Organize/Prioritize your Clothing Needs

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As I continue talking about closet purging and starting over, I’m realizing how difficult it is to do in writing! It’s so much easier to explain all this when I’m talking to a client in person. I’ve discussed “capsule” dressing before and really that is where we need to start.

When someone needs help re-building I suggest starting with bottoms and third pieces in basic neutrals. Pants and skirts along with jackets and/or sweaters need to fit well as this is what typically gives the first impression. This is where you want to put your money. If you purchase good quality pieces, they will last for several years. Then you can switch out the tops, layering pieces and accessories. Since these are typically more affordable, it makes sense to replace these when you get tired of the same outfits.

Build your capsule according to your lifestyle.

Bottoms will include dress pants, skirts, jeans, cropped pants depending on what you do. Some of you that need “wear to work” clothes will want to build work AND casual capsules.

I suggest laying things out on your bed to really visually see what you have and what will coordinate together.

Neutral capsules will need to start with black or gray. I like to have both shades in my wardrobe. I have dress pants, denim, skirts and now cropped pants ALL in black AND gray. It gives you much more versatility so it doesn’t look like you are always wearing black. We all know that it often seems like we could wear black pants 4 out of 5 days!

Charcoal gray is perfectly fine for spring and summer. Here are some casual options. I think of dark gray as the “new khaki”.

Wit and Wisdom                                      Caslon

I like gray vs khaki because it provides a really great contrast with your bright colors and it does not show dirt as quickly.

Below is a photo of options for bottoms in black and charcoal. Pair that with what is above and you will have a great selection in bottoms in these colors. I need all of these styles in my wardrobe, but many of you will only choose pants and no skirts or no denim. When you begin building the black/gray capsule you may just choose one gray and continue to add gray slowly,

 

Black and Gray bottoms

Next: Jackets and Cardigans

Now, depending on your taste and lifestyle you will start choosing your third pieces in the SAME neutral tones as the bottoms. You have much more flexibility if you can wear separates instead of suits. Notice all the variety in shades of black/gray, different textures and of course different styles. This all adds interest.

Does it look a little boring? I think so. Now you can add your colors and patterns with tops, camis, tanks and accessories!

black and gray jackets

 


A Wear stripe blazer
$68 - awear.com

2nd day
my-wardrobe.com

Miss selfridge
missselfridge.com

Superdry jacket
superdry.com

Jersey blazer
$42 - matalan.co.uk

Rare London baseball jacket
$48 - rarelondon.com

Vero Moda biking jacket
$86 - veromoda.com

Wallis black jacket
wallisfashion.com

Warehouse
$91 - houseoffraser.co.uk

I wear a lot of brown. I think everyone should have a brown/khaki capsule too. You can do the very same thing with those shades.

What about colored jackets and colored jeans? ABSOLUTELY! Next week I’ll show you some ways to wear those colored bottoms and pair the right colored jackets.

Keep sorting and evaluating. Make your lists and then prioritize. Make it fun and don’t stress. Rebuilding a wardrobe takes time and patience and it won’t happen all at once.

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What’s Your Spring Shopping Plan?

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We’ve actually had a little taste of spring here in the rainy NW. It gets us all excited about warmer weather, yet we know not to get our hopes up too much because rain could be very much in the picture the next two months.

The warmer weather plus the fact that we’re  taking a trip to Atlanta in April has made me think about spring clothes much earlier than I normally would.

Going through my spring clothes caused me to realize that next year when I put my spring/summer clothes away I need to sort out the March “transitional” pieces. It’s about this time of year that I get really tired of my fall/winter clothes and want to reach for something else, yet it’s not practical for many of the lightweight sleeveless pieces.

This year I did a major closet purge. I haven’t felt this way in years, but I honestly just wanted to start over! I’m not sure what it was, but I guess I didn’t buy many things last spring. A few pieces I did buy were either worn or I decided I didn’t like anymore. It made me realize that I made some poor choices. As I kept going through each item, it became apparent that a few of my favorites were going on year 4. There is nothing wrong with that. They are still in style and in good shape. However, it’s time to give some things new life or buy new. Most of us can’t  buy a whole new wardrobe in one season. As I was sorting and cleaning I began to formulate a plan. I’ll be sharing it with you in the next few posts. Whether you need a new wardrobe or just a few pieces I think this will give you some ideas before you hit the stores.

I went through all my spring/summer pieces and decided if they were consignment worthy or went to Good Will. By the time I was finished, I had a lot of empty hangers.

