Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ten Steps to Upgrading your Look

We all have those mornings when we stand in front of our closet and just stare. These days almost always coincide with me yelling at the kids to hurry up and then missing my train. Anyway, the point is we'd like to have less of these right? Here is a good plan to get you on your way.

1. Clean out your closet and be ruthless. If it doesn't fit (and I mean now, not 5 pounds from now) or you haven't worn it in 2 seasons, chuck it because you aren't going to wear it. This is true no matter how cool it is or what a great deal it was. Give it to charity, your sister or sell it on Ebay but get ride of it! I am especially prone to this one as I sometimes buy things for the life I wish I was living as opposed to the life I actually live. Possibly the only exceptions to this rule are a perfect classic dress (doesn't have to be black) and a totally classic suit. I have both hanging in my closet. As long as they are classic in shape/style, even if you only wear them once in a great while, hang on to them.

2. Next, reorganize your closet. This is a crucial step. No walk-in closet? No problem. Consider some extra garment bars to double your hanging space. The Double Hanger Deluxe (available at Bed Bath and Beyond) are a good start. Find some inexpensive wall hooks from Home Depot or the drugstore and mount them in strategic rows on bare wall or door space. Buy some stackable shelves for your shoes. Another good idea is to be good to yourself and buy luxurious but inexpensive hangers that protect your clothes and do double-duty. I confess that I fall down here sometimes but I strive for a well organized closet. It's ideal if you can keep all the same colors together or group by style, up to you but try and come up with some system so you can find that red pencil skirt when you need it!

3. Boost your basics. As a public service, I would like to make a formal request that you don't wear sweats and fleece out unless you're exercising or performing outdoor chores (or running a very short errand with the least possible exposure outside of your car). I hear people howling at me know but really, lounge attire is to lounge, as in at home, not Safeway. And it's perfectly okay to wear tennies with your track suit, jeans, or courduroy mini, just don't wear plain white aerobic sneakers with everything, for the love of God. I really can't stand to see white leather Reeboks or white fabric Keds with suits or nice pants. Heaven help you if you put them over white socks and black stockings. I totally understand, I feel your pain. I take the train to work and walk downtown to my office. I have bad feet. Thankfully, there are so many comfortable yet stylish alternatives. Ballet flats, happen to be my absolute favorite multi-purpose shoe. I'm positively hooked on this style. They literally go with everything. Just find the right texture and details and you'll go from yoga to work to cocktails in the same fantastic flats. One pair is all you need in your favorite color, but honestly, you can get them so cheap, splurge on a couple.

4. And speaking of feet, buy better shoes. Repeat after me "cheap shoes hurt" I can definitely understand why women go nuts over shoes. With red, pink, green, ivory, camel, coral, and varieties of cheetah, python, and zebra, I am living proof that a great, unique pair of shoes can make or break your outfit (and possibly your day). Some mornings, I pick a pair of shoes first then work an entire outfit around them. . Shoes can truly make or break your outfit.

5. Upgrade your accessories. This is the fun part. One showstopping ornament could take the place of 10 so-so baubles. Belts. Gloves. Scarves. These can all be spiced up. Why settle for strictly functional when there are vast quantities of colors, textures, and metallic finishes available? Let's talk about hair accessories. Headbands aren't limited to fifties-era housewives. The silk scarf isn't just for the French. Barettes aren't only for schoolgirls. Why leave your hair and neck naked? Tie on a burst of color or clip on some bling.

6. Buy a good coat. It doesn't have to cost $1000 and up. It just has to be elegant, sharp, and classic, all at the same time. A good rule of thumb is find a classic winter coat and a classic trench. If you live in a mild climate a trench may be all you need. Get one in black, navy, olive, camel, or even ivory and you will be able to wear it with everything. Better to have one incredible couture-worthy coat than 5 mediocre ones.

7. Branch out of basic black. Find other colors that make you look sexy, slim, and sophisticated. Wear a ravishing little red dress. Discover a shade of green that complements your tone. Become a pink lady or wear your sunny disposition on your sleeve with yellow. Substitute navy, olive, or camel as the staple neutrals in your wardrobe. Frankly I much perfer navy to black. Ivory goes with almost every color in the world. It's okay to wear black sometimes. Just don't wear boring black. Punch it up with colorful pieces here and there. And don't wear black to black-tie events. Or cocktail parties. There are plenty of stunning shades to show off at formal events. Reserve all black for funerals and have fun with your wardrobe the rest of the time.

8. Never buy anything that doesn't fit, flatter, or feel good on. You'll never wear it. Trust me, it has taken me years to learn this. And I still do it from time to time. That is not to say you should overlook articles that fit your shape but are a little long, or don't hug all your curves in exactly the right proportions. That's what tailors are for. If the overall fit is right, it's not terribly difficult to hem or take in a garment. But ideally, shop for your body type. And please love that body type, if you are curvey, embrace it, flaunt it. If you have great legs, work them, toned arms, wear short sleeves. Please don't waste time longing for what you do't have, love what you already have.

9. Upgrade your undergarments. When was the last time you were fitted for a bra? Did you know that your bossoms can change size and shape every few years? Many department stores and even Victoria's Secret do fittings. Furthermore, do you think that all celebrities and supermodels have the bodies of lingerie models? Of course not! They wear strategic undergarments to reshape their assets. A push-up bra here, seamless tummy-taming panties there, derriere-lifting stockings under there, and so on. There are body-enhancing solutions to almost every body part you'd like to improve.

10. Buy only fabulous, striking pieces that make you look like a million. Never buy anything so-so again. From now on, put every potential purchase through the desert-island test: if you could only take 5 items from each category with you to wear for one year, would you take this piece? If you can't answer yes, then don't buy it. There's no point in buying more so-so stuff that will take up precious closet space. That's how you got yourself into the perpetual "I have nothing to wear" rut in the first place! It doesn't matter if it's on final sale or practically free. You don't need more clothes. You need better clothes. Only fabulous pieces that earn their keep season after season need apply.

There. That should get you on your way to looking like a million bucks! Never have nothing to wear again!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post. I am returning my Max and Molly tee b/c of what you said. I know it is too sheer and I won't wear it no matter how cute it is...