All this talk of churn and wardrobe planning puts me to shame. I need to take a long, hard look at myself and what I’m trying to achieve in my style. In the first part, I am taking apart my style descriptors, examining what they mean to me, and why they are important.
Descriptors: Timeless, urban, eclectic, androgynous, individual.
Timeless - Heritage Classics The heart and soul, believe it or not, is a deeply classic sensibility. Tailoring and craftsmanship are essential. Denim is premium selvedge. Oxfords and a good blazer go anywhere, anytime. Creepers are George Cox originals, made in England since 1949.
Urban - Acid Sport ’80s New Wave and ’90s rave culture followed me to Amsterdam at the end of the 20th century. Now hitting middle age as a wannabe Japanese teenager. Loved fun fur, metallic fabrics and colourful sportswear for as long as I can remember. Platform shoes are a necessity. Concert shirts add instant cool to any look.
Eclectic - Euro Folk This is the outcome of a lifetime of thrifting and absorbing art, culture and history. Part art-school hipster, part urban boho, part retro vintage, not quite any of them. Draws influence from traditional workwear, primitive art, antique costume and international folk textiles.
Androgynous - Gender bending Playing with masculine and feminine identities, never tilting too much either way. Femme looks are tough and full of attitude, mannish looks are detailed and embellished. Not personally comfortable with too much feminine performance, but love looking ladylike when the occasion calls for it.
Individual - Conceptual Modern High concept, avant-garde and deconstructed pieces are key, usually in one of the core neutrals.
The last, which I called Conceptual Modern because I can’t think of another way to describe it, only emerged as a major theme a few years ago, but it’s been there as an aspiration for much longer. It’s taken me a very long time to work it into the look, mainly because it’s so hard to find the right pieces and sometimes I have to make them myself. This is the glue that holds everything else together, informing all excursions into other territories. I’ve noticed lately that I can’t get dressed without it, so it’s a major consideration in future acquisitions.
A good rule of thumb seems to be that essentials and indispensable statement pieces fall under timeless/androgynous/individual, and accent statements fall under urban/eclectic.
My challenge for 2017 is to work my existing wardrobe further into a coherent style around my view of the above descriptors, merging old favourites, found items, fantasy dressmaking projects and opportunistic purchases. Anything that doesn’t fit into this new philosophy will have to go.