Remember how I see the act of making and drinking tea as meditation? I’ve been figuring out that a lot of things in life can be meditation- even your wardrobe. Our clothes make an impression and I have always created an outfit based on what role I am playing. Wait a second, shouldn’t I just always be me?! Why did it take me so long, the lover of “What Not To Wear,” to consider that my wardrobe has been hampering the truth and vibrancy of who I am and therefore has been bad for my health?
My nature is such that when I become interested in something or put my mind to it I go into an information vortex- researching, experiencing, discussing, and living whatever it is. So, pour yourselves a big mug of tea folks and settle into your favorite spot because you can go into an endless internet-tab journey with this… I am sharing my path with the hope that it can help you extend your roots and continue toward being your most fabulous self. All of this information is the tip of the iceberg, I know there is so much more information out there and I’m not saying all of these approaches are the authority I am just here to give you some seeds.
Many pieces in my wardrobe are from somewhere around 10 years ago. They are OK, they fit, but I am not the same person I was last year, much less close to 10 years ago. I thought by not working too hard on my wardrobe I was saving myself time and energy to focus on things that mattered, but how much time have I wasted trying to find an outfit that looks good only to resort to that one pair of jeans and my favorite flannel? My wardrobe needs to be working for me! When I considered my go-to clothing items I noticed that the colors tended to be brighter, clearer, and more dynamic and decided to start my research there…
We are energy, colors have energy. The universe is energy. This is the simplest way of expressing that it is scientific fact for your wardrobe to be YOUR colors. In the 1980’s it was incredibly popular in the fashion world to know your colors. (Does your complexion make you a spring, summer, fall, or winter?) When you wear less flattering colors you look tired, red, blotchy, drained, and then compensate with makeup, hair products, skin creams, etc. This can be an endless cycle. As I began learning more about my colors I began to realize that I had many all wrong- yes, muted earth tones are calming and lovely but they are not my essence and they have been dampening my spirit. (Carole Jackson’s “Color Me Beautiful” is a good place to start if you want a book, as is her book “Color for Men“) I began to pay attention to how I looked and felt in my clothes and began to realize how hard I had to work to feel good in things that technically fit and were a flattering style.
In addition to knowing your colors, what about knowing what fabrics and fits most flatter your body? This saves you time and energy trying on clothes that don’t look good. If you don’t like to shop, you are cheering. If, like me, you love to shop wouldn’t it be fun to feel awesome in more things you try on? Turns out, there are a myriad of people who have created methods for finding your wardrobe (fit, fabric, designs) based on balancing and complementing your body lines. (I think of all of this as feng shui for my body.)
I started down this road with David Kibbe’s book Metamorphosis: “If you can first learn to appreciate the unique creature you truly are, and then simply express your uniqueness in your appearance, you will be beautiful beyond your wildest imaginings!” Of course the energy of my exterior is related to the energy of my inner self! This guy gets it, and since the book was written in 1987 I found a plethora of discussion boards where I learned of more books, stylists, and methods for creating style based on your body lines. I will say this was truly overwhelming, please remember not to get stressed about finding out which one works for you. If I could do it again I would dabble more across the wide spectrum of approaches and slowly narrow my way toward what works for me in a language that I understand as opposed to looking for the answers in one system. The system I was looking at when my breakthrough “Aha!” occurred is one that I hesitate to mention because it has many critics, but I will share because the core method is sound and spoke to me- jump on the bandwagon at whatever your comfort level, and know at the end of the day the work is really on you to interpret any rules for yourself and your life… Carol Tuttle has created an empire around “Dressing Your Truth” and her approach has been a helpful component of me beginning to create a wardrobe that reflects my energetic nature. Working up from this has helped me see my lines in Kibbe and other systems like Doris Pooser’s “Always in Style.” (Another good starter book- she brings line and material into Carole Jackson’s “Color Me Beautiful” system, as well as a method to help expand your basic color palette. I bought the first edition and just now saw there is a second edition which may be easier to translate to modern times!)
I went deep into research for around 3 weeks before taking any action, approaching my wardrobe with a new perspective after each new discovery I made. Then, when I began to edit my wardrobe I began to see more of myself as I put more and more items into a bag. (I didn’t get caught up in the cost of this massive wardrobe edit and chose to gift it in my local Buy Nothing Project group vs. creating stress trying to sell it and recoup value. I have found the benefits of choosing joy over stress unmeasurable, give it a try.) I have learned that my version of a minimal wardrobe has to be as vibrant as I am, and as bright as my skin tone and complexion demand and already it is easier to put on an outfit that is ME and looks GREAT.
My next step with this edited wardrobe is a purchase pause month (I just discovered this blog and this article and if you are looking to simplify and edit your life I really like the information). I have flipped all the hangers in my closet backwards and will see what I have worn at the end of that time and can then further consider whether an item of clothing is working for me. I can also add to my style Pinterest all I want, but instead of impulse buying can continue to get a really good idea of my style without shopping. I can even go shopping, looking at lines and color, continuing to research, find the best balance and reflection of my energy- I just won’t be bringing anything new home. Even creating my wardrobe is becoming an act of meditation, another tool to get to know myself.
I have always loved clothes and fabric and getting dressed and am so excited to continue building a wardrobe that really expresses me in the best way. It is not vain or frivolous to care about your appearance, and it is possible to do it while being frugal, I am worth it and so are you!
“[S]he who dies with the least toys wins, the more you know the less you need.” -Yvon Chouinard (Founder of Patagonia)