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Thread: Where to start...

  1. #1

    Default Where to start...



    (I hope a question similar to this has not already been posted...)

    It is only in the last year or two that I have started taking a real interest in fashion and clothing design. And as I have gotten more interested in the subject, there have been some basic questions that I keep coming back to:



    I am interested in hearing suggestions about where to start when building a wardrobe?

    What are the vital elements that you need to start out with?

    Are there certain clothes that you keep from season to season? Are there others that you find yourself constantly replacing?

    How much does a personal philosophy or cohesive look determine what clothes you are interested in? How much does your choice in clothes depend on the individual item? (I know these last two questions, sorta overlap with the "personal philosophy" thread)

    I hope these questions are not too general or uninformed. Personally, I think often about simplifying and making more coherent my personal style. I am now less likely to buy something because an individual item catches my eye, and more likely focused on items that fit an overall look.

    But, I am not always certain how to do this and I?d like to hear your opinions and advice?
    Please don't restrict this to menswear, I am interested in this discussion for both mens and womens clothing.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Casius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start...

    [quote user="Seventh"]


    What are the vital elements that you need to start out with?[/quote]



    Well, this is obviously going to be different for everyone, especially depending upon your life style and location. For me though, I bought essential denim pieces, sweaters, and tees. For me, this is usually what I wear living in SoCal. But then once I decided on moving to a new place this Fall I have been trying to find a nice jacket (3/4 coat), wool pants, nicer button ups, and boots.




    [quote user="Seventh"]
    Are there certain clothes that you keep from season to season? Are there others that you find yourself constantly replacing?[/quote]



    My denim, button ups, sweaters, and a nice coat. I try and keep things simple, timeless, and easily workable. I find this makes it so I don't have to blow money every season or year to be up to date. I think this is also why I have been leaning towards the Carpe, CCP, etc. way of dress. Enough of it is simple enough in look, but up close it has excellent details and the construction is on point and it has just enough of a twist (no pun intended) to keep it looking different from other clothing.
    [quote user="Seventh"]
    How much does a personal philosophy or cohesive look determine what clothes you are interested in? How much does your choice in clothes depend on the individual item? (I know these last two questions, sorta overlap with the "personal philosophy" thread)[/quote]



    I think the philosophy definitely determines what clothes you are interested in, but it doesn't necessarily determine the brand. Sure, some of these brands are very hard to parallel, but I think with proper buying techniques it can be achieved.



    Hope this helped somewhat. [:)]



    "because the young are whores. dealers come to carol to get the rock"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Where to start...



    Casius has given you some good pointers. I would recommend taking a look at your wardrobe now, and then deciding where you want to go in respects to your new aesthetic. From there, build on the basics.



    ie, if you wanted the corporate look, you'd go out and buy white dress shirts and a grey and navy suit to start. then you would build on that.



    Same applies to any philosophy that you end up adopting, there will be some key pieces that go with it and you'll only really know what they are once you've chosen your direction.





  4. #4

    Default Re: Where to start...



    I agree throughly with what the guys said. the essentials ofa wardrobe depends of course on how you dress and for what purposes.




    I think some of the basics would be good jeans, a couple of good fitting and simple shirts, a couple ofsweaters and jackets. jackets for me would include a more casual one and a black blazer. the next thing would probably be a good suit. shoes would include black ones and trainers.




    those are of course based on personal preferences and they depend on your use.

    "AVANT GUARDE HIGHEST FASHION. NOW NOW this is it people, these are the brands no one fucking knows and people are like WTF. they do everything by hand in their freaking secret basement and shit."

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  5. #5
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start...

    [quote user="Seventh"]

    I am interested in hearing suggestions about where to start when building a wardrobe?



    [/quote]



    Casius put it well. What you wear should depend on your character, unless demanded by a dress code of a social situation (such as work). I think a person has a relationship with the surrounding world, clothes included, and you shouldn't let social forces like magazines, peer pressure, and even these forums decide what to wear. It's you and the garment (or so my MA thesis goes :-)). For example, I wouldn't be caught dead in sneakers, unless on a treadmill. I don't like blazers either - I just bought one because it doesn't look like a conventional blazer, but I like the silhouette... The rest will come through trial and error... well, not even error per se, but as you move forward in life, your personality will morph and so will your closet.




    What are the vital elements that you need to start out with?



    Versatility is key here. For me it's a black tee (s/s and/or l/s), dark blue jeans, and semi-rugged shoes or boots. I am equally comfortable in this playing in a park with my daughter, walking around in SoHo, and going to a nice restaurant. I never feel under-dressed or over-dressed. Then you can really put anything you want on top, a leather jacket, a formal coat, a funky coat, a blazer, a button up shirt, etc.

