Happy day, dear reader!
I get questions about why my business is called Closet Play Image. The short answer is because I think getting dressed should be fun! I don’t pretend that what we wear doesn’t matter, in fact, just the opposite. Dressing can be serious business, with serious consequences, but we have to do it every day, so why not inject some pleasure into the task of dressing and take it from chore to play? Did you play dress-up as a child? It’s an important way to try on not just different clothes, but different personalities. Dress-up is still important as an adult. When we forget the playful aspect of getting dressed, and it becomes just one more task to be ticked off the long list of to-do’s every day.
One of the best ways to up your style quotient is to spend some time playing dress-up! Not fancy-dress, or costume dress up, but dress-up in your own closet. I’m not talking about a marathon closet tidy or Wardrobe Audit, I simply mean playing about with what you already own. There’s no need to buy anything new! This should not cost you anything but a little time. Don’t have that? Send your partner to the park with the children, pour yourself a glass of wine or a nice cup of tea or coffee, and open the wardrobe door. And grab your phone, you’re going to need it! (No partner? Put in a movie, and chalk it up to self-care. (And I don’t throw that term around loosely.)
How does playing dress-up help your style?
No Time Crunch
Mornings are hectic for most women (and men)! The time to try on three or four outfits to find the one that works is just not there. It’s no wonder so many people just throw on the dark trouser/light shirt combo for work, or jeans (or shorts, or capris) and tee for play. These become the easy default. We all have defaults, and they are a good thing, but we shouldn’t need to use them every day. Now an outfit recipe? That’s something else completely! Taking time just for yourself and your style allows you to…
Try New Combinations
That movie or park outing gives you the time to try new combinations you wouldn’t think of on a normal morning. Maybe it’s a new color combination, or silhouette, or accessory that you don’t bother with because you aren’t sure how to wear it. This is your time to play: tie and untie, drape, belt, and whatever else your little heart desires. If you find yourself staring into your closet and drawing a blank, pick out something you like (white tee), type it into Pinterest (white tee outfit + a personality word like feminine, casual, classic, chic). Scroll through to find one you like that combines pieces you already own and get dressing! Take selfies of the new combinations you find, and add them to a Style Inspo file on your phone for early mornings when you feel the default coming on. The selfie gives a more objective view than our own eye looking in the mirror, and helps you remember all the pieces!
Adjust to New Looks
One of the most dramatic ways playing dress-up can help your style is that it allows you time to adjust to a new look. Have you ever seen an ad or mannequin dressed in such a way that made you think “Just say no,” and months later you find yourself trying on a variation of that look? If you don’t think so, just say “Skinny jeans.” It took some time for them to make it from teen wear to mainstream. The skinny jean is so common, now the eye needs time to adjust to a wider silhouette! Just like a new look we see on mannequins or in ads can take a while to grow on us, the same goes for looks we put on. It takes time to accustom our eye to a new pattern, combination, or look. A couple of years ago, someone (whose style opinion I value) suggested that I should wear a heel with a pair of shorts… I balked, for all sorts of reasons. But I tried it. She was right; it created a much better silhouette. (The selfies proved it.) Now, not just any heel would work, but I kept at it and took selfies to give my eye time to adjust. I wore them around the house to give myself time to feel comfortable in the combo, and finally I wore them out of the house, and do you know what? The sky did not fall!
Related to the three reasons above is: Alone in your room is a safe place to try new things without judgement. I’m including from yourself here, too! Let the camera do the judging. This judgement isn’t only from people on the street. We often dress to avoid criticism from our families. Teenagers can be especially harsh, and littles are known for blunt speech. Even husbands may not realize that the impact of asking “What are you wearing that for?” can send you running back to the closet to change. (Although it doesn’t seem to work on my Mr. Closetplay…”)
I play near the end of each season with the pieces I will be moving into the next season’s capsule. It gives me a chance to figure out what I want to carry over, what needs replacing, and what it’s time to let go of! If you have a long weekend coming up, spend some time playing dress up, and see what you learn. How about you! When was the last time you played dress-up? Please share in the comments below!