Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 days of simple organization:: Day 11 : Choosing to have a clamer morning by organizing the clothes closet

This was the hardest area for me.

I have to wear professional clothes everyday and look calm and collected. and I love clothes. I mean I LOVE clothes.  I was always shopping, had a thing for finding clothes on sale and I had a closet packed full.  Packed! But each morning, I was having the same meltdown.  I would look around my closet and realize it was ridiculous for me to whine say I had nothing to wear but many mornings, I honestly thought I had nothing to wear and getting dressed wasn't easy and was far from calm. I would forget I had a blouse. I couldn't find a belt. I had a winkled clothes stuffed between other wrinkled clothes. I had vague remembrances of earrings that matched this or that but couldn't put my hand on it.  Every morning.

This morning disorganization caused stress that it showed in the way I dressed. I didn't look put together. I usually wore the same things over and over. I usually looked a little frazzled and overwhelmed (because I was). Sometimes, I even looked frumpy.  I had tried to clean, re-arrange, and organize the closet myself (many times), but somehow it wasn't coming together.

I didn't want to start my mornings this way anymore. I had this vision in my head that I could go to my perfectly organized closet and immediately pull something great out (and know what to put with it) without having the same morning melt-downs that I was having over and over again, walk out my door calm and looking good.

I finally admitted that I needed outside help. (Remember... there ain't no shame in getting help)

How did I find help?
The wardrobe stylist I found was well known among women in the professional community in my area. She worked at Dillard's for over 20 years. She was practically famous for being able to pull together a terrific outfit. After 20 years, she left Dillard's to open her own business of being a personal stylist/shopper.

How much does it cost? $50 an hour.

Was it worth it and would I do it again?  YES!

What she did (does) for me
Literally cleaned out my closet and rearranged it (all pants hung together from lightest in color to darkest, then skirts in the same way, and blouses, cardis, tanks and sweaters)
Helped me organize my jewelry
taught me what colors look best on me (browns and jewel tones) and what colors to avoid (pastels and pinks)
taught me what my body type is and what skirt length was most flattering to me (knee length pencil skirts)
Showed me some of the best shopping spots (top floor of Dillard's on the right of the escalator)
Introduced me to some excellent saleswomen who take care of me when I'm shopping
Scheduled a bra fitting with a specialist
Introduced me to an excellent tailor
If I'm on the fence about a purchase, I text her a picture and she immediately gives me feedback (without charging)

The first visit- the clean out
After meeting to discuss my lifestyle (I work in a professional office) and what areas I wanted the most help in (work day dressing only)  and the imagine I want to present (professionally put together and calm),  she took measurements and had me try on everything in my closet. We talked about each piece of clothes, which mostly consisted of her explaining to me why it didn't work or it wasn't right for me.  She suggested what should stay and what should be donated.   We made a list of items I needed to complete what I already owned. Then we arranged what few things I had left back in the closet until we went shopping together later. She helped me box up all the clothes to donate.

Confessions part one....
I was exhausted and overwhelmed after the first meeting.
I wasn't really sure I wanted to get rid of all the clothes she suggested I get rid of.
I thought I might have made a huge mistake.
I didn't get rid of the things she suggested get rid of, but I put them in a different closet, just in case.
I was horrified to look in my once packed closet and now see  it "empty" ( I mean, I literally had a 8 - 10 pieces of clothes left)
I may have panicked a little
My mother in law and sister in law made fun of me

The second visit- the shopping and making outfits
When she asked me to meet her at the mall for the shopping trip, I honestly thought I would be there all day. I ate a big breakfast and I mentally prepared myself for a long and exhausting day. We went to three different stores (Dillard's, New York and Company and an accessory store). Her method was the same at each store. We would walk around kind of quickly just to get an idea of what was there. She picked a few things off the racks and set me up in a dressing room (I never knew Dillard's  had special nice dressing rooms) where I started trying on clothes while she'd have two or three sales clerks constantly bringing me different sizes and styles (and diet cokes). She did  the same thing in the shoe department and the accessory department.  I've never had such excellent service. It was just like a TV show. We left the mall after an hour and a half. I was stunned. An hour and a half! I thought I was going to be there for days!  Once we got home, she took everything out of my closet and put outfits together on the bed (including shoes and jewelry), photographed each one and she made a little photo album for me.  I  was almost speechless over how many outfits I got.

Confessions part two....
My closet is organized and mornings became a lot easier for me
Its just a joy just to look inside my closet now
She picked out clothes for me that I would have never picked for myself but I looked great in them
I have a lot less clothes but have a lot more to wear (how does that happen?)
I get a lot of compliments
She introduced me to scarves and belts, which I would have never tried without her prompting
My husband noticed a big difference. (In fact, I still had the boxes of clothes she had "thrown out", and occasionally I would get a piece out and try to work it into my wardrobe myself.  The first thing out of my husband's mouth would be.... "that not one of her outfits!" I eventually gave all boxes of clothes away)
I don't shop much anymore
I've come to love that "empty" look in my closet
My mother in law and sister in law both agree I look great but they still snicker a little

Other places to look for help
Maybe clothes are not your real problems, or your morning wasn't as bad as mine were, or you don't need as much help as I did or you don't want to spend the money for a professional, there are other ways to look at your closet and see if you can get some help in this area:
  • Can you be really honest with yourself and look at your closet by yourself? Is it really working for you? Is it organized? Can you find everything easily? Is each piece in the closet really flattering for you? Can you make yourself let go of the things that aren't working?
  • Ask a stylish friend to come help you clean and re-arrange/organize your closet
  • Really want to use a stylist but don't want to pay that much? Tell her your budget and she'll work with in it.
  • Barter! What can you do for the stylist in exchange for her help? babysit?  Run errands? Clean her house? Make her meals?
  • Find the Women's clothing manager at a department store and ask for help. Some stores offer free professional shoppers, where you tell the clerk what your looking for (work clothes for office) and she has whole outfits pulled and waiting for you when you arrive
  • Use the same sales clerks at each store so they get to know you and what looks best on you
  • Find the best colors for you and what to avoid (here is a simple guide (I am a soft autumn))
  • Find a small ladies clothing store with the owner on site. I have befriended the owner of a upscale consignment boutique and have benefited from  her wealth of information about fashion.
  • Blogs and Youtube are full of fashion bloggers and "outfits of the day".  Ms. Smarty Pants and Fashion Meets Faith (who also does a women's ministry event  that I'll be the first one in line if she ever comes near me)  and What I Wore Wednesday on the Pleated Poppy 
  • Books!  this one is my favorite and I highly recommend it. I have given several away as gifts and I've loaned it out many many times and I love it so much. Currently,  my niece has "borrowed" it so long that I'm about to just order me another one. and I love  this one too

What will help make you morning visit to the closet a calmer one?

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Oh, I desperately need to do a good closet clean-out! I know for a fact that I have sweaters that have stretched a size too large that I should donate, and so on, but I also have a hard time letting go.

Getting to start over from eight or ten pieces would be really interesting. It must be so freeing! I could finally get rid of the "frumpy" leftovers from my college days and start putting together a more graduate school-appropriate wardrobe...

Maybe I'll try some of these tricks this weekend!