20 hacks to create a stylish, sustainable, and long lasting wardrobe
Let’s face it, Italians are not perfect. But by God we are a stylish breed. Passionate, fiery, and well presented. Ever wondered what makes Italian people so elegant? Trust me, it is not constant shopping, but mindful curation. Italians are not richer than you are, they are simply more clever when it comes to investing in their wardrobe. But do not fret – here is a list of 20 clever hacks that will help you shape up your wardrobe all’italiana, and most importantly, make it long lasting and sustainable:
- Shop less, but better. Don’t skimp on quality, especially when it comes to the items that you will wear daily: your shoes, your handbag, your basics.
- Shop for the actual seasons, which contrary to what H&M and Zara have led you to believe, are four. Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer. Want to simplify this further? Shop for cold weather, transitional weather, and warm weather.
- Never underestimate the importance of a good tailoring job. Do you absolutely love that dress but the fit is not perfect? Consider whether some clever tailoring hacks might make it better.
- Do Not Buy Ill Fitting Shoes. Do they pinch in weird places while you are trying them on? Forget it. They will not get any comfier. Take it from someone who had to stop and buy flip flops before a job interview because her shoes had made her feet bleed. Literally ( And no, I didn’t get the job..).
- On the subject of shoes – do yourself a favour and Invest in the best quality you can afford. A good pair of leather boots will last for ages and if you choose them well (see point above) they will most likely not cause any permanent damage to your spine and feet. Invest in good shoes and save money on your future physiotherapy treatments.
- Buy classic pieces. The simpler, the better. One, well fitting coat will accompany you for years to come, and possibly, you can pass it on to future generations too.
- On that note, Do not underestimate the potential of your mums/grans/aunts wardrobes. Some of my absolute favourite pieces are hand me downs (read more about it here).
- Quality does not mean labels. You don’t need the IT bag. But you want a proper bag. Again, buy with longevity in mind. Leather is always best, and there is a reason why Italians are known for their quality leather goods. This doesn’t mean that all Italians wear Prada – they simply know where to look (think artisanal markets and small, independent shops).
- Take your time. You do not need to buy just because the sales assistant is pressuring you. If it takes multiple shopping trips and a fair amount of research, so be it. You want to be sure that what you are buying deserves a place in your wardrobe and will likely be there for a long time.
- Be selective and be demanding. Don’t be shy to ask to try on things even if you are not going to buy them.
- Think about it. If you have seen something but you are not 100% sure, walk away. If you are still thinking about it tomorrow (or the next week), then yes, consider buying it.
- Buy with the rest of your wardrobe in mind. When buying something, always consider how you can style it with other pieces from your wardrobe. I like to ask myself: can I think of at least three outfit with this new piece?
- Versatility is key – buy a dress that you can wear with heels, chunky boots, or trainers. My favourite dress has been sported for work, dates, christenings, walks.. You get the picture.
- Know thy fabrics. Check your labels, and wherever possible, steer away from synthetics. They won’t make your skin breathe (and nobody wants smelly pits, am I right?), they will wear out quickly, and most importantly, they are very difficult to recycle. It can take up to 200 years for polyester to disintegrate. So before buying it, think again.
- Be loyal to your favourite places and brands. It makes life so much easier to know where to go for your perfect pair of trousers.
- Support the people who make your clothes and accessories. Italy is full of wonderful artisanal markets, where you can find the most unique pieces and feel good about supporting small businesses. For an online equivalent you can look up things on Etsy.
- Care for your clothes! Check the labels before washing them, clean your leather goods, shave your cashmere, and resole your worn boots. Mend, mend, mend and mend some more. Remember what I said about your mum’s closet? Consider that one day you might want to pass on your favourite jacket to the next generation.
- Swap and borrow. You most definitely don’t have to buy a new outfit for all the different occasions in your life (read more about it here). Ask your friend to borrow a dress for your cousin’s wedding, if you don’t have anything appropriate for the occasion.
- Own your style with confidence and don’t worry about wearing your leather jacket forevermore. Be proud that people will remember you as ‘the girl with the brown leather jacket’(see photo above..).
- And in the name of all that is holy, Do not buy counterfeit luxury stuff, like fake Gucci and fake Dolce & Gabbana. As we said, you don’t need labels, you want quality.
Ultimately, the secret to Italian elegance, is to only wear clothes that make you feel good. And it is a pretty easy equation, if you feel good, you will look good too (read more about it here)!