|Marinières: Comme des Garçons, Saint James|
Among the inspirational pictures I gathered when I started editing my wardrobe, I noticed a recurring element: breton shirts, or marinières. How do you translate inspirations into your own style? In this case, I decided to use the benefit of low priced offerings to make a little experiment.
When I started style searching, figuring out what I liked was the easy part, you only need to find inspirational outfits. The hard part was to find what element of each outfit inspired me exactly, and how to integrate it into my personal style. I already explained one method I used to find out some of these ingredients. With the marinière, here is another one that worked for me.
My earliest most recurring purchase mistakes were to buy something I saw in a picture I liked, only to realize I didn't feel comfortable wearing it, because it didn't fit my silhouette or I didn't like the way I was pairing it. Since I favour quality over quantity, that kind of mistake was costly.
After about a year of style searching, here is a method I decided to apply before investing in a new basic, staple or expensive garment. I used it to find out many of my current staples, and rule out some elements that were best admired from afar.
The first step of this method is to identify a recurring element in my inspirations, by trying to find themes or common elements to my inspirational picture folder. Here, a marinière themed selection.
|Sources: Comptoir des Cotonniers, tumblr|
Then, the second step is to figure out how this translates into my style. For this, I'd to the five outfits exercise, a.k.a imagine five different outfits featuring a breton shirt and existing pieces from my closet.
1. Casual elegant: with denim, suede ankle boots and a blazer
2. Relaxed: With hooded cardigan, jeans and Converse
3. Traveler: With black pants, suede leather jacket and oxfords
4. Summer: With light grey shorts and brown sandals
5. Evening: with black pants, ballet flats and golden jewerly
Third step: the experiment part. Instead of investing straight away in quality breton shirts, I have decided to start off with a simple, low cost one. I settled for a black and white even stripes one from Muji, to actually try it out in real life. There is no other way to know if you're going to be comfortable wearing something unless you actually do, for a full day and not five minutes in a shop.
Finally, if the experiment is a success, meaning if I wore the cheap test garment a lot and felt good in it, it's time for the real purchase, the qualitative one. In my case, it wasn't hard to decide. I wore my Muji breton shirt so often it fell apart in less than six months.
A little recap of the marinière experiment:
- Identify a recurring element among your sources of inspiration
- Imagine five outfits featuring elements of your closets and this new element
- Purchase a low cost version of this element to try it out for a few months
- If this is a success, invest in a quality piece
- Create a new staple of yours by integrating related garments over time
I settled for a high quality version of the same marinière: black and white, even stripes, from Comme des Garçons. After a few months, I completed it with a more classical one, a cream and navy one from Saint James.
These two have become part of my core wardrobe, I wear them at least than once a week each. On the first picture above, I was on holidays in Alsace wearing the Comme des Garçons in the "casual elegant" outfit, with light blue denim, black blazer and chocolate brown ankle boots.
Now that I know marinière is one of my signatures, next time one of my tops wears out, I might as well look for a marinière in a similar colour as a replacement...