My #5lookschallenge on Instagram – and why layering is so important

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Capsule wardrobes are all about versatile items, but they are also a way of living sustainably and refusing the “real cost” of fast fashion.

This week on Instagram I have been uploading outfits using 5 different items from my wardrobe, in response to People Tree’s #5lookschallenge on social media. This challenge was clearly designed with women in mind, so I’ve had to adapt the rules a bit (which were 3 pieces, worn over 5 days, with 1 piece of jewellery and 1 accessory to create 5 distinct outfits). Firstly, I didn’t count my shoes, but I did use the same pair in each outfit. Secondly, other than a watch – which I personally don’t count – I don’t wear jewellery. Finally, I took all the pictures at once – I wouldn’t wear a t-shirt 5 days in a row, I’d have swapped that layer each day for a grey, black, or slate-grey t-shirt. I’m afraid men are at a distinct disadvantage in a “5×5” challenge like this, because unless you don’t count certain items you can easily use 5-6 in one outfit (i.e. a t-shirt, a layer like a sweatshirt, a jacket, jeans, an accessory and/or shoes). For this reason I’m strongly considering the un-fancy 10×10 challenge (10 items, 10 days) for another post here on WordPress and series on Instagram. Give some thoughts and experiences below vis-a-vis 10×10.

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Western check shirt / skinny jeans / boots

This is an easy to wear look which I have worn on dozens of occasions. It’s simple to put together, and relies solely on the quality and fit of the pieces involved. There’s no stressing on silly details like clashing prints or co-ordinating difficult colours, so what’s left is the silhouette and what the weather/occasion is. When I go out I like my silhouette to be sharp, but not ultra-skinny. This is a style that personally makes me feel at ease, but still confident and cool. This post covers 2 ways of wearing this outfit, with and without layering.

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My ‘Just for when’ rule for my capsule wardrobe

On a recent episode of The Minimalists Podcast, Ryan and Josh were discussing the value of gathering “just for when” items. Josh had watched a documentary which had made him think about how unprepared he was for inevitabilities – e.g. a week-long loss of electricity at home in the Pacific North-West. This made me wonder: the idea of just in case items is such a pervasive one, it leads to such clutter, that we spend most of our time buying too much, and buying too much of what we will never really need to stockpile. Most people today, I’m sure, aren’t guilty of buying too much preserved or tinned food – they buy too much fresh food and then a lot of the time, they throw it away.

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