It never fails to amaze me that the most organized and professional women often have the greatest need for wardrobe makeovers. Intriguingly, they fall into one of two extremes when it comes to shopping for clothes — the shopaholics, always ready-to-shop ,and then at the other end of the spectrum, the group that’s seriously allergic to malls, stores and fitting rooms.
The shopaholics often suffer from the closet-full-of-clothes-but-nothing-to-wear syndrome while the second group simply never discards anything. Their closets provide a trip down Memory Lane: prom dresses, blazers with quarterback shoulder pads, jeans in “once-upon-a-time sizes.”
All these women recognize that personal style is career enhancing but don’t know where to begin. They wouldn’t hold a meeting without an agenda but have never thought about wardrobe planning. My role is to help them understand the strategy of building from the ground up, rather like working with a personal blueprint.
Let’s get started!
Step one: Make a checklist of relevant clothing categories.
• Career clothes
• Casual chic (clothes for dress-down days, movies, dining out)
• Sportswear/Casual weekends
• Specific activities (hiking, skiing, Pilates, etc.)
Rank the categories according to your lifestyle priorities. Elegant could follow Career clothes if you’re a member of the opera committee, have season’s tickets for the theatre and enjoy formal restaurants. Someone with a more casual lifestyle could rank Sportswear second, after Career clothes.
Step two: Self-analysis! Which of the following best describes your style? Select the look that makes you feel most confident.
Of course, it’s possible to be a combination — say, Classic for Career Clothes, Natural on the weekend and Dramatic by night. Think about how you want to project yourself.
Step three: Inventory — step up to your closet and remove everything that:
• Doesn’t fit
• Doesn’t flatter — could be the style or colour
• You haven’t worn for the past year
• Is out of date
• Requires alterations or repairs
No doubt about it, this is a major challenge for the shopaholics — be brave. Destination Goodwill for the first four groups; you’ll revisit the “alterations and repairs department” another day.
Step four: Seasonality — divide your clothes into seasons. Even if you live in Southern California, keep the cool weather components together and away from sundresses and beachwear.
Step five: Separate the pieces according to the categories in step one — all Career clothes together, Sportswear, etc. Group all the jackets within a category and do the same with pants, skirts, blouses, dresses.
Now, your “foundation” is in place and you’re ready to start building. We’ll wait for everyone to catch up before moving on to Part Two.
How is Your Personal and/or Brand Image and Etiquette?
Join me for my free, 55 minute teleseminar on Style for Women where I will share tips on how to:
- Engage comfortably in discussions
- Project an effective and professional image through the barrier of electronic communication devices?
- Top tips on how to dress for the job you want NOT the job you have and much more!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 3:00 pm Eastern, 12:00 pm Pacific
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