It’s part of Redesign Everything, a new series on creative ways to invigorate your life in the New Year, whether it’s your wardrobe, side animation, or Zoom bookcase. Read the rest of the series here. – Editors
Actresses are famous for their endless closets, filled with the trendiest and most glamorous designer looks. Not Gwyneth Paltrow. While she always looks chic and neat, she says her wardrobe is made up of a relatively small selection of comfy clothes, in neutral colors that she wears day after day, year after year. “I buy classic pieces and I keep them forever,” says Goop’s founder and most recently star of The Avengers and The politician.
It’s a fashion philosophy that might look more appealing than ever, now that many of us are at home and looking to downsize our closets. Over the past five years, Paltrow has given a lot of thought to the principles of building a wardrobe. In 2016 she launched her own fashion line, G Label, which replicates her favorite pieces from her own closet and manufactures them in Italian factories. While G Label coins are expensive, Paltrow believes that it is possible to invest in high-quality, sustainable commodities no matter what your budget.
Throughout her forties, her wardrobe hasn’t changed much, as cozy basics have always been her favorite pieces: she stuck to a uniform of pants and sweaters, occasionally adorned with chunky jewels for a Zoom appeal. . And yet, she says this approach to dressing can still be fun and exciting. “I dress like me,” she says. “I express myself and I cultivate my presentation in a more sartorial way than through any other expression.” Here are her top tips for rethinking your wardrobe in 2021 and beyond.
Define your style
It’s a lot easier not to be swayed by the latest trend if you feel confident in your own aesthetic, Paltrow says. In her case, she says she developed her style as a teenager, when she attended a school where she had to wear a uniform. She loved the preppy look of the outfit, but she also took on the challenge of getting creative with accessories to cultivate a unique look that stood out from her peers. Decades later, she takes a similar approach: she chooses classic clothes, but with a little twist to keep things interesting – a simple cashmere sweater with puffed sleeves or utility pants with an extra wide leg. “I’ve always been drawn to these pieces, and I feel more like myself when I wear them,” she says.
Your aesthetic may be different from hers, but knowing what you like allows you to have a lucid approach when shopping. It also keeps you from falling for the trendy color or figure this season. Paltrow is not completely opposed to trends. Every now and then, she adds something, like jewelry or a sweater, that goes with the rest of her wardrobe. “It spices up the look and keeps things interesting,” she says. “But I’m not renovating the whole closet.”
Stick to window shopping
Shopping is one of America’s great pastimes, and like everyone else, Paltrow enjoys strolling through beautiful stores, decked out in the latest products and fashions. But she says she doesn’t often bring new clothes home on these trips. Unless she feels like she really needs something and will wear it for years to come, she won’t buy it. “For me, visiting a store is almost like walking through a gallery,” says Paltrow. “It’s a form of entertainment for me because I feel so inspired by what I see in stores. But that doesn’t necessarily mean buying something new.
Paltrow recommends making a slight mental shift: rather than shopping around for new clothes, think of shopping as a form of inspiration and a way to appreciate creativity in the fashion industry. This will prevent you from accumulating a lot of things that you don’t need.
Even Gwyneth praises
Throughout her career, Paltrow has had to go to red carpet and black tie events, where she wears sparkly dresses. But she doesn’t often buy these parts; instead, she rents or borrows. “I was in Rent the Runway before the brand even existed,” she laughs. “When I go to these events and get photographed, I know I probably won’t be wearing the outfit again. So why buy when I can just borrow? Of course, most people don’t have designers offering to let them borrow clothes – but luckily we can look to rental companies to buy a fancy dress that we’ll only wear once.
You don’t need to reinvent yourself
In Hollywood, some celebrities like to reinvent themselves every few years with a complete makeover. (You look, Madonna!) Paltrow never felt the need to do this, but that doesn’t mean his style hasn’t changed over the decades. His tastes have evolved over time to adapt to each new phase of life. She still has outfits in her 20s closet, but she’s also picked up over the years pieces that fit her current lifestyle of running a business and being a mom. “These days I’m looking for clothes that are chic, neat, comfortable and also a little sexy,” she says.
The fashion industry is built on constant change and brands are invested in selling you a different look every season. But rather than taking inspiration from designers and brands, Paltrow recommends thinking carefully about your current lifestyle. How can your wardrobe serve your current lifestyle and help you project who you are right now?
But dress up, even in quarantine
It’s easy to let your looks evolve as the pandemic spans months and years. But Paltrow says it’s worth the effort in your outfit, even if you don’t leave your house. “I think it’s easy to get demoralized when you don’t get dressed in the morning,” she says.
The good thing is that it’s easy to put on real clothes when you’ve narrowed down your wardrobe to your favorite and most comfortable pieces. And ultimately, while Paltrow’s philosophy is to make dressing as easy as possible, she believes clothes are important because they allow you to express who you are to the world, even if it’s only on Zoom. “Clothing plays an important role in making you feel like yourself or in helping you imagine the next iteration of who you will be,” she says. “It’s more important than ever right now, when everything in our lives has been so disrupted.”
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