Back to The Basics - Creating a Wardrobe That Works.
Through my years of style consulting I've found there are often two dominant types of women and their wardrobe preferences.
The first type we're going to call "Basic Betty." Basic Betty wears jeans, t-shirt and/or yoga gear every day of her life, except for the off occasion she goes to a party or a holiday event. She will typically stay with neutral tones: grays, black and even navy. She tends to wear oversized clothing that hides her figure, hanging oddly in strange places. Most of her wardrobe sits in draws and upon opening her closet you'd find lots of oversized sweaters, sweatshirts, and a really nice dress she never wears. Jeans can also tend to be a season or two behind, not fitting right or showing a lot of wear and tear. All these items are in her comfort zone and in her opinion change "isn't necessary." Basic Betty can also be represented by women who wear suites every day of their lives or dress formally for work, having a vast wardrobe of black and whites. It can also be hard for Betty to find that middle ground between working and working out. Being a Basic Betty isn't bad but Basic Betty also doesn't have a lot of confidence deep down and is wanting someone to give her advice.
Next you have "Wow Wanda." Wow Wanda swings far in the opposite direction. She isn't afraid to wear a bold pattern and bright colors. She's comfortable wearing a bright red shirt with bright, bold, and big patterns on her pants. Wanda's closet is full of excitement, always sporting the latest trends of the season.
Wow Wanda's wardrobe is out of control. She likes to shop, constantly adding to her options, and seldom discards anything. That said, she can never never seem to find anything she likes in her closet. When shopping she's always looking for the wow piece and doesn't often look for neutrals to put into play. She finds it hard to put together easy outfits because everything is so exciting all the time. She'll often go through 3 - 5 outfit options before choosing what she wants to wear, and yet she will still not be confident in her chosen outfit.
Basic Betty and Wow Wanda often don't understand each other but they actually have a lot in common. Deep down, both lack confidence in putting outfits together and getting ready. Where one doesn't spend much time, the other may spend too much time. Both are often frustrated, but if they went shopping together they'd soon see a balance come into play.
Which one stands out to you? This can shift as life shifts. I found that when I was working a corporate style job I had more wow pieces. During a season where I stayed home as a new mom all I wore was a black t-shirt. Now, I've found a wonderful middle ground where everything serves a purpose.
What's important is that you find a balance, but how does one achieve this balance? The art of "getting ready" isn't something anyone is born with. The confidence to love everything you see in the mirror isn't something that comes naturally. Confidence in ones self comes from the action of stepping outside your comfort zone and doing something you don't want to do. Something that scares you on the inside. I hope you get scared a lot, It means you're growing and you care enough about yourself to put yourself in an awkward situation you may not enjoy. There's a lot more to say on developing your personal and professional image but for now stick to the follow steps when creating a wardrobe you love.
1. Start with the Basics
Yes! You basic Bettys out there are happy with this! You need a solid wardrobe of go to basics. You need that black shirt, white shirt, blush blouse, black jeans, etc. But you must not stop there. If you stop there you will not be happy with your look over time. This is not permission to stock up on sweatshirts you bum around the house in on the weekends. Not at all. This is a foundational step toward having useful basic layering pieces that help ground your style.
2. Add in the Wow!
Now when I say "wow" I don't mean you have to go out and buy something Beyonce would wear on stage at a concert. No, but grab some color and some fun patterns to mix in with the neutral. During the cold months it's easy for me to grab some black jeans, white top, and throw on a pattern (such as a stripe or cheetah print), a denim jacket, or casual blazer. So many easy and great options. During the spring a light kimono does wonders for you! In the summer grab a white t-shirt and pair it with vertical striped shirts, sandals, and a big hat. Other ways to add wow to your style is by taking a frumpy looking shirt and giving it a little front or side tuck and adding a belt. You'd be amazing at what it does for you! It not only hides extra fluff around the mid section but you'll have to pick your jaw back off the ground when you see the difference it makes in your overall appearance.
3. Add in the HOW!
And when I say "how" I mean it as in "how did she do that?" Because that's what your friends will be thinking when they see you put this all into play. This third step is the most important, because up to now you're just putting clothing on top one another. The most critical point of your wardrobe must be how you accessorize, and it's not hard.
The following tips will vary depending on your profession. For example, you might not follow these if you work in scrubs all day. But you have a life outside of work and you have to put clothing on, you'll get in trouble if you don't.
You must accessorize. You should always wear jewelry in the work place (if appropriate); it can impact first impressions and how seriously people take your desire to climb the ladder. If you are a business owner, the face of your brand, and out gaining new clients, you have to look spot on. Which means...
1. if your ears are pierced, earrings are in them.
2. Draw attention to your face. If you are wearing a button up blouse do not wear a long necklace, that will distract and look odd. Otherwise a long necklace is a great filler and completer to your outfit when space needs to be filled or you're trying to elongate your look. 3. Be thoughtful about bracelets. While accessories play off of personal preference and styles there are simply some guidelines you should stick to. Bangles are great for the weekend but if you work a desk job, meet with clients or will be handing papers out the clanging can be disruptive. It doesn't matter if you love them. If you're in the court room and handing papers to a judge, bangles have no place there, a simple cuff will do. If you're an artist meeting up to brainstorm with others over coffee then wear those bangles in all their glory.
Accessories go far beyond jewelry. Headwear, shoes, handbags and belts also serve major purposes. Imagine you are wearing business attire but show up sporting a beach tote bag instead of a professional purse which compliments your outfit. The right belt and shoes can also change the entire look. If you start taking these tools and putting them into play, all of a sudden you'll go from drab to fab, your closet will start to look like a professional service put it together for you (without you paying an arm and a leg!). If you become overwhelmed, think of this as a 1-2-3. 1- Basics, 2 - Accent piece, and 3 - Accessories. All of a sudden your wardrobe is a rainbow of possibilities.
My desire is that you look and feel your very best. That you see yourself for who you truly are! A natural, confident and beautiful woman who can conquer the world.
For more information on group styling, personal closet consult sessions and image consulting contact me to schedule a consult.