Anyone lifting their umbrella for long enough this month would have noticed the high streets awash with a nostalgic spread of white and black, the 60’s silhouettes, the Mad Men-like simplicity of colour and shape and an air of clean-cut chic. S/S2013 is all about minimalism, from monochrome to sheer panels and figure flattering drop waists. While it may well be that the only white we’ve seen of late has been snow, there’s definitely a faint whisper of spring in the air. Really! Maybe it’s all the floral on the high street, but I’m thinking summer fetes and garden parties, lemonade and linen, cucumber sarnies and brass bands… all that Great Gatsby stuff.
Alas the weather didn’t quite get the memo, which means we might still have a few weeks of stubborn grey ahead of us. What better time for a spring clean? In the words of fashion Goddess and champion of all things chic, Coco Chanel; “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”
But with six months of winter clothes piling up in my wardrobe and To Do list that I never got around to actually doing (due to a: snow, b: laziness) ‘minimal’ seems as far-fetched as a Pina Colada on a hot beach. Every task has to start somewhere, and before my wardrobe was getting a monochrome makeover, I was going to give one to myself. I was going to monochrome me!
Taking the Yin with the Yang
Immortalised by Chinese mythology (and a spate of early 90’s tattoos,) yin yang is the ancient Chinese belief of taking the good with the bad. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, so if every cloud has a silver lining, every silver lining will also have a cloud.
Beating yourself up about working harder, eating better or being happier will only make it harder to appreciate all the good stuff when it comes along. Easier said than done perhaps, but balance in my closet had to start with balance in my life and I really really wanted a Moschino pinny dress in my closet so I definitely had to give it a try.
Turns out it was easier than it seems! I decided to balance a hard day’s work with a glass of Prosecco. Paying off my credit card with a tiny online shop and a sesh at the gym with a perfectly balanced spoon…. OK bowl, of tiramisu. It’s OK because the ancient Chinese say so!
Simplify the way you think
Recent research has shown that it takes twice as long to complete a task when you’re focusing on another at the same time. So while multitasking seems like a genetically endowed feminist superpower, it might actually be slowing us down. Maybe there’s something we can learn from the clear blocks and stripes of the catwalk. If only life could be so simple, if only my ‘e-mail hour’ didn’t turn into Googling surf lodges for May bank holiday, and my twitter research slot didn’t turn into a You Tube binge of singing goat videos (they really are very funny.)
I’ll fully admit I check my Whatsapp like a nervous tick all the way through most dinners and yes life would be much easier if everything went into little monochrome-print Prada boxes. I decided to turn off my Whatsapp alerts. For at least a day.
Streamline your wardrobe
With phase two of my metamorphosis (more or less) complete, I had to address the most important part of the transformation: the wardrobe update. We’re actually spoilt for choice this season in terms of style and I want to do it all! 60’s, orient, poufy peasant skirts and transparent panels. Then there’s the whole neon situation and graphic tees.
Mixing it up is good, and I’m a sucker for throwing everything together and hoping it floats, but doing it all means risking looking like Napoleon Dynamite got confused at the laundromat. A few staple pieces add balance to your wardrobe and allow you room to play around with styles. These are my faves:
Zip Gaucho boot- Russell and Bromley
Black, suade double gold zip. Need I say more?
Etched metal detail sunglasses – Accessorize
They’re pink, they’re bold, they so Megan Draper. If only Acessorize sold a matching Don.
Wild Willa tote- Marc Jacobs
Simplicity and colour in one. Fully in love with this handbag, and seeing as I saved so much on the sunglasses…
Bow front mesh shirt – Christopher Kane
Just the right amount of cheeky. Tuck into jeans, wear over a dress or as a dress.
Pleated shorts- Topshop
The A-line will make your bum look great.
Elson straight leg jeans- Citizen of Humanity
Just what wizardry went into these jeans is a mystery but I’ll sing their praises from any rooftop accessible via lift (what? I’m wearing white!)