Do you feel like Easter has crept up on you? I mean I am so not complaining – I love this time of year. What’s not to love? Flowers in bloom, days stay golden longer and, especially this year, there are pastel colours everywhere…
In like a lion, out like a lambskin-lined, platform wedge: The winter-spring transition can be a freeing moment. Wool gives way to cotton, black to beige (or better yet, yellow), and boots to something strappy. It's not, of course, a "moment." Typically, you have at least these first few weeks of fashion limbo, when it's too warm for a coat, too cool for a sundress and perfect for long walks with the pooch outside.
Winter, spring, summer, autumn. Everyone has a grasp on these four seasons and their corresponding weather patterns. Except, it would seem, for fashion people. This limbo that I have mentioned has a name and, for those of you that are actually interested, is called Resort or Cruise. There is also Pre-Fall, which, like Resort has, from a retail perspective, eclipsed the traditional Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer outings, i.e. those we see march down the runway in February and September, respectively.
But sandwiched between winter and spring, “Resort” was named for those customers who holiday during the colder winter months and look for something new after the winter, but before the delivery of the spring collections – and, in fact, many labels now rely on them for revenue. But do we actually need this much clothing?
The answer is NO of course but the fashion business needs me to need – or at the very least, crave – it. The industry, especially in the age of the internet, is obsessed with the new and these seasons, which essentially offer transitional garments, give brands the opportunity to pack more newness into each year, and for me to buy more.
And I do – there. I’ve admitted it. My name is Stephanie and I am a recovering clothes-aholic. Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. Sometimes you can’t see what to wear for all your clothes. This was the situation I found myself in a few years ago. My wardrobes (yes plural) were a disaster. My clothes were so squashed that I had to iron them after they emerged from its depths. I was attempting to squeeze hangers into negative space, my shoes were in disarray and my socks were so single they’d signed up to Tinder.
As you know I have been trying to become more mindful and have adapted this to my wardrobe – so after cleansing the space I have been trying (note “trying”) to buy better, buy less and wear more often. Now those of you that know me will realise that I struggle with the last one: wear more often.
People can feel that if they were photographed in something and it appears on social media, they don't want to wear it again. Can you wear something again if it’s been in a photo on Facebook or Instagram? Or maybe you're worried that people will notice you're wearing the same thing every week.
Let’s be honest: First of all, people won't notice – everyone else is as worried about themselves and consumed with their own thoughts as you are. Secondly, if they do, that’s their problem – they should find something more important to be concerned about. Thirdly: if you buy more simple and neutral clothing, workhorses, it'll be less noticeable. This last point can be really helpful.
Having succumbed to summer dress shopping already, I realise that if I wear my gorgeous new Comino Couture vintage skater dress twice a week, that might not go unnoticed. But what if I stick to a white tee shirt and jeans? I doubt anyone's going to notice, especially if I switch it up with the Éadach Morrigan skinny scarf one day, a Grainne Maher “All that Glisters” pendant another or under this seasons must-have Zara coat the next...
About that coat. I know it happens without fail every single year, there will be one particular coat or jacket that you see everywhere. Last year it was the stunning embroidered Top Shop silk bomber jacket that Olivia Palermo wore to both London Fashion Week and at a screening in New York, the year before it was the Canada Goose parka worn by the cast of Made in Chelsea and Emma Stone. This year it is the reissued Ecru/Blue three-quarter length frayed coat from Zara, a style so popular when it first debuted that it merited its own Insta account #thatcoat as worn by Louise Thompson, a Mexican Presidential candidate, a royal nanny and many MANY more!
Designer Michael Kors has espoused what might be called the “meat and potatoes” rule: 70 per cent of your wardrobe should be meat and potatoes, or the main items you return to over and over. Only 30 per cent should be dessert; “full-on sparkle and shine, indulgent glamour” the sparkly top for going out, the pretty halter neck summer dress or those red-faux leather leggings that only match two of your shirts. “Too many women get the proportions the other way around, then can’t figure out why they can’t get dressed,” he has been quoted as saying.
Dessert? Icing and fluff as some have termed it. I have said it before, fashion rarely trumpets its global importance as an employer and income-generator, probably because these facts aren’t terribly glamorous. But fashion affects the clothes people wear at every level. And it makes a lot of money, not a lot of fluff.
For me, buying nothing is not a realistic goal—but the next best thing I can do is buy better, buy less, and wear more and there are always worthy exceptions. Items for formal occasions, or the glamorous or spangly “dessert” in Kors’ formulation, don’t get as much wear but they still serve important functions. And if there’s something you love or attach sentimental value to, but won’t wear as often, as a go-to tee shirt, that’s perfectly okay.
The point is simply to suggest that it’s less “costly” to buy one item that you’re going to wear frequently, whether it’s a tee shirt, a must-have coat or jacket, than several you’ll use sparingly. So next time you think of buying a new piece of clothing, take a moment to consider how much you’ll wear it, how much you already own, and how long you think it will last. It might just give you a new perspective on the price tag. Happy Easter! X
Stephanie in her dessert dress from Comino Couture
Olivia Palermo Topshop Silk Bomber
ÉADACH Morrigan Skinny Scarf, £100; Sara O’Neill
All That Glisters pendant, £25; Grainne Maher
#thatcoat Frayed Printed Coat in Ecru/Blue, £69.99; Zara