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Monday, October 16, 2017

Planning for Success

"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." ~Warren Buffet

October 23, 24 and 25 are national ‘Take Back Your Time’ days. (Which begs the question, where has this year gone??!!) Being an image consultant, I can help you with taking back some of that time. What does one’s image have to do with getting control of your time? Let me elaborate.

If you want every day to start off on a more relaxed, confident note, plan out your wardrobe – not just for one day, but for the entire week- in advance. Preferably late in the previous week; I try to start on Thursday. This way, if I need to clean or repair anything it’s on my radar for the weekend.

After much trial and error, here’s my process:

·      First, I take out my planner and get comfortable with a cup of tea in front of my closet.
·      Then I look on my phone app for the weather predictions for next week, and write them in my planner. That way I know if I need layers, or sleeveless, or rain gear.
·      Next, I look at my schedule for each day to know if I need to dress professionally or more casually on a given day.
·      Lastly, I take a look at my laundry situation. What I choose for the following week may depend in part on whether or not I need to do laundry, and if I’ll have time over the weekend.
·      Now plan your clothes for the week. I’m also one to plan out accessories (shoes, hats, jewelry) and makeup as well. I don't like leaving any of it until the last minute.

I have a spot in my weekly calendar just for my wardrobe plan- and I use a different color pen, just so it’s easy to see. After writing all my details down, I take each day’s clothing, including socks, tights, underwear, scarves, etc., and put it on one or two hangars, and hang them up all together, in order of the days they’re to be worn.

This process takes a good 20 or 30 minutes; I like to look at things together to see if I like it, and maybe look up different eye makeup imagery on Pinterest if I have time. After all, how we dress is one of the few places in life where we can pretty much be totally selfish and please only ourselves, and enjoy a little bit of creativity. Why not make the most of it?

Happy Dressing!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Shopping on the Sly

“These days, you’ve gotta milk a dollar out of every dime.” ~Gayle Forman, Where She Went

So you mailed off your taxes by today, and have decided to revisit the whole sticking-to-a-wardrobe-budget-thing. But how do you maintain your hot, sizzling self and keep that budget squeaky clean? Simple. Open up where you’ll consider buying from. Does it have to be ‘new’? Is anyone really going to know if you don’t tell them? Buying from second hand sources opens up a lot more potential. 

1. Online. With the internet, shopping for second hand clothes can be much easier. If you know how things tend to fit you, and/or you’re familiar with how a brand tends to fit you, you’ll have a good chance of buying well online. Even better if the seller has a return policy that works for you.  eBay is the first thing that comes to mind; if you choose to go with eBay then be sure to check out the sellers rating- I personally won’t look at anyone with less than a 99% rating, unless there’s not much at stake. Also, again, I would make sure they’re good with returns before shopping. Be aware that you may have to search for a long time, especially if you’re looking for a really good price. 

2. Thrift/Consignment shops.  I live in Los Angeles, and we have many, many, MANY thrift and consignment shops. We also have a large population of wealthy people who regularly get rid of  their ’old’ clothes (which often means designer garments worn once….) Which is great for those of us happy to buy second hand. Remember in my last blog how I suggested that as proper fit is second in importance only to wearing the right colors, the cost of having garments altered to fit perfectly should be calculated into the purchase price? If you’re buying the perfect pair of slacks for a song, then spending $10 or $20 to have them altered to fit you as if they were made for you is well worth it. Different thrift shops have different strengths; some have great designer duds, others have more volume, or casual items, others get the cast-offs of the local studios. (Those are some of my favorite.) If you live in an area without much variety in terms of thrifting, then you might consider making regular trips to areas where they have good ones; that’s the key- you have to shop on a regular basis. I’ve found that I can go to a specific shop regularly for months, with very little to show for it, then one day I go and someone who’s my size has donated/is selling tons of stuff that works perfectly for me, and I buy it all for a song. 

