Separates, separates everywhere! Mix-n-match separates! Believe me, I understand why they are everywhere- they are loved because we currently live in a culture of hyper casual dress, and they are lauded as providing more wardrobe options as they are mixed and matched (which adds even more emphasis to casual appearance). I need to tell you, there is a dark side to separates. I'm especially lookin' at you sister capsule bloggers.
Tell me that the above set I created doesn't look painfully familiar. Why are so many wardrobes so horribly lacking in personality?
Separates are overrated because:
1. Casual is not the epitome of progress. It has a use and a place, but the way we present ourselves is a huge communication tool, and I like to think there is more to be visually communicated than "I'm on break from marathon Netflix in bed".
2. When your goal is to maximize mix-match-ability, you will be forced to choose fairly plain items and rely almost entirely on accessories for visual personality. This isn't bad, but I think you could do better.
3. It doesn't flatter many people to create the line breaks that this separates approach takes, and it takes more effort to blend the line and complete a cohesive look than if you had chosen a smashing dress or suit. There are casual dresses and suits that would launch you so far from Netflix in bed.
4. Option overload. Sure, you have a closet full of separates, but do you actually wear and pair them all? Do you enjoy it? Wouldn't it be easier to have a handful of complete looks just ready for you to grab and go, knowing it's already fabulous?
5. While the separates approach doesn't look awful on very many people, it also isn't enhancing anyone, due to the profound lack of flavor. Solids in neutrals (white, grey, navy, brown, cream, blue denim/chambray) are really really great. As filler. They are what you use when the rest of the outfit is loud and has already made the statement of YOU. Or you wear solids in neutrals as a statement themselves- modern/minimal, but in this case, there is a large burden placed on the style of the garment(s) to make a statement. A white button-up and a black skirt aren't going to do it. A white button up with sheer panels and bell sleeves, and a black midi skirt with fabric knots/twists and an asymmetric hem might do it- for a subdued look.
I get wanting wardrobe to be easy and to be comfortable. I even get wanting to blend into the crowd in a way that is aesthetically pleasing without calling attention to yourself. But you're reading my blog, and I want more for you. We can do easy and comfortable (not pajama comfortable, but easy walking comfortable), but we have to do it in a way that really sees you, and then chooses to enhance what it sees. Death to mix and match wardrobes.
This capsule wardrobe was put together quickly, and without anyone in particular in mind, so it isn't as cohesive as it could be, but if you ask me any day of the week which wardrobe I'd want, or which I'd want to see on someone, I will hands down always choose this second capsule.
The first/typical capsule has 240 possible combinations, each as dull as the last. It's an impressive number from 15 pieces. With the personality capsule, 14 pieces makes 80 possible combinations. If you added another pant of some kind, you could have 15 pieces and 128 possible combinations- still only half that of the first, but how many do you need? How many combinations will you wear? What makes you feel expressed and joyful to wear? What's easier to look great in?
Thank-you for indulging my agitation. I truly understand the appeal of neutral-heavy, mix & match, separates, and I will continue to help you wrangle them and make them work as you wish. Just know that there is another way of doing things, and it could be even better.