29 Apr how do i get dressed…
Last year around June I was featured in the Elle Magazine for a wardrobe feature, alongside fashion designer Abigail Betz, blogger and boutique owner Milisuthando Bongela and some other cool and stylish Joburgers. I was cleaning up my desktop, as you do at 3:25AM, and came across the original email interview.
How do you get dressed? Do you plan your outfit before you even open the closet doors?
I generally have no recollection of half the clothes I own because I’m a ‘keeper’ – not a hoarder – but a ‘keeper’. Sometimes I even forget that I own something until I see it in a photograph or something. I have some beautiful things that I absolutely love and have to stop myself from wearing too much. I never plan outfit, which is why I can’t go to the gym in the morning and have to get dressed there., because I know that I might go to sleep feeling one way and wake up wanting to be someone else.
Or do you look at what’s there and take inspiration from that?
I tend to put the things I love on top of the neat pile of clothes or hanging in the most visible place in my wardrobe, therefore they tend to become the pieces that make the rounds and by default inspire the rest of the outfit.
Do you pull everything out? Do you go through several wardrobe changes?
I only entertain wardrobe changes before a night out where a boy must be impressed. I generally don’t know how to dress to impress boys. My style is vintage and quirky at times. I prefer demure hemlines and coquettish Blair Waldorf type looks, which is not sexy to the general male population, so that is the only time I have had to go beyond and outside of me to style up something different. I also tend to do only one wardrobe change when I’m feeling fat (or am actually fat) and the envisioned outfit makes my derriere look like a bus. Other than the two reasons listed – I wouldn’t mess up my wardrobe for any old day and I like what I own.
Do you have any recollections about a mom or aunt or big sister’s closet that may have influenced your own?
I loved my mother’s wardrobe and I still love it today, because she never threw away anything. I look at her pictures when she and my dad were dating and her style was impeccable. Even her 80’s power- dressing phase has yielded some gems, which are now part of my wardrobe. There are a plethora of photographs from when my sister’s and I used to play dress up in my mother’s clothes when we were younger, which is when I think we fell in love with her clothes and which is why we fight now over who gets what.
Is there a theme to your closet?
Vintage and second hand is the strongest theme in my closet. I hardly ever buy anything that is new anymore or have to because of my mother’s wardrobe.
Are there categories in your wardrobe? How do you organise your wardrobe?
My wardrobe is organised according to categories – dresses, jackets and so forth. The really special items or rather clothing that I consider to be ‘going out’ clothing, is displayed on hangers, whilst the rest get folded nicely on shelves and are organised according to colour or season.
Is it pristine or messy and colourful?
I wouldn’t say it is pristine, but it certainly is not messy. My wardrobe is a work in progress. I am constantly trying to figure out new ways to make the organisation in my wardrobe better and more efficient. To be quite honest, I need a walk in closet.
What are you wardrobe staples?
I don’t really have wardrobe staples. I don’t even own the essential ‘crisp white shirt.’ If I were to talk about items I feel like I definitely need, I would speak of white and black vests and pretty cardigans, because at the best of times, I can be a layering kind of girl.
How would you describe your style?
Vintage inspired, quirky and street. I like to turn even the most feminine floral dresses into something edgy and street.
How is this reflected both in the contents of the wardrobe and the way things are arranged?
The items in my wardrobe that I love and adore, and are displayed on hangers, are the items I bought for less than R100 at second hand stores or that I sneaked out of my parent’s home from my mother’s rails of clothing.
Do you have regular clearouts?
Not regular enough. I am very good at giving away things that I have fallen out of love with or that just don’t suit me.
Are there things you know you’ll never wear again but hold onto for sentimental or other reasons?
A pair of beautiful cream python pointed high heels, that Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in Scarface; Elvira would have worn. They are so old and damaged and I keep them because they are still one of the most beautiful shoes I have put my feet in. (I am sad to announce that I recently got rid of these… Well, they are in a pile that’s meant to go to Hospice or the trash…so I think I’m going to save them and keep them)
Any wardrobe mistakes?
Of course! The most recent fashion mistake I remember was buying a strapless harem pant jumpsuit. It just plain and simple didn’t suit me, but I bought into the hype and I paid dearly for it with my debit card.
What dominates? Shoes? Handbags? Hats?
Handbags and belts definitely dominate because I believe in accessories the way Obama believes in healthcare. When I turned 21 almost everyone gave me a handbag (and I didn’t have a registry) and belts with statement buckles are the answer to every fashion question I have.
What is your shopping strategy? Impulse buys or planned with precision?
I have an impulsive, yet planned shopping strategy. When my wardrobe needs inspiration in a certain category, for example, the bottoms department of my wardrobe, I will go out looking for just bottoms. This search will include slacks, skirts etc and I won’t know exactly what I’m looking for, but if it falls under the category of bottoms, then I will buy it.
Which are current favourite items?
At the moment, I am having a love affair with my witchy boots from a second hand clothing sale. The day I bought them, I wasn’t really trying to go shopping and I came across these boots that hadn’t fitted anyone else except me, so I bought them… and two dresses, a blouse and a handbag. The boots inspired. My second favourite item is a green velvet high waisted skirt that my mother gave to me. The skirt is sensational and we are married, not having an affair – married… for life.
How do your clothes and your style connect to your lifestyle?
This is a painfully corny answer, but the clothes that I wear and my style is my lifestyle, in that I don’t really care where I’m going and how everyone else is going to be dressed, I still dress the way I dress. I can be at a music festival out on a farm somewhere and you will still see the same me, maybe with Wellingtons on… just kidding.
What would you love to add to your wardrobe if you could anything?
I would love to find a great pair of jeans. I own one pair of jeans that were given to me and I never wear them. I often see other women wearing jeans in a way I have never seen and I wish I could be a denim jeans kind of girl.
If the house was on fire, which three things in the wardrobe would you grab first?
The cream white patent python heels that remind of Elvira (if I haven’t thrown these damaged shoes away already, I can’t let a fire damage them), the velvet green high waisted skirt because it is a work of art that must be preserved and the handbag I have on my shoulder (either way I will love it), unless it is the black studded one I bought from Meltz, because that was a super trend purchase, which means then I’d like to include my witchy boots.