Though establishing a brand (and defining its niche) is great, it’s hard to do when the thing being marketed is constantly evolving. That thing we are discussing in this case is me, the writer. Previously this site has been about the world of fashion – as that was what my world was about as well – but as much as I loved creating content for this page here, I had to stop. I quickly came to realize (perhaps even with the help of this site) that something wasn’t right.
And so today I come at you again, internet, this time from a new place, and a new perspective, having evolved once again. I hope to create equally strong content, and once again stay true to myself, whoever I am at the moment of the post you are reading. I never quite understood the concept of authenticity as I writer until I began this wordpress page. If you’ve never written for a specific audience or never tied a voice to your words publicly, it’s hard to explain, but there’s this pressure and drive to be you – individual and yet honestly so – because when the words are linked to a name, you want them to represent you as best as you know how to do.
I am still vogue conscious and will perhaps, forever be so (though never as idyllically as before), and I have studied fashion academically, but now I have chosen to expand my horizons. I want to be more than just vogue conscious. And so, though this really is meant as a transition post, I also want to say to you, dear reader:
Think about where you are right now in your life, and ask yourself: have I put myself in a niche that I’m having trouble breaking? Do I want to expand my horizons? What else is there that I want to do or be learning that I feel like I can’t do because of my environment? Do you actually have the power to change that? And if so, why haven’t you?
Below, in no particular order, are the links to four content creators who have put the concept of the capsule wardrobe into practice. Through video, text, and collage, they each offer their own take on the minimalist wardrobe. These sites are my go-to when I’m feeling stuck with my current wardrobe.
1. London beauty blogger Anna over at viviannadoesmakeup creates killer videos showing her 10 staple pieces for each season. The music and editing are on point. Previous capsule wardrobe vids: Autumn 2014 , Summer 2014
2. Texan dweller Caroline from un-fancy.com created her website specifically for documenting her capsule wardrobe. Scroll through her capsule wardrobe archive beginning Spring 2014 here. *Plus she’s created a free wardrobe planner for those new to capsule wardrobes.
3. Anuschka Rees from Berlin is all about spending time developing your personal style. Into-mind is full of well thought out content and clean design. Rees has created a series of posts about how to go about building a capsule wardrobe (though these activities apply to anyone looking to develop their personal style, regardless of whether you want a minimalist wardrobe). She also creates sample seasonal wardrobes. 4. Originally from The Netherlands, Coco of Lightbycoco creates niche capsule wardrobes for work, dates, Halloween, and travel. Here’s a playlist of her capsule wardrobe related videos.
In line with the capsule wardrobe topic, I wanted to discuss an experiment minimalist blogger Ivania Carpio challenged herself to in 2011: Wearing The Same Dress for 30 days. Carpio bought an oversize tank top at COS, and with gentle hand washing and styling, attempted to see how many times she could wear it. Her goal was to see if she could base her wardrobe on one garment and still have versatility, but the outcome was that she realized that quality was the actual issue: all garments can’t withstand 30 days of repeated wear.
These were her questions before she started the challenge: How versatile can a basic piece be?
Versatile enough to be worn everyday to every occasion that comes up?
And if it is, how meaningless will a large wardrobe look?
Will I miss my other clothes?
Will this dress be burned afterwards because I’m so sick of it or will I continue to wear it daily?
And this was her conclusion: I love clothes and honestly speaking I want to have a big collection of them. There is a but; quality wins it over quantity every time. I want to keep all my garments for life and am sad that the great design of this COS dress only lasted for two weeks. This experiment made me realize even more that I don’t actually need as much clothes as I initially thought. With this in mind I can be even more critical about what I am adding to my collection. Because that is what I’d like to built: a collection of great quality, beautifully designed items.
The idea of a fixed look, a uniform that doesn’t change every season but is a reflection of ones personality is very interesting, though a close to impossible thing to put together. Perhaps by the time I’m 50 I’ll be done dressing up and I’ll know myself good enough to be able to find an outfit that perfectly resembles my personality that I could wear every day for the rest of my life.
