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Living in Style

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How to live in style? 

I admire people with style. Often, when I see a well-dressed man or a woman I think it takes a lot of money to dress like that. That’s the first mistake people make.
When I think back to my youth, when I was 16 or 17, I remember I also had style, a capsule wardrobe and I lived a minimalist life. This was not an ideology or direction I followed, I simply did not have enough money to buy everything I wanted. I nevertheless had good style. The secret is that there’s very little room for error on a limited budget.
When I say capsule wardrobe, I am referring to the concept of a limited collection of clothing which all combine with one another, with the possibility of combining them to form many different looks from a smaller choice of pieces. If you’d like to learn more about this concept, I suggest you watch the following video series

Before buying anything, I’d walk through every store, sometimes multiple times and only make a decision when I’d seen everything. 

I remember, when I was younger, going with my mother to Szeged, in Hungary. Back then, people would buy clothes there in bulk and then smuggle them across the border to sell at a profit. Before buying anything, I’d scan every store and the market stalls. 

My mother would walk with me in exasperation, she would have already bought everything she wanted and then would ask me: “Are you going to buy anything or not?” Because we were in a foreign land and did not have much time, I had to rush and buy without going through my decision-making process. 

Nowadays, we don’t even think about what we buy, as I had to do all those years ago in Szeged. You simply see a piece, you like it and you buy it. Back then, I used to think about so many aspects of a piece of clothing. Will this sweater go with the pieces I already own? Will I be able to wear this only on special occasions, such as for example when going out or will I be able to wear it to school. What material is it made of? Do I really need this sweater? These days people rarely ask themselves such questions.
Back then, clothes were more expensive than now. There were no Fast Fashion companies. Clothes were not made in China and quality was much higher. 

Another thing about people with style is that their pieces are timeless, classic and not trendy threads which may as well have “one season only” written on them. 

It’s important to buy many neutral pieces. My capsule back in those days was black. Ninety percent of my clothes were black. I had one or two white pieces which would be very easily combined with the blacks and several green pieces as well. However, because the majority of my clothes were black, it was remarkably easy to combine them. It only took me a few minutes to decide what to wear whilst looking flawless and fashionable. 

So, how did I go from a perfect capsule to a wardrobe full of clothes which clash with one another and that eternal problem “I have nothing to wear?”

There are two reasons for that. Firstly,  I began to earn more money. Secondly, many Fast Fashion stores appeared. Having already developed a hobby of going around stores, but now with money in my pocket, it was very easy for me to buy things. I did not think about the material, having anything to combine them with, but simply bought anything that caught my eye, usually because I liked the design. They were always cheap, or cheap-looking pieces which I did not really think about, like buying milk. You’ll put them on once, maybe several more times and forget them but who cares? You buy another piece next week because they’re so cheap. Taken realistically, it means you don’t love your clothes. Maybe if by sheer chance you find something that fits you, but most of the time not. 

It’s different when you see a piece which is more expensive, made out of fine materials and well-made and you can’t immediately afford it. You don’t buy it immediately because it’s more expensive, and then all those questions I listed above start running through your head. Will it fit or clash with the pieces I already have? Will I be able to wear it on many or on few occasions? What material is it made of? 

However, that is the appropriate way of thinking about every piece of clothing, regardless of price. That is the philosophy which should follow us into the clothing store. 

Continuing my story, years and years of accumulating low quality clothing found me sitting in front of my wardrobe with a great mass of messy clothes heaped one over the other. I was sitting there for half an hour, maybe a full hour and then I realised that nothing fits anything else. Multicoloured blouses, multicoloured trousers, all in different colours, very rarely was there a classic or more neutral piece and now we’re back to the beginning, to our initial question, how to live in style? Why don’t I have style. It became obvious to me that I don’t have style because I’m too lazy to think when I go shopping, because I give myself over to the urge to buy and because I have a low standard of quality. All of this causes me additional stress, which nobody needs. 

That is how I set out on my journey to good style, by clearing out the garbage, piece by piece. First, I check the material a piece is made of. If it’s synthetic, it goes in the giveaway/sell pile. When I was done with the initial clearing, half my wardrobe was in that pile. 

Second, I check whether the piece still fits me. If not, it goes in the giveaway/sell pile. We all keep clothes from many years ago which no longer fit us, in the hope that it’ll fit us again some day. Trying to put on something which is too small also causes undue stress, which again, nobody needs. 

That is another aspect of good style. Always buy clothes which fit you, never try to squeeze into anything. When buying coats of jackets, it’s not a bad idea to buy two sizes larger. 

After a year or two of clearing out my wardrobe and purchasing quality pieces, I can confidently say that I’m close to some sort of functioning capsule. So, how do I feel? Wonderful. I only need a few minutes to get ready, regardless of whether I’m going to dinner in a fancy restaurant, a walk in the park or for an evening at the theatre. I have a lot fewer pieces in my wardrobe, most of which easily go with one another. I have a lot more time to do other things and I no longer spend my weekends walking through malls. Now that I think of it, I haven’t been to a mall for several months. My life is far more relaxed and fulfilling.
My advice to you would be to not delay clearing out your wardrobe and beginning to establish a capsule. Begin your journey towards living in style. 

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