7 Steps to Closet Zen

Woman in closet staring at items.

Standing there staring into the mass of fabrics and colors, I heard the Netflix’s “Ba-BONG!” go off in my head.  Not One. Not Two…or Three…but Four. FOUR! Four closets jam-packed with clothes!

And over half of them I hadn’t worn in years. 

I had read her book a couple of years ago and truly appreciated her philosophy, but simply couldn’t (Wouldn’t? Didn’t?) find the time to focus on making things happen.  But this time, watching the television program, her concepts in action and not just mentally visualizing but seeing the beautiful results in real life technicolor, it made me want to get up and get started.

I realized in that moment 2019 was the year I would de-clutter, get organized,  reclaim space and obtain….Closet Zen.  

Organization Inspiration

As someone who helps clients organize their closets, I couldn’t believe that it was time for me to organize mine

Initially, I considered contacting California Closets to have a custom closet built, especially since we’re empty-nesters and have the space; however, I realized that many of these once cherished items were no longer my style. (Again, I hadn’t worn half the pieces in years.)

And, after watching several episodes of “Tidying Up” (Oh, the beauty of binge watching),  I was inspired to try out the KonMari Method created by Marie Kondo.   I made the commitment.   It was easy once I looked at a few pieces, asked the joy question and quickly realized my priorities had changed.

My clothes have always been my “friends” since they make me feel and look great. I truly enjoying coordinating outfits and colors along with making a piece look original every time I wear it with different accessories.  Clothes can reflect your personality, your creativity and change your prospective on life.  Clothes can also provide people a sense of who you are and reflect your objectives, your mission, your goals.  When done correctly, the right outfit can make you look like a work of art.

But now it was time to say good-bye to some long, cherished friends.  They had served their purpose and made me happy during their reign, but no longer. And that is o.k.  I’ve come to terms with this. 

So, with inspiration from Ms. Kondo, here are the steps I took to de-clutter, de-stress and start the new year with a clear, clean, organized space filled with joy and calm energy. 

May you find the same refreshing sense of Closet Zen that I did by using this 7-step process.

1. Decide How to Solve the Problem with Your Closet

[This is a very important step and will guide you throughout the process so don’t skip!]

Before you start breaking down your closet and throwing clothes away, decide what the problem really is.

Are you doing this because you have too many clothes you don’t wear? Can’t wear?  Won’t wear?  Do you have clothes you haven’t worn for years? Do you want to organize your clothes by category and color?  Are you tight on space? Has your style changed but you hate getting rid of pieces because of the money spent? Do you have too many casual clothes and not enough business or work wear?  Do you have clothes in your closet that don’t fit right or are not styled for your body type?  Whatever the problem is, figure out your goal before starting.  Recognizing the problem and having a defined goal, will help you stay on track.  It also helps make speedy, efficient, decisions and prevent donation or consignment regrets, later.

2. Make A Game Plan

Closet cleaning can take a morning, an entire day or a full weekend or two, depending on how many closets you are tackling; so, make certain to carve out enough time to tackle it all, otherwise you could get discouraged by having an unfinished project staring at you each time you walk in the door.

Gather boxes, bins or bags for the items you plan to donate, consign or trash and put in the room next to whatever you will use to help organize, such as a bed, a sofa or a table.  I suggest having something to help hold clothes to review and analyze and to not throw everything on the floor, if it can be avoided.  With realistic expectations and a plan, you will see results and remain inspired to the end, versus being overwhelmed, becoming frustrated and stopping mid project.

So take a deep cleansing breathe (pun intended) and begin. 

3. Categorize, Set Aside & Analyze “Yes” Pieces

Start with your larger clothing pieces, for instance; dresses. Take them all out of the closet and pile, per type (dresses, coats, pants, skirts, blouses, etc.), on your organizing platform (bed/sofa/table).  Once the closet is empty and you’ve organized the piles by type, then let the analysis begin.

