic Oxford since it really does not fit my body, so I tend to go for more oversized boyfriend cuts when it comes to shirts. There’s really a huge range of styles and something for everyone.

Simple fitted pants

A pair of fitted pants is a great addition to any closet. Whether you prefer high or low waste, slim or wide legs they are great for everyday use. My color of preference for pants has always been black or dark navy, but any neutral would do good for mix and match purpose.

A pair of black flats

Ever since I went on my first trip alone to Paris I have been in love with the ballerina flat. In my eyes it is the perfect flat, feminine and chic, yet comfortable. There are other great styles for flats like a nice loafer or brogues, which I unfortunately cannot really figure out how to style so I’ve just stuck to the ballerinas. Nevertheless, a black flat is a great addition to any closet.

A pair of black boots

Continuing with the black shoes, a pair of black boots is another thing my closet would be incomplete without. Here I mix all kinds, high heels, biker boots, low heels and chelseas. Since I live in a rather cold climate boots is what I tend to wear for more or less half the year so investing in good ones is a must. If you live in a warm climate you might not need it for weather purpose, but you know, they are also kinda cute!

A pair of sneakers

A pair of comfortable sneakers is a must in my closet. And I’m not talking about the big running shoes à la Asics now, but rather the more refined everyday one. It can be a simple tennis shoe or more athletic, but not a proper sports shoe. They’re great for leisure, walking and exploring, so a real must for weekend city exploring or travelling.

The black jacket

There was an exposition by Karl Lagerfeld in Paris when I lived there years ago celebrating one of Chanels most important garments: the black jacket. Black goes with any color and once again since I live in a colder climate I wear jackets more or less all year round. I often notice that while it’s more fun to get colored jackets and fun prints, a black jacket just matches easier and that makes it a great staple.

The white t-shirt

I don’t think this need that much introduction. A white t-shirt is the staple of staples in my book. A really nice fitted white tee can make a pair of jeans look nice and casual, but can equally work under a suit jacket for a more dressed up look.

A good knitted sweater

Especially for us in colder climates this is a must. I classic knitted sweater (I would go with a crew neck if I could only chose one) to layer on top of shirts and tees will make winter a nicer affaire. I would opt for wool (cashmere, merino, alpacka) for warmth, otherwise cotton is also a good option. I try to stay clear of man-made materials (e.g. polyester, nylon, acrylic) since it breathes badly and it’s a non renewable resource and thus bad for the environment. If you feel that nice wool sweaters tend to be to expensive, look second hand, there are heaps of nice woollen sweaters to be found.

The little black dress

The classic black dress. Chanel put this garment on the map forever and I am thankful! It’s a go to for me whenever I am in doubt what to wear to a nicer or more formal event. I play with the cuts slightly depending on the context, for a more proper work related event I go with a simple cut up top with a blazer, for a cocktail party I am a fan of a low back.

The statement garment

This might seem a bit off compared to all the other items on the list that are all classics or neutrals. But I do believe in having one (or a few) statement pieces that stand out. Also if everything else is in neutrals, there’s no problem matching it anyways. In my closet this tends to be coats or jackets and shoes, I have a flair for jackets with crazy patterns and fun texture and when it comes to shoes I have more than one pair that is glittery…

So that sums it up. The ten basics I base my wardrobe on. There are other pieces that didn’t make it on the list but have a place in my wardrobe too, such as jeans and simple skirts, so I’ll just give them an honorable mention. What are your thoughts on this, do you have any staples that you could not do without?