I know, I know. Miami doesn’t have a change of seasons, but we get two weeks out of the year to pretend we do! Time to break out the heavy bouclé jackets and those fab fur scarf thingies everyone’s throwing around their necks for a color pop. Shine those leather, knee length boots that you try to hobble around in 90 degree weather looking cool as a cucumber (but you’re sweating like a cardio whore taking her third spin class of the day!) It’s that time!
Here’s How To Do It!
Turn off your phones, clear your calendar, and make sure everyone is out of the house. No friends, husbands, kids, or hired help. You need to be focused and you don’t need anyone interrupting your flow or giving unsolicited advise! Spouses get especially nervous during the purge because they tend to form emotional attachments to things they’ve seen us in. (I’d rather think this way then that they just want us to not spend any money!)
Now, before you get in there, get all juiced up by looking at your favorite Pinterest pictures of those impossibly perfect lacquered shrines to fashion and then get sober by drinking a second cup of Joe and looking at reality—which is your real closet.
You’ve Got This!
Start with making separate piles for items that need to go to the dry cleaner, tailor, cobbler, and jewelry repair guy. Another pile will be for items you’ll be getting rid of — whether by donating, swapping, or (if it’s stained and maimed) for send off to a landfill near you! Now, make a list of items that need to be replaced. I tell my clients that if they love a certain tee or tank that they should buy them in multiples because even the best fashion lines change their fabrics and fit. White items tend to grow grayish yellow quite quickly, so be ready for the pain of losing your favorite white shirt. Time to search for another! Let it go, let it go!
Phase One: The Culling
1. Go through your closet item by item, evaluating each piece as you would when you are determining to purchase it in a boutique. Ask yourself these real questions;
-Does it still make you blush when you pick it up?
-Does that Forever 21 maxi halter dress really flatter your figure, or do you just love that print–even though that dress only looks decent on a pubescent model who happens to be a teenager?
Be merciless! Did you know that when you own too many “Iffy” items in your closet that you end up avoiding them and wearing the same “safe” basic items in rotation? What a waste of a wardrobe and money. If you keep waiting for the “right” weight to wear something, haircut, or MIRACLE— you’re wasting precious energy. Cull away! It’s so liberating. I have a client that owned a ton of beautiful Marni dresses and blouses, but guess what? Her boobs were too big and the items wore her and made her look frumpy. Some still had price tags and were never worn. We resold them to a consignment store, took the money, and bought staple pieces that she still wears 5 years later! Do it! Get in there and make those piles!
2. Don’t forget to inspect your suede and leather items. Do they still fit you as snug as a bug or are they stretched out and make you look like you’re wearing a diaper? Did you know that some tailors can alter said pants and make them fit snug to your bum? Invest in altering your wardrobe with good tailor/seamstress. These persons are the key in making all of your clothing fit you instead of a blah-ok version of yourself.
3. Did you buy that suit at Ann Taylor because you loved the idea of a pop of red but the suit isn’t quite right? If your new bestie, the tailor, says that it can’t be saved, cull it! There is nothing sadder than a good woman in a bad suit. There is a reason that men buy investment suits. They always look great, and don’t require that much thought. Find a designer that looks rights on you and splurge! If I may suggest, one of my favorites is Alvin Valley. He makes the best for every women’s body type and the price doesn’t pinch your wallet too much.;)
Phase Two: It’s Happening! You’re Ready For “The Rotation!”
When it’s time to rotate your wardrobe for the next season, (in Miami we call this “Two Weeks Without a Bikini) make a checklist of items from the warmer season that you are going to incorporate in to the new one. We all keep our favorite tees, denim jacket, and leather coats in permanent rotation (Yes, even that white leather jacket! That thing costed a fortune and it looks great against all black!) Keep in mind the season’s trends. Still holding on to that velvet car coat from Todd Oldham from the nineties—guess what? The time is right to break that bad boy out and pair it with the new chunky sweater skirt of the season and that cute graphic tee you wore this Spring! Now, pair with white boots. (Sorry, I digress.) Do you get it, though? It’s exciting to work old pieces into your wardrobe with the new. Get those pieces working!
Before you put chosen items into storage, inspect each one and consider the following:
-How often did you wear the item? Why?
-How useful the item is to keep in your wardrobe.
· Did you like wearing the item?
· Did it fit you well?
· What condition is it in?
Your answers will determine whether the item is ready for storage, needs to be replaced, or should be culled, culled, culled!