Designate three additional sorting piles or bins and either mentally note each one or label with a sheet of paper  “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe”.  [NOTE:  I do recommend bins because you can go faster by tossing things into the bin or box. Bags tend to slow things down by having to open and stuff items in each time.]

Ask Analysis Questions

Starting with one pile at a time, pick up a piece and ask yourself these questions:

Do I still like it?  Yes? No? Maybe?  Put in the designated bin/pile/bag.  Go quickly.  Too much pondering and you may lose your nerve.  Many suggest the hard and fast rule:  If you haven’t worn in a year, GET RID OF IT. Some even use 6 months as the cutoff; however, I don’t adhere to this.  For me there were clothes in my closet I completely forgot I owned since I couldn’t see them!  So the 6 month rule didn’t always apply.

Once everything has been sorted in the three Yes-No-Maybe piles, turn your focus to the “Yes” items. 

Try On “Yes” Items

Now is the time to try on each Yes item to make sure it fits well, you feel good in it and it gives or sparks joy. Also, make certain it’s in your color palette and gives you confidence.  If you don’t feel any of these things, then it may not be a “Yes” item.  Toss to the Maybe pile. 

As you’re trying on the Yes items, ask yourself these questions:  Have I worn it in the last 12 months? (Marie says 6 months).  If the answer is No, then ask Why? Is it style?  Color?  Size?   Is there something other than time that could make me love it again?  If it’s not in your color palette, then I suggest you not keep it, even if you do like it.  In my case, I no longer wear colors outside of my palette and don’t find them complimentary to my skin tone nor the primary pieces in my wardrobe, so why keep something I will rarely wear, but this is up to you.  (Click here to find out about Color Analysis).

Once you’ve tried on all the Yes pieces and confirmed they truly belong in the Yes pile, move to the next step. 

4. Bag Up the “No” Pieces

Be sure to purchase strong trash bags or heavy-duty boxes to bag up anything that’s stained or ripped beyond repair or to give away. Label so you know where they are going.

I highly recommend that you donate or sell any wearable pieces to a thrift or consignment store. You can also donate to “Dress for Success” organizations that help unemployed women interview for jobs.  I volunteer and donate clothing to Wardrobe for Opportunity in Oakland, California, a nonprofit organization, where women can shop for outfits for the interview process. You should find organizations like these in your areas to donate. Once your No’s are bagged, take them out of the room and start a new bag for any future “No” pieces.

You may find duplicate clothing pieces, for example the same color shirt or dresses that look similar. Do you really need all of them? Donate or get rid of duplicates.

5. The “Maybe” Pile

The remaining pieces should be your “Maybe” pile.  Assess the feelings that you have when evaluating each piece and ask the following questions with each piece in order to decide:

#1: Does this piece help me reach my goal (i.e. work attire) or my personal style?

#2: Have I worn it in a year?

#3: Does this piece fit my body (and if not, can it be tailored)?

#4: Does this item bring me joy, make me feel confident or good, when wearing it?

If you answer No to to even one of these questions, it should go into your “New No” bag.  You should only keep items that serve your purpose and solve your closet problem.  

6. Separate Your Final Piles

Separate the rest of the clothes into the following piles:

  1. “Yes” pieces that need tailored or dry cleaned
  2. Pieces to donate or sell
  3. Stained, ripped, or unwearable pieces

7. Organize Your Closet

Now you can put your final “Yes” pile back into your closet, but make sure to organize by color to find pieces easier and faster. Also, categorize your tops, bottoms, outerwear, dresses, accessories, etc.

For items that need to be folded and put into drawers, I highly recommend watching Marie Kondo’s video on folding, found here.  It is a simple process that makes it so easy to find things in your dresser drawers.

Congratulations! You have officially de-cluttered your closet. You should feel an amazing sense of accomplishment and hopefully, peace and calm.  To help maintain the consistency and flow of your closet, I suggest incorporating the “One-for-One Rule”: When you add a new item to your closet, you MUST donate, sell or give one away. I promise, this will help you maintain you Closet Zen and be filled with joy.

