SYW x ReFashion the Future: Conscious Shopping and Subjective Staples

5 Feb 2021
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Covid-19 has really shown us all the power of technology as we work and live in an increasingly digitised world. With so much of our day-to-day life now online a digital wardrobe would seem the next logical step. The Save Your Wardrobe app is 2020’s answer to Cher’s much envied computer-stroke-wardrobe from the 1996 hit filmClueless– the envy of 90s and 00s babies to this day.

Your own wardrobe can be a huge source of inspiration and creativity; finding new combinations, restyling old favourites and even tackling your ever growing alterations pile are great ways to bring joy to the day-to-day. In our current climate of bleak uncertainty it is important to find brightness and creativity in any way we can and why not live your 90s fantasy at the same time!

My most recent and, on the surface, impractical purchase was a huge faux-fur white coat from my favourite resale app Depop. Conscious shopping is something I find myself continually trying to improve upon and develop; it is undoubtedly something that gets easier and better with practice. In light of this it seemed only fitting to put my coat to the test and see if something, which could be seen as an impulsive and impractical purchase, could actually be the perfect edition to my existing wardrobe.

As a self-professed maximalist, this coat really spoke to me, it is a floor length oversized white faux-Mongolian lambswool coat. I absolutely love the 1970s as a look and I felt that the coat definitely had potential to fit my vintage aesthetic. My vision included oversized sunnies, a dagger collar and some platform boots, but ever-wary of looking like I’ve stepped out a costume shop, it needed styling down.

One of the key elements to conscious shopping is versatility, and to my mind this does not mean only investing in basics because they will get the most wear, although this is always a good idea. If you are more inclined to maximalism, invest in the things that bring you joy alongside their ability to fit with your existing wardrobe. Here is where Save Your Wardrobe comes in so handy, having a visual reminder on your phone of all the items you already have makes it so much easier to see gaps and avoid over saturating in other areas. Those who know me will absolutely know that I did not have a gap in my wardrobe for this most recent item, but here is how and why this coat is the perfect edition to my wardrobe not only this year but for years to come! I have created five very different looks with the same coat using my favourite part of the Save Your Wardrobe app, the outfit creator.

70s Dreaming

My first styling idea was based on my original 1970s conception of the coat, a soft springtime take on Almost Famous’s Penny Lane. I paired my vintage late-1970s Richard Shops prairie dress with the coat and my trusty charity shop cowboy boots. Wearing this out and about (post-lockdown three obviously) you could definitely add a white turtleneck and even a cream cardigan to layer up, as we all know this might be slight ambitious for British springtime without! I think this outfit is dramatic, chic, and certainly worthy of its 70s dream title.

Fields of Summer

Perhaps as a result of my unoriginality or because my aesthetic is just that coherent, my next look is of a very similar vibe. In this styling I was particularly inspired by Jane Birkin and her infamous straw bag which I personally think is the epitome of chic (unlike its Hermès replacement, but I concede I am alone in this). Since there is a lot going on with the coat I thought it would be worth leaning into this by layering a lace turtleneck underneath an otherwise very standard summery dress. Since that is a lot going on in terms of texture I have kept the tones all super neutral and with straw bag – a la Jane Birkin and trusty cowboy boots a la me!

Sleek n Chic

Switching up vibes and going for a more winter appropriate look here I have kept the colour palette completely monochrome – you can sort clothes by colour on the Save Your Wardrobe app which makes this so much easier to do! I also wanted to play around with some different textures, elevating the look by opting for satin high waisted trousers instead of denim which I think add the titular sleek. I’ve stayed true to the 70s aesthetic of the coat with my wide collar knit and 70s staple knee high boots. Add some dark sunnies and you are Miranda Priestly from Devil Wears Prada.

Basket Case

In the spirit of far too many film references this look is an allusion to the slightly eccentric girl in The Breakfast Club – hence the basket case. It is also obviously inspired yet again by my Burkin-esque straw bag which I bought for £3.00 in the charity shop! I thought a straw bag would give the look a slightly spring-has-sprung feel to make the whole outfit more relevant for the current season. My vintage 1980s knit is the warmest jumper I own and it has inbuilt knitted shoulder-pads?! Sticking with the neutral colour palette I decided to go with cream Levis and yet again my trusty cowboy boots. All the different references together in one outfit certainly make it live up to the name!

Abstract silk

My final styling idea is again firmly situated in the 1970s, with maximalism so extreme even Gucci is interested (they fully aren’t but a girl can dream), this look mixes a few vintage satin and even includes a headscarf accessory. I really enjoyed pairing my fabulous Eugenia Kim headscarf with semi-matching vintage satin shirt and my black satin trousers. Of course the coat is the perfect textural compliment and the whole looks is elevated (literally) by my vintage boots.

By now I hope to have persuaded all the cynics that this coat was a stylistically productive addition to my wardrobe and that I have gone some way in arguing that a wardrobe ‘staple’ is completely subjective and maximalists are welcome in the world of conscious shopping! Save Your Wardrobe is such a useful tool to help you really think about how items will fit into your wardrobe, the app helps you sort items by colour, season, aesthetic- you name it and you can sort by it! I hope this has inspired you all to download the app, start photographing and start exploring the potential of your own wardrobe. Whilst you are at it make sure to follow @refashionthefuture and check out some of their great sustainable fashion content.

photography by @williamzi1702