Dear Reader, It’s time to talk about serious fashion faux pas. How to dress is mostly where it starts, that people feel forced to buy new clothes, according to seasonal trends or the lack of quality to it. Especially fashion magazines are supposed to compel their readers, or follower on social medias, to buy more stuff and spend less on pieces that are environmentally fair sourced or simply to ignore the quality and personal side of every item, which piles up in their closets already. Time to change the way of thinking. A review on how I’ve changed my view about consumerism and developed my signature style without strict minimalism rules (also applicable to women’s closets). 

Reinvesting. 

How it looks and feels: a closet full of nothing to wear…

It’s not the mass of clothes and the possibility to change three times a day which makes me happy. It’s the value of every single piece, which is already there. Some readers might hopefully say, that having a big closet full of the latest trends is nothing to aspire. I agree. But neither is the Mary Kondo theory, getting to the bare minimum and live in a perfect box without any personal touch or the creative mess which is part of me. The pattern is underneath: capitalism and emotional boredom was the actual problem. Filling our lives with short-term goods, which are supposed to not even last a season anymore, do not bring us closer to ourselves and this is something we’re all among for. 

Imagine that you only have a few items which are available for the next three months (called challenge 33, I personally never managed that, but found my essentials through the exercise). What would it be and wouldn’t it be better, if you’re not having piles of undone laundry, clothes they’re actually useful and not to mention easy to handle, comfortable and really personal in terms of style? After ten years in fashion, I discovered that it is easier to take care for the pieces in my closet and have less, than having the huge closet from „The Devil wears Prada“. I regularly clean and wax my good shoes, I re-dye clothes or work with unusual elements, to put my own stamp on the piece, if I need to enhance to a certain trend or simply fix it. But mostly checking for unique pieces, or a piece which screams a certain era, song or whole time period, make the difference. This pieces are often found in Vintage stores, small boutiques, my parents closets or in those of close friends. 

Experiments.

A very easy and personal uniform with pieces I’ve worn over three years.

Essential for a good and personal style is not a trendy piece. It’s finding your pieces, to avoid exploding closets in the first place. Part of becoming yourself and finding this line, is getting out of the comfort zone to create this second skin. Find the patterns you love and keep them, remove the others which are mostly the opposite of that what you want to be. Find accessories which are aesthetically uncommon or emotionally valued, let them become part of you and that expression of you, without overpowering you as a person. The more often you wear those pieces, the less other clutter is flying around and you’ll always feel safe and dressed up in this pieces. Never be afraid to ask someone close, if they could borough you something of their wardrobe. I often got those pieces as gifts in the end, cause they didn’t liked them anymore or they simply developed their own style into another direction. It’s perfectly fine to share and care, especially if this is helping to decrease waste and enhancing your style.

Secrets.

None of the fashion people around me has aver recognized, that my clothes  are mostly vintage, worn over several seasons, or from smaller designer brands. Nevertheless getting a compliment every time meeting someone in the business, reminds me on how important the lifespan of every item is (and that you can be well dressed and fashionable at the same time with less). Splitting my closet in three sections, vintage with high quality (personal basic designs), designer pieces with a personal iconic factor (no matter how often I’ve worn this, they still rock the show) and last but least my favourite „moody pieces“ (including a few fast fashion items) is helping as well. This very last section contains mood inspires pieces and  themes I personally like for special occasions such as family events, the night outs and so on. These are clothes which are actually worn until they fall apart. Dividing into this three sections, helps me to dress faster in the Morning or to specific event. A walk with the dog = the perfect chelsea boots (with animal pattern), a simple black jeans with a slightly special cut, a nice high quality shirt (vintage), a perfecto leather jacket (also vintage) and a hat (bought at a hat maker, bit pricier and better quality), that I feel dressed but not overdressed.

