Having always loved clothes and fashion but always struggled to put an outfit together concisely (or indeed consciously), I thought The Curated Closet could really help me.
I came across The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees whilst having a good old browse in Waterstones. I have a kindle, but for non-fiction reference books I may want to return to, I always go hardcover. You cannot beat the feel of a good book!
The book itself starts off by talking about a typical lifestyle of a fast fashion shopper, which really resonated with me. I previously have been the person who has bought a new, cheap item for every new social occasion I’ve gone to, not considering if it will be a multi-use wear item or whether it will fit into my existing wardrobe. Like many people I know, I have a full wardrobe but have ‘nothing to wear’. It would often take me an hour or so just to put something together that I wasn’t even that keen on. This is neither good for your mental health, or the planet and environment. The main aims of this book are to help you to discover your personal style and to shop in a considered way instead of just making do with the ill fitted top you will feel uncomfortable in, or the lurid viscose vest that you wouldn’t dream of wearing outside of that one particular event. The clothes industry is hugely polluting, many man-made fibres are plastics that do not degrade and end up in landfill.
The book is split into 4 parts, The Basics- setting goals, discovering your personal style, building your dream wardrobe and the Art of Shopping.
For me the first part was very useful.
It gets you to break down your lifestyle and what you actually need from your clothes. For example, I love floaty long dresses, but the reality is I spend the majority of my spare time at home or walking the dog, which requires very little need for a floaty number. It makes you think practically and to assess your current wardrobe and to see what you have too much off and what you need more of for your lifestyle.
The second part is about looking at your style inspiration and looking at shapes, colours, patterns and overlooks that you like. I love fine floral prints on dresses, but I prefer tops to be plain spotted or striped. I like a loose round neck Tee or a curved neckline, but I don’t think a short V neck works for me.
Part 3- looking at building your wardrobe is all about putting your pieces together and getting the most out of the clothes you choose.
Dressing an item up or down, and how different accessories can transform an outfit. This is something I really need to work on. Something as simple as turning up a sleeve or tucking in shirt can really change the proportions of an outfit. I found the part about creating a colour palette really helpful. For me I found that I am really drawn to red clothes on the hanger, but in reality I don’t feel comfortable wearing them, and prefer more tonal colours such as pale pink, khaki and grey. The chapter also looks at the concept of a capsule wardrobe, which again is very interesting and something I will explore further, but for now I am happy to just have a much clearer idea of my style.
The final chapter, the Art of Shopping, looks at refining your shopping skills and look more closely at the detail, the price, the material and the cut. There’s a suggested checklist to take with you when shopping to help keep you on track. I have taken a picture on my phone and do a mental check before any purchases, although these are very limited at the moment due to my sustainable style challenge. To finish, pointers are given on what to look out for in well-made clothes and checks you can make to ensure you are spending money well.
Overall I really enjoyed the book and did find it useful. With being on a sustainable style challenge I had already taken some of the steps myself, but I think this book would be invaluable for someone with a really big wardrobe wanting to reduce their belongings refine their style, and to shop in a more sustainably conscious way.
I am really keen to learn more about the fashion industry and clothes production, can you recommend any further reading? Let me know below.