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Style your closet: 7 outfits with 10 garments—Spring edition

Inspiration to shop your wardrobe while reducing your clothing consumption

Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Words by Amandine Paniagua

Published December 30 2023

Being well-dressed is subjective, as anything related to personal taste. For some, it would mean identifying and adopting a specific style; for others, it would mean conforming to society's norms or dressing with a particular type of garment. There are many variables. It's a game of taste and colours. Discussions and debates. However, for most, it means getting dressed with the newest, the latest trend, or the coolest brands of the moment. A mindset engraved in consumerism that, along the way, also attached positive values to over-consumption—people shop for gratification. That attitude is damaging to our planet, the fashion industry and and those connected to the industry, as Alex Leach, author of "The World Is On Fire But We're Still Buying Shoes", discusses through his newsletter. So, to deviate from the dictatorship of trends and alleviate the fashion industry's impact on our world, we need to reconnect with our clothing and educate ourselves on what a good garment means. Instead of buying to reinvent ourselves, we can focus on what to do with what we already have, or in other words, learn to style our closet.

Letting go of fast fashion and trends doesn't leave us helpless. Quite the opposite, it allows more creativity and resourcefulness when organising our closets and shaping our outfits. In a fast fashion world, there is no time to learn, to absorb a style, a cut, and make it your own to enjoy. I found that fast fashion has pulled everybody and everything down—workers' conditions across all supply chains, the quality of the frocks, the overall reference of consumers, you and me, amongst other things. I believe that to rekindle with fashion and at least appreciate being well dressed. We have to shift our references and rebuild our knowledge. We lost a sense of what is a quality garment, fabrics and stitching. Look at the micro to see the macro in some sort. I am slowly learning, too. I now pay attention to how garments are sewn, how the fabric moves, pills, and folds. I was gifted a sewing machine a few years ago. I haven't practised much yet. It's slow-paced.

How to curate your style?

To understand what to do with your garments is a labour of love. Love might be a bit too strong? We don't have to be in love with fashion to respect clothing and be well-dressed, but as I said above, it is a learning curve. There are ways to refine and curate your style— I think the best is to focus on which one you enjoy the most. Fashion is about fun, too.

Culture. Browsing magazines and fashion blogs throughout my life indirectly helped build my inner fashion culture, which shows how I dress. Shows and movies, too, pop culture in general. It nourishes my intuitions. So, to energise my brain and find inspiration, I still like to curate references. I find that Pinterest is the most practical way to centralise image references. I pin the outfits that strike me, the ones that make me dream, and the outfits that I appreciate to be out of similar garments from my wardrobe.

Meaning. As I shared in previous Style Your Closet iterations, the three words method by Allison Bornstein brings rationale into ideas, which is very helpful in narrowing a style. Still, the definition of my three words is a work in progress. I have yet to go through Allison's method as deeply as required. So, at the moment, the words are a mixture of elaborate, polished, 90's vibe, elegant and bright. There are more than three words! Look for yours.

Experience. I wrote previously that I also like to find inspiration from people in the street or around me. A step further to this, and an excellent source of inspiration, is also our older generation. It was Jenny Walton who said she loved how the older women dress in Milan. Given they have had a lifetime of trial and error to figure out how garments work for them, they can create stylish, researched garment combinations through their outfit. A bit less romantic, professional stylists are also an excellent source to figure out how garments and accessories can work on you.

Overall, remember that curating your style is not about copying a number of garments and pasting them into yourself but the art of identifying the principles you feel drawn to and recreating them with what you already have. It is about knowing, or discovering, yourself, using your brainpower, and getting creative.

For this Spring edition of "Style Your Closet", there was a bit of a weather challenge here in Aotearoa. Spring was mainly wet, cold-ish at 18℃, with some (rare) super sunny and suddenly hot days! While we are now at the end of the season, and temperatures have risen, I choose to focus on how I dressed during the entire season, hence why you will find some knitted tops and long pants for this selection, despite a current tropical humid 24℃. This month, I also looked at adding more accessories and played with the "wrong shoes" theory to make the looks more interesting. Let's dive.

7 simple but stylish spring outfits with 10 garments from my closet

As a 'circular economy is the future' kind of gal, the garments featured in this Style Your Closet Spring edition are mainly second-hand, with a small portion bought new. As usual, I adjust my outfit style depending on what I want to express on a particular day; it helps fennel the ideas.


To kick start the week, I wanted to wear something that reflected some of my (work in progress) style words, along the lines of polished, elaborate, and elegant, with a touch of 90s vibe. To give dimensions to the look, I picked up an outfit with a white foundation, wearing some Outland Denim straight men's jeans. The whole is paired with a top of neutral colour and of different textures, a second-hand Paloma Wool cropped sweater. I wore vintage golden jewellery to add further structure to the outfit, which subtly responds to the brown Ghazal loafers and their golden detail. I forgot the brown belt for the photo, which will add more contrast to this look.


