Monday, 4 January 2010

New Year, New Wardrobe?

Could the rational wardrobe of the fascist era work for you in 2010?

Whilst enjoying a spot of procrastination during my first day back in the office, I spotted the above striking image over on Fantastic Man. Our favourite online gentleman's style journal dished up a piece on the rational wardrobe of Fascist Italy after being inspired by the recently published hardback Fashion at the Time of Fascism. The rational fascist wardrobe includes only one sweater, no sportswear to speak of, and twenty two handkerchiefs. I find these options to be a little bleak for my tastes but I concede that too much choice might not be a good thing. Just imagine how simple the process of getting dressed each morning would be with such few choices to make. My preferred method of getting dressed does not even require the opening of a door or drawer because I have what I need on the back of my trusty chair...Of course, I do have a wardrobe and it is full of clothes but I just prefer to have my favourite pieces out on show...much to the bemusement and annoyance of Susie and no doubt Mussolini. Rationalising is the solution. Part detox, part re-start, the rational wardrobe – not the ideal, but one that functions – is efficient, modular and mistake-free. Choices should be tightly edited and renewed seasonally to keep it fresh. What would your contemporary version consist of?

The daily recommendation could not have come at a more pertinent time what with all this talk of resolutions for the New Year and the fact that I was reminded of my ever expanding wardrobe by a reader just yesterday. An anonymous commenter remarked "all this talk of clothes does make me wonder how much storage space you actually have?". Both of us at Style Salvage approve of a regular clear, every season or two and have in fact posted on a couple of our experiences (here and here). Ever since I first stumbled across the term via E. Tautz website I have been fascinated with the art of wardrobe building. This of course will not entail me taking hold of a hammer and a bag of nails but instead will require the thoughtful and measured collection of sartorial pieces. So the fascist ideal might not necessarily be for me but it has certainly provoked thought and I will return to this idea when the moment comes to purge my own wardrobe.


Kalle said...

Funny timing. I've just spent the last couple of days meticulously fine-tuning a list of items I feel should belong to a functional, highly edited wardrobe. I originally thought I was just expressing my tendencies towards minimalism and simplicity. Now I'm a little worried that my project might make me a closet fascist.

Jake said...

My wardrobe is badly in need of rationalising, but giving away clothes is always so painful!

Anonymous said...

Hi - it was me who left the post, i keep forgetting to sign my name and thanks for the tips - am going to follow through with some of them. Plus I would recommend a gander to folk to see some of the new spring summer stuff they have out already as it is great - Ernest

Anonymous said...

Plus, have you seen the new rodarte for men collection at opening ceremony. It looks messy and disappointing but it would be interesting to hear your opinion. Ernest

CLICK HERE said...


Unknown said...

oh i need to do a little "spring cleaning" in wardrobe is begging for some order...;))

Style Salvage Steve said...

Kalle: Ha, in that case then so am I! I'm intrigued by your finely tuned list, would you be able to divulge what is currently on it?
Jake: I feel your pain but it doesn't affect me. I only become attached to a handful of special items and then I'm happy to find the rest of it a happy home if I know deep down that I'll never wear it again.
Ernest: I thought it might be you but I couldn't be certain. Thanks for the tip with regards to folk, I plan on stopping bu their new store this weekend. As for those Rodarte for Opening Ceremony jumpers and cardigans my initial reaction was that those sisters must be insane. Who will pay that? I agree with you, it seems like a waste to me. That said, I'd be happy to accept one as a gift though, I'm sure I could make it work...
If Jane: Get to it then...and let us kno how you get on.

Ivan McK said...

Waredrobe building is an essential part of a balanced social diet. I love the diagram and although I am not a facist (at least I don't think I am), I am on a continuous revamp 2 minimize the quantity of garments and maximize their potency.

Great post.


Andrew said...

wow, incredible blog!
wish I came across it sooner

Unknown said...

Oh my, I only just discovered 'Style Salvage' and I'm instantly enamoured with it.
Love the simple lay-out, the post quality and the fact that your blog is ad-free!
I'm a newbie to the men's fashion blogs world, but I recognize a good blog when I see one.
Have a nice day!


Style Salvage Steve said...

Ivan McK: Well said. In fact, I might just have to appropriate that turn of phrase for myself, ha!
Chip: Thank you, don't worry though we aren't going anywhere and in the meantime, have a look through our archives.
Ghostboy: Thank you so much for your kind words. Out of interest, how did you find us?

Kalle said...

Sure. The fine-tuning bit might not be obvious, though, as my tweaking seemed to increase the number of items rather than decreasing it. But that's just realism creeping in, I suppose.

Excluding underwear, outer garments, sporting gear and accessories I ended up with 7 graphic tees, 15 button-downs, 5 cardigans, 8 knit sweaters, 5 other sweaters, 5 hoodies, 6 pairs of jeans, 4 cotton pants, 2 corduroy pants, 2 creased wool pants, shorts, 2 suits, 4 jackets or blazers, 6 pieces of headgear and a total of 15 pairs of footwear.

For most of the categories I also listed the types of garment that are or should be included, eg. for cardigans my list reads: black, short; black, long; light gray; dark grey; lined extra-warm.

As another example, for footwear I listed black cap-toe oxfords, brown brogues, dress boots, workwear boots, winter bots, running shoes, sandals, galoshes, both brown and black casual rubber-soled shoes, loafers, casual black lo-top sneakers, black leather hi-top sneakers, canvas sneakers and a pair of nice quirky sneakers preferably in burgundy or other more flashy colour.

The numbers try to strike a balance between what I have accumulated and what my actual needs are. This is by no means hardcore minimalism, but the list does intend to realistically represent the whole of my wardrobe and not just the core of it.

More than anything, this exercise has helped me develop an awareness of my sartorial possessions. Armed with my list, I was able to get trough after-Christmas sales effectively and without a single case of buyer's remorse. Everything I bought felt like something I already owned.

Unknown said...

Oh, I found you through randomly clicking on the links from OOoOO's blog!


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