yays in my closet

ndwc closet 1

See that sweet little step stool needlepointed by my grandmother 60 or so years ago? Yeah, I hadn’t seen it for months either. I’d forgotten how sweet it is because it’s been buried under a pile of sweaters since September.

I have a small closet. (Old houses = small closets.) Luckily, there is another closet in the hallway, and I rotate most of my cold and warm weather clothing with the season change. There had never been room in my closet for my sweaters, however, so they lived in the hall closet.

In front of that hall closet is a dog bed, upon which Max the 11-year-old dog is regularly perched. Plus it’s hairy. He’s a yellow Labrador Retriever. It’s really hairy. And a little smelly. I digress.

ndwc max

Our house was built in 1888 and has small rooms. The only place the dog bed will fit is in front of the closet. Believe me, I’ve tried elsewhere. So, to get into that closet on a daily basis is…unpleasant, shall we say. Max doesn’t like it. I don’t like it.

Thus the pile of sweaters on the sweet little step stool. And, I don’t know about you, but for me, once a pile is started, it’s really easy to just keep adding to it. The pile was becoming a mountain. It was past time for me to do another Wardrobe Consult.

keepin’ it real

You’d think since I’m a wardrobe consultant my closet would always be pristine. NOT. A common theme of my blog – my everything – is keepin’ it real. Because that’s who I am – just a regular gal with the same challenges, inner critic, procrastinating tendencies, struggles with body image, and crazy life as the next person.

I also have the knowledge of my own personal journey through all of this and the tools to address it. And, let me tell you, it’s so much easier – and fun – to help someone else through this process than to do it alone. Every time I do my own Wardrobe Consult, I whine to my family that I need a wardrobe consultant too. Having support makes all the difference in the world.

organize and purge

My primary goal this time around was to organize my closet and the hall closet in a different way so that my sweaters could be in my closet during the winter. Not only did I have a mountain of sweaters and other clothing on the step stool, I had workout clothes and pajamas on the high shelf in my closet that had gotten disorganized enough to be regularly falling on my head when I reached for something up there. (Again, keepin’ it real, people!)

I pulled all of that stuff down and it became immediately clear that I didn’t need a lot of it. Time to purge. I recycled jammies and workout tanks that were worn out. I donated things that were in good condition but I wasn’t wearing anymore. And I separated winter workout gear from summer so that some of it could go into the hall closet.

ndwc closet 2

Here’s the fun part: I moved a shoe shelf that had been on the floor of my closet with summer shoes on it (very necessary to have handy in the winter in Minnesota, right?) up to the top shelf. New space for sweaters! I can put them away! I can see them! Nothing will fall on my head! It’s the small things that bring me joy.

speaking of joy

Soo, the pile of sweaters was addressed. The abundance of workout gear and jammies was addressed. Now I had a big pile of shoes on the floor. Purge again.

While I don’t subscribe entirely to Marie Kondo’s method of organizing, there is something to be said for getting all of something out to look at it collectively. When you have a big pile of summer shoes all together, it’s easier to decide what should go. And her concept of “Does it spark joy?” is spot on. If an item of clothing doesn’t bring you joy when you wear it, why keep it?

Some shoes I recycled – NO ONE will wear my old running shoes – some I donated, and some I will consign. Then I took most of those summer shoes that I won’t be wearing until May (sigh) and put them into a storage box to go into the hall closet.

ndwc closet 3

That freed up the other shoe shelf and created more space on the floor of my closet. Woo hoo!

I had room to add in an old Ikea rack that was going unused in the basement. I put shoes that I wanted to have easier access to on that, and converted the other shoe shelf to a space – much smaller – for my workout gear and pajamas. Now I can reach these things easily, and they aren’t taking up so much real estate in my closet.

closet love

It’s amazing how doing this helps me to feel better. I’m actually excited to open my closet door now. I use the sweet little step stool to reach for a sweater if I need to. I found sweaters that I hadn’t been wearing because they were languishing in the hall closet behind the hairy dog puff.