Just remember that if you’re serious about saving money this is a logical place to consider budget cuts. No no one will know you got that beautifully cut (because you had them altered) pair of slacks in the gorgeous fabric for $10 at your local thrift store/consignment shop/eBay….so who cares? 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Squeezing Into My Tax Outfit, or Wardrobe Woes

"What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin." ~Mark Twain

This is the dreaded Tax Time, and for some of us it’s an ugly reminder that it’s as important to budget for wardrobe as everything else, or we can end up with an ugly financial image. There are three areas that I’m bringing up here while you’re thinking about the big picture, budget-wise; wardrobe maintenance, a good tailor, and quality over quantity. 

Some of your clothing budget needs to be set aside for maintenance of your existing wardrobe. Whatever your budget is, you’ll need to allocate the appropriate amount depending on how extensive your wardrobe is and how much seasonal change there is in your area; if you live in Hawaii where there’s very little seasonal change, you won’t be needing to have a down coat dry cleaned every spring. If you live in upstate NY, you’ll probably have 2 distinct wardrobes with cross-over pieces to carry you from cold to warm and vice versa. Which means it potentially gets more complicated and more expensive. You can buy things that don’t require dry cleaning, but you’ll still need to dry clean suits and some dressier items, and you’ll need to have shoes regularly resoled and cleaned. This extends the life of your clothing considerably while helping to ensure that you’ll always look sharp and well groomed. All of this might amount to a sizable chunk of your clothing budget.

You may be thinking you don’t need a tailor, but if you really want to look your best, you’re most likely better off finding a good one. Why? Because next to wearing your 3-5 very best colors, good fit is the best thing you can do for your image. Nothing ruins an otherwise great outfit faster than poor fit. If you have a hard time finding things that fit perfectly (hint: that’s most of us) then you need a good tailor. It’s like this- if you find a garment that you know has the perfect design lines for you, yet it doesn’t fit you exactly as you’d like, (again, this may be most of the time) you’ll want to consider the cost of having it altered as essentially part of the purchase price. This is so important I’d say have less clothing, but make sure it fits. Which brings me to my last aspect of this…

Lastly, quality. The ‘cost per wearing’ formula is an important tool for keeping your clothing budget under control. 

Total cost of the item/ estimated number of days you’ll wear it = the cost per wearing

‘So what?’ you ask. Ok, let’s talk about an evening top you’re considering. It costs $280, you might wear it 3x per year, and after 6 years you get sick of it, or it doesn’t fit and can’t be altered, etc- you wear them 3 times per year for 6 yrs…3x6=18, $280÷18=$15.55 per wearing. Now let’s consider a $280 pair of basic black slacks that you’ll wear an average of 1.5x per week, for 3 yrs before you wear them out or get tired of them. Let’s do the math on these:  you wear them 73 times per year, 3 years…78.x3=234, $280÷234=$1.20 per wearing. Clearly, you’re better off putting $ into things you’ll wear more. This is where quality comes into play. To me, $280 is a lot of money for slacks. If you can’t afford a $280 for a pair of basic black slacks then now’s the time to look into consignment shops and thrift shops, or if you know exactly what works on you, you can take a chance on eBay. Remember, you’ll be considering the cost of tailoring as well. Just make sure before you buy that you can have the alterations done, and how much it’ll cost.  If none of this works for you, you might want to look into having a tailor make garments for you from scratch. It’s free to ask about, right? 

After all things are considered, it might just be worth it to invest in fewer, better items. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

I like my money right where I can see it... hanging in my closet." ~Sarah Jessica Parker

National Clean Out Your Closet Week, Part 2

Now that you’ve designed the perfect closet plan and wardrobe, it’s time to lay the groundwork for it all. While I was researching for this months topic, ‘Clean Out Your Closet’ Week,  I came across  lots of ideas about how to go about this. Most of them have logically fundamental similarities; 

1.Clear the decks for at least a couple of hours- at the same time, plan something nice for afterwards as a reward for all your hard work. For some that might be a lunch with friends, for others it might be a big glass of wine, or a shopping trip, or a movie…now put on some comfy underwear, and outer clothes that are not only comfortable, but easy to pull on and off. You’ll be doing a lot of that in the next hour or three.

