We’ve had several days of overcast, chilly weather, so I’m in sweaters and jackets again.
jacket (similar look) | top (similar) | bracelet | jeans | shoes (similar)
I purchased this navy jacket/topper in 2017 at a boutique in Venice, Italy. It’s from a Belgian brand, SCAPA. I fell in love with the longer cut and pleat detail in the back. It was a spendy piece, but the quality of fabric and construction is outstanding! It’s been languishing in my closet the last few seasons, so I decided to find new ways to wear it.
Above, I wore it during the same trip in 2017, in Paris. On the right, in Venice, CA later that year.
Finding a balance between consistency and novelty
I’ve been thinking lately about the balance between novelty and consistency when it comes to our wardrobes and style. While some of us admire and aspire to a style uniform (or at least a very well-defined and coherent style), others find it boring or unimaginative. (Ironically enough, it’s often people in “creative” occupations who adopt a style uniform, e.g. Anna Wintour and her sheath dresses.)
As I see it, most of us are somewhere on a continuum between “uniform” and “must wear something different every day.” I probably bounce around in the middle third of that continuum. I don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel every time I get dressed, but need to shake things up periodically to keep from feeling stale.
Novelty is a stimulant of sorts. And novelty is good for our brains, boosting dopamine and memory retention. There are, of course, many ways to feed that need for novelty besides what we wear. Reading, travel, visiting museums, taking up a new hobby, learning a language, fresh flowers on the table…the list is infinite. But as this is a style blog 😉 I’m going to focus how to create novelty and variety in our wardrobes (without resorting to fast fashion).
6 steps to create variety (with what’s already in your closet)
Since my color and style consultation, I’ve become much more selective about what I add to my personal wardrobe*. There’s been some trial and error, and it’s still a work in progress. But I’ve managed to build a cohesive wardrobe that works for me. So at this point I’m aiming to “buy less, but better.” And I want to keep the “churn” in my wardrobe to a minimum.
Here are some tips that have helped me to create variety in my own wardrobe:
Go through your closet periodically (I try to do every 90-120 days) to take inventory and re-organize if necessary. Evaluate what you haven’t worn and why. (And then stop buying more of it…😆 )
You may do this already if you live with a lot of seasonal fluctuation. If not, choose a “top 10, 20, 30, or ?…” for the next few weeks, and put the rest in a less prominent space. (You’ll see why…)
Working from your “playlist,” see how you might combine and re-combine those pieces. I always advocate trying to create a cohesive wardrobe, which will make this much easier.
Try different accessory combinations. I’ve found that sometimes just changing shoes and jewelry, or adding a scarf, can completely change the overall look of an outfit.
Try a French tuck, roll up sleeves, cuff your jeans, wear a shirt dress as a duster, knot a shirt at the waist. Sometimes these little tweaks can open up new ways to wear a favorite piece.
Every few weeks, swap a few pieces in and out of your “playlist.” Those pieces you add back will feel fresh and new again.
When you do shop, have a list of wardrobe “gaps” and look for those first. (Mine are summer-weight printed tops and dressier tops for going out.) And don’t buy more of what you already own multiples of (unless they are wearing out or no longer fit). But do be open to the occasional unique piece that fits your style and adds personality to your wardrobe.
*I am occasionally gifted pieces as part of collaborations with brands. I will always disclose if an item is gifted. Otherwise all clothes and accessories I include in my outfit posts are my own.
How do you balance novelty and consistency in your wardrobe?