For Tuesday, I pushed the 90s further, channelling a classic Diana’s vibe by juxtaposing a forever blazer in dark blue and grey tones with the classic Levis’ mom blue jeans, both second-hand and topped with a comfortable, funky t-shirt, a statement in itself. This amazing t-shirt is made of organic cotton by the local brand Kowtow. By not colour paletting all the garments, I think this outfit has interesting contrast and energy while still being elegant. The effect is also reinforced by wearing a brown belt. This outfit would go well with some sneakers or loafers, depending on if you’d like to push towards a dynamic or a classic vibe.


Mid-week, I am wearing a more comfortable garment, a pre-loved Wynn Hamlyn wool dress, one of my favourites. This dress is a cosy garment with a fresh colour pattern, apt for all seasons. However, as it can easily lean towards a casual style, to keep it put together, I combined this dress with brown loafers and an oversized white shirt from Comme Des Garçons, also second-hand. I love this shirt under the dress. It gives the outfit a 90s, preppy student vibe and more texture.


This outfit is hands down my favourite combination of the lot, the one in which I feel the most confident and the most myself. It has everything. It’s an ultra-classic 90s silhouette—an oversized white shirt paired with a pair of mom’s jeans. I love the energy it carries, but the whole look is uplifted thanks to the Carel Babies shoes in pink, which automatically gives the look an effortless yet more chic and elevated presence. As it is a bit of a theme for this season, I added depth and structure to this look with golden jewellery, my favourite colourful earrings from Fluff, and, of course, the forever brown belt to complete the whole.


Towards the end of the week, I am seeking simplicity, combining a well-cut pair of white jeans with a cashmere woollen crop top sweater. It is cosy, but the varied garments' premium textures give this look a quiet luxury vibe; it is uncomplicated yet polished. To add personality, I wear it with the Vejas sneakers, which energise the look, and I layer accessories, such as the brown belt (again, forgotten for the picture!), golden earrings and a necklace. A brown or camel handbag would uplift this outfit a tad more.


With socialisation ramping up on weekends, I like to wear something expressive and festive. I return to the Kowtow Compost t-shirt and pair this top with the Wynn Hamlyn trousers that are less casual-looking and more tailored. Responding to the t-shirt and adding contrast to the dark pants, I would wear the Carel pink shoes, Fluff’s Kia Ora earrings, and a golden necklace, keeping the outfit bright yet elegant.


I am returning to the knitted dress for the last day of the week because it is comfortable, with the tone and fabric adding weight to the look. This time, unlike Tuesday, I want to tip this outfit towards a casual, still chic vibe, combining the dress with the Veja sneakers and wearing it over a brassiere-type bra. It is apt for Spring, gives some coverage, and is very comfortable. The chic vibe comes from the oversized brown Celine glasses and, as usual, bold golden jewellery that help make anything look put together.

Tips for styling your closet

The garments for this season's "Style Your Closet" are diverse—a cotton blazer, an oversized cotton shirt, a cotton t-shirt, a cotton knitted top, another crop top in mixed-cashmere wool, a pair of mom jeans, another pair of jeans, straight cut and white, some woollen slouchy trousers, a knitted dress and an additional three pairs of shoes plus a brown belt. So technically, this month, I made it through with only nine garments. We note that with the temperatures rising, we need fewer garments throughout the week. I would say that if Spring is on the fresher side, we could add a Merino under-layer, typical for the intermediary season, which rounds the total to 10 garments. Also, I had a brassiere. Overall, it is a great play on structure, texture and contrast.

I wear oversized shirts all year long. Oversized shirts can be a bit floaty and quickly look untidy. It happens to me constantly—a casual glance at the mirror, and I am like, "Uh, that's not looking good at all". In my opinion, it all comes from how to tuck the shirt into the pants and cuff up the sleeves so it looks elegant and put together. This video by the New York stylist was an excellent find, showing how to structure the tucking of the shirt, and it is super easy to achieve. It works. Jenna Lyon's technique has been my go-to for many years for rolling the sleeves the nicest way. She dresses brilliantly and knows etiquette. For a demo of how she cuff-up shirt sleeves, it is this way.

Thinking about your outfit, the questions to focus on are about structure, texture and contrast. Does your outfit have enough? What is missing from your silhouette? Usually, something feels off because one of those three elements is missing or downplayed. Accessories are a great way for layering and adding substance to an outfit while reducing the need for extra garments to fluff a look. Some of my preferred reference outfits come with tons of jewellery, a pair of sunglasses, big or small bags and a belt, all together holding the key to the tryptic structure-texture-contrast. For example, throughout this Spring iteration of Style Your Closet, I often used golden, vintage jewellery to structure and bring texture to the outfits. Texturing also works by pairing long and short necklaces over minimalist garments. The belt combined with the white jeans definitively adds contrast, as much as the colourful earrings from Fluff or the Carel pink shoes with darker garments. You can have all types of accessories simultaneously: earrings, sunglasses, a belt, a bag, a hat, a few necklaces, etc. The more, the merrier; you can always adjust as you'd like. Ultimately, it all comes down to creativity, your imagination, play around and try.

Our next "Style your closet: 7 outfits with 10 garments" piece will cover Summer, with always more inspiration to style what you already have and ultimately find yourself. Summer is my favourite season, so I look forward to creating exciting outfits. Let us know what you think about this Spring iteration and if it was helpful to you!

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