Women's Style

The Lifestyle/Wardrobe Connection

Your Lifestyle and Your Closet

Good day, dearest reader!

How is your day going? I pray smoothly, and that all today’s surprises are pleasant ones! I should start today’s post with a caveat… Closetplay.biz is not a Lifestyle Blog. I am not here to tell you how to aspire to be someone else, or live a life that isn’t yours. In fact, I am all about encouraging people to be more of who they really are! When I use the word Lifestyle in posts, it’s not a goal, dream life, or pretty image projected (Like many Lifestyle blogs!). When I talk about Lifestyle, it means the how, where, and with whom you spend your day at this exact point in your life. Life is a series of seasons, and dressing for our season of life is as important as dressing for the season of the year! A mid-winter trek to the grocery store through snowdrifts in shorts, a tank top, and flip flops doesn’t make sense. Nor does the wardrobe of a SAHM make sense for a corporate lawyer!

During a recent Lifestyle Analysis with a client, I had to review his entries twice (Yes, I have male clients, too!). His numbers weren’t adding up… Out of the (approximately) 112 waking hours in each week, he had only accounted for 74.5 of them. That’s quite a gap! He was missing almost an entire work week’s worth of hours. (Sorry, too much alliteration!) Before we could continue, it was necessary to fill in the blanks to figure out how he was spending that time to determine what he needed more of and less of in his wardrobe.

During any analysis, I work out, with my clients, how much time they spend at various activities, and how those activities affect what they wear. That allows us to determine how their closets should be populated. A lawyer who spends 60+ hours a week at work will need a very different wardrobe than a SAHM with three preschool littles! This seems obvious, but often the clothes in our closet do not reflect the lifestyle we are living right now. This now. Today.

Let’s try a few examples…

Here’s a starter capsule for that lawyer or a finance professional. The one working 60-hour weeks. She spends most of her time at work, or at work events, dinners, etc. Her clothes need to project serious, trustworthy, and reliable. In the 112 waking yours, she spends more than half her time at work. More than half her wardrobe should be her work wear. Add some bold jewelry and a shawl or two, and any of the outfits below would be perfectly lovely for a dinner function or date.

Next, let’s talk about an unmarried nurse, with no student loans, with a passion for social causes. She’s a fund-raiser, and charity ball organizer. For work she wears scrubs, but after hours it’s a whole different game! Her social/special occasion wardrobe will be a much greater percentage of her closet rail, than our professional above. If given my ‘druthers, I’d probably throw in another ball gown and cocktail dress!

Now, let’s tackle a SAHM of three who volunteers at her children’s school, and substitute teaches at the preschool. She needs to be comfortable, cheerful, and machine washable, but also look like an adult or authority figure. Just because she needs to be able to sit on the floor to play and read doesn’t mean she needs to wear yoga pants! I threw in a dress, too, just because they’re incredibly versatile, and some days she may want to feel a little special… How about on that field trip to go see a play?

Finally, let’s talk about the freelance WAHM, who drives carpool, and takes advantage of her children’s school hours for meetings with business associates, networking, and interviewing potential clients and vendors. She needs outfits that can go from dawn to dusk with a quick change of accessories. She may wear jeans some days, or a dress or trousers. It all depends on the demands of the day. A selection of versatile separates should be the bulk of her wardrobe.

The practicality and what some call appropriateness of your wardrobe depends on your answers to the hows, wheres, and with whoms of your Lifestyle. An often ignored factor is the how much. Not the how-much-clothing-is-enough question, but the how-much-money-will-you-spend question. Some bloggers seem to have an unlimited fashion budget. (Yours truly does not!) They may be gifted clothes to try and review. Others order clothes to feature on their blogs, only to return them after taking the pictures for their post. Maybe they are comparing quality, or cut and fit. This makes sense to me. If they make clear the order is for education or comparison, go for it! When they “borrow” the clothes for a photo shoot, that strikes me as disingenuous. I cannot in good conscience tell a client (or reader!) to spend more than his or her budget allows for a wardrobe.

It’a always wise to keep in mind: Spend your money where you make it. (If you work, your work clothes should get the lion’s share of your clothing budget.) More hours spent means more clothes for that activity. Buy the best quality you can afford. (For more thoughts on this, click here.) (And for more about getting the most from your wardrobe dollar, Euro, pound, or yen, try this!)

How about you? Does your wardrobe reflect the life you live right now? Or does your closet better suit a past life, or one you are hoping for someday? I’d love to know what you think. Please share your thoughts in the comments below! Let’s start a conversation…

Stylishly yours,

All visuals above were created by me with images from Lands’ End and Nordstrom.

Grateful thanks to Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge for hosting her Link-Up! You know how to start my weekend, woman!

PS: And thanks, also, to Jess at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish for her Tuesday Link-Up party. (It’s also fabulous, but I’m exhausted…)

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