First I took inventory of my bottoms:

-skirts

-denim (long and cropped)

-pants

-shorts

I wrote down what I had in colors and added anything to my “must have” list.

Next I looked at my jackets and sweaters a.k.a those THIRD PIECES  of an outfit.

When you categorize this way it’s easy to see redundancy and gaps. I was heavy on green sweaters and my black cardigan had seen better days. While I put black cardigan on the list, I will wait to see if it really is a gap as I start wearing my clothes. Don’t just buy because it’s on the list. I always suggest keeping an ongoing list in your closet because it becomes clear what you need as you get dressed each day.

Now it’s time to look through tops and layering pieces and how they fit in with pant and jackets for a variety of combinations. This is another way to help the purging process. If you have a stand-alone piece that doesn’t work with a bottom or a jacket AND you don’t want to purchase something to coordinate, then it has to go.

When I look at the pieces in my closet, I have shopping to be done and possibly more purging.

I’m starting a list and then I’ll prioritize.

Next Up: Must haves for spring

 

 

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It’s time for the “Closet Switch”

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That’s it! It’s mid-April.  The time has come for me to do the twice yearly CLOSET SWITCH! I’m a couple weeks late actually. It has become the family joke because this process takes me so long. I am very methodical, and it takes a good portion of a day because I’m spring cleaning too. A girl has the right to spend time with her clothes! That’s what I tell the men in my family who laugh at my system. Besides, the time I put in now will pay off later. If you have a large closet where you can keep all your clothes together. I’m envious. If your spacious closet keeps all your clothes in perfect order, I still advise a seasonal weeding out. Move your “extreme” seasonal heavy clothing out of the mix so you can make quick and easy choices.

If you are a regular reader, you know about my small closet. And if you missed these posts, the category of closet organization will get you up to speed. You will read about everything from hangers to makeup organization ideas.

I’ve stored my off- season clothes in the unused half of my son’s closet for years. When he left for college, I promised I wouldn’t turn his room into something else, but now his room sure comes in handy for this. I simply have not had time to do this switch in one day. What a mess I have! It will take a few consecutive days to finish and I can leave it all out. Right now our weather is still not spring like. However, I need a change.

TIPS:

1. Make sure all your clothes are clean before you start. You don’t want to miss something AND it’s not smart to put things in storage that aren’t clean.

2. I have piles for Dry Cleaning, Consign, Donate. Call your consignment store to confirm what they are looking for. Early consignment pays off for some items. It makes no sense to consign your real summery clothes now–wait a couple months for that.

3. I store all my shoes and boots in their original boxes. The cardboard and stuffing for boots helps them keep their shape. Polish shoes before putting away (that’s my husband’s job) A little TLC will help them last for years. If something needs to go to the shoe repair, designate a box for that as well.

4. I group the clothing together by category and wrap it in the garment bags from department stores.

5. Now is the time to make your list of what you see missing in your spring wardrobe. You may not know that now. This is why I recommend to every client that it’s a great idea to keep an ongoing list in your closet (not your purse). When you go to get dressed, the gaps will be very evident. Write it down for your next shopping trip.

6. Try to envision some new combinations as you organize your clothes by CATEGORY first and then COLOR.

7. Weed out jewelry you don’t care for any longer and re-organize. If you don’t have a great system, check out my Jewelry Organization ideas.

8. I hang all my clothes (yes, even sweaters) I WILL take time to go through a drawer at a time to re-fold and weed out yard work, work out clothes and lingerie.

9.  Sort out anything that needs to be mended or altered.

If you take the time to do this well TWO times a year, it will make such a difference. Anyone else out there with small closets taking on this same task?

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What to Wear:The Indoor Sports Mom

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In this last post for Sports Moms, I wanted to end with a few styling tips for indoor games. The first thought that goes through many women’s minds is: “I don’t want to be too dressed up!” I couldn’t agree more. Finding the right balance can be tricky.

1. Jeans or nice fitting sweat pants with casual shoes. No heels, no baggy sweat pants and leave the running shoes for working out!

2. Nice fitting casual jackets or sweaters. I know you love to support your teams with the logo hoodies. I get it. If the sweatshirt is non-negotiable, wear with jeans and the right shoes.

3. Hats are perfect when you don’t have time to do your hair (early game)

4. Jewelry is a great addition. Keep it simple and save the “wow” pieces to wear with your heels. Lia Sophia consultant, Kym Merrick’s motto is: Wear a piece of jewelry and no one will notice your bad hair day or lack of makeup.