2. Have a ‘staging’ area where you’ll put everything you pull out of your wardrobe. Because, yes, you’ll need to take everything- that means each and every little thing, out of your closet. The most logical place is going to be the bed, assuming your wardrobe is in your bedroom. 

How you organize things on the staging area depends on you- do you want to put like with like? Or  organize everything by ’activity’- meaning, work clothes together, exercise clothes together,  etc. Which approach you use may depend on your lifestyle- if you work at home, you may not have enough differences between work and weekend clothes to warrant this separation.  

3. And now that you’ve got everything out, clean it. Vacuum, wipe it down, make any repairs or changes to the layout you want. Do you want to add paint? Or lighting? Now’s the time. This of course may stretch your reorganization out a few days. But again, this will be worth it in the end.  

4. Also, have ultimate ‘destination’ areas designated; be sure to label them as well- or it’s a sure bet you’ll get things mixed up. Trust me on this. They can be a chair for things destined to go to the tailors, a box for things to go in out-of-season storage, a plastic bag for ‘charity’ and another for ‘throw out.’ But here’s where I found one tip that differed from the others that I liked; have a box for things that you know are just not right for you, but for whatever reason, you’re just not ready to part with. Maybe you spent soooo much money on that jacket; maybe those pants represent some long held fantasy…that hat has such strong memories that you can’t let it go. It’s also for those things that are not your size right now- maybe you’ll lose the weight, maybe not. Whatever the reason, these things don’t belong in your closet. Not in the compact, efficient wardrobe you’re creating for yourself. 

4. Now it’s time for the nitty-gritty. You’re going to have to try everything on. Yes, everything. (I did warn you that you’ll need to be in comfy undies and clothes that are easy to pull on and off.) If it doesn’t fit, and can’t be altered, get rid of it. If it’s the wrong color and can’t be dyed, get rid of it. If it’s the wrong design lines and cannot be altered to be the right design lines, get rid of it. If you just. don’t. like. it. GET RID OF IT. Let’s face it- if you don’t like it you’re probably never going to wear it. 

If you know it’s not right for you, why would you give it such prime real estate as your closet??

On the other hand, if it fits, and is the right design lines, and the right color, and you like it- back in your closet it goes!  Only things that meet this criteria belong in your closet. 

5. Now to organize what’s left according to the careful, immaculately designed plan you developed- remember my last blog? Yeah, that plan. Get that out, and see if you can make that plan work. Be open and creative here- you may find that parts of your plan won’t work, and you may figure out better solutions as you go along. Keep it fluid.

Once you’re done and have all the clothes destined for other places put where they need to be, go back in and enjoy the results of all your hard work. Congratulations! You did it!! Don’t you have a reward waiting for you right about now? 

~Learn your color family and design line basics, and ways to explore developing your personal style, and you’ll have the tools to not only look your best each and every day, while also expressing your personal aesthetic. Knowing your colors and design lines also means shopping is vastly simplified, and makes it more likely that what you buy will work seamlessly in your wardrobe, as well as making it easy to streamline your wardrobe. Call today for an appointment!

Friday, March 3, 2017

"Opening up your closet should be like arriving at a really good party where everyone you see is someone you like." ~Amy Fine Collins

National Clean Out Your Closet Week, Part 1

There’re a million articles about the process of re-organizing your closet, and many of them have lots of great tips- and we’re going to get to that topic, because the week of the 13th is National ‘Clean Out Your Closet’ week. I know, I know, it’s not fun. But having a lovely, clean and organized closet is such a deeply gratifying thing, isn’t it? But I want to look at planning a little bit before you get to that stage. I want to explore what you’re looking for out of this closet clean-out. Beyond having a clean closet, what does your perfect closet look like? 