I am a person whose mindset is impacted by too much clutter. I know this about myself, but sometimes it takes me a bit to address it. And when I do, I feel so. much. better. I feel like I’m taking care of myself, not just my closet. Yays all around!

Are you ready for some closet love?

Contact me today to schedule your Wardrobe Consult. Together, we can make it happen, and have some fun while we’re at it!

 

new outfits without leaving the house – or spending money!

February is a great time to look at your closet intentionally. There’s still a good 6-8 weeks left before we can consider spring (bizarre, climate change driven 50-degree days in Minnesota aside). Taking a fresh look at ways to help your winter wardrobe feel more inspiring and prepping your wardrobe for spring are something you can do right now to fight off winter doldrums.

Doldrums.jpg

A big part of my work in practicing sustainable consumerism is to help clients make their existing wardrobes more functional. Most people regularly wear only about 20% of the clothing they have in their closets. For real.

Two things you can do to help your wardrobe be more functional are to “shop” in your own closet and to purge. Clothes languish for a variety of reasons. These reasons fall into two categories – “unrealized potential” (shop) and “time to let go” (purge).

shop your closet

Clothes that have unrealized potential
  • items you aren’t sure how to wear, or have only one way of wearing
  • you got tired of it, so stopped wearing it
  • items that need repair
  • things you forgot were there

Approach your closet like you would shopping at a store. First, actually look at each item; our eyes tend to pass things by because we are so used to seeing them there. Look at your clothes like you are seeing them for the first time. Then think about how you could wear each item in different ways. Here are some ideas to get you started:

pair colors in new ways

Try putting colors together in ways you haven’t before. Combine neutrals with bold, saturated colors or pair two bolds. Wearing saturated colors near your face will give vibrancy to your complexion. Pantone’s colors for Spring 2017 are an appealing mélange – use them as a guide to brighten up winter outfits as we make the slow transition to spring.

pantone-color-swatches-fashion-color-report-fall-2017.jpg

pattern mixing

When mixing prints, one should be smaller while the other is bold – two prints of the same size compete rather than complement each other. Finding prints that share a common colorway can help pull them together. Mixing textures with prints adds dimension as well.

mix it up with accessories

Intentionally change things up with your scarves, necklaces, belts, and other accessories. Take a look at all the different choices you have – it’s so easy to grab the same accessories day after day or ignore them altogether. Be deliberate about wearing different items, tying scarves in different ways, and adding polish to your outfit with accessories.

less clothes, more options

Clothing it is time to let go
  • impulse purchases that just don’t work
  • items that no longer (or never) fit well
  • things that are outdated, worn out, or damaged beyond repair
  • pieces you used to love, but don’t feel quite right anymore
  • items you like the idea of, but just don’t suit your personal style

Purging your closet can feel daunting before you begin, but the freedom and lightness it brings are completely worth the effort. Clearing your closet of items you are no longer wearing lifts a burden of guilt, allowing you to see – literally and figuratively – the potential of the items that do work.

Many of my Wardrobe Consult clients feel like they have a brand new wardrobe with less clothing in the closet and without buying a single item. When we work together, we have a running conversation: “When did you last wear this?” “Do you actually LIKE it?” “Does it make you happy to wear it?” “Why do you feel like you need to keep this?” Answering these questions honestly creates the ability to let go.

hangers.png

Bonus: you can even earn money by consigning clothing that is five or less years old and in good condition. Consignment shops are accepting spring clothing now, and some will even store cold weather garments until the fall.

If your purged items are too old to consign but are still in decent condition, donate them. You will help someone in need with clothing that otherwise would be hanging unused in your closet. Items that are damaged or worn beyond repair or very outdated should be recycled.

 

 

 

“meh” to spring shopping right now? do what these friends did instead

Clothing stores, even new-to-you consignment venues, are making the big switch to spring stock. It’s February. In Minnesota. We will not be wearing spring clothing for at least three more months!

Some folks are inspired by shopping for spring clothes now – it’s the carrot that leads them through the last cold months. Others can’t even fathom it. Here’s another option.

Prepare your closet for the spring season. Then, when you can imagine wearing spring clothes – say in April – you and your closet will be ready! That’s what this group of friends did.

