Friday, January 22, 2016

How Are Designers and Consumers Alike? or How SHOULD They be Alike?

When I go to Paris, I always try to find a new book or two that discusses some aspect of personal style, fashion, clothing history - just anything that interests me, and that might in turn interest you!

Right now, I'm reading this:

book, IN FRENCH, available here

The second of the 101 "little secrets" tells us that "designers create collections, not simply isolated garments..."

Isolated garments - that's a pretty thought-provoking phrase! But I think that's the results from how a lot of us shop - we see something fabulous, we buy it, and we don't necessarily stop to think about the degree to which said gorgeous object will work with the rest of our wardrobe.

That's why I'm always hammering home the idea of having a plan; if you shop with a color scheme and an overall aesthetic "goal" in mind, your chances of having closet orphans is much diminished. That's not to say that you won't make shopping mistakes - EVERYBODY makes mistakes and buys things that don't work out, from time to time. But if something appears to fit into your overall plan, the mistakes were be fewer...

It's easy to see a lot of "top designer" themes and guiding motifs when they show their collections, but you can spot overall trends and ideas in almost any company. For example, I was looking at the Lands' End website, and saw that they have a clear vision of spring! While I have a lot of clothes from Lands' End, this year's prevailing look isn't really in my "sweet spot."  And that's okay; they don't have to design just for my preferences!

So, if you're a woman who loves yellow and navy and flowers, and you don't feel like spending your retirement money on a piece of clothing from the current Dolce & Gabbana collection (which is lovely, by the way...), buying a handful of pieces like this might not be a silly move. And these are sufficiently timeless that you won't look like you're wearing "Spring 2016" next summer, when you want to wear your navy floral dress again!

Fear not, I'm working on the wardrobes using the Buddhist Kesa color schemes - they're proving to be a big tricky...


Monsoon US


  1. What an interesting post! It would be great if you could do a few more 'emerging themes' summaries like this. Personally I don't mind whether its Lands End or Dolce and Gabbana, or even whether its a real fashion theme or one you've invented from some outfits spotted on your travels - it's just for the inspiration. A mini collection like this with a strong image (colour and style) is an interesting way to consider refreshing a basic wardrobe for the spring or summer.

  2. Guilty - I am Foster Mother to many 'closet orphans' - so in the future I need to remember to focus on my overall scheme when shopping. Your Lands End selections would also make a wonderful group to pack for a quick trip - just add a solid top or two to pair with the print sweaters.

    Mary mcm

  3. I have had a remarkable turn-around from a closet full of nothing-to-wear to really liking 90% of my clothes very much. There are still some scarves that need to be weeded out and a few tops that I am not crazy about, but I can live with that. And it all started here. So, thanks and keep spreading the good news.

  4. Janice, since I started reading your blog 3 years ago, I seldom purchase any item of clothing that does not "fit" as part of my basic collection. Since my neutral is grey, I looked at Land's End yesterday to see if there was something to add a "pre-spring lift"
    and definitely ruled out yellow. I could add a pair of navy pants but why? You have really taught me how to create a "solid" wardrobe of "workhorse" pieces and to watch how I spend my retirement dollars. Merci.

  5. I want to add to the chorus and thank you, Janice, for such inspiration. Like Cornelia, I love most of my clothes- all purchased or sewn with your guidance. 90% in fact could be considered in a "whatever's clean" category and there are many more than 13 items.. I just love this way of dressing.. Thank you forever! Janice Collins, Washibgton, DC

  6. Hi Janice,
    Always great when you can find things "of the moment" that have the flavour of the very expensive but are very affordable. Then you add your more expensive staples and voila you are au courant. That is the joy of personal style.
    Deb from Vancouver

  7. I want to second the commenter's that thanked you for the inspiration to form tight, well planned capsules. I can't tell you what a difference it made in my wardrobe.

  8. I've had so much pleasure from a floral dress and skirt that I purchased several years ago- both in my colours. I have also built up my wardrobe of basics to increase the flexibility of my wardrobe- it's been good to get a balance that works well.

  9. Those fabulous finds that don't fit in your wardrobe. That concept really describes those unworn items at the back of my closet. Next find, I need to stop and think of the whole 'collection'. Thanks.

  10. Having been an "isolationist" for too long, this post reinforced my reform, thank you! I look for a maker between LE and D&G. LE is fine for a true basic like a black tank top- but one of their major problems for me is the quality of the dyes, and the ill-conceived florals. But D&G cuts to short for my frame, and too narrow. Also, the price is high!

  11. This was one of those white unicorn articles! I hadn't thought in these terms before.

    I second all of kudos here, as well as the request for additional "emerging themes" posts!

  12. Reading this blog pretty regularly over the past few years has been very helpful in coming up with a wardrobe plan, at least in my head, and my purchase of isolated pieces has gone down significantly. But when I started reading, your advice was most helpful in finding friends for my orphans--I was able to wear those clothes much longer using your ideas for unique color combinations. Even just one good outfit made it worth keeping several things I was having a hard time letting go of. Now, of course, I'm trying to streamline everything. But it was nice to have a transition strategy.