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

Inspiration to shop your wardrobe while reducing your clothing consumption

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

Published August 31 2023

We will never say it enough: in the Western world, we have to buy less clothing. And that doesn’t mean we have to feel helpless. Stop loving fashion. I learned early on that fashion is foremost about style and not about how many garments you have piling up in your wardrobe. Style is something of creativity, self-expression, and how you make it your own. Style is not related to brands or trends, and you don’t improve your style by buying more but by learning more, feeding your soul with exceptional references and collecting images. And a bit of introspection. The way you wear your clothes is an utterance of who you are, feel, want or not want to be. For me, that is what makes some people stand out more than others. So when you feel you are hitting a wall with your wardrobe, it is not necessarily because you need more clothes but more that you need new ideas and challenge your imagination. And from there, it comes back to your wardrobe, and to style your closet.

Styling your closet, diving deeper into your influences and exploring your taste

My biggest fashion influence is coming from the States. I watched Sex and the City over and over, and Carrie’s vision—Patrica Field truly, her way of doing fashion struck me forever. A mix of high-end and affordable, thrifted pieces, colours, and materials that all together make you stand out of the crowd without caring about trends. My other influences are definitively cultural: the eternal Yves Saint Laurent, its perfect smoking; Balenciaga, Spain, bright colours; Italy’s classic chic garments; Impressionism art. Then Garance Dore’s blog, featuring inspiring people like Emmanuelle Alt, stripping away the fuss to keep the essentials. Later on, came the importance of quality material, good stitching and cutting, and how it makes all the difference. Polyester will never look, and feel as good as wool or cotton. The truth is, despite my love for Fashion, I seriously paid attention to second-hand only a couple of years ago, going away from fast fashion and its unsustainable business model and from fashion over-consumption.

In the Autumn edition of "Style your closet", I started to explore Allison Bornstein's famous three-word method—what you wear often, what you aspire to with your outfit, and the emotion you want to express to the world through your clothing. My original three words were not super defined, as I often wear garments with 90s influences, but I like 80s and occasional 70s vibes too. I also went for minimalism, but I like patterns and contrasted layers! And though I love colourful clothing, a lot of my garments are pale, blue, beige, grey, in other words, of neutral tones. I figured it was time to review my three words. Bornstein also gives an extended list of words to help you find yours in her book. You can also look for ideas here and there.

After some thinking, I reframed my defining words:

  • I often wear garments that give me a polished look.
  • I aspire to wear playful outfits influenced by the 80s and 90s aesthetics, which were the fashion years of my childhood.
  • I want to express feelings of standing out and confidence.

Have you found your three words yet?

As I did for the last “Style your closet”, I picked garments that are easy to find in your personal wardrobe to style outfits, like boots, oversized coats, jeans and sweaters. My three words structure this Winter edition; therefore, you’ll find high-waisted pants, cropped and slouchy crewnecks, oversized coats, good quality garments and natural fibres. This time, my words are more precise; I associate pieces of neutral tones with occasional coloured or patterned clothes for that touch of playfulness I aspire to with my clothing. Winter is the season of early night and cold, and I feel in need of a bright energy vibe to balance the low light. It also digs into more creativity and tights back into my early influence from Patricia Field (super toned down, though!).

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

Alright, now for the meat of it. I don't know about you, but I tend to associate feelings or ideas with a particular day of the week. It's generally how my mind wanders. This gives me additional constraints, narrowing my outfit options a bit more and helping me style my closet. Most garments in this Style Your Closet Winter feature are second-hand unless stated otherwise.


To start the week, I simply picked one of my favourite outfits. I like this combination of grey woollen trousers from Acne Studios, a Kowtow sweater, black leather boots covered by the pants, and a dark green oversized Kowtow coat in Merino for venturing outside. It’s elegant, looks put together, with personality, while being warm with light colours.


On Tuesdays, I want to create a presence that is still somewhat cool and careless all at once. I switched the garments, reusing my all-season Maggie Marilyn Merino black dress, which was a gift from Benoit, layered with one of my favourite knitted sweaters from Anyela Paris, a gift to myself. It’s all paired with some season-free Acne boots that go with everything. The overall is topped with a camel coat.


