Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Building Your Wardrobe: a Quick Guide

Hello everybody,

Marylin Monroe
Image courtesy Sweet Dreams... blog

Although I am a makeup and beauty aficionado, I am not such a fan of fashion. In my wardrobe, I have some few pieces that I’ve worn over and over again. The sad part it, after a while, everything just look the same while I have little aspiration to improve my wardrobe. In a sense, I’m glad not to be a fashion fanatic because clothes cost a lot more money than makeup and they tend to go in and out of style pretty fast.

While reading “Natural Beauty” by Laura DuPriest, I noticed a guide on how to build one’s wardrobe that is quite intriguing. While other people take notes, I blog. And these are my findings on sources of fashion trends:

1. Fashion ads:

According to Laura, fashion ads are great to study trends because they are manufactured to sell products. Although they may push to the extremes, they offer keywords to apply to the real world scenarios. For example, if you read an ad that said something about “chunky heels”, you know it’s in, although the models in the ads may look like they’re wearing bricks instead of shoes.

2. Magazine editorials:

Magazine editorials are what intimidate me: the clothes are too expensive, the models are too thin, and the styles are too strange. Don’t get me wrong: I love colors. However, I know my limitations and a skimpy jumper on a size 00 model does not look good on good ole me!

Laura’s guide to reading fashion editorials helps me to decipher the messages from these meticulously and beautifully constructed fashion stories. Here are the points we need to notice when reading editorials:

1. Length of hemlines in skirts and dresses
2. Cut of pants: bell-bottoms, slimmed, straight legs, etc
3. Color statement: what colors are in for the season
4. Patterns: solids or prints
5. Shoe silhouette: slim or chunky heels, round or pointed toes
6. Accessories: splashes of colors, metallic, or classic
7. Fabrics: textured and heavy, or smooth and flowing

3. Fashion weeks:

Although Laura did not include it in her book, I think fashion weeks (New York, Paris, Milan, London, etc) contribute a lot to the outlook of fashion. The thing about the shows on fashion weeks is they are arts and do not meant to wear as is in real life. They need to be interpreted with the same criteria as in fashion editorials.

Once you learn how to decipher the clothes from editorials and shows, it’s time to build your wardrobe. Laura advised to gather fashion magazines and tear out the looks you are interested to make a “look book”. Then, you can take the look book to the mall and select your clothes for the season.

It’s so simple, yet I’ve never read it in any fashion magazines! Just for this part only, “Natural Beauty” has its price worth. Laura also mentioned TV shows, movie characters, news/talk show hosts, soap opera characters, and celebrities as fashion influences. We all know how celebrities shake up our lives but rarely do we realize the fashion power of the other parts of the world. If you notice, Oprah always wear the most flattering pants to her while Tyra is the walking billboard of what’s going on in fashion.

Laura also touches base on how to be well dressed without breaking the bank: to buy fewer but better quality pieces of clothing. I remember reading one interview on George Clooney where he said to wear the same tuxedo for 15 years whenever he walked the red carpet! Well, George, I got a pair of dress shoes that’s kicking its fifth year and still doing fine, too! As soon as I followed that philosophy, my wardrobe no longer clutters with clothes I do not wear. And I’m much happier since I do not need to spend a lot of time finding my clothes!

That’s all, folks! As I’m not an expert in fashion, I really need your tips to get dressed well and pretty without breaking the bank. So please, pretty please, fashionista sistas, please give me comments!


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  1. Love Marilyn and that photo! I definitely love cleaning out my wardrobe every season, and would rather have too little pieces to work with, than too many (because then it's just cluttered!) Is your closet stocked or minimal?

  2. Hi Bailey,

    I also clean out my closet every season and donate what I don't use to Goodwill. Right now, it's quite minimal and I'm happy with what I have. It's just that I'm not too much into fashion right now :)


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