Anuschka Rees, style author, INTO MIND blogger and former fast-fashion consumer, has written the textbook on ensuring that your clothes act as best friends rather than brief acquaintances.
While Rees doesn’t tell you how to identify ethically made pieces, this book contains tips and tricks complementary to the values of an ethical shopper, and is a great place to start if you're interested in cultivating a more mindful wardrobe.
But if you’re looking for Rees to wave her magic wand and tell you exactly what pieces to buy and from where, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s no sign of a quick fix fashion fad diet here.
You will need weeks or even months to read Rees’ advice and work through the activities provided, such as keeping a outfit journal. You can even download the accompanying workbook to guide you through your transformation.
Rees provides a diagnostic closet flowchart at the beginning of the book to identify the areas where you may need a refresher without reading back through every chapter.
Activities like the ‘closet detox’ (page 100) and browsing magazines for style inspiration (chapter 4), which when accompanied by take-away, rosé and good company, seem like a fun way to pass time.
Features that will help you for the remainder of your garment buying days include a beginner’s guide to assessing clothing quality, which details what to look for in quality fabric, seams, tailoring, lining, and details.An appreciation for slow fashion ties Rees’ teachings together. She advocates for carefully and consciously selecting timeless pieces that are going to last multiple seasons.
Rees preaches that, contrary to popular belief, high quality does not always correlate with high price. Learning to identify a garment that is made to last is a key feature of her sartorial treatise.
Additionally, she does not frown upon frivolity - the idea that clothes can and should be used for self-expression is not lost on Rees in her quest for closet minimalism and a simplified style.
She suggests playing pretend to get over pretences and insecurities and that you ease into your "ideal style" by wearing a single edgier piece with your go-to basics, as apposed to diving head-in to a whole new look. All this is grounded in the idea that you should think about your actual (not fantasy) life when wardrobe planning.
What she does call for is time and deeper thought; two things today's consumers sadly fall short on. But behind this is the idea that you should get not only long wear but deep enjoyment and satisfaction from the clothing you buy and wear.
Recreational shoppers will appreciate Chapter 18 in which Rees asks us to identify the reasons why we shop when it isn’t completely necessary, listing alternative outlets to express a love of fashion such as blogging or fashion illustration.
Impulse buyer? She suggests a number of ways to escape temptation. In fact, at every page turn there is some probing question to get you to think deeper about the psychology of what you buy and wear (or don't), such as the "cognitive dissonance" of clothes that don't match our "inner selves".
"Our clothes tell a story," she writes. "Our clothes reflect our personality and what's important to us."
Although fostering a signature style aesthetic is a largely individual process, Rees will not cramp your style. Her approachable, confessional, fun author's personality will put even the most uptight, intimidated and seasoned shoppers at ease. She is less an authority, more a friend.