Though an extreme take on the capsule wardrobe, I think the lesson learned is important: quality matters. If we do want to live more minimalistic lives (in regards to all aspects of life), we need to ignore trends and social norms, and instead focus on quality. However, the challenge stirs up a potential problem: can the general population afford to not buy fast fashion from the high street?
Defining the capsule wardrobe:
An old concept, which was founded way back in 1970s, the capsule wardrobe, – okay, so maybe it really isn’t that old – is now coming back into fashion. So what is the capsule wardrobe? The concept is simple: narrow down your closet by developing a select, minimal collection of clothing items that you can repeatedly wear. The benefits are basic: spend less time choosing your outfits in the morning, stop saying you have nothing to wear, stop shopping so much, and have a more organized wardrobe: de-clutter your home, de-clutter your life.
Why is the capsule wardrobe coming back into style?
With social media and technology becoming the norm, everything is moving faster, fashion included. As such, styles are constantly changing, making it overwhelming, if not impossible to keep up with the latest trends. So when the choices seem to be spend lots of money to stay on trend, or just give up and decide to not follow the trend, there has to be a middle ground. And this version of a middle ground makes sense: spend time developing your personal style rather than spending your time and money shopping, and choose to focus on quality rather than quantity. Just think of the concept of slow fashion.
Origins of the capsule wardrobe:
Susie Faux, creator of “Wardrobe” a London boutique, is known to have created the term capsule wardrobe in the 70s, and has since published books about the concept. In 1985, the idea became popular when Donna Karan came out with her first collection and an ‘Essentials’ line of seven pieces meant for creating a mini capsule wardrobe. Karan’s idea was to use bodysuits as a base, which could then be paired with a skirt to make a dress, or paired with pants to make a top.
So what is a fashion icon? A fashion icon is a person who is known for their style. Typically a style icon is someone whose style has been documented in photographs, and serves as a style muse. But using the word person and icon in the same sentence seems odd, because the concepts don’t seem to go together. An icon is something that has been so repeatedly used, seen, and popularized, that it is an idealization. As such, saying that a person is, in fact, an icon, or an idealization, is giving a person almost too much power.
Regardless, seeing celebrities as icons is a trend that has been growing for years. Just look back at the fashion magazine industry. Originally, only models were shown as the cover stars, and it was a big deal when American Vogue (with Anna Wintour as editor-in-chief) put the first celebrity on the cover of a magazine. Today, however, celebrities are tracked by paparazzi for their style (as well as their lifestyle) and star on the cover of magazines. As fun as it may be for us to follow our favorite celebs on their style journeys, the question is: what effect is society’s obsession having on celebrities?
When we hear the word celebrity, we generally picture movie stars or TV personalities. And though these people may produce an amazing film or a funny show, why do we value them as celebrities? Is it all in their ability to stay in the limelight? If this is the case, then all we are doing is surely helping them. By labeling certain celebrities as style icons, we are reinforcing their status, and by doing so, separating them further from the rest of the population. As a celebrity, this must be alienating.
So with the negative mentioned, it’s only right to also name the positives of being a style icon. One of the perks is the chance to work with fashion retailers and designers. Just think of Jessica Simpson x Kohls, or Selena Gomez x Kmart, or the Olsen twins, Olsenboye x JCPenney. Another positive is the chance to become a designer’s muse. In 2011, Elle Fanning became part of Rodarte’s ad campaign at 13, and Steinfeld joined the MiuMiu brand at age 14. Which ironically, brings us back to the negative: just how good is it for a 13-14 year old girl to be all dolled up and packaged for an ad campaign? Granted, they are both actresses, so they have chosen to be in the spotlight at a young age, the press will promote their careers, and dressing up is typically all fun and games…but isn’t it odd having a child posing as the muse for the rest of society? Or does the age just point out the societal standard that we want to be “forever young”?