A couple of hats that are a nice switch from the baseball cap.

Organize your closet to reflect your lifestyle.

I’ve previously mentioned my ”baseball clothes” section. Pants, tops, sweaters and jackets were all in this separate area of my closet. No matter how organized and planned out I had things, we were always scrambling at the last minute. Getting all the right uniform pieces and equipment, not to mention snacks and other miscellaneous things in the car at the proper time was a challenge. Many times we had to travel a distance and I didn’t know exactly where I was going. The phone would ring, one of the kids couldn’t find a sock, belt or baseball glove. Then there was the time I went to the washer only to find pink bubble gum all over a white uniform! Do you get the picture? There was no time for me to be in a quandary about what to wear! 

Here is a summary of things I’ve done that relate to the sports mom and everyone else. I see many of the same patterns when I visit closets which has helped me fine tune this even further. Some of this is a repeat from a previous post. I find repetition to be helpful.

1.Choose the most accessible, visble part of your closet for the clothes you wear the most frequently. This is your “go-to” area which helps you build an outfit quickly. Bottom, top, jacket, sweater. Accessories also need to be visible.

2. Move your everyday clothes to a different area in your closet, or I would put them in a drawer. This includes clothes for yard work, house cleaning, working out and lounging around the house. There is no need to thumb through 8 white tops when several of those are considered everyday wear.

3. When you do closet editing, many pieces can move categories. What once was a nice top that has now seen better days can still be worn under a pullover or sweater in a more casual setting. I help women see their closet in several different categories which are determined by lifestyle.

My baseball clothes section has now been replaced with ”hang around the house after work” clothing. When basketball starts in a couple of weeks, my closet is streamlined and ready to go. I can easily choose some of my more casual pieces from my go to area and be ready  in minutes. And quite frankly it’s a little easier to dress for indoor sports.

I hope you have enjoyed the Sports Mom series. Thank you for all your comments. I also appreciate all of you who have talked to me personally about your similar experiences as a sports mom (outside of dressing). 

My son even read my blog this time. His comment? “thought I was a little better than average, Mom!”  I had to correct him that I said “average to ABOVE average’. And minutes ago I read the part about the bubblegum to my youngest son to see what his recollection was. His reply? “Is this for the book you’ve talked about writing!”

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Should it Stay or Should it Go

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I’ve read a number of articles about closet purging. I do not agree with everything I read. I evaluate carefully when purging the closets of my clients as well as my own.

We are heading into a new season. It’s the perfect time to go through clothes. In fact, I recommend you do this twice yearly when the seasons change. Put it on the calendar if you need to. It’s important. If you let it go a couple of seasons, the closet becomes stuffed and then it’s an overwhelming task.

I use the change of seasons to thoroughly go through my closet and make the switch. Closets get dusty. I do deep cleaning and rearranging. I can spend up to a day doing this. My husband thinks it’s hilarious. Recently he demonstrated  how he does the closet switch. He grabs his bunch of short sleeved shirts and moves them to the back in exchange for the long sleeve shirts he moves up front. He notes that it takes about two minutes. Men!

When evaluating closets I use this criteria that we have established in our first appointment 1. Is it a good color? 2. Does it fit well–match your body type? 3. Is it you? Does it match your personal style.

I encourage you to receive some help with this process if it is difficult to know what stays or what goes. I hear about women who overdo the purging process and get rid of so much they have very few clothes left to wear. I try to salvage as much as possible. Another pair of eyes and a 2nd opinion saves dollars!

Here are some of my Best Tips:

1. You will often read: “If you haven’t worn in a year, get rid of it!” I disagree with this tip. Especially in our NW climate, there are years when for whatever reason I do not wear an item as much or at all. Sometimes the weather factor needs to be weighed.

2. How long should you keep an item? This is a tough one. I get 2-4 years out of most of my clothes. There are classic, dressier styles not worn as often that I have held on to much longer. I recommend 3 piles: Consignment, Donate and Throw Away.

CONSIGNMENT: I consign pieces that still have some wear and life in them. Most of the time I’ve received good value judging by the CPW (cost per wear). My consignment pile consists of things I’m tired of wearing but are in good condition. If I can’t come up with a new way to give it some life, or wear it in a different way–it goes! This is also the place to rid those pieces you purchased on sale and the tags are still on (heaven forbid!)

