Here are my five steps to a meaningful wardrobe.
For me, clothes are a way to express my mood and feelings. They carry a message. Finding out what suits your life and style best, really points out your strength and amenity!
So stop buying things just because they’re cheap or in trend and focus on creating a wardrobe that accentuated your personality and makes it easy for you to look just the way you feel, day by day.
Find your style and what suits you
Finding out what cloth suit you and your lifestyle best and make you feel good is perhaps the most important step to a more meaningful wardrobe. It takes some time deciding what you like, in my early 20s I really started thinking about how I want to look and what pieces are the most flattering for my everyday life. For that, you can seek inspiration from almost everything (the internet, magazines, friends, your family etc). It also is important that you not just find out what you like, but also what suits you best (colors, cut, material and more). If you’re not sure how to find out what suits you best, there are many helpful tips online. You could also talk to a style adviser (many cloth shops already provide these service).
Have a clearout
Get all those things you don’t like or wear any longer out of your closet. They just take up space and make creating an outfit really hard. Gather three piles: sell, donate and trash. Just because you don’t like it anymore or don’t want it doesn’t mean somebody else could love it.
Do your research
Before you invest in some new cloth, do a little bit of research. What are the products made of? What are the opinions of other buyers? How is the quality? Is it just a trend or will it serve you well for a while?
These are questions I like to ask myself and research before purchasing something new.
After you found out what suits you and your lifestyle best, start investing in pieces.
For example: Do you really need 0 handbags? Probably not! So invest in a nice everyday bag, one that looks great suits your needs and fits for a spell. That goes for most pieces of your wardrobe. I prefer buying nicer/higher quality cloth and accessorize instead of things that wouldn’t last me as long (because they lose shape, fade or break).
Furthermore, I try not to buy things just because they’re in style right now. Fashion is such a quick changing art
Everybody has some sentimental pieces. Maybe the dress you wore at the first date with your loved one. The jeans you fit in before you had your first child or a fancy pair of heels that remind you of fun nights out with your girls. Definitely, keep those! But don’t hoard everything. I, for example, have one tee my best friend gave me (it was a flea market find in SF). It’s a super hippieish colorful piece, which normally isn’t my type of style, but it reminds me of her and all the fun summers and times we spend together. So I’ll probably keep it forever and one day give it to my kids. Haha.
Interview with Alexis and Kachen (founders from Les Sublimes)
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and the story of Les Sublimes.
Alexis: We met studying at Sciences Po Paris back in 2006. We had a class together and were assigned to a project. Kachen took me under her wing because my French was really bad. Over that year we became close friends and even when Alexis moved away (Alexis lived in Vancouver and NYC, Kachen stayed in Paris), we kept in touch all this time. In 2014, we both quit our jobs to go traveling and decided to meet in Nepal for two weeks. We had both been thinking about starting something of our own but we weren’t really sure what to build or where to start. In Nepal, everything started falling into place.
Kachen: In Nepal, there were long, scenic treks with lots of time to talk and share ideas. We went to visit a group of Tibetan refugees spinning yarn for weaving and a small group of knitters making sweaters in a remote village. We saw the women working so hard, for so many hours, earning so little. Speaking with the women, they felt hopeless about their employment situation. We quickly discovered that by marrying our own skills in fashion and sustainability, we could create a long-term solution for these women in underprivileged communities.
2. What does fashion mean to you?
Les Sublimes is so much more than just a beautiful color or a new style but about the strong belief to make a change in the world of fashion. To inform people, to make them question things. Sustainability and taking responsibility is the heart of everything we do at Les Sublimes. We integrate ethics and transparency into every element of our business, from design and production to corporate culture and customer service.
Being eco-friendly is our priority: collections are made from organic, sustainably-harvested natural resources, using innovative technology that reduces water consumption, recovers waste & preserves neighboring ecosystems. We offer a permanent collection of essential items, rather than products that change with each season. We want to encourage people to invest in quality over quantity pieces – items that provide long-term satisfaction over temporary gratification. Pieces that you love to wear all the time, and want to replace when you’ve finally worn them through.
We understood early on that Les Sublimes shoppers want ethical products, but don’t sacrifice style, quality, comfort or affordability. People are sick of having to choose between price, quality, integrity, and style. And we think that there’s no reason why they can’t have it all. It’s not true that a sustainable product needs to be much more expensive, or that organic must feel rough, or that affordable fashion can’t be produced at a fair wage. By creatively reducing our supply chain and cutting out the middleman, we are able to offer our products at 1/3 of the price of the designer brands using the same fabrics and workshops.
3. What is your favorite item in your wardrobe and why (maybe, what is the story it has)?
Alexis: My favorite piece is my Paris tank in rosé, and I pretty much wear it every day. It’s so soft and comfortable and matches with everything. Tucked in with high waisted jeans, layered under a shirt or sweater in winter, with dress pants for a more casual look, with a skirt…it’s been my #1 go-to piece ever since I got my hands on it one year ago. Dozens of washes and much more wears later and it still looks great!
Kachen: I guess mine would be a quilted jacket I got in a thrift shop a couple of years ago. At least when it’s so cold outside (laughs). It’s timeless, keeps you perfectly warm and goes with everything.
4. Which is, in your opinion, a timeless to keep piece every woman should have in her closet?
Alexis: The perfect white button-down shirt! In whichever style matches your unique personality. At the moment I’m obsessed with oversized white poplin shirts that I can tuck in, tie at the waist, or roll up the sleeves on. You always look professional, clean, chic and modern in a great fitting white shirt!
Kachen: I think it would be the perfect long-sleeve shirt. Our Pokhara for example, I could wear it all the time, day in, day out. No advertising intended (laughs)! No seriously, I just think you can mix and match it with everything, to a skirt or any kind of pants. I wear it for any occasion – might it be to a dinner with friends, a night out dancing or when I pick up my daughter from the crèche.
5. What or who inspires you (in terms of fashion)?
Yvon Chouinard is our superhero. His book “Let my people go surfing” is absolutely amazing. Stella McCartney is obviously doing a great job and we adore Livia Firth. She really makes a difference. You should watch The True Cost It will change the way you see fashion forever.
6. What is one fashion advice you would give to anyone?
Alexis: The first step to living sustainably is to reduce our consumption. I’ve always taken a position of quality over quantity, investing in well-made classics that I can wear for years. My mum always took me along to second-hand stores growing up, showing me how to find hidden gems at bargain prices. Nowadays, I have taken my values a step further by actively seeking out brands that are environmentally or socially fair.
Kachen: I totally agree. For my daughter Alma, I actually never bought any new clothes. We exchanged most of them with friends that still had some of their own kids. Another advice is to do your research. I am this kind of person that reads every tag of an item, even the super small copy you almost need glasses for. Most importantly, I buy as less as possible and if I do, I try to buy GOTS certified pieces.
Thank’s so much Alexis and Kachen, two experts for meaningful fashion, for helping me out. Go and say hi to Les Sublimes on Instagram and check out the Les Sublimes website and shop (I have a 20% discount code for your first order with Les Sublimes. Simply click the shop link and enjoy)
Unsplash kindly helped me out with the first image. It’s not by me!
Much love, Ilka x