If you’re around instagram, you will probably have seen plenty of this book, the Curated Closet by Anoushka Rees, over the last 6 months to a year. I requested it from the library when they finally put it on order to find out what’s what, not really holding out much hope for much substance, but I was actually pleasantly surprised! It’s a book about defining your personal style and creating a wardrobe that works for your life, so clearly there’s nothing earth shattering in there, BUT it’s laid out really well, the exercises are practical and sensible and most importantly, it’s written in an adult voice that respects its reader, not that gushing women’s magazine voice. I liked it to the point that I actually went and bought my own copy.
I must have mentioned this a million times on here, but after many years of a love hate affair with capsule wardrobes I think I might be finally ready for something approaching one. And actually, the book doesn’t tell you to get your wardrobe down to 50 pieces or 30, or 20, or whatever, it just helps you work out what you actually want, and then achieve that, whatever it is. So I thought I’d give it a shot and work through it in a series of blog posts. This will probably take me about a year to do (I started in May and now it’s practically July) but we shall see.
So… the first step is to assess your status quo by taking pictures of your outfits for a fortnight. I actually went for a month as I was doing Me Made May so was taking all the selfies anyway. This has meant I’ve skewed slightly to the handmade items in my status quo assessment, but I was trying not to go overboard with that and wear what I would wear anyway. So I haven’t worn all my handmade items, but I did rewear the ones I wear most often so it’s realistic. The picture above is my output for the month.
Then you are asked to answer a series of questions to help you think through what it all means, which is what I’ve done.
What was your favourite outfit you wore and why? How did that outfit make you feel?
I liked loads of these outfits but I’d say either the red cos dress with the orange shoes, because it is such a comfortable dress, but it’s also interesting in terms of shape, and it’s colourful (terrible photo though). Or the nani iro dress I wore at the wedding, because I made it and it was the culmination of three practice versions so the fit was right. I really love the fabric, both in terms of the print and the way it feels. Or the red blazer which I got from a charity half way through and has shot up right to the top of my most worn clothes since.
What was your least favourite outfit and why? How did it make you feel?
It was a grey cardie, stripy tee and grey jeans combo which weirdly I don’t seem to actually have photographed. I just felt really colourless, which is really weird because sometimes I love wearing all grey, and I wore a very similar outfit (with black jeans and the purple cardie, photo below) later in the month and didn’t dislike it as much. I also felt uncomfortable because that tshirt is quite tight. I need to just accept I’m bigger now, if might be time to let that go.
On a scale of one to ten how happy were you with your outfits overall?
A 7. I know that’s kind of ridiculous because if you ask people to rate their satisfaction with anything on a scale from 1 to 10, 90% will say 7 regardless of what it is but there you go!
List your five most-worn colours. How well do you feel they represent your preferences for colour?
There’s quite a lot of blue, which I was expecting. I used to not really wear blue at all, but I’ve really been getting into navy as my neutral, so no surprise really. There’s also a lot of red, which makes sense because it suits me and yellow, which is my fave colour to wear though less widely available. What is more surprising is all that white and cream! I don’t think it suits me that much and it’s not exactly practical for my toddler filled lifestyle. Plus it gets mucky in the washing machine if you’re not careful about separating out the light colours so that’s a pain. I guess I shouldn’t be too down on myself, often I did put the white with a colour so it’s just a base. And I did say the nani iro dress was my favourite. But still, it’s not really my preference to wear white as much as that.
What type of silhouette and fits did you wear most often? Why?
I wore a lot of skinny jeans with semi fitted tops, which is what I like. I need the stretch to fit my bubble butt and they’re so comfy.
I also wore quite a lot of fitted round the top, loose round the bottom dresses, mainly because I made the four almost identical ones that month, and I reckon that probably is the most flattering thing on me. I did also wear some oversized stuff. This photo maybe persuaded me that actually even proper oversized looks good on me
How much variety do you need? Do you enjoy wearing a wide range of different colours silhouettes and details, or do you like having a signature look that you repeat with only minor variations?
Well, this is the question! I’m definitely happy to keep wearing stuff over and over again, but I also want to have special occassion things/nice dresses. So I guess I’m happy to have less than I have at the moment, but not that much less. I’m no minimalist by any stretch of the imagination.
Do you prefer to be overdressed or underdressed?
Let’s be honest, underdressed. I’m really not a very high maintenance person so I think many people would consider everything I wear underdressed!
Do you want people to notice your clothes?
Yes. Yes I do. Not for being outrageous or anything, but I would hope that people some like what I wear, especially the handmade stuff. I would also really like people to notice a well fitted bust, given how much work I put into doing all those FBAs, which might be wishful thinking outside sewing circles. (Actually maybe that’s a bit weird. I don’t want people to focus on my boobs that much)
How do you usually style your outfits?
This is a big change for me, but basically, I don’t do accessories, and I used to be all about them. I want simple and practical. No ruffles on tops or anything either.
Overall, how comfortable were your outfits?
Very, except for that too small stripy top. No heels for me! I’m all about the campers and saltwaters
How well fitted are your clothes?
Again, apart from tshirt, I’m pleased, especially with the woven tops and dresses I made – see comment re the FBAs above. I also wear the skinny jeans for comfort.
So there you go, that’s me! Next steps is to set your style goals.