Mid-week, I prefer to feel relaxed, as regularly, this day was also building site visits day, involving long driving. My outfit has to be extra comfortable. I am wearing some Redone blue jeans, bought a few years ago on sale, always with my vintage belt, my bright yellow sweater, a statement in itself, and Timberland shoes keeping my feet warm all day. It is topped with the Kowtow coat. I like that this outfit tests and tries the “wrong shoe” theory (see more after), and that by its colour-palette, brings contrast with the low radiance of winter days.


On Thursday, I went for an uncomplicated silhouette, yet classic in black with good-quality pieces—my favourite black jeans from ethical brand Outland Denim (yes, the same ones that Meghan Markle wore in Australia in 2018, but I got mine before she did!) and a warm, comfortable Wynn Hamlyn high-neck sweater that I got on sale a few years ago. The Acne boots bring some contrast to this outfit, as does wearing the camel coat outside.


For the end of the traditional working week, I quickly picked what I had around—blue jeans (always with a belt for additional texture), the Anyela Paris sweater with its cool vibe, and some warm Timberland boots. I topped it all with the Kowtow coat for effective insulation.


I often socialise a bit more on weekends, particularly Saturdays. For going out without compromising with being cold, I like something chic and funky, pairing the Acne grey pants with the yellow sweater for that textured pop of colour, the black boots for warm high heels and the elegant green coat.


My Sunday best is totally laid back. I want to feel super comfortable, so I wear the Merino dress, the Kowtow sweater and the super warm Timberland boots (only if I go out of the house, though!). And for these potential excursions, I wrap myself in the camel coat. Cosy.

Tips for styling your closet

Using a handful of garments, I created 7 winter outfits. To stay warm, I had two different coats, a dark green and a camel, a black dress, and four different sweaters: one black high neck, one crop bi-colour black and beige, a white knitted and another cropped but yellow. For the bottom, I came up with some black jeans plus a classic dark blue pair, and also some grey woollen trousers. To withstand the cold, I selected three types of shoes: the forever camel suede boots, some Timberland boots and a pair of vintage black high boots. For accessories, I am always using sunglasses for those rare sunny days or bright white light grey days. Not pictured but often worn on those single-digit temperature days, beanies and scarves are a must. I could have worn more jewellery too, necklaces and different earrings to add contrast and texture to the outfits. I enjoyed playing with these different thick fabrics, proportions, textures and colours.

If I want to swap pieces, opening up the boundaries of the 10 garments, I can switch the dress with a wonderful vintage wool skirt, mine is from Aotearoa, New Zealand label Thornton Hall. I also have another sweater from Wynn Hamlyn that is red and will replace the yellow knit I wore for this article. Any jeans can swap any jeans. And some chunky sneakers or Converse will replace boots easily. In addition, if, like me, you do not handle any temperature below 15 degrees without feeling frost, layering is your go-to. I always wear a Merino top under everything. It also prevents my skin from touching the hand-wash-only wool sweaters, therefore helping the garment last longer between washes. And the truth is, wool garments air out very well, too. A shirt underneath a sweater, with the collar popping out at the neck, would also work. It would drive the outfit towards a more polished or elegant silhouette.

Finally, as evoked earlier, a last tip for this season is to practise “the wrong shoe theory”, a concept clarified by Allison Bornstein. This theory is something straightforward and easily adds dimension to any look. The wrong shoe theory means wearing shoes that won’t fit the outfit. For example, wearing a tailored suit with a skirt, people will naturally pair it with stilettos. Switch with some sneakers, and the result is a cooler outfit. This concept is a way to infuse personality and particularity into your outfit. I think it also works with other garments, not just shoes, like the yellow sweater from this edition, for example. It is about having something off in your outfit, something weird that automatically makes the silhouette interesting. It is going the opposite way of boring. More importantly, it shows intentions in how you dress, which is what styling is about.

Being based on seasons, there will be another "Style Your Closet: 7 outfits with 10 garments" piece for Spring, still based on the New Zealand calendar, as it is where we have lived. I am looking forward to longer daylights, less cold and more bright colours. Let us know what you think and if this piece was helpful to you!

Trace shot this series on Kodak Portra 160 and UltraMax 400 films. Scanned and developed by Splendid Photo, socials

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