Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nothing To Wear?

I'm in a bit of "down time" from travel, and still living in Lancaster. I've been helping work on my parents house and doing some meal planning with them, working on a book of my poetry, making jewelry and getting ready to [costume] design a show at University of Penn. Basically, I've been keeping busy as I can. So, as part of that, here is a blog entry that has NOTHING to do with travel and everything to do with my first love - FASHION.

Nothing To Wear?

With the changing of the seasons, now is the perfect time for a wardrobe edit, particularly if you're shouting "i have nothing to wear!" after trying on 3 unsuccessful outfits before going out the door (what, you've never done that before? lies!).

The first things you need to realize are these:

1) you do have clothes. clearly you just tried on three outfits, so you have at least that much!
2) you bought them so presumably at the time you liked them
3) everyone gets into a wardrobe rut. it's normal.

We get so used to seeing our same clothes every day, used to wearing them in certain 'outfits' that it gets difficult to see the individual pieces after a while. So, we're going to edit and look at them in a different way.

Step 1 - Clip. Go to your favorite magazines and catalogs and pull out everything that you love. I recently went through the past 3 months of Harper's Bazaar and Lucky Magazine because that's what i have. I clipped out every outfit that i was in love with, that i would buy and wear in a minute if i could, colors that i loved, anything inspiring.

Step 2 - Make A Collage.
yes, back to elementry school. or design school as the case may be! get yourself a notebook or a piece of posterboard and some double stick tape and tape all those little cut-out pictures into a collage of things you love. (leave a column of space on one side if you can).

here's the fall 09 collage that i made for an example! key words for me are: red-fuscia, purple-lavender, navy-aqua, sequins, metallics, satin, gray, silver, gold, cardigans, vests, leather, patent, tough punk, studs, rhinestones, tulle, sheer, blazers, florals, plaids, mini skirts, draping, ruffles, flats, platforms, feathers, barrettes, jewel tones, soft pink neutrals, chartreuse, black+white.

Step 3 - Break It Down! look at the overall picture. what colors are most dominant? it may be jewel tones, or faded colors, or a specific color or 3. look for color combos too - are you drawn to brights with black or tone on tone, monochromatic, crazy mix and match patterns? look at styles - do you have an abundance of miniskirts? scarves? boots? look at silhouettes - is everything boxy? flowy? make a list on the side of your collage of key words that sum up all the DOs of your collage. Also observe what's not there and keep that in mind for later.

Step 4 - Hang Your Collage somewhere where you can easily look at it and be inspired, and remind yourself of what you love!

Step 5 - Edit Out. Now comes the hard part. look at EVERY single piece of clothing and ask yourself - does this fit into my new 'rules'? if not, put it on a pile on your bed (or dresser, or wherever works). also keep in mind the season - bulky sweaters are not something you should be wearing if it's the middle of summer, so make a pile of off-season stuff. This will probably take a long time.

Make sure to try on everything of questionable fit and set it aside for alterations or make that choice to get rid of it if it just doesn't fit properly. this is a huge part of the problem for most women - sometimes we buy things withought trying them on, or we change size or shape and every time we put something on we wonder why it doesn't look right and it's because it literally just doesn't work on our bodies - fix it or get rid of it!

Step 6 - Edit In. Okay. sometimes there are things we cannot live without that may not be super cute or don't fit into our rules but our a part of our personal style. for me, that includes countless ribbed tees in a drawer, and some stand-by skirts i've had for a few years that i always get compliments on. You don't have to get rid of them, but be really picky about the things you add back in - make sure you love them!

my revised closet

Step 7 -Outfits. once you've gotten all of your edited items put out of sight (and out of mind!). you have yoru edited wardrobe. Now look at what you have in yoru closet. you should now have a closet full of things that follow your new rules, and now you can try to pair things together using your collage as a reference when you get stuck. make sure you have something to go with everything.

Step 8 - Make A List! - odds are you have a skirt or two that you have nothing to go with. if you don't, i aplaud you, and even question your truthfulness. for the rest of the world, figure out what you need and make yourself a little shopping list. look at your collage and see if there are key elements you are missing - do you love the juxtaposition of girlie and tough but don't own a single floral dress? do you love brights with black but don't own black tights? whatever it is, write it down.

Step 9 - Shopping! if you're not a visualizer, you can take those 2 pieces with you when you shop, look for what you need and try it on with the item - no sense in taking something home that you just have to return - save yourself the time and headache! if you want to take along yoru collage in your bag, go for it - you can pull it out in the dressing room and noone needs to know. Also, don't let yourself buy something that that you don't love and that doesn't fit into your rules - no matter what the price is! don't fall into those old bad habits that leave you in the same place you where 9 steps ago!

Step 10 - Enjoy! Fashion is fun!

.....and if all else fails, hire a stylist. you know where i am!

my current, very small, closet.

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