Getting Clarity—Clearing Out and Honing
Hello again, lazy fashionista. Today, let’s change the term lazy to uninspired. That’s because a lack of enthusiasm about fashion is often just due to confusion…and overwhelm. It’s been called “mess stress.”
So, let’s help you un-stress your relationship with your closet and give it some breathing room. Now that you’ve clarified your needs, let’s put a magnifying glass on your closet. This lesson is about purging and honing. The purpose is to insure that, before buying anything new, you love what you already have. You might just discover how little you really need.
You can do this anytime, but the beginning of the new season is optimal since you’ll already be swapping out what you’ve been wearing with what you stored away. Also, if you’ve just had a major change of life—new job, new relationship, new town, new baby—all these are perfect opportunities to revisit your wardrobe. Set aside time when you’re feeling rested and without time pressure.
This is a one-person operation. Do not invite a friend to help. The last thing you need is someone whispering, “But you looked so great in that!” or, “But it’s such a great color on you.” That can undermine your confidence and make you second-guess your decisions. Own your decisions and move on.
How to Curate a Wardrobe
Try on everything. (Well, okay, if there are things you are certain are “keepers,” you don’t have to try them on.) Try on entire outfits. If you’re going through tops or shirts, add jeans, slacks, or a skirt. That’s the only way you will truly know if something still has life in it. It’s particularly important to examine things you haven’t worn much—or at all—in the past season, year, or two years. Except for high-quality classics, styles change about every two to three years. If it was on sale, a gift, or expensive but if you haven’t worn it and likely won’t ever, let it go. The sooner you recycle (i.e. donate) it, the quicker it can serve someone else.
If something is beautiful and suits your coloring, style, and lifestyle but you have nothing to wear with it, keep it. (In Lesson #7, we’ll help you find a match.)
Here are a few criteria to help you determine what to let go:
• It’s significantly outside the range of your coloring/style/lifestyle.
• The fabric feels uncomfortable on your skin.
• The garment pulls awkwardly when you move or sit.
• You have multiples like this, but this is the oldest and most tired looking.
• It’s pilled, frayed, stained, faded, too loose, too tight, and/or not worth tailoring.
• It looks cheap or makes you feel cheap.
• You really don’t—and won’t—have anywhere or occasion to wear it in the foreseeable future.
Now, as you try on each piece, look at yourself in the mirror; not just at your body, look at your face. Do you look happy? Does your face say, confident? Relaxed? Does your mood elevate? Do you look like the person you want to be, or want to be seen as? All that says: Keep. Do you look tired, depressed, weird, uncomfortable, or inauthentic? That says: Toss.
And then, toss. Now, if you’re still unsure, put all the “tosses” in a big bag for a month or two. If you don’t miss anything in the bag (I’ll bet you won’t), recycle everything. Your reward for all this effort will be a fresh and spacious closetful of things you truly love and love wearing.
In Lesson #5, we will learn the best strategy for every lazy fashionista: how to create your personal “uniform.”
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