What words describe it? What changes from what you have going on now? Is your current closet a nightmare to navigate? Are you not sure where things are? Is there stuff in there that you’ve forgotten about? (I’m guilty of all these things, btw. It’s been a bit too long since I went through my closet.) If the answers are not what you’d like then maybe you should join in on National Clean Out Your Closet week. 

Let’s start by looking at how you want to organize it.  If your wardrobe is based on your love of color, is that how you’d like to organize it? All your ‘reds’ in one section, all your yellows in anther, etc.  Or maybe you wear many hats in your life that call for fairly different kinds of clothing, and it makes the most sense for you to organize according to that. Or maybe you wear pretty much the same, day in and day out, and the best plan for you is to organize by type of clothing- pants with pants, tops with tops, etc. There’s no end to how many ways you can organize your closet- it should be something that consistently works for you, when you need it too. 
How much influence does the structure of your closet need to have in this plan? If you have a weird closet you’re going to have to take that into consideration- or it may be that the weird design will pretty much dictate how you’ll organize things- you may not have much choice, in other words. If so, is there any way you can change the awkwardness? And is this going to be something you’ll have to create a budget for? 
Would you like to change your wardrobe as well as pare it down? Now’s the perfect time to plan that out. If so, what changes do you want to make? What do you see your new wardrobe as? What do you already have that might work in your new wardrobe? Does your ‘dream’ wardrobe seem hopelessly out of reach because it’s too expensive? Don’t throw out that dream - first look at eBay as well as thrift and consignment shops. You might be surprised to find you can either have or approximate your dream wardrobe. 
Last but not least, plan out a budget. If you just need get rid of old clothes and clean, congratulations- all you’ll need is trash bags, a vacuum and some spray cleaner. But if you want a more involved change you may need to budget for paint, closet fixtures, upgrades or accessories, and lastly maybe some new clothes. 

Look for my next blog- Join me as I take you through the process of getting in there and cleaning and re-organizing your closet.  Also look for more pictures on fantasy closets as well as more practical solutions for ‘the rest of us.’ :-) I’ll be posting that next blog in about a week- so get your plan done before then, and you’ll be ready to join in on National Clean Out Your Closet Week!

~Learn your color family and design line basics, and ways to explore developing your personal style, and you’ll have the tools to not only look your best each and every day, while also expressing your personal aesthetic. Knowing your colors and design lines also means shopping is vastly simplified, and makes it more likely that what you buy will work seamlessly in your wardrobe, as well as making it easy to streamline your wardrobe. Call today for an appointment!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Flirting With the Truth

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”- Elbert Hubbard 

Valentines day is almost upon us, so I’d like to take the opportunity to mention a few  things about dating and image.

The first thing to remember is that within the first 7 seconds of meeting you for the first time we humans make a number of assumptions- completely subconsciously, by the way. We decide how smart, trustworthy, and well educated you are. We decide what sort of socio-economic background you have, what your sexual orientation is, and how much money you make. These are just a few of the presumptions we make. As I’m fond of pointing out, it may be the case that none of the assumptions based solely on your appearance, are true. 

This goes to show how important it is to pay attention to what your image says about you- obviously this is true for the dating scene as well. But I think the issue of authenticity might be even more important when it comes to dating. 

If you’re not rich yet dress as if you are, then you’re not being authentic. If your image is that of someone who’s a sensitive artist yet you never engage in any creative activity, then that’s misleading. If you present yourself as the stable, monogamous type but you date lots of people at once, that’s a lie. I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with being any of those things- rich or poor, creative or not, monogamous or promiscuous; the problem is when you present yourself as something that you’re not, especially when it comes to dating. When someone invests time and emotion in a person who turns out later to be other than what they originally presented themselves as, it can lead to some pretty bitter disappointment, disillusionment, even distrust or anger. When we let someone in emotionally it becomes more important to be able to trust what we think we’re investing that precious intimacy in. 