If items are obviously for a warmer season, can you successfully merge it by teaming the item with a great leather jacket with a pair of boots? I keep out a favorite tea stained white pinafore dress that I throw a black leather jacket over and motorcycle boots. It’s effortless.
Now is the time to strategize what you’re going to wear. My favorite place to fill in with trendy pieces is ZARA. (Yes, everything has to go straight to the tailor to make it fit better, but you’re only kidding yourself if you spend a few grande on an item and you think you don’t have to take it for a fitting. ( And, yes, yes! That is me smirking at you because I can tell if you have on something has been worn right off the racks.) Tailor, tailor, tailor!
Catharsis: Incoming Season
As you unpack the colder season’s items, consider the following:
· Is the item perfectly ready to wear as is? (Probably not, because you hadn’t read this post yet and have only been to the tailor a few times for your hubby’s things.)
-Are there any gaps in your wardrobe for this coming season? Do you have enough lightweight sweaters for layering? When you travel to places that have Game Of Throne-like cold, you need to learn the art of layering up. Do you have enough pieces in your wardrobe to accomplish this effortlessly? If you’re my client, the answer is “Yes!” If not, run out and find some in different weights. The idea is to put the bulkier one on top of the thinner.
If you don’t have a strategy for packing, I’m a little sad for you because I can imagine what your suitcase looks like when you pack. You are probably are not putting your most fabulous, fashionable foot forward—-and your spouse secretly loathes you because their back aches from all of the excess baggage and baggage fees! I’ve seen many Miami girls in New York, and I shiver when I see that they wear their suede $3,000 boots in the dirty, snow covered streets with one thin sweater on, holes in jeans, no layering pieces, and a tiny coat that looks like they borrowed it from their daughter. Buy a proper winter coat, some proper sweaters, and denim on the bottom that has weight! (Denim comes in ounces. When buying, keep this in mind. It helps when your bum is as warm as the rest of you.
I have three winter coats that I’ve owned for over a decade; An army green full length one lined with fur for frigid temps, a medium weight Missoni short length coat for when it’s mildly cold for when I want to look a little sporty and fab, and a long cashmere car coat for when I’m dressed to go out.
Remember: When putting items out for the new season, keep in mind;
-Are there any new pieces you’d like to look for to freshen your wardrobe or to work in a color or style trend? You can work lighter weight tops with sweaters. You just need a dose of French confidence! Play, play, play! If anything feels too contrived or like costume; abort, abort, abort! Dressing should be intuitive and if it’s isn’t— you don’t have the right wardrobe.
-Should you keep a few caftans and swimsuits handy if you’re planning to be traveling to warmer climate? (jealous!)
-Merchandise your closet like a boutique. Take out the tired plastic hangers and invest in new, pretty ones. I prefer wood, but recently came across some beautiful velvet covered ones that made me swoon!
Everyone likes to merchandise their closet differently. I prefer to separate the tops out from the bottoms and have the long pieces hanging on their own rack. I keep a portable clothing rack handy to hang my pieces on as I separate them out. Invest in a good clothing steamer. Many things get wrinkly from being in a box. Steam them and hang. Fold the sweaters and put them on shelves, or roll them and put them in a drawer. Some people prefer to hang according to color and texture. Whatever works for you! It makes your life much easier when everything has a place in your closet. My hand bags are displayed on shelves by color. The shoes are up on a wall on shelves. Some people like boxes, but I find that it’s easier if you can see them. If you spy an item that you haven’t worn in years— cull it. It’s dragging you and the vision for a keen wardrobe down.
Invest In You!
Buying the season’s latest shoes and a few of those fun trendy pieces will kick you right into the fashionista stratosphere. I am not at all an advocate for going out and buying expensive shoes and handbags every season. When looking at handbags, I recommend buying only what you love (look for quality), and can get the most wear out of. Investment pieces are key, not just having the latest. Shop designers sparingly. One of my clients who has the best bag collection ever rotates a beautiful suede one that we picked up at Nordstrom for less than $100! It looks like vintage YSL and she gets a kick out of telling people where she (me) got it!
I am not brand loyal to any one designer. Have you noticed that they just copy each other? Shop with pieces in mind and don’t rule out outlet shops. One of my favorite new pieces is a black caftan with lace from Targét. (Targét is one of my favorite neologisms! I get a million compliments on the caftan and it was only $15!).
I am very firm on how I choose an item. It has to be made with a unique fabric, or is uber well made and I need it, which is when I will splurge. Most of my personal and clients’ wardrobes are procured with the idea that they can be worn for many years. A great wardrobe is cultivated with patience and wisdom, and should be intuitively versatile.
Now get into that closet!