Do you find yourself wearing the same items in your closet over and over again? Do you have a handful of pieces that you love, but you’re not exactly sure what’s hanging at the back of your closet? You’re not alone – we’re all guilty of this crime of fashion. It’s the old 80/20 rule: we tend to neglect 80% of what’s in our closet and only wear the other 20%.
If you want to build a wardrobe that you love, that truly represents the brand YOU, it’s imperative that you become a ruthless editor – weeding out the items that no longer speak to you, or even fit you for that matter. Diana Vreeland said it best, “Elegance is refusal.” It’s the ability to know what works for you, and then just say no to the rest.
Real style starts with purging. You must get rid of what no longer works (or never did) to allow your closet to breathe and make room for those special pieces that make you shine.
To start the process, create four boxes and label each accordingly: Donate, Gift, Alterations, Save. The Donate box will be for what you no longer wear or want. These pieces will either be donated to charity or taken to a consignment store. The Gift box is for those items that you would like to give to specific people, and the Alterations box is for those items that need a little tweak in order to wear them. The Save box is for those pieces that you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of, even if you haven’t worn them in years.
As you go through your closet and try on each item, ask yourself three questions:
- Do I absolutely love this?
- Does this communicate my personal brand message?
- Would I want to be seen wearing this for a date/interview/important meeting etc.?
If you can’t answer YES to at least two of these three questions, then the item should be tossed into one of your four boxes. Ideally, you want to be able to answer each question with a resounding YES.
Once you have gone through your entire wardrobe and purged items into the Donate, Gift, Alterations and Save boxes, you should now be left with only those pieces that you love. Now here’s where it really starts to get good: go through the entire closet again and arrange all like items together. So, all pants should hang together as should short-sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirts, skirts, dresses etc.
Then do another pass-through and make sure that within each category, items are organized by color. In other words, all of your black skirts should hang next to each other, gray skirts, denim skirts, and so on. As you look at the remaining items in your closet, ask yourself, “Does this feel like me? When I wear these items, will I be projecting my ideal image to the world?”
You may be wondering what the Save box is for. Tape up the box and don’t touch it for 60 days. If you don’t need any of the items during this time or even forget what you have put inside, it’s definitely time to donate this box to charity, bring certain items to a consignment store or sell them on e-Bay.
You may find that you can now realistically assess what new items you may need to slowly add to your wardrobe to complete your ideal look. Would a slim black pencil skirt of cropped leather jacket add just the right touch? Do you have a penchant for colorful silk scarves and pearls, or are stilettos and chains more your speed? Stylish women are confident, intriguing and intelligent. They take the time to organize, assess and adjust accordingly when it comes to developing their personal style.
©Liz Dennery Sanders 2009
Liz Dennery Sanders wants you to build your buzz and be successful beyond your wildest dreams. As the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a brand development and celebrity outreach firm, she founded SheBrand, to help female entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners build powerful personal brands with style, attract more clients and position themselves as experts in their industries. You can reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.shebrand.com.