Would you rather have someone help you obtain Closet Zen? Check out our closet organization options.

5 Must Have Winter Accessories

(This Winter Be BOLD, Not Cold!)

Winter doesn’t officially start for another 10 days, though the cold weather has many of us thinking it’s already here! 

Whether you plan to spend time outdoors or just want to stay warm and toasty while walking to work, in your office or relaxing at home, these winter accessories will get you through the season with style. 

I’ve highlighted this year’s top accessories to help you be fashionable bold and not cold, this winter. 

Ponchos

Ponchos are one of my favorite items to wear when the weather gets colder.  I love, Love, LOVE, ponchos!!  Why?  Because they hide all the “icky bits” (i.e. the weight around my waist), while providing warmth and style.  Most of all, ponchos are an easy layer piece to wear that can also be the focal point of your outfit. 

A true classic never goes out of style (see below)

If you make a poncho the focal point of your outfit,  make sure to find the right poncho for you body type, so it will balance your shape accordingly. 

Ponchos are available in all shapes and sizes ranging from big and bulky, long and draping, to lightweight and body skimming.  Fortunately, you can wear any type.  The key is know how to wear each particular poncho to compliment your silhouette. 

Poncho & Necklace from Marla Wynne @ HSN.com 

For instance, if you wear a draped style (as pictured to the left) then you must balance the silhouette by creating a slimming effect on the bottom.  Do this by wearing skinny, straight-legged jeans or leggings and your favorite leather bootie or suede, over-the-knee boots.  A good rule to remember is that when you wear bulky or flowy items on your upper body, wear straight and narrow on your lower body.  This creates balance. 

Additionally, you can belt a long poncho if you want to create the illusion of a waistline or accentuate one.  Though be certain this works for your shape, as it will also bring attention to your tummy area. 

Try bright colored hues according to your color palette that consists of prints, paisleys, stripes or checks.  

Ponchos for Plus Sizes

Chiffon Poncho by Marla Wynne

Ponchos work for curvy ladies too. 

It is cozier than the summer kimono and can be used as a layer piece or light jacket, especially if found in a fabric like the chiffon shown in the photo. 

A poncho is actually ideal for a plus size lady who feels a little insecure, as it help cover areas she may consider a “flaw”. 

No matter the reason, you should definitely get a stylish poncho to complete your winter wardrobe and feel good when you wear it. 

Winter Hats

Hats are great for fall and winter and this year they are everywhere and available in a variety of styles including knits caps, felt berets (pictured below right) or a wool fedora. 

Color continues to be all the rage this winter, so look for fun, colorful hats to spice up your wardrobe.  As you can see, I have a teal, wool fedora (pictured below left) and I absolutely love it.  I feel great when I wear it, which is often as it can be dressed up or down. 

Winter Fedora in Teal
Wool Fedora in Teal

When selecting a hat to add to your accessories, you want to take into account the shape of your face as well as the color of your hair, eyes and skin.  For example, most oval faces shapes (like mine) is better served by a hat with a brim versus a small beret.  Why?  Because of balance.  Oval faces are longer so having a brim helps to bring attention to the eyes by adding width and creating balance. 

Try on several different styles to learn what looks best on you. 

Boots or Booties

Comfortable & Stylish

There is such a variety of boots and booties this year.  Why not try something you’ve never considered;  you may be surprised of the outcome! Also keep it simple and base your decision on your style and color since there are so many choices this winter.  

The variety of boots includes cowboy or western style, precious metal mules, pointed toes, snake skin, leather or python, (which is considered the new natural).

I’ve never considered myself a cowboy boot person, but I recently tried on a pair of western inspired booties and they were so comfortable!  Not like the stiff leather of yesterday.  Things have changed (thankfully) and you can now find low heels with so much style.

Suede Knee High Boots in Taupe

Another option to consider is the over the knee boots (pictured right).  They have 2” inch heels, pointy toes, a zipper on the side for easy access into the boot along with a stretch grommet in the back, allowing for larger calf sizes, leggings and jeans.  