Jill, Jessica, Meredith, and Amy – each expressing her individual personal style after their Wardrobe Consults

Meredith has been a client since 2013. She first hired me for a True To You Voila Service Package (a Wardrobe Consult + two 3-hour personal shopping sessions), and then for other personal shopping sessions since. This time we did a Wardrobe Revisit, where we went back to her closet to do another round of purging and to integrate more recently purchased new-to-you items into her wardrobe. In essence, making her wardrobe fully functional and fun.

Amy, Jessica, and Jill are friends of Meredith’s and wanted to get in on the fun as well! Each of these fabulous women has her own individual style and desires for her wardrobe. We worked together (each on her own with me) to set goals for their personal styles and for making their wardrobes work better for them.

what does that look like?

The Wardrobe Consult is different for every person, depending on her goals (or his goals – I will use “her” in this post, since we’re talking about these specific women). Sometimes it’s doing a big purge of outdated or ill-fitting items. Sometimes it’s purging very little. In both contexts, I show a client how to pair items in new ways to best match her personal style and to make her wardrobe more functional.

During the Wardrobe Consult, we put together a “look book” of photos of new outfits (from clothes already in the closet) and ways to wear items so the client can remember them all. The photos illustrate many things: color pairings like Meredith’s teal cowl sweater with a fun pop of orange peeking out; the statement belt with the sweater partially tucked for definition; and skinny jeans worn with tall boots.

We also talk a lot about proper fit and cuts that are best suited for her body. I show my client the difference between something that fits well and something that doesn’t and explain “the why” behind it, so that she’s able to apply that knowledge later. When something fits well and is the best cut for your body, visual balance is created, which looks great. I help my clients literally see that with clothes in their own closets.

Accessories are an important part of an outfit – they add polish and personal style. A graphically-simple, chunky metallic bracelet goes well with this bold print tee and white pants for spring and summer.

Putting together color, patterns, and textures as well as accessorizing outfits are other big topics in the Wardrobe Consult. We use favorite accessories and incorporate others that have been sitting in drawers and closets unworn.

wardrobe consult - shoes and skirt pairing

As I tell all my clients, “Shoes can make or break an outfit.” These metallic ballet flats are perfect for creating balanced lines and adding polished fun to a knee-length skirt.

After the Wardrobe Consult, I put together a set of personal Style Guidelines and a shopping list for my client. With these tools, she can move forward with expressing her personal style and finding clothes that will fit well and be highly functional in her wardrobe.

let’s hear it from the girls

Here are some reflections from Meredith and Jill in their own words about their experiences in working with me.

Meredith

As an environmentalist, I’ve always valued “new to you,” so working with Nancy was a natural fit. Nancy embraces the “true to you” piece with her holistic approach – she is equal parts therapist and fashionista, both conservation-minded and fashion conscious.

“I was stuck in a bit of a rut after my daughter was born, clinging to all my pre-pregnancy clothing and feeling like I ‘should’ make them work for me again. But ‘true to you’ is not just about who we have been. It is also a window into who we are becoming.”

– Meredith

Working with Nancy has helped me get to know myself better, assess my goals, and focus on what’s most important. Feeling comfortable, purposeful, and confident in my own skin is not about having a jam-packed closet, but about having a few well-made, timeless pieces that help express what I bring to my professional and personal life on any given day.

Jill

My wardrobe, while clothing me fairly appropriately for work and fun, was dated and lacking in creativity and freshness. Nancy helped me purge my dated clothing while educating me on the subtleties of great fit.  She was discerning without being judgmental.  I really enjoyed our morning together — Nancy brought lots of curiosity and inspiration to our session.

Following our session, I have gaps in my wardrobe – but I’m excited by that because I’m armed with the specifics of what to look for (item, style, color, fit), and I will steadily refill my closet with functional clothing that is a joy to wear.

“At Starbucks this morning the barista took one look at me at and said ‘Wow!  Look at you.  You did great getting dressed this morning!’  When I looked at him with a quizzical smile, he said, ‘You look like a classy assassin.’

Maybe so…. and that makes Nancy Dilts my secret weapon.”

