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Small but smart wardrobe

[ 2014-07-04 10:02] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Like many fashion-loving young women on a budget, I went crazy over Beijing's clothing markets. "You can bargain a pair of cargo pants down to $5? Get a skirt for $3 and a scarf for just $1.50?" I had never before seen such an enormous amount of inexpensive clothing.

Friends and I became regulars at the Silk Market, the original Wudaokou Clothing Market and the Zoo Whole-sale Clothing Market. After my first year in China, I had picked up enough new clothes and fashion accessories to fill two huge suitcases.

Now, eight years later, only three pieces of clothing from the time are still around - a winter coat, a sweater and a summer skirt. The rest have either faded, torn, shrunk, stretched, fallen out of fashion or just became too uncomfortable to wear.

In hindsight, I realized that I had bought impulsively, even taking clothes that didn't zip properly because I liked their designs. I was swayed by low prices and cared more about buying quantity than quality.

In 2012, according to data from the China National Garment Association, the country produced 43.6 billion pieces of clothing. The world's biggest garment exporter, with a third of the slice of the pie, China also sees mountains of low-cost clothing enter the domestic market.

The flow of new, affordable designs can be irresistible to fashionistas, but a big wardrobe isn't always better. I'm reminded of the primacy of quality whenever I think about the oldest piece in my closet. It's a white eyelet blouse from a designer's ready-to-wear line, which my mother picked out at a Manila department store during my college freshman year. I balked at the price tag of about $35, but 18 years and three countries later, I still wear it.

When I began reporting on sustainable lifestyles a couple of years ago, I started to ask myself a few questions before buying new clothes. "Can you see yourself in this outfit five to 10 years from now? Is it something that will last? Will it go well with the things you already own?"

These are the same ideas behind having a "capsule wardrobe" - a collection of a few essential pieces that can be mixed and matched, worn from day to night and updated with key items. The concept became popular in the West in the mid-1980s, following the release of American designer Donna Karan's "7 Easy Pieces", which consisted of a bodysuit, skirt, blouse, coat, leggings, jacket and dress.

The capsule wardrobe's emphasis is on having a small yet versatile clothing collection, which will survive fashion trends and washing cycles.

Chinese consumers, who only rediscovered modern fashion following the country's economic reforms three decades ago, want to buy more - not less. People such as Wang Mingming, who have adopted capsule wardrobes in the face of so much bargain clothing, are a rarity. In 2009, the resident of Ningbo, Zhejiang province, simplified her wardrobe to seven sets of clothing per season. She makes sure not to wear an outfit twice in the same week and uses shoes and bags to freshen her look, but the 32-year-old has basically been wearing a handful of items again and again for years. The oldest piece she owns dates back to 2001.

Wang's decision has not only helped her put together a quality wardrobe, but it has also improved her quality of life. She wanted to devote more energy to exercising, reading and relaxing, and not having to keep up with fashion trends has freed up her time and money.

Inspired by such stories, I've toyed with the idea of also living on a capsule wardrobe. If I were to have only "7 Easy Pieces", then I'd have to get rid of 150 garments. Since I've now gone for seven months without buying any new clothes, I'm confident this goal will be within reach in this lifetime.

By Tiffany Tan ( China Daily )









这些都是掩藏在“胶囊衣橱”之后的想法——这里面是少量必备衣服、可以混合搭配,一天到晚都可以穿,款式也不会太过时。二十世纪八十年代中期,随着美国设计师唐纳•卡兰(Donna Karan)发布她的“简洁7件”理念,上述观念在西方变得流行,这一理念倡导的“7件”为:一件紧身衣、一条裙子、一件女装衬衫、一件外套、一件夹克衫、一条裤子及一件晚礼服。





(中国日报记者 Tiffany Tan)


简洁时髦小衣橱——老外在中国的穿衣经 简洁时髦小衣橱——老外在中国的穿衣经