It all starts with one perfect piece of clothes and the dressing up or dressing down of it. Even if it might sound quite a lot, another secret is the up-cycling of clothes trough the care you take in it and the reduction of pieces. A certain rule which I find very useful is: somethings old has to go, for something new in return. For me it’s mostly, that I kept a lot of the shirts, which where cheap and fashionable, but those with higher quality became higher style priority. Against the instagram consumerism buying less, is more and style, a strength to develop over quality and personality then quantity. 

Buying.

Think about quality instead of quantity and try to see what you could get second hand. Good finds for something more special are websites such as Rebelle and Vestiaire Collective, but theres much more for digital natives.

Closing the circle to Mary Kondo, I personally have a relationship to the things around me and if this time is over, reselling, donating or even gifting them should be an option before destroying or tossing clothes. Small reminder: quality is more important than fast fashion, for personal style success. Even if you’re on a budget, vintage is mostly the best option for a good style. Basics with a high quality are essential and always the investment worthy. As I mentioned before, a personal accessory is more likely to enhance and display personal style than adding the latest designer bag (to be honest, over branding yourself mostly looks cheap in the end). Another thought while shopping is: Do I have something like this already and how often have I worn it? If the resume is positive and I really like the piece (means it’s not the 10th white shirt in the closet or the second similar pattern shirt worn only twice a year to a gay party), I think about combinations. How to dress it up, or down. Doesn’t mean, that I’m not having jackets which where expensive and special. The fun is how you include them into your daily wardrobe or at least how often you will wear them and for what occasions. 

Maximalist.

Without any regret, I love the pieces in my wardrobe very much. They make sure, that I feel warm in winter and fine during the hot summer days or dressed for the occasion and/or mood. The pattern here is, over all, quality. The thought of reduction and carefully chosen items, over trends. Signature style is something which has grown on me during the years. Pieces which have been altered, which where made to my measures, picked from other closets (and never returned) or pieces with an emotional value, such as re-dyed or up-cycled „trends“. As I grew older and hopefully became more conscious about my personal patterns, I tend to buy less and if, more specific to my needs and how I wanna present myself to the public. I simply don’t wanna waste resources for the #Ootd’s on instagram or be upset about colour changes, holes or a seam which opens up, cause sweatshop workers didn’t get paid enough nor they’re having the time to produce 52 seasons of clothing a year. 

Minimalist.

The key for good style, is more the attitude and consciousness about personal patterns. Clothes and fashion in general are supposed to be a second skin and more then just a simple representation of personal expressions. It’s also one of our human rights. But, the possibility to express yourself with a signature style should always lead to the question: Is my behavior damaging our planet or can I work with other resources, less harming and changing something in the long run?

Restart.

Fresh air and a slightly cleaned headspace, but before everything has to get out of the closet first. Honest question: Does it really spark joy?

Essential for every editor, blogger, stylist and basically everyone who wants to elaborate a signature style or the perfect wardrobe, is the clean slate every once in a while. Emptying you closet completely and reorganizing it with a rotation system, let’s say for actual seasons, makes it easier to know and see what you have and what not. Or what you really need and what is more related to spontaneous and rather useless buying decisions. It’s the simplest way of stopping wrong patterns such as buying the same „unloved“ pieces over and over again. In the beginning I hated to do this step, cause it showed me how much I bought and the money spent on items, doomed to stay in the back of the closet. 

Counting how much I spent for fast fashion, equals a new washing machine or even a Céline Leatherjacket (now without the ´ over the E). But it became a useful habit and I got more in touch with my clothes on a higher level. I also spend less time in front of it and think less about my outfits. Not to mention, that my wardrobe became less cluttered and I could remove cheap hangers and items which are completely worn out. In the end, I even saved money to spend it on something else and learned which colors are perfect for my personality. Summoning it: Be reasonable for your environmental behavior, share your clothes, take care of it and  only buy things, which are really expressing your personality. Believe me, this is the actual fun factor.

Alexandre Renaldy
Posted by:Alexandre Renaldy

Editor in Chief, Work: The Corner Berlin, flair magazine, H.O.M.E.; Signature Places, Vestiaire Collective, EVE images, B'SPOQUE magazine etc.