PLEASE NOTE: This mood board and palette are a nutshell version of my look. In no way do I think it needs to also be your look! Let’s figure out what yours is. But if this feels like you, too, by all means have at it!
Here’s what I would love to see happen this Slow Fashion October. I would love for each of us to get (at least) one step closer to having a closet full of clothes that we absolutely love and wear and feel great in and feel great about. Clothes we want to take care of and mend and make last because we will be so sad when we’ve finally worn them out. If that means a rainbow of color and sparkle and skirts that twirl, then that’s what I want for you. If it means black trousers and white button-downs and grey sweaters, then that’s what I want for you. Whatever it is, it will take time to build it into just what it needs to be — slow fashion is slow — but we’ll talk through how to get started and how to get there, gradually. Because every closet that fills more slowly and thoughtfully, that lasts longer and suits its owner, is a chink in the fast-fashion industry. And chinks add up. So that’s what I want us to do this time around. Whether you’re brand new to slow fashion and trying to figure out where to start (in which case, here are some resources!), or whether you’ve been working on a slow closet for years (as I have), every closet benefits from a periodic assessment and course correction, a reckoning with the wrong decisions we are all capable of making, and a renewal of intention.
The key to having a loved, lasting, low-turnover closet is to put the right clothes into it. The right clothes for you. And the key to that is knowing who you are and how you like to dress; making good choices for your body and soul and style and lifestyle. So that’s where I want to start: with a little getting-to-know-yourself exercise.
About five years ago, Bob and I were in a little shop in Berkeley that he liked to pop into. He was on a hunt for a (California) winter jacket, and found one he liked on the rack — a waxed canvas utility jacket sort of thing in his favorite color, which I like to call smudge. He pulled it on over his typical logo t-shirt and baggy jeans (i.e., not a look) and turned to look at the sales girl to see what she thought. She cocked her head and made a slightly quizzical face and said, “Mm, what’s your look?” And we are still giggling about it to this day, simply because Bob doesn’t have “a look,” which is clear from looking at him. But the fact is, that was exactly the right question. The only way that jacket was a smart decision for him is if it not only fit him, physically, but fit in with his life and the rest of his clothes. And that’s the question I want you to try to answer for yourself this first week and on into Slow Fashion October. What’s your look?
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Each Monday this month, I’m going to give you (and myself!) an Action Item — one step to take in the gradual process of better knowing ourselves and the contents of our closets, and making sure they’re compatible. So here’s the first one:
Make a mood board or pinboard that reflects your ideal style — colors, shapes, attitude. Think about how that has evolved over time, and the difference between what you like or admire and what actually feels like YOU — these are not the same thing. Just because something looks great on a friend or celebrity or passerby or pattern model, and you love it, doesn’t mean you would feel like you in it. Look for images that make you go Now that’s me right there; that is who I want to show the world. You might also be inspired by a landscape or a vintage car or a movie still; whatever speaks to you, not just outfit photos, but certainly that too. This may involve photos of clothes that aren’t necessarily slow fashion, and that’s totally fine — it’s not a shopping list! It’s just to create a visual reference for your style that can help you focus and guide your decision making. (For some people, this could be a single photo that says it all to you.) Tear out photos and put them in a file folder or on a cork board, or use Pinterest to find and gather things online, or a saved images folder on Instagram, or whatever works for you. Take your time with it — do it gradually, trying not to overanalyze what you’re throwing in there; reflect; edit. You’ll start to notice patterns: recurring colors or shapes or types of garments. Take note of that. Get it to where it really tells you something about how you want to dress. If you feel like you could use advice on how to get started, please feel free to ask below.
Those of you who are regular readers here will recognize this Action Item as part of the Wardrobe Planning process I put myself through a couple of times a year, and which has been wildly beneficial for me in shaping a high-functioning closet. (You can see my seasonal mood boards at Pinterest, but the one that speaks to me the most strongly about how I would actually like my closet to feel, in terms of color and mood, is called all things lovely.) For the sake of today’s post, I decided to put together a mini-mood board of just a handful of images that speak to me of myself past, present and future, and wound up with the 9 images above, which manage to say pretty much everything about how I like to dress!
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I’m also going to give you some discussion prompts each week, as in years past. These are meant to get your wheels turning and also give you ideas for things you might want to share in comments, among your friends, or on Instagram with the #slowfashionoctober hashtag. This week’s:
Do you have a color palette?
Whose style inspires you; do you have a muse or icon?
Is there a brand you’re always drawn to, for their clothes and/or how they put them together? Why?
What shapes and styles of garments work best for you, your life and your body?
What are your clothing pet peeves? (lengths, necklines, sleeve types …)
What is your favorite garment or outfit (right now or always) and why?
What is the image you would like to project with your clothing?
Can you describe your style in five adjectives?
What showed up in your mood board that surprised you?
What’s an example of something you own and love (had to have!) but never wear, and why not?
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Other than that last question, try not to even think about what’s actually in your closet right now — we’ll get to that next week. For now, just think about what a deeply loved and truly you wardrobe would look and feel like. And let’s talk about it!
For an intro/preview of what’s to come, where I’ll also collect all of the links to this month’s content, see the Slow Fashion October directory page.
PREVIOUSLY in Slow Fashion October: 20×30 outfits and afterthoughts