The Good Ick #30: LRP For The Closet

Sometimes you get that uneasy feeling; the one that kind of seizes you and you stop and look around to figure out what precipitated it. Was it the flash of a newspaper headline? A song that momentarily transported you to a place you had forgotten? Or was it a jacket that caught your eye, and what should have been a creative, intriguing feeling ended up making you a bit anxious?

Now, if that Cruel Intentions soundtrack reminds you of that unfortunate night at that bar in Lan Kwai Fong, I can’t help you with that. But, if that hand crocheted sweater quickly escalated from love to a nervous sweat, I know why it happens, and more importantly, how to fix it.

It all comes down to having information. The right information. At the advent of ecommerce, marketing geniuses determined that all they needed to do was give people a reason to “shop” and that people, in turn, would mentally give themselves “permission to purchase”.. “It’s national dog adoption week. Buy this spotted coat.”

illustration of dog and coat

Well, that’s not good enough for me. And for the critical thinkers in my DMs, it’s not sufficient for you either. Information means power. When you see an item in the abstract, and do not know how it fits into an ecosystem, it can be unnerving. Information given to me absent of context always unnerves me. In business, if you tell me the costs came in at “X” and walk away, I can feel my stress level go through the roof. What was the budget? What did we spend last year? Where did all the other costs come land in comparison? What’s the total impact to the bottom line?

Clothing is kind of the same thing. When you see something you love, a jacket that has a sleeve that curves just so, it can excite you. Like the aforementioned business interaction, if you tell me the project cost $X, I might feel thrilled at first, until you give me the context. Ergo, if you understand where to place the well-loved jacket in the context of what you’ve bought in the past, and what you may buy in the future, it settles you and you’re free to love it even more. Conversely, if you know you can’t place it in the context of your current and future closet, it will still settle you; because you have affirmed that you love it, but it is not for you because it requires a new wardrobe just to support it. Or you decide that it’s just that incredible and provokes you to explore cold evolving your style and jumpstart your style evolution.

It really comes down to that murky zone when you lack information that feels unsettling. Will you wear it? With what? What else can you buy to wear with it? Can you copy this person’s look exactly? You are probably stressed reading this last sentence, see?

Information gives you control, eliminating the feeling that fate calls the shots. I am not a TYPE-A controlling person and I believe that the most incredible things happen when they’re unplanned. But here’s the secret: anything that happens unplanned is only great when it was actually planned for, in a way. The control happens because all the foundational elements were solid. So solid that you can afford to be looser and experiment because you’ll stay on track.

“Luck is an accident that happens to the confident.” Albert M Greenfield. “Style is an accident that happens to the informed.” Me.

Your closet is the same way. Plan well, and the accidentally fabulous outfits happen, so spontaneously that they exude effortlessness. Because they are. Here’s what I mean:

This black leather shirred top. Maybe a visual from the runway show made you fantasize about the top. If you know for certain that there are ways you’ll wear it, no new wardrobe required, the decision making becomes easier.

photo of models backstage wearing tibi clothing

When you’re making an investment, it’s good to know, for example, that your pleated oversized khakis will take this rich leather top and erase any hint of ego. A big belt and trainers will double down on that vibe. Or your nylon Stellas, paired with a flat sandal and a pair of strong earrings, you know this will feel just right no matter how dressy or chill the occasion. And the big bonus, if you can imagine pulling out your favorite items you bought ages ago - these are my Marni boots here from 2017(??) - that will feel new and like me, here. Paired with any of my trench coats and a trouser skirt, I can envision all the days I’ll be sporting this look.

illustrated flat lays of clothing from tibi and accessories from other designers

The same thought process goes for this nylon embroidery skirt. The selection of fabrication here was incredibly purposeful - the nylon exudes effortlessness to balance out the richness of the embroidery and classic design.

editiorial image of models wearing tibi clothing

When a design embraces all the chill, modern and classic elements in one piece, you KNOW you’ll wear it. But envisioning HOW you’ll wear it with pieces already in your closet helps you make better decisions. Especially when something may seem relegated to more dressy occasions, it’s empowering to know how you’ll mix it with your WOF’s, like your cut-out navy sweatshirt you love. The tonal colors keep the look seamless - sometimes when you try for too much irony, you end up a little unsure what to wear. The navy on black here makes this great for dinner out, with a lot of ease. The gold sandal gives the bright spot - the “one” of “one/ton/none”, paired with the Gisele tank that’s likely sitting in your t-shirt drawer, a flat sandal, and a baseball cap makes this a great proposition for the farmer’s market (preferably the one in St. Jean Cap Ferrat if I had my pick). Knowing that this works in the Fall gives you better data for deciding. The tall Bronson boot - if you’ve invested in this recently – perfects your favorite denim shirt, another great WOF.

illustrated women wearing tibi fundamentals clothing

And the Sid here, in the cotton with a bit of shine, what’s not to love? And while this on every level seems like a no brainer, it’s helpful to know how it will give functionality to many other pieces in your closet.

illustration of different cooking

It’s empowering to know that the items you already own and would love to wear just a little bit more - a red tee (this is our cashmere one here), a black tube top, or an icy mint green knit that you’d like to get more use out of, all work here. We know that any investment in that Ring 3 color range tends to give life to what you already own. We named the color for this Sid “acorn” because it hinted “sort of khaki, sans the prep, a tiny undertone of red, a hint of grey.”

illustrated women wearing tibi fundamentals clothing

So, you see, when you’re in the falling-in-love stage with a piece, conceptual thinking reigns. You’re imagining how a style will make you feel, heeding the goosebumps on your arm. But, when the panic sets in, and you’re trying to figure out how you’ll put your look together? How much will you really wear it? How will you feel about it three years from now? You now have tools to make these decisions and make them well. If you have been wardrobe investing with the Creative Pragmatist principles in mind - your three adjectives: Chill, Modern, Classic - or the idea of myriad textures - the IGS - or a range of proportions -Big, Slim, Skin - then it is highly probable that each new subsequent piece will likely fold into the next.

Remember this: each piece Traci and I create continues the story. We design with the concept of the next chapter rather than an entirely new book…bonus assurance for solid decision making. Ok?

Explore Tibi.