DONATE: Outdated and ill fitting clothing ( for you personally, but may work on someone else.)

THROW AWAY: Check your clothing carefully for stains,”pilling”, stretching and tears or holes. If it cannot be salvaged with cleaning, the sweater shaver or mending it NEEDS TO GO!

3. How do you determine if an item is still in style? People watch. Observe well-dressed women. You will see a pattern. Pick up a few magazines occasionally. Read blogs!

Tips that don’t work for me personally but may work well for you:

1. When you start a season, turn all the hangers backwards. As you wear an item, turn the hanger the opposite direction. This provides a great visual so you see what is not being worn. Many women use this as criteria for what stays/what goes. Ok, I may be a little crazy, but I like all my hangers to hang the same way. I do not have that many clothes. When I do the closet switch, I know immediately what I haven’t worn that season.

2. When you purchase a new item, one item has to leave your closet. Again, I evaluate twice yearly and try to make wise decisions based on specific criteria. Poor decisions can be made if you are just picking at item quickly because this is your rule. However, if it helps you purge regularly–then do what works!

How do you evaluate what stays or what goes? I’d love to hear from you. If you are a regular reader, but have never made a comment, please join in!

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Quick Tip: Jewelry Storage

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As I continue to encourage jewelry as one of the best ways to accessorize, the thought may come to mind… “Where in the world am I going to store it?” I have shown some photos in the past of solutions I’ve created for myself. The main thing to remember is storing the jewelry so you can SEE it and it is convenient. I go to many homes/closets where the jewelry is nowhere in sight. It’s stuffed into a jewelry box in a drawer and is forgotten about. Again, the answer is very simple:

When you see it, you will wear it!

Many women have space issues in their closets. However, even if you just have a small area of wall space, I think the ideas below may work for you. I usually try to find a small area in the closet where you can put a piece of pegboard. It’s a great way to display jewelry. The photo below is an example of what a client created after my suggestion.

The following photos show the same idea with cork board, straight pins and a belt holder for the heavier necklaces.

 Have you found a great way to store your jewlery? Is it out in the open so you can see it and combine with your outfits?

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Closet Organization Revisited

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One of the first topics I covered when I started my blog was closet organization. If you’re new to my blog, you may want to start reading there for a quick overview. I still stand by the tips I gave then, and thought I would give an update to reiterate a few of the things I discussed before.

Since that post, I’ve worked with more clients which always gives me new ideas. When I edit closets, I also try to give my input on how the closet is organized. Some things are a quick and easy fix. Women love a new idea that doesn’t take major changes.

My #1 recommendation is to get rid of plastic or wire hangers. The tube hangers take more space and frankly clothes do not stay hung nicely on these hangers. Things are always slipping off. I understand that it is hard to get rid of perfectly good hangers. Do yourself a favor and make the switch. It is not a huge investment. Previously I recommended the jumbo box of the slim, velvet covered hangers from Costco. 50 for $15! Clients told me they were no longer in the stores. I was just about ready to write… “You know how Costco is…one month they are there, the next month they are not.” Instead of writing my blog last night, I made a trip to Costco. I’m so glad I waited to write. There were the hangers repackaged 50 for $18! Yahoo!

This time they have included Deluxe Suit Hangers with shoulder pads which are great for sweaters as well. You will also notice a cross bar for ties or scarves. I could not find this set at Costco.com, but check your local store. There are also been sightings of these hangers at Ross and Walmart, but in smaller packages.

#2. When you see it, you’ll wear it! I said this previously but am writing it again because I’m amazed how many women have really nice things stuffed in drawers. If clothing is stuffed on shelves or in drawers, you forget about it. I encourage hanging as many things as possible. It’s a visual thing! And with these great hangers, you’ll have more space. If you are worried about hanging sweaters, don’t be. I hang all my sweaters and it isn’t a problem. I realize those of you that have spacious closets want to use those great shelves for your nice sweaters. Do a test with yourself and track if you wear things more when they are hung or folded on a shelf.

#3 Separate Casual/Everyday clothes from dress clothes.  I like my very casual clothes to be separate from my dress clothes. I encourage clients to do the same. The less thumbing through clothes you must do when getting ready, the faster you will go. It’s simply a time saver. When I get ready, I want to quickly choose a bottom, top, sweater or jacket (if necessary) I don’t want to be looking through casual pieces that don’t even factor in as a possibility. Organize your closet by category and then color within each category and valuable minutes will be saved!

