Saturday, June 27, 2009

On Closets

My neighbor is a visual merchandiser for the fashion industry.  I had no idea what that was until I met her.  Basically she takes all of the clothes that the store wants to sell and displays them- on the racks, on mannequins, on the shelves, in storefronts, etc.  She puts the outfits together, she accessorizes them, etc. She only does very high end stores so this woman knows fashion.

Although she works in fashion, she has the same keen eye for interior decorating.  It is the understatement of the year to say I LOVE her style.  Very understated, casual, but elegant.  I could never pull it off in my house o' testosterone.  But I can dream.  

Anyhoo, this morning we both had some time on our hands (ok, so I created time on my hands by sending Hubs to get the oil changed in both of our cars and plopping the boys in front of the tv. Not the end of the world on a saturday morning, right?)  so I invited her over to help with my closet.  I am very, very good about weeding out what I don't wear.  I am of the philosophy that if I haven't worn it for one entire year then I'm not ever going to wear and I toss it in a flash.  Other than my wedding dress and a few precious outfits that my boys have worn, I do not save clothes for sentimental reasons.  And about 18 months ago I made the decision that no matter how cute or stylish or on sale something is, if it doesn't make me look long and lean, I ain't gonna wear it.  (Workout clothes and pajamas are one huge exception to this rule).  All of this is to say that my closet it in pretty good shape to begin with.  

But once J came over and started working her magic, it was like my closet was transformed.  Take a deep breath, listen closely, and take notes.  This is good stuff.

She organized everything completely by color (previously I had arranged things by color and style - so all white short sleeve shirts were with all my other short sleeve shirts, also arranged by color).  Now, if it's white, for example, it is together, no matter whether it's a tank top or a sweater.  (But within each color there is a progression according to length of sleeve and material so all the white tank tops are together, all white tshirts are together, all white blouses are together, all white sweaters are together, etc).  

Then, the clothes, within their color group, were hung from light to dark.  So whites, then light pink, then orange, then navy then black.  (You will notice that I am pretty basic when it comes to my clothes.  Not a lot of variety or color.  My mom thinks it's boring.  I choose to think of it as Armani-simple.)

Are you still with me?  After that, which was like the heavens opening up it was so beautiful, we moved my jeans from hangers to shelves, we moved pants and dresses to a different part of my closet, handbags were stuffed (the brilliance!) so they would stand up straight and I could see them.  Then she spread the hangers apart so that my clothes filled the entire rail.  

I swear, if you were to look in my closet from a glance, you would think I have a gorgeous wardrobe.  The truth is, it's all markdowns from Gap and J Crew*.  But it looks so incredibly pretty. 

The other key thing, which I did years ago, is switch to all the same color hangers.  J thinks I should invest in all wooden hangers but it's awfully hard to justify a $10 hangar for an $8 shirt.  The padded hangers I have interspersed (for my sweaters) with the white plastic drive her batty and the wood hanger I have for my one (yes, one) skirt is also an eyesore for her since there are no other wood hangers.  

Anyway, what is the point of telling you all of this?  No point other than walking in to my "new" closet gives me such delight and glee and I wish the same for all of you.

(*The one exception is the pair of Joe's Jeans that I have.  They were full price $150 from Bloomies.  I won a $100 gift card and treated myself to a pair of designer jeans.  Oh sweet Jesus, the difference they make in my butt.  I actually feel, dare I say it, HOT in them.  If you do not have a pair of Joe's Jeans, march yourself out and buy a pair (or whatever brand transform your rear from long and never ending to high and perky).  You will never ever regret it.  I wear them on average 5 days a week and when they get ratty I will buy myself another pair whether or not I have a gift card.  That's how amazing they are.)


mel said...

You have inspired me! I am writing down the essentials I need and cleaning my closet tomorrow. Inspiring!!

mel said...

Does she think black is too harsh for older women? Ask her please....Thanks!!

SPT said...

mel, hooray! the first thing i did this morning when i woke up was walk over and look at my closet. the joy i get from it is a bit irrational, i must admit. when you get the essentials, don't forget the joe's jeans. i promise you will thank me forever! :)

i will ask her about the black. i will guess it has more to do with your coloring than your age. i'll show her a photo. she wears almost entirely black, with some white and navy mixed in. i used to buy mostly black but she suggested i wear more navy. she said it achieves the same purpose as black, but is less harsh for my coloring.

she has totally transformed my clothes purchases. i used to shop much more by price and trend (ie, if it's on super sale and it's cute, i'd get it). now i go completely, completely by how it looks on my body. i don't spend a penny more, and i probably spend less, but i only get things that are TRULY flattering.