Seven years living in a flat with limited closet space has done wonders to temper my excessive shopping habits. In fact, I’ve developed a general distaste for all types of clutter and I’ve started to whittle away at my wardrobe, keeping only a core collection of multi-taskers. And at a time when most of us are pinching pennies to deal with VAT increases and such, it’s worth knowing how build a wardrobe that has less, but does much more.
So before you blow your next salary on “this season’s must-haves”, here are a few tips on how you can spend less and get more out of your winter wardrobe.
Start by assessing what you own
Before you start shopping, pack out your the winter clothes in your wardrobe to get a feel for what you have. What are the pieces you’ll keep, and what should be donated to charity? When clearing out your wardrobe (something I do with every season), try on the items you’re unsure about and ask yourself: Does it make me feel good? And does it work with the other pieces I own?
Pick a colour scheme
For the last few seasons I’ve been planning my wardrobe according to a complementary colour scheme. One reason why something “just doesn’t go” with anything you own is that the colour doesn’t work. It might have a warm undertone while everything else veers towards cool hues, or it’s super bright compared to an otherwise pastel palette. Personally I like to stick to natural shades like soft greens, blues, stone and brown, paired with grey, black and white. That way I know that whatever I buy will work with the general colour scheme of my closet.
Once you’ve assessed what you already own, you should have a pretty good idea what type of palette you prefer.
What will you wear it with?
Once you know what’s in your wardrobe, think about what you can buy that will bring new life to the pieces you already own. Shop around your staple pieces like coats and boots so that you don’t have to spend large sums purchasing new ones. These are the most expensive pieces of a winter wardrobe and should be considered long-term investments.
When you’re trying on a new piece, think about what you’ll wear it with. Ideally you should be able to come up with at least three different outfit ideas, then you know it’s a good fit.
Can you layer it?
One thing about a winter outfit is that you need to layer it, so everything you buy should work as a layer over or under something else. So when buying something with, say, statement sleeves, consider if you have something like a poncho or loose knit that can go over it? Don’t buy something that’s hard work to wear, or you’ll never wear it.
Get ahead of the trends
In general I’m not a huge fan of shopping fleeting fashion trends and instead build my wardrobe around timeless classics. That being said, I do look at trends for interesting updates that can complement my current staples. The goal is to get ahead of the mass-market trends and figure out what is really fresh for a season. That way you can be sure a trend will last you for a few seasons, and not date by next year. I love browsing runway shows, Ready-to-Wear collections and Fashion Week Street Style on Pinterest to get a feel for what’s happening in fashion, always looking for something that resonates with my style.
Look for quality fabrics
I always opt for natural fibres and breathable fabrics wherever possible. They look better for longer and they are way nicer to wear. Synthetic materials like polyester and PU aren’t breathable, so you become sweaty and uncomfortable very quickly.
Go with your gut
Style is a deeply personal thing and you should never feel like you have to buy or wear something because every shop window is showing it off. Try it, sure, but don’t be afraid to trust your gut if it doesn’t make you feel gorgeous.
A few other ideas
Consider a clothes swop. It might not work on you but maybe your friend loves it. And vice versa. Get your friends together and exchange those items you would have thrown out.
Browse for vintage finds. I’m a huge fan of vintage shops. You find pieces that are really unique and speak to your specific style, and often you’ll get absolute gems and bargain prices.
So what are my winter wardrobe staples?
These items have been living in my closet for a while and they keep delivering year on year.
An all-rounder denim jacket
A biker jacket
The trench coat
The boyfriend blazer
The full length coat
The Parka Jacket (Or puffer jacket)
Knee-length boots – I prefer full grain leather, which will last the longest
Sneakers – pure white are the most versatile.
Hiker boots. I saw these everywhere overseas, they’re definitely sticking around.
Button-up shirts – white never fails
Loose knits with crew necks and slits on the side
Comfortable hoodies, preferably with ones with a loose, long cut
Jeans – whatever style and cut makes you feel fantastic
Stockings – have fun here and look for creative patterns, prints and colours that can lend a pop of colour.
Chunky scarves – the bigger, the better
Cute socks that you can keep your ankles warm and add a touch on whimsy to any outfit