Limiting options makes life easier
I have quite a small wardrobe, and it’s distributed between two homes in two different countries. As a result, whenever I’m looking for a particular item, it’s usually in the wrong place, i.e. not available. And I end up improvising, using whatever I have at my disposal. As it turns out, I’m rather good at improvising…
Having a small wardrobe and distributing it between two countries is a choice, of course, but one that comes very naturally. I think I’ve always had quite a minimal wardrobe. Not because I’m a minimalist at heart (I am), but because I spent my childhood shuttling between my divorced parents, and my youth constantly moving, staying abroad, refusing to put down roots. Thus, living out of a suitcase became natural, and I wanted to be able to fit my possessions in one suitcase that I could easily carry myself. And to this day, this is still my mental state. Having ‘too much stuff’ makes me uneasy: I feel overwhelmed, as if I’m losing control. So, I try not to accumulate too much. Easier said than done when you live with a pack rat…
|scarf: Alexander McQueen / bag: Chanel|
And I get so attached to my clothes and accessories… There is always the favourite pair of sunglasses / bag (of the moment) that I want to wear all the time, and plan an entire outfit around…
Then it helps to have some ‘classic’, multifunctional pieces that go with anything. These pieces are like chameleons; they take on a different personality depending on what they’re paired with.
Take this jacket, for instance: I’ve had it forever. I may not wear it for a long time, then find it again and love it. Seriously, this has been on my ‘list of items that need to be replaced’ for years, but as I have yet to find the perfect replacement, I keep going back to it.
What I like about the jacket is the fabric, and the cut. Tweed looks so timeless, and the biker style is a bit edgy, so the jacket is both classic and modern at the same time.
|necklaces: Andiata / L.K.Bennett, both old|
From casual to smart: the power of accessories
On my recent trip to Madeira I had to challenge myself to come up with ‘smart casual’ outfits using the limited wardrobe of mainly very casual clothes I had packed. I had to first identify the ‘smart’ elements of the look and highlight them, while playing down the more ‘casual’ elements.
The ‘classic but edgy’ jacket was my starting point. I added a few ‘classic’ elements, such as my new Chanel bag and the black and white necklace. Then I added the leather and chain necklace for some edginess.
|jacket: Zara (old) / T-shirt: Whistles / sunglasses: Tom Ford|
And this is my tried and tested formula for smart casual: take the casual base (a t-hirt and trousers) and add a smart jacket (no denim), shoes and a nice handbag. Top off with some jewellery and glamorous sunglasses. Make sure you have more or less equal amount of casual and smart: you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard.
How do you define ‘smart casual’?