Playing with texture

Playing with texture

Team, you know I love a rainbow of colours in my wardrobe.  I’m currently wearing a bright red knitted jumper with red lipstick – I am not scared of colour.  Occasionally, however, I want to participate in the time honoured Wellington past-time of wearing All The Black.  There are two things to be aware of – one, not all blacks are the same shade, and two, you want to avoid an outfit that is boring and ugggggh (*lies down on ground in despair*). 

This brings us to our good friend, textures.  They make an outfit more visually stimulating, just like colour without the same level of coordination.  Common options include velvet, silk, wool and leather.  If you’re not down with wearing animal products, there are lots of great synthetic and plant-based options, including the hero of summer, linen.  In this get up I’ve mixed up sequins, velvet, lamb’s wool, leather and a shirt in a fabric texture called “popcorn”.  Figuring that out has changed my Google ads for the immediate future, that’s for sure!

The key thing to think about when you’re mixing textured clothing is what kind of movement or, alternatively, bulk, is created by that texture.  Most of my style tips boil down to: compare and contrast, and this is no different.  You want a bit of slinky and a bit of stiff, or a bit of soft and a bit of rough.  This is starting to sound weirdly “after dark”, but I promise the idea is sound.  You can see it here with the sleek plain tights, the shimmery and highly flexible skirt, the very textured shirt and the soft but fairly rigid blazer.  The super fluffy bag is perfect against the smooth velvet and flat sequins (you might remember it from my wishlist in this post).

Texture will help you cheat your way through wearing all black errything, but to make it really look like an outfit you’re going to need to give some thought to underlying tones.   Although I smoothed all the sequins flat for this outing, the skirt is actually made up of sequins that are black on one side and a light golden colour on the other.  From the buttons on the jacket, the chain strap on the bag, to the underlying shimmer in the sequins and the cream tone in the top, there’s lots of gold in this particular get up.  Obviously I cheated on wearing All The Black by wearing this patterned shirt, because I wanted a lighter colour near my face, but if I’d been looking for a plain black top to wear under this blazer I would have tried to pick something that had a complimentary undertone.

If you want to wear really textured things, you need to be prepared to be a bit of an adult about your garment care.  Suede, for example, needs the love of a good suede refresher, and leather needs to be fed to keep it supple and smooth.  Chunky woollens will need to be de-bobbled at least once a winter, and carefully washed and fully dried before they’re put away for summer.  Linen and silk need ironing (or steaming, preferably, for silk) and sequins will slowly shed if you don’t look after them.  Velvet should be gently brushed from time to time.  Popcorn, it would seem, needs no special care, since it’s polyester from the late 90s/early 2000s.  It will outlive us all.

In what may not be the statement of the obvious that I think it is – this isn’t a work outfit.  You can tell because if I put my arm by my side and fully extended my fingers, my skirt would be shorter than the tips of my fingers.  This skirt is so fitted that wearing it to work, where I sit all day, would break my “can’t see up it, down it or through it” rule.   There’s only so much you can get away with thanks to a pair of opaque tights!  I do think a sequin skirt like this is a great weekend option, with a super casual tshirt or jumper and a pair of sneakers.  I can’t wait to wear it in springtime with one of my favourite Adidas tshirts and apair of basic slides.

Finally, a note on this bag.  This is the Fluffy Bluff from Pedro’s Bluff, and it’s the fanciest bag I’ve ever possessed.  It’s intended as more of an evening option, but because my life is lacking in black tie events but is heavy on day to day drudgery, I use it as a general dogsbody of a bag.  It’s obviously not intended to be a kitchen sink, but it fits my phone, keys, sunglasses, cards, cash and lipstick with no worries.  This bag is an A+ option if you (a) like patting fluffy things (b) like to make it look like you made an effort while actually making very little or no effort and (c) want lots of curious children to chat to you at cafes.  I was a bit worried that the wool would be too delicate to handle day to day usage, including occasionally being put on the floor and thrown in the front seat of my car, but so far it has handled it perfectly.  Best of all, this is definitely one of those items I can imagine having for decades, and busting out in the year 2037 – because it’s not trendy, but neither is it classic, it’s somehow without era.

The top is "vintage" - you can find tons of options on Ebay.   I picked up the blazer at Recycle Boutique after a lengthy search for a black velvet blazer, try this option.  The skirt is from good old Glassons - I can't find it anymore but you could try patent if you want to play with textures!