I'm very much a keeping it simple and keeping order when it comes to my wardrobe. I get totally overwhelmed if I have too much. I'm not really a hoarder, although I always keep any designer purchases. I regret having a cavalier attitude to some designer pieces I once had which I lost, gave away or misplaced. Lesson learnt. High St stuff I really ease come easy go about although I only buy when I need to replace worn items, so I repeat the same things. I do have the odd moment of frivolity. I was recently tagged for a reveal but I was too busy to do it so I'm incorporating the gist of it but ensuring you get more in-depth analysis (more tea).
My style icons remain the same regardless of anything and they are:-
With the exception of Hardy they all have a cinematic element (although Françoise appeared in a few films). And they all had their own style despite the requirement for performance. If I was to translate the inspiration into films it would run:-
The Philedelpihia Story (the original High Society with Cary Grant, if you haven't seen it you must)
To Catch a Thief
La Dolce Vita
There are other films which I find wonderful visual feast when it comes to clothes and most of these are before the 1980s (with the exception of Uma Thruman in Pulp Fiction), including Antonioni's L'Eclisse. The interesting element is how what you love/admire determines what you buy.
When it comes to style books one of my favourites is Genevieve Antoine Dariaux's A Guide to Elegance first published in 1964. She was a director at Nina Ricci for many years and I suppose her views and advice is that quintessential French take on fashion. I read her book many years ago before it was republished in 2003 as part of research for a fashion shoot with style advice. It was probably about the same time I discovered Françoise Hardy because no doubt the style director told me to get some images. In my youth I thought I was the ONLY person to have discovered Nico because none of my peers were into her.
As a young willing junior fashion assistant I became tutored in the art of the capsule wardrobe, the basic wardrobe for building your style and a devotee of quality versus quantity. I still can't cope with quantity although I'm getting better at it.
Genevieve had a view on the budget wardrobe and the ideal wardrobe. The budget wardrobe gave you your starting block and the ideal wardrobe equipped you with outfits for any time of the day and instructed you on what to wear at certain times.
This is her starting list for the winter budget wardrobe to see you through any occasion:
- 1 coat in a bright colour - for example, red
- 1 matching skirt
- 1 sweater in a complimentary colour - for example, beige or brown
- 1 black skirt
- 1 black sweater
- 1 silk sweater, black or white with a pretty neckline
- 1 pair of black high heeled pumps
- 1 pair of flat brown shoes for the country
- 1 black leather handbag
- 1 pearl necklace
"9 A.M Tweed skirts in the brown autumn shades and harmonizing sweaters (the British are peerless in this realm), worn under a good coat, well cut. Brown shoes with medium heels and a capacious brown alligator bag (A really elegant women never wears black in the morning)."
What is interesting is her old advice regarding budget, the idea if you haven't got the money spend on good items and have a plan for your long term wardrobe. I'm sure most of us don't do this. The idea of having a place where you will be in respect of your clothes seems contrary to the whims of fashion. However, if you can establish your preferences, what inspires you to create your own style then perhaps building a good wardrobe for you lifestyle and creative views is achievable on any budget.
[Both extracts are from A Guide to Elegance]