A fashionable person, in my mind, has a killer haircut and killer sculpted arms (I realized I just described Anna Wintour)! That doesn’t mean I do not enjoy a well put together outfit. I do! Which is why I’m too picky to let others shop for me. But I’m just too lazy to deal with the dorji (tailor/ seamstress/ couturier), who never bothers with following instructions anyway. I find design catalog and a large selection of textiles paralyzing and intimidating. So I’ve spent some time to learn about, and adopt the concept of capsule wardrobe, which I’ve interpreted for my deshi wardrobe.
Following the principals laid out on the last post, I’ve added some solids in my deshi capsule. In this particular instance, a latte (the color when milk’s added in coffee) kamiz (long top) and a latte shalwar (loose bottom) form the ‘base’. You do not have to be ‘beige’ like me. You could absolutely devise your own (better) capsule wardrobe infused with your favorite colors, compatible patterns and style!
Other than the sandals, everything presented here I actually own (I did some color adjustment). My sandals were a bit too worn, so while doing this exercise, I decided to eventually buy a neutral beige pair, when the existing pair must be replaced.
Day 1: Latte shalwar-kameez, in combination with a kalamkari scarf/ orna/ dupatta. Let’s throw in a ‘roodrakkho’ bead necklace. It picks up the maroon in the scarf perfectly!
Day 2: In tropical humidity and pollution, surely the kamiz cannot be worn a second day, but the scarf and shalwar is still fairly clean. Let’s swap out the kamiz. Just the kamiz., nothing else. This kamiz actually came with the scarf (or vice versa).
Day 3: By now, through the magic of washing machine or helping hand, the latte kamiz is again ready to go. Let’s pair that with a blue bottom/Shalwar/ pant because the kalamkari scraf -that is still clean- has speckles of blue. A vegetable-dyed pendant with blue-maroon-latte goes well with this color block outfit. (The blue bottom is actually a hand-me-down from one of my nieces. I fished it out from a pile of clothes that was headed to donation.)
Day 4: The kalamkari kamiz is clean now. It can now be worn with blue bottom, with its companion kalamkari scarf.
Day 5: Finally the Kalamkari scarf goes in the washing, but take that initial latte pair again. It can now be paired with a chundri scarf, or a banjara jacket, a gaamchha scarf, a wool infinity scarf, or a contrasting tote (or “jhola”,paired with a wood necklace).
The neutral sandal, neutral bag, and a neutral jacket (I added this to round up the ensemble for winter as well. It happens to have matching blue and brown) go seamlessly with all the outfits. The week is over, and I’ve got almost double mileage from my closet.
For saris, I got a blouse made that matches my skin tone. I wear that same blouse with any color.
I usually buy something when I need it. These days it is often in beige/ black/ grey. Not because I particularly love these colors, but because they are forgiving neutrals that allow a whole range of outfits come together without much effort. People do not notice. People do not care. This whole concept of “what would people think” is a myth. It saves a ton of time and mental energy on what to wear, and it tames ‘the closet full of nothing to wear’ situation.
Like all simple living endeavors, capsule wardrobe also, is about freedom. It saves on laundry, so it’s greener. Provided your laundry situation, you could cut the item number in half. Double the breathing space. The wardrobe does not spill over into linen closet. The linen closet does not spill over into guest closet. Then the guests actually have the rare luxury of having room for their stuff (Hallelujah! It’s a miracle!). You could even move to a smaller space! Packing for a move or a trip is much easier. I, for one, would rather spend my mental energy and time doing things that I truly enjoy, like laying on the floor, doing absolutely nothing.