As I mentioned in my last two posts about my cruise (My Cruise with the Six Sisters) and (How to Enjoy a Cruise without Going Broke or Getting FAT), last week, I went on a cruise with a famous fashion stylist – Alicia Richmond from Chic on a Shoestring. And when the fashion consultant talks – you LISTEN. And then you come home and get to work!
Her advice was to start with your closet. Take it all out and go through EVERYTHING. That made perfect sense to me, so I spent my entire Valentine’s Day giving myself a little love fest by going through my closet and evaluating each piece. (I’m sorry there aren’t more pictures, but my bedroom is always the messiest room in the house, so I’m a little self-conscious about it!)
My first step was to take every single piece out and organize it by categories – pants, tops, blazers, sweaters, etc. One thing Alicia advises is that you should never organize your closet by outfits. That is too limiting. Usually you want to organize by type of clothing, or by function of the clothing (work clothes, weekend clothes, workout clothes, etc.), or by color groupings. I periodically do articles about organizing your closet, so I’m pretty good about not having things in my closet that are out of season, are stained or torn, or are just obviously too small or too large. But if you haven’t followed these types of tips, you will want to start there. Let’s face it, if you haven’t sewed up that rip or gotten out that stain in the past, you probably aren’t going to in the future. Might be time to just cut your lossses and move on.
Then I took each category of clothing and spread it out on the bed. I asked myself the following questions:
- Do I love you? I actually laid each category of clothing across the bed in order of my most favorite to least favorite. I found that to be very helpful in weeding out the dead wood.
- Do you fit me well? I probably should have tried on every single piece, but I had a LOT of clothes and not a ton of time, so I just tried on the ones that I were “iffy” on fit.
- Are you an age-appropriate and flattering style? This meant the end of the road for quite a few pieces. I do mostly stick with age-appropriate items, but flattering? Not always. Even if something looks fine in a dressing room, after wearing it for an entire day, you realize that some blouses gap open, or some pants are just a touch too short, or a skirt will ride up or cling on you. And some things just make you feel frumpy while others get you tons of compliments. I have two jackets that are long, flowy, duster-style pieces. They are not supposed to be very flattering on someone as short as me, but I always get lots of compliments when I wear them so I wouldn’t part with them for the world.
- Do you go well with my other pieces? This one was a pretty easy question as I tend to gravitate towards certain colors and certain styles. I’m not very adventurous with clothes – that’s why I need a stylist like Alicia to nudge me out of the box! Think I have a thing for black and white print skirts?
In the course of this little project, I learned a lot. I found a bunch of clothing that was languishing in the back of my closet. As you can see, my closet is long and wide, but the doors are small and narrow, so it creates some real visibility issues with the items at the far ends.
We are going to add some new lighting to make it work better. We also took advantage of the empty closet to raise my top bar up about 6″ to accommodate some of my longer skirts and sweaters – of course I have to stand on a stepstool now to hang them up, but at least they fit in there better. I also discovered that my very fluffy white cat has been “nesting” in my closet for his naps – little stinker. I’m going to have to buy stock in a lint brush company!
I even inspired my husband to go through his side of the closet and get rid of a lot of his older and too-small clothing. We now have a TON of empty hangers and much more room to navigate in our closet.
This little exercise made me pay attention to my clothes in a way I hadn’t done for a long time. I found some great items I’d forgotten about and put together some items I wouldn’t have thought to pair up. I also dumped a good-sized box full of fashion “mistakes” – items that were out of style, didn’t fit, or just weren’t my style. That made more room for the items that I do love and plan to wear.
Alicia also recommended some apps to use for putting your outfits together and keeping a record of them. I don’t know if I’m ready for that step yet, but she recommended:
- Closet Inventory Sheet
- My Fashion Closet
PS: I and several of my bloggy friends are featured on Alicia’s new page – Celebrate Your Shape.
Photo credits: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Retail_and_Sales_g195-Fashion_Clothing_On_Hangers_p136383.html and http://www.photogen.com/free-photos/free-stock-photo-694/
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