    Are there certain clothes that you keep from season to season? Are there others that you find yourself constantly replacing?



    I keep everything. The only things I've gradually sold, thrown out, or donated is from my former life - Iceberg, Moschino, etc. I still have some very well made stuff by designers I no longer care about, just because it's well made. And I will always cherish my old Dirk Bikkembergs stuff, no matter what trash he puts out now. One of the things I like about keeping stuff is that it makes you buy less, even at rock-bottom prices. I can definitely tell you right now that I have enough black pants in my closet - that's why I didn't buy those Ann Dems at IF basement sale. I also have enough sweaters, and I won't buy any unless it's something seriously special.



    I replace underwear [:P]

    How much does a personal philosophy or cohesive look determine what clothes you are interested in?



    All of it.



    How much does your choice in clothes depend on the individual item? (I know these last two questions, sorta overlap with the "personal philosophy" thread)



    A lot. Who made it matters to me. Marc Jacobs can make the best leather jacket in the world, I won't buy it. Is it snobbery? Not really - it's more antipathy to what I feel as a threat to how I feel about clothes. I genuinely feel that the likes of Louis Vuitton ARE the enemy.

    I don't necessary think about incorporating stuff into my wardrobe, I more think of an individual item. I think you are drawn to items that you can incorporate to begin with.

    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Where to start...

    Great advice from everyone. I would also like to add, try not to spend too much $$$while you are finding your style. I shopped mostly at outlets when I was first getting into designer stuff (outlets can be dangerous though, much of it is there for a reason). Also remember, most stuff can be found on sale, when I was still learning I had no idea designer collections went on sale twice a year, I thought they were above sales and I was afraid to ask, but I was totally wrong.I hardly wear anything I bought 3 years ago, I bought lots of "jean brands" like Diesel, Energie, D&G, and I wish I wouldn't have spent so much on all that. But it's a learning process so I don't regret it, those brands spoke to me at the time and I felt good wearing them.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Where to start...



    faust put it really well...



    the only thing i can think of to add on top of that is if you're going for a capsule wardrobe, keep it limited to a few well made quality pieces in neutral colors that are classic and can go with anything else in your wardrobe. My own approach to wardrobe building is pretty capsule itself, here's my attempt at a list for a wardrobe that is appropriate for every situation:




    - Grey 2-button suit (for work)
    - Black 1 or 2-button suit (or tuxedo even...for dressier occasions)
    - Black cashmere knits...or a mix of black and grey in crewneck, v-neck and cardigan
    - Button down shirt in black, white, and pinstripe
    - Basic, well cut soft cotton t-shirts in white v-neck, and 5-6 in black/grey crewneck (maybe you can play around with the cuts and colors depending on your tastes)
    - A pair of rugged, utilitarian boots that go well with suits or casual outfits
    - A pair of well made leather lace-ups
    - One pair of unwashed indigo jeans
    - Black overcoat in wool or cashmere, tailored
    - A pair of white low-tech sneakers you don't have to baby too much



    If you invest wisely, i think you can stay within $10,000 and have the essential capsule wardrobe right there.


  8. #8
    Senior Member Casius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start...

    [quote user="matthewhk"]

    If you invest wisely, i think you can stay within $10,000 and have the essential capsule wardrobe right there.

    [/quote]

    I think with patience and wise spending you should be able to do it for half of that and still buy 'designer' items.
    "because the young are whores. dealers come to carol to get the rock"

  9. #9
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start...

    Bumping up, I would like to hear what others have to say.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  10. #10

    Default Re: Where to start...



    My disjointed musings....



    Very interesting thread.



    I would add that your vital elements don't necessarily need to be basics (unless your look is based around layering, in which case things like tees, etc. are certainly vital). I'm very minimal with layering (sooo unfashionable, I know) and my wardrobe is largely built around skirts, basic or not. I find it much easier to invest in expensive clothes if they appeal to my heart or intellect, rather than a strictly practical need. Designer basics are a real luxury to me.



    In terms of investment, I would start with a coat, jacket, trousers, and shoes. These are expensive things, of course, but they are the things you will wear for years and that will become your signature pieces. If you do buy pricey button-ups, make sure you take good care of them--my boyfriend tears through his (even the designer ones) at an astonishing rate, because he wears the hell out of them. The same goes for shoes.



    I can't say my style has a philosophical underpinning (like Faust's does, for example), but it does have an aesthetic and intellectual one (hope that doesn't sound horribly pretentious [:^)]). I am definitely compelled more by individual pieces than I am by an overall look, but I'm very picky about what I look for in those pieces.