– Jill     

Ready to dive in to your closet? Contact me today to schedule your Wardrobe Consult.

my wardrobe consult

“Ugh! I need a wardrobe consultant!” I whined to my husband.

Recently, I made the switch in my closet from warm weather wear to fall and winter clothing. As I dug in, it quickly grew into much more than a switch. It ended up being a full-blown assessment of my wardrobe, which is what I do with clients in a Wardrobe Consult.

As discussed in my last post, my style has evolved some this past year. Partly because of the change in my hair color, and also inspiration from French fashion during our extended stay in Lyon last fall (nostalgic sigh). Things were piling up – I had added new-to-me pieces to reflect my new style, but hadn’t done a closet purge in several years.

My closet is on the smaller side, so I store off-season clothing in a closet in the hallway. This is actually good, because it forces me to directly interact with all of my clothes twice a year as I make the swap.

Notice I said “good.” Not “fun.”

Sound familiar?

I LOVE helping others to organize their wardrobes and to make them more functional and enjoyable. I can do that every. single. day. My own stuff? Not so much.

When it’s your own things, your emotions, and – let’s face it – baggage, become a part of the story. Facing stuff that has been lurking in your closet for years, if not decades, can bring up all kinds of internal stuff too.

why it can be hard to assess and purge

It takes precious time – before you begin, it feels like it will take FOREVER to accomplish anything.

So many decisions have to be made, which is overwhelming, and sometimes even paralyzing.

A lot of memories come up – some good, some bad.

Experiencing guilt of purchases you made that haven’t worked out.

Finding clothes that fit at one time and don’t anymore (too small or too big), or never actually fit, can trigger negative body image messages.

Finding unworn items you like the idea of, but never really were you, nor will be, can also trigger purchase guilt.

Items are outdated or just plain worn out, but have sentimental meaning.

Items are outdated, but aren’t worn out, so it seems wasteful to purge them, even though you aren’t actually wearing them.

Managing gifts from people you love that just don’t work for you, and you don’t want to hurt their feelings by purging them.

When it’s my closet I’m addressing, I quickly get overwhelmed by decision-making. I also can get caught up in self-scolding – this time around I pulled out a bridesmaid dress from a friend’s wedding that occurred EIGHTEEN years ago (or was it 19?) and several other dresses that were 15+ years old and too big, but I had saved them anyway. Why??

I also have the “it’s not worn out” guilt around things that are still in good shape but are no longer my style. Do I keep them, just to have as options? (No. Consign them!)

See, I needed my own wardrobe consultant. Because organizing and purging, especially your clothes, is actually grappling with your sense of self and your personal history.

Having someone who is objective and who can give you support throughout the process with encouragement and gentle, honest feedback can make the process much less overwhelming and much more effective. I help my clients keep a positive perspective, avoid getting bogged down, and have fun in seeing the potential in the items that do work in their wardrobes.

It took me 6-8 hours over two days to completely go through my clothing, which was more than double the time it usually takes when I work with a client. This reminded me how helpful – and efficient – it can be to have a supportive presence to help you along! Working together, we usually get through most if not all of a typically-sized wardrobe in three hours, not only purging, but also creating new outfits with the keepers.

I had a lot of conversations with myself while I was doing my wardrobe consult. The exact conversations I have with my clients. “When did you last wear this?” “Do you actually LIKE it?” “Does it make you happy to wear it?” “Why do you feel like you need to keep this?”

And I tried to treat myself as I do my clients – with encouragement, support, humor, permission to purge, and permission to keep certain items that just can’t be let go – yet. The bridesmaid dress and other late-90s delights did go. Again, why???

I took three garbage bags of clothes for donation, and I consigned 15 items. I feel much lighter to have cleared out clothing that was doing nothing but cluttering my closet. Others will benefit from my purge, and my wardrobe is ultimately more functional without those items. I also now know what I have and what needs to be added or replaced, which makes shopping more focused and fruitful.