If you make a point to be conscious of making sure that what your image conveys is consistent with who you are, and you know what colors and design lines work best for you, you’re bound to present your best, most authentic self, and in the best light possible. Not only will you look your best, but you’ll get bonus points for honesty. Always good for a budding romance.

Call me to set up an appointment to help you find your best colors and design lines- Happy Dressing!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Climbing Out of the Rut, or New Year, New You

“The only real battle in life is between hanging on and letting go.” 
― Shannon L. Alder

It’s the beginning of a new year, and some of us are contemplating or experiencing changes. And maybe we want or need to change our image. What if you’ve been in a rut for so long you don’t know where to begin? If so, here’s a path to find your way out of your rut. 

First, break it all down, very thoroughly and carefully. Be specific. 

What do you dislike about how you look?
What do you want to look like?
How will you do that?
What are you willing to commit to?

1. Decide what you don’t like, and what you want to change.
Really think about what you don’t like- write it down. Label it. If appropriate go into detail. Mind you, this isn’t an exercise in self flagellation- the object here is to become completely aware of what you don’t like about what your clothing and overall look projects, not yourself. Don’t berate your weight, your height, your hair, the size of your backside, etc. We need to love and respect the one and only body we were given to plod through this life in- we want to enhance it, not insult it. Now, what do you want-? Start with generalities; what would you like your image to evoke? What would be an authentic expression of your aesthetic? Get specific again, too- how would that translate to your wardrobe? Maybe your hair? Makeup? It’s better if you also know what colors and design lines flatter you, and can incorporate that as well. 

2. Be patient, plan carefully.
Be patient with this part of the process- take the time to figure out what would make you happy. Remember, this is one of the few areas of life where you really only have to consider yourself. Do what makes you happy. Consider your lifestyle and budget as well. If you have no idea what would make you happy, or how to express your aesthetic, then one good way to explore is to create a board or two (or twenty) on Pinterest, and spend a few minutes of free time every few days collecting images in your Pinterest boards, then go back and review what you have. You might be surprised to find much of the same stuff coming up over and over. Maybe an unexpected color, or texture or style. Maybe this should be up for consideration in your new wardrobe-? 

3. Start small, go slow, make necessary changes.
Ok, so you know what’s making you unhappy about your current appearance, and where you’d like to go with it. Now comes the action part. Since this is a new direction it pays to go slow by starting small. Don’t invest a lot of money to begin with - buy small and/or inexpensive versions until you’re sure it’s going to work for you. You might find a style you always wanted to try isn’t physically comfortable for you. Maybe you find a color you want isn’t suitable or you get really tired of it really quickly. Maybe you thought you were ‘mad for plaid’ and then decide one plaid item in your wardrobe is quite enough, thank you very much. Be prepared- things won’t always go how you imagined, you’ll goof, you’ll change your mind. If you haven’t invested much, then you’ll have explored without having lost much, and who knows- maybe it’ll lead you to something else completely perfect for you.

4. Go for the long haul.
Plan to be in this for the long haul. This is actually a lifelong process- we change how we dress for different phases of life, but this way you’ll be doing it consciously and with the intent to express yourself authentically and make yourself happy.  So, create the ‘new’ image you want for yourself, but think of it as being a process; you might say this is about creating more of your own ‘trend’ for a while to which certain variables come into play, then fade and are replaced, which are in turn eventually replaced, and so on. Just keep it fluid to allow for growth.

5. Have fun!
Remember that this is about you being happy with what you put on every day, knowing that you look great, and maintaining an efficient, effective and budget-friendly wardrobe. So have fun with it and make sure what you invest your time and money in pleases you. You can always call me to schedule consultations for color and design lines to ensure that your choices are always going to make you look your very best, each and every day. I also offer wardrobe analysis and personal shopping services. Call me and we’ll talk about what you want to do.

Happy dressing!