    One thing that I find very helpful in terms of building a wardrobe is compiling a bunch of looks (or other inspirations) that appeal to me. I do it very instinctively and fast--just saving everything I like, for any reason--and then sort and edit later. I try to avoid looking too much at current collections and editorials. The outmoded is much more trustworthy when it comes to determining real style. I know it sounds like a slumber party activity, but it's very useful for narrowing down what you like and determining what kinds of pieces you need. [:)] I just did this recently and realized that if I invested in some jackets, my wardrobe would be much more coherent.






    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Where to start...



    I would say where to start depends on where you?re at, or in other (pretentious) words the maturity of your interest in fashion.




    If you?re still finding your style I would say the best way to do it is to:


    ˇ Go to many fashion forums, that way you?ll be exposed to different groupthink. Try reading fashion magazines, watch movies, people-watch and generally seek various sources of info in a not-so discriminating way. If you don?t know exactly what you need it makes sense to say you?re not set on where it is. Sadly, a negative externality of this approach is that might include sending some money to Condé Nast unless you can find ways to steal their overpriced mags.


    ˇ Go to loads of different stores and try garments on, getting a feel of what?s available, once again without discriminating too much. Try to get feedback from other people, unless you plan to live on a deserted island you?ll have to deal with the all-seeing eye of the multitude.


    ˇ Get inexpensive items in various styles that interest you and experiment with different looks. H&M, Uniqlo, discount shopping, thrifting and ebay are your friends, and might remain so anyway.


    ˇ Avoid deciding what your style is without having worn that stuff for a while?







    Let?s say you?ve got a better concept of what kind of fashion animal you are and which messages you want to convey through your garments, it might be the right time to assess your needs.




    Remember that unless you literally don?t have the required clothes for a particular activity (i.e. you need to tie patterned silkworm larvae cocoons around your neck -AKA a tie- to denote your station in life and you don?t have any) you don?t actually need an item and especially not fashion/expensive designer items. In other words you don?t have real needs you?re just an aesthete who want express himself through garments or, more likely, a bourgeois who want to show he?s got some bling (hopefully the former).




    So what should you get? You should determine what your style is and what it says about yourself then look for key pieces that will help anchor that idealized identity to your persona. Let?s say you?re a rugged American worker from days past with a hint of cowboy showing through. You?re hard working, reliable, humble, physical, manly, etc. A superlative pair of indigo dyed Japanese repros worn pretty much everyday suddenly sounds attractive, even though 2 years ago, when you were an urban bourgeois intellectual socialite those very same jeans wouldn?t have clicked at all.




    Once you know what you want to project, brands start coming in handy; these are basically filters that will help you navigate the almost unlimited amount of information and offerings of the fashion world, They?re like those tags you see in some threads. Tom Ford?s Gucci would have, as an example, ?sexy? ?glamour? ?nightlife? ?luxury? ?velvet? ?flashy? ?celebrity? etc. associated to it and our aforementioned worker cowboy probably wouldn?t give it much attention, instead concentrating on, let?s say, Sugarcane ?workwear? ?traditional? ?quality? ?American? ?levi? ?tough? tags. He might also look for some info on brands he?s not aware of but that have related tagging. Now that doesn?t mean he could not come across a Gucci shirt that would be a great addition to his wardrobe, just that, the odds being unlikely, he shouldn?t put too much energy into Gucci. The return on time/energy investment is pretty low considering his criteria, especially when there?s Engineered Garment around.




    At some point in his fashion evolution the workwear guy might also decide that his view on the fashion world and relative brand positioning in this world are now an important factor and just say fuck Gucci, as a matter of principle (see Faust?s post). I?ll avoid discussing that view but let?s just say this ties in to both lifestyle brands and market realities (fashion realpolitik, so to speak); if I don?t like the lifestyle Gucci puts forward and even think they have a negative impact on the market I won?t send my money their way, which means I won?t even consider their items.




    I know I didn?t get into details and you might be aware of pretty much everything I?ve just said but I guess it?s good to state it again and think about what it means, once in a while.




    Note 1: I see little details that the wearer is the only one to know (like natural indigo dyed jeans) as similar to the actor?s trick where they invent a secret about the character they?re playing that they won?t tell to anyone. This little details helps makes the role their own. Of course in that case the role you?re playing is yourself, don?t try to be someone else but don?t settle for a boring version of you either. Remember, you want to drape yourself in signifier that will help you express who you really are, if there is such a thing.




    Note 2: Don?t be afraid to break all the rules you?ve imposed on yourself, from time to time, or your style will grow to be monolithic and caricatural




    Note 3: Don?t take this stuff too seriously though, it?s only clothes

    WTB Ann Demeulemeester X Elvis Pompilio hat
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Where to start...