Ready to take the plunge into your closet in a faster, less painful, more productive (and FUN) way? Contact me today to set up YOUR Wardrobe Consult.

wardrobe refresh: out with the old, in with the, well, old

caroline herrera quote

Earlier this month, I did a Wardrobe Consult with a client – sometimes these involve purging a lot of clothes that are outdated, worn out, or ill-fitting and replacing them with new to you clothing that offers a lot more fun and functionality for the client. Other times, we purge very little, but the client feels like they have a whole new wardrobe when we’re finished – this was one of those times.

Looking at different ways to pair clothing can increase the options in your existing wardrobe and transform it from a source of immense frustration to one of joy and confidence. By incorporating items that are worn very little because you’re not sure how to wear them, making old standards feel exciting again by wearing them with other items than before, and adding accessories like scarves, necklaces, and belts into the mix, clothing that feels ordinary or boring can instantly become contemporary and fresh.

Following are some of the things I discuss with my clients as we evaluate their wardrobes and re-imagine outfits in new ways:

the third piece rule

The “third piece rule” is something being talked about on many fashion blogs. It is an easy, memorable, and highly effective way to make your clothing go from mere coverage to a polished outfit. Simply add a third piece to what you are wearing. That’s it. You have to put on a top (1) and a bottom (2) for coverage; then add a jacket, scarf, distinctive sweater, or statement necklace (3) – instant ensemble! You can even feel daring and add a 4th and 5th element, like a belt, hat, or bracelet to further express your personal style.

Photo: Fashion Me Now - third piece rule

Third piece rule: adding the scarf makes a simple jeans and sweater combo an elegant casual ensemble. The hat adds even more personal style. Photo: Fashion Me Now

 

look for contrasting and saturated colors to add vibrancy to outfits

Use black to add dimension to outfits by creating a stronger contrast to colors, and use white to add brightness. If the outfit in the photo above included blue denim jeans instead of white, the crisp contrast between the sweater and jeans would have been lost, making the outfit much less striking. Saturated colors tend to bring out the warmth in any skin tone – unsaturated, or muted colors can wash out your complexion.

pair prints with prints

Don’t be afraid to wear prints with prints! Not every print goes together, but many do, and it adds spark and confidence to your outfit when you give it a go. Start small: try pairing plaid or herringbone dress pants with a bold floral or geometric print shirt or jacket. The pattern in the pants serves as texture and adds dimension and polish to the outfit. With all print pairings, one print should be smaller while the other should be bold – two prints of the same size compete rather than complement each other. Finding prints that share a common color can help pull them together as well.

For a bright, fresh look, pair stripes with florals – it is very on trend this spring and is a lot of fun. In the casual outfit below, the small floral print on the scarf becomes a texture next to the bold stripes of the sweater, and the navy and pink contrast each other nicely. In the dress casual combination, blue denim and small stripes pair well with the blue tones in the vivid floral pencil skirt; gray muted stripes complement the bold gray and red floral blouse in the dress ensemble.

Stripes and Florals

 

accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

Adding a belt, scarf, necklace, bracelet, or a combination of the above to an outfit adds polish and shows that you think about what you are wearing, which ultimately conveys confidence. All of us have jewelry in our drawers – be they vintage pieces from our mothers and grandmothers, costume jewelry, or gorgeous handmade works of art. Don’t let them languish! They are a perfect way to add interest and balance to an outfit. And scarves can add a pop of color, texture, or pattern to bring energy to what you are wearing.

shoes can make or break an outfit

Shoes are really important. Yes, for comfort; and also for how an outfit comes together. The shape of the toe, the vamp (covers the top of the foot), and the weight and height of the heel can change the balance of visual lines created by your outfit, whether you are wearing pants or a skirt/dress. The level of dress of the shoe can dramatically change an outfit, as can the color.

it’s all about balance

This is the statement I make most often with my clients. It’s not about looking tall, or looking thin, or looking whatever. It’s about balance. Proper fit and cuts for your body create balanced lines, which look beautiful. Working with items that fit your body well makes dressing so much easier and so much more fun.

With these ideas in mind, try shopping in your own closet for new outfits – there are likely many items lurking in there that could feel new again when worn in different ways. Want help? Contact me today to set up a Wardrobe Consult.