Happy day, dearest reader!
Aristotle is not who you might think of when you hear style icon, unless tunics are your thing! One of my favorite Aristotelian tidbits is…
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
(My children probably hate this one, as they heard it a lot when growing up!) Aristotle’s wisdom applies to so many aspects of everyday life, and yes, even to how we dress and care for our wardrobes! So here are five habits can help you feel more in control of your wardrobe, boost your style, and make it easier to get dressed each morning. Now that is excellent!
After a wardrobe audit, clients are surprised at how much easier it is to put together outfits when we are done. It is paramount to be able to see what you own, and find items (and what’s missing) easily. I hang most items (even knits, but VERY carefully) because if you can see everything when you open the closet or wardrobe door, half the battle is won. I hang clothes by category, tops with tops, skirts with skirts, etc. Then within each category, I line up by color from light to dark. (All the pinks are together, from lightest to darkest, and all the blues, greys, and so on. The reason this works so well is that when you want to choose a green top to wear with your trousers, there’s no question where it should be. With the other green tops! You only have to hunt the one spot in your closet, not through the entire rail; if said item is not there, it’s in the laundry. Done. Dusted. If you want to learn more about how to do a wardrobe audit, you can start here.
Bonus: It makes your wardrobe feel like your own personal boutique, and helps you see what wardrobe holes you may have!
Regularly, in this case, does not mean once every five years! Even an annual review makes the project overwhelming. If you are a four season capsule dresser, then you are already reviewing your clothes four times yearly. I suggest to clients that we review twice a year, once for spring/summer, and once for fall/winter. This seasonal approach works well for getting out the deadwood that no longer fits, doesn’t flatter, or has just worn out. Reviewing means going through each item for the upcoming season to evaluate it for fit, flattery, wear, and most importantly–does it fit your personality, current lifestyle and style? (Reviewing mid-July for summer doesn’t help much, but is better than nothing… Mid-July is a great time to review for fall, though, as fall items start coming into the shops.)
Replace and refresh
This is key! Worn items that should still have a place in your wardrobe need to be replaced. Unless an item is meant to be distressed, it shouldn’t look worn. Frayed hems, cuffs, collars or buttonholes, holes, faded, stained or torn garments, pilling that cannot be easily sorted with a depil-er, tee shirts that have lost their shape, bottoms that are wearing thin, all may need replacing. But do they? If you have a duplicate (or close) of the worn one, it probably does not! And looking for an exact replacement may not be what you need. Let’s Refresh! Say you need new jeans… Do you want the same ones, or a more modern cut? A white knit top? Maybe it’s time to be daring and choose one in a new silhouette. The Refresh is a perfect time to update those basics, and a few, carefully selected pieces can make you feel like you have a whole new wardrobe!
Store Your Belongings Properly
After organizing or reviewing, make sure your items are stored properly. Please ditch the wire hangars! Your clothes will hang better, last longer, and look better if you splurge on sturdy plastic, wooden, or flocked hangars. Do not hang more than one item on hangar. It makes it harder to find what you want and crushes your clothes. Shoe boxes, bags, or the shoe cubbies are a great way to corral footwear, and keep you from putting on one black and one brown pump in the dark. Boots need help to stay upright; I cut down pool noodles for boot stuffers. Stuff handbags and store them upright. Hanging them by their straps, stretches the straps and shortens their life span. I keep a fabric crate for clutches and small purses that are not in regular rotation, to keep them from getting crushed by larger everyday bags. Belts can be rolled and stored in a drawer, or hung on a rack. Men’s ties should be rolled, not hung, to prevent them from stretching out of shape. Blazers and coats love a shaped hangar, but a sturdy unshaped one is still a huge improvement over the wire one from the dry cleaners! Speaking of the dry cleaners, the plastic bags from the cleaners should be removed as soon as you get home, and recycled. Please do not store your clothes in them; clothes need air circulation.
Note: If you can’t store your clothing properly because it doesn’t fit into your closet and drawers, that’s a sign that you have too many clothes. I doubt you need a closet remodel or new chest of drawers. You probably need a good clean out! (#sorrynotsorry)
The last good habit should be the most fun. Get in there and play! Try on clothes in combinations you haven’t tried before. Belt up a dress over trousers as a tunic. Put on heels with that trouser rather than flats, or vice versa. Don’t forget to bring in the accessories when you are playing! Jewelry and scarves can change a look completely. Playing with our clothing (unlike with food at the table) is a good habit! Here’s a little more about how and why.
If you notice, I didn’t number these habits. Nor are they in any particular order. You might not be ready for a Review, but you can still Play! Maybe the budget is too tight for the Refresh, but you can still Organize. Any of the five are helpful, and together, they can be magic!
How about you? Which of these habits are easy for you? Which more challenging? I’d love to know what you found new or helpful, or what’s already working for you! Let’s start a conversation in the comments below…