I love these boots as they too are super comfortable, even with the heel.  I can walk long distances and be in them all day.

Over-sized Scarves

Bold over-sized scarf for Winter
Bold, Warm & Versatile 

Another popular accessory this winter is a big scarf.  Again, the key is finding the one that you really love and looks good on you.  By having your palette colors on the scarf, you will feel even better wearing it.  

The scarf I’m wearing captures both prints and colors found in my palette:  teal, red (a blue red), cream and a leopard print, all of which I absolutely love.   

With the weather already cold throughout the country, find a scarf that will keep you warm and that also coordinates with your coats and jackets.  

Another benefit of a bold, over-sized scarf is that it can also be worn as a shawl or wrap. 

                                                           Tassel Earrings

This year will be remembered as the winter of BOLD jewelry! 

tassel earrings make a bold statement
The “it” earring 

Tassel earrings are one example of this fresh, new creativity in fashion.  The earrings are designed with simple, colorful threads or beads and come in numerous shapes, lengths and sizes, though the overall design is still the same.  Tassel earrings make a strong style statement, so step up your game this year and buy a pair.  

The trick is to make certain the length and width are appropriate for your face shape.  Sometimes this style can make an extremely bold, larger than life statement, so take some time to find the right fit for you.  

About Me…

Where to Buy….

Limited Time Offer!Color Analysis!

Instead of wearing what you like, do you want to LOVE what you wear?

Would you like to spend less time shopping and zoom in on what’s right for you and ignore the rest?

Do you want to be comfortable and look great?

Would like clothes in your closet to mix and match?

Would you like to feel good in the clothes you wear?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, then you need to sign up for a color analysis. Limited time through 9/1/2018.

For new clients, I’m offering a 30% discount on a Custom Color Analysis, until Saturday, September 1, 2018, Receive a FREE, purse-sized, custom color wheel, to carry with you always.

Was $229 NOW $160 (New customers ONLY till 9/1/18)

Find out more regarding a Custom Color Analysis at: https://firstimpressionsmatter.com/services/individual-services/custom-color-analysis/

To purchase the Custom Color Analysis and receive the 30% discount, go to brenda@firstimpressionsmatter.com and send a message and you will be guided on how to purchase.

FirstImpressionsMatter.com

Thinking Outside the Box, Clothing Subscription Shopping!

Clothing subscription boxes are the latest buzzwords in the apparel industry. Since I wasn’t very familiar with the concept, I decided to dig in a little more and now I can share what I learned with you. Keep reading to find out what all the hype is about and whether you’re missing out!

Do you hate the experience of shopping in stores? Maybe you’re tired of spending countless hours trying to put together a creative outfit? Or you like to shop but you’re not sure what styles work for your body type? If you answered yes, then fashion subscription box services could be the solution for you.

I never thought this type of subscription box service was meant for me, since I love to go into the department store and feel fabrics, coordinate colors and outfits and try on clothing to see if it works for my body type. But I’ve been hearing more about these subscription boxes, whose services are rising off the charts and becoming very popular. I got curious to learn more about this latest fashion trend.

I’m currently working on a consulting project with four other people on my team. Two of these women have subscribed to clothing box services or usually shop for their clothes online. I found this very interesting and wanted to hear more about it. I interviewed one of my teammates Karen, to get a better understanding of what she calls “convenient shopping”. You’ll hear more from Karen as to why she uses the service, later in the article.

Recent data shows that 79% of Americans shop online and the growth continues to rise with the fashion apparel industry. Currently more than 2,000 subscription box services exist in the United States. Apparel is in the top 20 of the most popular stubscription services. Visits to subscription box websites are over 21.4 million and rising daily.

SO…What EXACTLY is clothing subscription shopping?

It is an online clothing shopping service that delivers handpicked items right to your front door.

How does it work? You begin by registering for the clothing subscription box. You then fill out a questionnaire of sorts that narrows down your style, fit and price preferences. Based on the input you provide, a personal stylist will create at least 5 outfits (each company might vary) which will then be sent to you to try on at the comfort of your own home. Simple enough, right?