Debates about the effect of icon status on celebrities aside, what is the affect of having celebs serve as icons on the rest of society? Though people too, many celebrities come with their own entourage of makeup artists and stylists for those fancy events where they are most easily documented by paparazzi. As such, it can be easy to form as idealized body image standard. If we are putting these celebrities who have been Photoshop-ed and styled to perfection at the forefront of our minds, we are developing an impossible standard to live up to. The second effect that comes to mind is the “complex” that comes when you find yourself knowing more about a celebrity than you do about your neighbor or classmate. That can’t be healthy. Also tied to connectedness and media, is when you realize your social media accounts become more dedicated to tracking celebs than friends. –We spend our time on lottery relationships: impossible relationships that have a small percent chance of happening, rather than on real life relationships where we’d be way more likely to get a response. For example, repeatedly tweeting at our favorite musician and hoping for a response, rather than tweeting a friend which will more likely start a real life conversation.
Now that we’ve talked about the effects of icon status on celebrities and on society (and we didn’t even talk about the topic from the retailer’s point of view), let’s bring the discussion full circle. Think back to the image at the top of this article that reads: “Be Your Own Style Icon.”
Whether you choose to follow celebs or even believe they are “icons” doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are happy with who you are and are at least conscious of the effects celebrity status has. At some point, some part of yourself should be part of who you aspire to be. It’s great to have others to look up to, but you should value yourself as well.
•What do you think about celebrities as icons?
•Do you think we should even call them icons? Is using the name “icon” hurting society?
Publishing Fast Fashion? all about Moschino’s McDonalds collection got me thinking: Moschino essentially promoted McDonalds, free of charge. And in turn, the consumers who chose to wear the clothing promoted McDonalds. Long story short: the consumers are paying for branding.
Not a new feat by any means, especially when thinking about the designer handbag industry. Coach bags are coated with “C”s, and Louis Vuitton bags have “LV” subtly printed amidst their design. Though seemingly small details, these icons not only fill up the blank canvas, they also stand for something.
The letters remind the wearer that they are wearing a designer label.
Perhaps this promotes confidence in the wearer, or a higher sense of social status.
For the common passerby, the bag gives its wearer a higher status.
A designer bag automatically creates an assumption of wealth.
The bag could potentially make its wearer a target. Wearing a thousand dollar bag is just that: having a thousand dollars in your hand.
Today, our society runs on symbols. When going into a public bathroom, we know which room we’re going into when we see the male or female silhouette on the door. When driving, we know to slow down and stop when we see a pedestrians crossing sign. When turning on a computer, we know that the broken circle with a line is the power button. When pressing play to watch a movie or listen to a song, we know that the arrow is the play button.
Whether you’re conscious of it or not, we use symbols on a daily basis. In fact, we get so used to seeing symbols that I would argue that we stop noticing them. So it should come as no surprise that symbols are on clothing as well. However, the symbols mentioned in the above paragraph all serve as functions in serviceability – they are designed for the user. Meanwhile the fashion designer logos serve as marketing elements – to create branding and recognition for the designer.
Despite the fact that the designer logo was created with the designer in mind, consumers seem to care too. There are plenty of people dedicated to distinguishing the real from the fake designer bag. Evidence #1
Though arguably incredibly important, the symbols do spur some questions. Once again (and I’m sure not the last), the topic of worth comes up on this site.
•Is it worth spending cash on a designer handbag for the sense of confidence it could potentially bring?
•For someone who wants to show off their professional achievements through appearance, is it worth investing in the designer logo?
These are only questions; food for thought if you will.
What do you think of the designer logo craze? Do you think it’s even related to worth? Have you ever paid for branding (regardless of whether the item was fashion related)? Was your purchase worth the price tag?
Here’s an interesting read if you’re interested in the origin of computer symbols.