    What a great post. It may have been said before, but never so articulately (and humorously). Thanks, Fuuma, I really appreciate the time you take in lending your thoughts and advice.
    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  13. #13
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start...

    No. 3 from Fuuma is priceless.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

    StyleZeitgeist Magazine

  14. #14

    Default Re: Where to start...

    i wholeheartedly agree with no. 2 and no. 3. i think some people are too uptight about their "style" and take themselves too seriously.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Where to start...

    agreed. jus clothes

  16. #16

    Default Re: Where to start...



    Wow, fantastic responses from everyone... really interesting.



    Fuuma your post was great and reminds me of some of John Cage's "Rules and Hints for Students and Teachers" (if you have been around an art school, you have probably come across it, still, words to live by)...

    1. Find a place you trust and then, try trusting it for a while.
    2. (General duties as a student)

      Pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students.
    3. (General rules as a teacher)

      Pull everything out of your students.
    4. Consider everything an experiment
    5. Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow
      them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in
      a better way.
    6. Follow the leader. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win or fail. There is only make.
    7. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to
      something. It is the people who do all of the work all the time who
      eventually catch on to things. You can fool the fans but not the
      players.
    8. Do not try to create and analyze at the same time. They are two different processes.
    9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than you think.
    10. We are breaking all the rules, even our own rules and how do we do that? By leaving
      enough room for the ?x? qualities. Helpful hints always be around. Come or go to
      everything. Always go to class. Read everything you can get your hands on. Look at
      movies carefully and often. Save everything. It may come in handy later.




  17. #17

    Default Re: Where to start...



    Wow, this has been an interesting read. Everyone has had great things to say, I only have a couple points.




    I'd second what was said about buying cheaply first to sort of find your style. H&M, Uniqlo (if you're in NYC), department store sales, even some stuff from banana or similar brands. I think the biggest mistake I've made in the last few years is spending too much on things I was unsure of. If you spend some time in cheaper versions of these clothes first, perhaps you could make more informed higher priced purchases.




    Also, I pitfall I recently fell into was the work/play wardrobe problem. My initial thing was to sort of have my wardrobe be versatile enough so that it could be adapted to both. I work in a corporate environment, so it's pretty much button ups and khaki's. After some years of this, I've come to realize that my work wardrobe made me stick out (mainly due to the 'tailored' look), and my play wardrobe was getting kinda boring and conservative. I've since thought that I should just split the two of them up.




    So I said all of that to say this: a good place to start is the workplace. Everyone sees the benefit of looking 'professional' in the workplace (whether you're a DJ or an accountant), there are more established 'rules' in the work place (no matter your profession). Start with these boundaries, and see what you like/don't. Many people say that 'casual' dressing (or what you wear when you're not at work) is the hardest thing, because there are so many possibilities.




    well, hope this helps.





  18. #18

    Default Re: Where to start...



    [quote user="xcoldricex"]i wholeheartedly agree with no. 2 and no. 3. i think some people are too uptight about their "style" and take themselves too seriously.
    [/quote]



    hah this post i feel was speakin directly at me...i must admit i'm guilty of this quite often. I have to step back when i get carried away and look at it in the perspective of fuuma's no.3. That was a great post.


  19. #19

    Default Re: Where to start...



    Great discussion. Thank you for sharing everyone.


  20. #20

    Default Re: Where to start...



    [quote user="casem83"]Great advice from everyone. I would also like to add, try not to spend too much $$$while you are finding your style. I shopped mostly at outlets when I was first getting into designer stuff (outlets can be dangerous though, much of it is there for a reason). Also remember, most stuff can be found on sale, when I was still learning I had no idea designer collections went on sale twice a year, I thought they were above sales and I was afraid to ask, but I was totally wrong.I hardly wear anything I bought 3 years ago, I bought lots of "jean brands" like Diesel, Energie, D&G, and I wish I wouldn't have spent so much on all that. But it's a learning process so I don't regret it, those brands spoke to me at the time and I felt good wearing them.[/quote]




    thats one very important point.




    many years ago I was wearing loose fittingjeans and loose t-shirts, when I started to change my style I boughtsome designer stuff and things like "premium" jeans from malls. needless to say, I wore stuff like that for half a year untill I started to develop a more detailed taste. I had updated my wardrobe quite a lot and then I had to sell many things because my taste and style were still evolving.




    so what I mean is that when you start the process of developing your style and updating your wardrobe, dont spent $10,000 in a week. buy some items first, use them for a while and see where your style goes. then buy something else and get the hang of how youre taste is evolving.

    "AVANT GUARDE HIGHEST FASHION. NOW NOW this is it people, these are the brands no one fucking knows and people are like WTF. they do everything by hand in their freaking secret basement and shit."

    STYLEZEITGEIST MAGAZINE | BLOG

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