How to Incorporate Trends into a Wearable Handmade Wardrobe

I keep a small wardrobe. Some might call it a capsule wardrobe, but I just call it necessary.

Not only does it help me to spend my (very) small clothing budget wisely, it also helps me to feel better in my clothes.

It is incredibly rare that I open my wardrobe and feel like I have nothing to wear because every single piece has been chosen carefully to suit my personal style and to work with the rest of my wardrobe.

Whether I am buying ready-to-wear clothing or making something myself, I tend to gravitate towards basics: high-quality, super wearable garments in neutral colours. My main reason for doing this is because I want my clothing to last me for a long time.

However, a little while ago, I got a couple of questions around the topic of incorporating trends into a classically wearable, handmade wardrobe and I thought it was a great question! Despite my love for timeless basics, I, too, get the urge to try new trends - it can be a fun way of experimenting with my personal style!

But how can we do it responsibly? That’s exactly what I am exploring in my blog post today.

How to Incorporate Trends into a Wearable Handmade Wardrobe

Spend on basics, save on trends

This is my rule of thumb.

Spend the most time and money making wearable basics. You will never regret it since these are the pieces that you will want to wear year after year. High-quality materials and attention to detail will ensure that they are made to last.

Saving on trends could mean using inexpensive materials, making things that require less time or simply purchasing ready-to-wear garments - there is no shame in having a combination of RTW and handmade pieces in your wardrobe.

By following this rule, you are making sure that you don’t waste time and money on clothing that you can’t see yourself wearing long-term. If something you once considered to be a “trend” item suddenly becomes a wardrobe staple, you will know to spend a little more on it next time.

How many “trend” pieces do you need in your wardrobe?

There is no ‘correct’ answer to this question, however, I do love Caroline from Unfancy’s suggestion around adding variety to your capsule wardrobe. She recommends that you have three of each category in your wardrobe: one basic, one statement and one in-between piece. That statement piece is where you can start to have fun with trends.

So, for example, if you have three long sleeved sweaters in your handmade wardrobe, you could have one simple, everyday sweater, one “trendy” sweater and one that is in-between. This approach makes SO much sense to me!

3 easy ways to start introducing trends into your handmade wardrobe

  1. Lay the foundation. There is no point in adding trends to your wardrobe until you have laid the foundation of basics. Once you have a great selection of basics, that’s when you can start filling in any gaps with trend-inspired pieces. These trend pieces can be swapped our seasonally whilst your foundation of basics remains.

  2. Test one trend item at a time. You might be a big fan of millennial pink right now, but who’s to say you won’t be sick of it next year? Rather than knitting everything in pink or whatever else you are interested in, I recommend that you add your trend-inspired pieces one by one. If you end up wearing it all the time, add one more piece. And so on!

  3. Start with accessories. Accessories are the best way to experiment with new trends. They take less time and money to make, plus they are easier to incorporate into your wardrobe than a garment.

Which Autumn/Winter 2017 trends will be creeping into my handmade wardrobe?

Here are three of my favourite trends for AW17. These trends were selected because they don’t look too far off from what my wardrobe looks like right now, yet they would add a bit of freshness to it.

As seen at Givenchy, Roksanda and Max Mara

Red

I actually love red and have been meaning to include some more red in my wardrobe. I have a beautiful red suede jacket that I picked up at a charity shop a few years ago that I feel really good in.

I finally identified that it was the colour that I loved most about it. It’s the perfect shade of Carnelian red - not too dark with a slightly orange tone to it. I would rather like to knit a hat in this colour - it would look fabulous with my navy woollen coat.

As seen at Marni, Preen and Prada

Fluff

In the past, I have shied away from anything with too much of a halo, preferring smooth, almost matte yarns. However recently, I have been craving to cast on something with a bit of fluff to it.

I believe there are two things to blame: the deliciously fuzzy sweater I designed for Laine in The Fibre Company’s Road to China Light and the black cashmere t-shirt I found in a charity shop a couple of years ago. Neither of them are excessively fuzzy, yet they have a soft halo that I am finding very appealing at the moment.

I would love to design another short-sleeved sweater in some kind of fuzzy yarn - possibly even Road to China Light again. (Yes - I’m obsessed!!) Although, if I'm being sensible, it might be better to start off with a shawl and see how often I wear that first.

As seen at Margaret Howell, Dior and Balenciaga

Oversized Sweaters

We all know that I like a decent amount of positive ease in my sweaters, so it will come as no surprise that I will happily be jumping on-board this trend for oversized sweaters.

Whilst I don’t recommend knitting a whole oversized sweater (BIG time and money investment) to someone who is used to wearing close-fitting clothing, this is just a small update on what I usually like to wear, so it feels like there is no risk for me here.

Are trends part of your handmade wardrobe? If so, how do you make them work?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so please do share them in the comments section below. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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