A client of mine and her daughter recently referred to me as a closet and wardrobe psychologist. We laughed about what a great title that is because there is so much truth in it. There are so many reasons behind what we buy and why. Your clothing is a huge reflection of who you are. We would like to think we are better than that, but we all tend to initially judge someone based on their appearance. Your clothing says a lot about you. In turn your closet speaks volumes. Just because you bought it doesn’t mean you are wearing it, and there are countless reasons why. Taking out the contents of your closet can be a metaphor for taking out the contents of who you are. I know how dramatic that sounds but it is true. The only way to effectively have a wardrobe that works for you is to honestly and truly examine yourself, your needs, and your lifestyle. This same client had a beautiful collection of colorful sweaters – all hand knit by herself. However, she hated the way they looked on her. They were chunky knits and not all of the colors worked for her. She said she loves to go into the knitting store in her free time and buy these beautiful yarns. We talked about channeling that into something more productive – maybe knitting baby blankets to donate to hospitals, knit caps for chemo centers – things that would be a creative outlet for her knitting, make her feel good, and eliminate the clutter from her closet.
When I was in my early twenties and managing a boutique, my job required me to be dressed up every day. My social life included lots of events, weddings, parties with friends, and frequent date nights with my husband. Fast forward a few years, I’m staying at home with a 2-year-old, a newborn, and a wardrobe that did not fit my needs. I didn’t want to face it at first but covering my expensive wardrobe with spit-up and food and earning a high dry cleaning bill was not working for me.
On the opposite end I have a friend who has been at home for several years now with 3 children. Her husband was recently promoted to a partner position at his job. This means they have to attend more functions and events that require her to need some dressier options in her wardrobe. Like many busy husbands, hers is not known for his stellar communication and planning skills in terms of their social life. Too often she would get faced with a last-minute “We have to meet the very important so and so for a very important dinner…tomorrow night.” The very opposite of me, she is not a clothing shopaholic. Given the choice between Pottery Barn and J. Crew, she will always pick the home decor store. Her husband was actually telling her to go and spend money on some new pieces of clothing to wear. Finally she took a couple of days and went shopping. Sending me pictures via text message, we were able to go slightly out of her box but not so much so that she would be uncomfortable. She now has a few go to pieces in her closet for when these situations arise, eliminating any last-minute stress.
The insider tips from this post are from two unlikely sources – a 5-year-old and an octogenarian.
*Insider tip – Wear what feels good.
This is Hayden. In a perfect world I would dress him like a J.Crew crewcuts model. We tried to go down that path with no good results. I bought him boy’s skinny jeans to wear with a rocker t-shirt. He looked so cute. He also cried about the pants and how they felt. (Yes I am a bad mom.) And then, a far worse incident occurred. I bribed Hayden with a lollipop (I am a really bad mom) to wear his new skinny jeans to a party because “mommy thinks they look so cool on you.” Hayden came downstairs dressed in his sister’s jeggings, telling me they felt “extra weird”. Apparently while putting away the laundry my husband accidentally put our daughter’s “jeggings” aka really skinny jeans away in our son’s closet…really not a good look. At 5 years old Hayden prefers swishy pants, aka wind pants. They don’t have the “diggy button thingys” or adjustable button waistbands that hurt him in his side. They allow him to run and jump and play and sit criss-cross applesauce comfortably at school. All important things in the life of a 5-year-old.
* Insider Tip – “To thine own self be true.” This is Jack. We call him Uncle Jack because he is a close friend of our family’s. He refers to this Shakespeare quote often, as it tends to be his mantra for living life. It also applies to your wardrobe. One of my clients is learning to become a yoga instructor. Her kids are all in college right now so her lifestyle has changed. Her philosophy has too. She likes things to be beautiful yet simple and practical. For her, it makes sense to spend money on good quality stylish athletic clothing that she can wear in and out of the studio. When you buy something think about YOUR lifestyle and needs. A fur coat is beautiful, but completely nonsensical if you live on the beach in Florida. Unless you are the guy in the Burger King commercial, in which case you might need a real psychologist.