As the New Year approaches, it’s time to look at everything with fresh eyes and fresh goals, including our closets! Just a few days ago, I had the chance to help my friend Katie do just that. She’s recently lost about 40 pounds, and can fit back into some things she used to love to wear. But she was also faced with taking a fresh look at what she had, and whether or not they were items she still wanted to keep.
I learned a lot from this closet clean out, wanted to share some of it with you:
-A woman’s closet can be a very emotional place.
We keep things people have given us even if we don’t like them, simply for the emotional connection to that person. We keep things we think we might possibly, maybe want to wear again someday, even if we haven’t worn it in 5 years. We keep things because we wore it to a significant event in our life, maybe 10 years ago or more. So the challenge comes in when to let go. This is actually really tough, because I can think of things I got from my mom, that she got in the 70s, I kept in a drawer for years, and finally found the perfect use for, and I would have been so bummed to not have had. But, we can’t keep everything or we end up on that show “Hoarders”. So you’ve really got to ask yourself some hard questions:
Do I LOVE this?
Is it something I have an emotional connection and a style connection to?
Does it fit me?
How do the people in my life react when they see it on me? Grimace? Compliments?
Do I have enough space to keep it?
If you’re still not sure, put these items in a place in your closet and mark your calendar 6 months from now. When that date comes, check them out again and see if you’re ready to commit one way or the other.
-We can shop in our own closet.
I’ve done some closet clean outs that involve tossing old, worn, out of date clothes, and then making a shopping list for an entirely new wardrobe. This was not the case with Katie. She has outfits for every occasion: work, performing at church, baby/bridal showers, weddings, date nights, beach, vaca. The shopping list I left Katie with was literally: black boots and more colorful accessories. Katie’s biggest challenge is developing a better rotation for things she has, to make certain she wears everything. Like many of us, she falls into wearing jeans much of the time, or dresses when the weather is warm. She also has a number of CUTE skirts and dress pants that don’t get much time in the light of day (or in the city lights at night).
The action item I left her with on this one is that she’s got to wear 50% of her current clothes before she can purchase anything new. Judging from the size of the piles, she will have worn many new outfits before she hits the quota. Which is great, because she’s using what she has, helping both the environment/landfill and her pocketbook!
Develop a system for wearing everything. I know people who make schedules for this. I even have a friend who had a rotation based on the colors of the clothes. She had a red day, orange/yellow day, green/blue day, and so on. Wild, right? This can work for some, but one of the easiest things to do is use the visual aid of your clothes hangers. When you’ve worn something, turn its hanger around backwards. When everything is facing the wrong way, start over again.
-Accessories are an easy way to get mileage from what we have.
One of the trends that changes most is accessories. Just think, were we wearing thick, chunky belts a couple years ago? I for sure did in ’86, but back then we rocked it with the big bangs and side pon! But that trend is back in a slightly modified way. What’s cool, is we can still use the same sweaters and basic dresses we’ve had for several years, just do a a belt or a chunky necklace. Again, this keeps it fresh, with just a couple simple purchases.
-Know what lines look best on you.
Katie tried on a number of her dresses, and what we found is that the best options for her had the length either around the knee or floor length, with medium width shoulders and a deep V neck collar. These lines lengthen her, accentuate her collar bones, arms and other assets really well. Check out the picture of her in the red and black dress! Then compare that to the short sleeve, tea length dress and you’ll see what I mean.
And, just to highlight the emotional power that our clothes can have over us, Katie was going to get rid of the black and red dress, and keep the tea length dress simply because someone important to her bought it as a gift. This is where it becomes really important for us to have someone objective working with us to help the editing process.
I had a blast with Katie, and she did awesome letting go of some emotional pieces. Big congrats to her for letting go of the extra weight, both literally and figuratively! She rocks!
Closet clean outs are a great way to refresh your wardrobe, and really your life! This winter, I’m offering a special rate for the first 5 people to sign up for a closet clean-out. We’ll do a 2 hour session for $50! This is half the normal rate, and I’ve got 3 spots left. These consultations are an awesome Christmas gift, or a great way to kick off your New Year! Contact me through a comment here or on my facebook page.