I have another great way to store your jewelry using a pegboard which I’ll be sharing soon to coincide with our upcoming Jewelry Giveaways!

Do you have a great storage or organization tip?

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Style Potpourri

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Today your blog post is a potpourri. I had a list of a few random topics. Individually they are not enough for one article; thus the perfect potpourri post. There are several links to follow. Just use your arrow key to navigate through the links and article. Congratulations to Cindy, Comment # 7 who won a FREE color analysis!

If you read my post about cardigans, here is another spin from Snapshot Magazine. I hope you enjoy my article and the entire magazine in what sadly is the last issue.

If you had a question about how to wear leggings and skinny jeans in the spring, this visual should help. The boots change to flats or heels, and the top changes from a sweater/coat to a boyfriend cardigan or longer tunic top.(not shown) Of course if you’re not concerned about covering a particular area of your body, then the sky is the limit on what you pair with them.

Shoes: Ok, you might think I’m obsessed with shoes since I write about them frequently. No doubt I love my shoes. I get many questions about shoes from readers and clients. I want to keep you updated on what I’ve found. Since my last posts on spring shoes, I’ve had a chance to try a few more you may like. I received questions about ankle straps after this shoe photo. I agree with everything I’ve read: Ankle straps can create an illusion which causes your leg to look shorter. I didn’t feel this would happen with a neutral color. Red or black high ankle straps on my short legs-definitely an issue. That’s my two cents; I have not tried this shoe yet.

 View #1. LOVED these because they are the perfect neutral shoe that extends your leg line and will go with a variety of colors. This is one of the Sofft styles that does not come in Wide. They have to go back–I so wanted these to work and hope they might for you! View #2: Pikolinos. Not only does the soft leather “give” for my wide foot, the shoe is well cushioned and the rubber sole allows for shock absorption. Notice in the description that they contain materials which allow your foot to breathe– so important especially in the summer months! It’s worth the extra price you pay. These are a winner and I found them locally at www.amenityshoes.com. I will be featuring this store soon and giving away Gift Certificates. View #3 Onex. I own a similar style and am going on my 4th summer to wear it. You may find another style in this brand. Perfect casual and dress options at a great price point.

A couple of months ago I wrote about jewelry organization. Since then I’ve found myself collecting a few longer necklaces. They just were not fitting on my new system. I had to get creative with space. Rather than pound more nails in the wall, I decided to use the space on the back of my free standing mirror. By the way, if your closet space does not allow a mirror, I strongly recommend something like this. It was a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and I love it! I purchased the hooks at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Mine is a little different than what is shown. You may also find something similar at other stores in the organization section.

Coming Next: Gigi Hill Give Away

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Organization Continued…

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After all the Christmas decorations are put away, I often get on a roll and keep on cleaning and organizing. Well, that would be sometimes. I’ve heard that my posts on organizing the closet and jewelry inspired a few of you. I have since continued…

1.  My scarves were a mess. I opted for a basic hook that hangs on the wall behind my door vs. the one from IKEA. I have some scarves hanging in my bedroom, others in the basket by my outside door. I chose the location based on by “fashion” scarves and those I wear with heavier coats.

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2. My makeup was a mess. I’m not sharing a “before” picture. The result was this acrylic, easy to clean Organizer. I love it!

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3. Drawer Organizer for Socks/Tights. The picture on the cover of the box should explain what mine looked like. The result is so worth it. I plan to continue in other drawers.

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Let me know what else you find!

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Organizing Jewelry

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I loved receiving all your feedback and suggestions about organizing accessories. I decided to start with Jewelry. First stop: The Container Store. They were extremely helpful and I decided to go with the acrylic necklace and bracelet holders. I also purchased a divider that fit in the drawer for earrings and rings. The tins may look familiar to some of you as they are included whenever you make a Brighton purchase. I’ve had a hard time throwing these away over the years, and they’re collecting dust in my storage closet. I’m the type of person that needs to try a system before giving it the “thumbs up”. I keep all receipts because there may be something better at another store!  Next stop: IKEA for comparison shopping on jewelry accessories and solutions for scarves and organization inside drawers. One disadvantage of my new system– I’ve set myself up for comments from my husband about my excessive amounts of jewlery! It wasn’t quite so visible in the drawers. (Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.) What is your challenge in accessory organization? Coming Soon: Organizing Makeup, Scarves and Drawers.

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