What happens next is the most interesting part! After you’ve tried out the subscription box outfits sent to you, you pay and get to keep the ones you like and you simply send back everything else. And the best part? If you didn’t end up liking any of the options sent to you, you are not obligated to keep any pieces! You may return all the items without being charged for any of them.  The company only bills you for the pieces you keep and except for a small fee ($20 on average), there are no other costs. You can even sign up for automatic deliveries or set a schedule on demand.

Why sign-up for the service?

This is Karen. She is a busy, working career professional with limited leisure time on her hands. She explained to me why she signed up for Stitchfix clothing subscription box services.

  • She wanted to dress differently from her usual traditional, classic look consisting of a sweater set, crop/ankle pants and a blouse. She decided to switch up her style but didn’t know what to do about it.
  • She found the subscription box service to be helpful and a lot of fun. She provided them with information regarding her body type and style and the stylist gave her a fashion board with various outfits to select from. She set her price preferences according to her budget and indicated to them what kind of clothing pieces she was specifically looking for.
  • She’s been using the services for over 6 months now and she says it has been an awesome experience for the most part. She enjoys getting fashionable trendy things to try on and according to her, the quality has been great too.

“The service saved me”

Karen continued to explain how the subscription box service saved her from not having anything to wear to a special event. She informed the company that she planned to attend an outdoor wedding and wanted to wear a dress for the occassion. Because she usually had a hard time finding a dress that looks good on her, she wasn’t hopeful. Fortunately, they sent her three dresses that she loved and she picked out one of them to wear to the wedding. The biggest benefit of the service for Karen was the convenience of having the dresses delivered straight to her home, where she got to try them on privately without others being around.

What types of clothing do you receive?

Karen said the outfits from the clothing subscription box service she used consisted of some name brand companies  including; Not Your Daughters Jeans, Market and Spruce, Laila Jayde and 41 Hawthorn. All of these were great quality pieces.

How much does it cost?

On average Karen spent approximately 150 dollars a month. Sometimes she switched up the subscription to deliver every two months instead of monthly. The sign up fee is $20.00, which ends up being a stylist fee that is credited toward your first purchase. So you don’t really pay any upfront costs, which sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Future use of the service

Karen also admitted that after 6 months she decided to discontinue the service she was using. The clothing box company she was subscribed to, started sending her outfits from their own clothing line and the fit and quality did not meet her expectations. Going from receiving fashionable high quality pieces that fit her style during the first six months to this, she was disappointed when things changed. Even though she canceled the service with Stitchfix, she is  looking into other clothing subscription box services because  she doesn’t want to let go of the convenience of getting clothes delivered for her to try out at home.

Where to find the services

Google “clothing box subscription services” and you will find a list of companies. In researching additional fashion shopping services, a couple of my suggestions include:

  • MM LaFleur– They cater to women over 40 and  women in the workspace. Their clothes are classic and of great quality.
  • Trunk Club – This subscription service is provided by Nordstrom. They are following the steps of other retailers and  are also jumping on the subscription box band wagon
  • CHC Vintage Dress – If  you can pull of a vintage style, then this box is most definitely for you.
  • Chic Style Box – This is an accessories subsciption box service to pair with your outfits.

Overall, I have talked to others who really like the service and the convienence of receiving clothing in the mail to try on at home. Most people are tired of the time involved in sitting in traffic to get to the store, finding a parking spot and walking to the department store. Time is precious and more of us are finding out another way to shop for clothes.

 

=======================================================

While you’re still here, I wanted to remind you of my special fall offer. Treat yourself to this fabudiscount special on our event packages we have going on. Is your wardrobe ready for your upcoming holiday event or job interview? Check out our event package that promises to help you look and feel good, boost your confidence and make that great first impression!

FALL SPECIAL EVENT PACKAGE

We also have some exciting posts on our Facebook page that you don’t want to miss out on! Make sure you’re  following us on there to keep up with our updates