Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Closet Requirements Relative to Lifestyle

Closet Content Analysis: Striving for a Minimalist Wardrobe

Choices: Lifestyle Requirements

NICE                   NO THANKS         NOTE-WORTHY            NEED

There are women in my closet, hanging on the hangers, a different woman for each suit, each dress, each pair of shoes . . . 
- Marya Hornbacher

Once again, I am contemplating reducing the items in my closet therefore I need to asses what it is exactly that I NEED.

Since I returned to Canada, I have only been bringing to my bedroom closet what I need from my storage closet. Two revelations have come to me. First I certainly don't NEED everything that I have and second, even within my limited range, I have certain favourite go to outfits, which would be considered my NICE.

Even though I am contemplating a minimalist wardrobe; I recognize that my lifestyle is erratic and I NEED different clothes at different times. If I am in my "workshop" or writing, then . . .

NICE: I can live in blue jeans, t-shirts, workout wear and for the most part, barefeet, flats and runners. I have used this quote before but it rings so true for me at the moment:

I'm like every other woman: a closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear; so I wear jeans.
- Cameron Diaz

Presently I'm in my "workshop" constructing jewellery for the Christmas sale on the 7th, 8th and 9th of December. My yoga pants and a t-shirt with barefeet is as elaborate as I get. I leave the house to pick up a few things, where a merino light wool black pullover or v-neck camel cashmere pullover with skinny jeans and high boots are as elaborate as I want for my shopping treks. When I'm off to the gym, I wear my gym strip and don't even bother changing at the gym since it's there and back with no stops in between.

NOTE-WORTHY 1: However, at the jewellery show and sale, I have to look like I wear what I make! My LBD of course and any other classic apparel works but not jeans since they still look a smidge too casual for the type of sale I'm at.

So at certain times my jeans are both my NICE and my NO THANKS.

NOTE-WORTHY 2: With the holiday season here, I NEED formal/semi-formal attire. The LBD gets a lot of wear but I do have a range of simple LBD to lace overlay to bling enhanced. My LBD and a variety of statement necklaces can pull me through for the most part but even within the invitations there is a range of requirements.

NOTE-WORTHY 3: Then I have yet another life, where I occasionally take on teaching contracts so in January I'm off to the University of Alberta for five weeks in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A more business-appropriate wardrobe is required in this situation because it is a professional college and I feel more comfortable in business wear than in casual clothing. Therefore, I keep my blazers and re-work or update them as need arises.

Given all my NOTE-WORTHIES, how am I to minimize my Canadian wardrobe? I do have a minimalist wardrobe in France since my life there is simpler. My visa states that I cannot work and so I have no professional obligations. I have everything I NEED there and don't seem to be bothered by the fact that I have worn the same dress out to dinner many times. Most of my summer wear is now there and I probably will need to look at reducing the numbers in that closet as well.

It appears that this closet analysis has put me right back where I started. I NEED most everything I have in my closet even though it is only NOTE-WORTHY and not required everyday.  Should I feel guilty?

Guilty feelings about clothes are totally unnecessary. A lot of people earn their living by making clothes, so you should never feel bad.
- Karl Lagerfeld

So what are your favourite NICE go-to clothes in your closet?
In what ways might you minimize your wardrobe?
Or are you too caught in a lifestyle where very different clothing is required relative to the NEED of the moment?

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Jewellery Trends Winter 2012-13

As presented on my blog "pages" you see that I make jewellery. Whenever I am preparing for a big sale, I spend a lot of time searching for the jewellery trends of the time. I then stare at my stash of "stuff" and allow creativity to flow.

For this post, I summarized the features from what I have seen online, in fashion magazines and in the stores while in France in October and in Canada presently. Keeping these features in mind, I design, assemble, take apart, put back together, ponder about and eventually design pieces with which I am happy.

Here's a summary of what I see as components in jewellery trends for the winter 2012-13:

Length: It appears as if lengths range from the "choker" to the long "flapper-style" and everything in between. Whether on the catwalk or on the DIY videos, every length is represented. In the business of preparing for a sale, I now feel that I have to have a representation of each.

Colour:  As in all winters previous and all winters to come, deeper colours appear on the forefront. Emeralds and deep greens are popular this particular season. I've seen a lot of sapphire blue and red along with tones in turquoise and coral/orange. Of the metals, gold seems to predominate. But in fact, I would suggest that you choose the metal tone that feels and looks good against your skin.

Stringing Materials: A"new" recurring feature in the forefront this season is the ropey silk cords, waxed cotton, leather lacing and other woven cording. Of course, there are always pendants strung on cords every season but this winter, there appear to be more. In some cases, thick cording and the knotting is as much the feature as the pendant or charms. And yes, there are chains in multiples as well. There usually isn't just one style of chain holding the beads but rather many thicknesses of many chains looped in varying lengths. Then there are those pieces with the combination of cord and metal. It seems that metal hoops and fabric loops are being featured alone or in combination.

Beads, Charms, Pendants, Tassels and Other Decorative Embellishments: Stones such as turquoise, onyx, different colours of quartz and really just about any kind of stone appear in the collections and reflect that sought after "tribal" quality. Art deco and tassels, reminiscent of the "flapper style" balance the natural and fabric cording materials. Crosses, in decorative Gothic style, as well as in matching colours are yet another prominent feature. But then again you can find what you are partial to, whether it be hearts or skulls. 

Size: Big! Pendants are big, tassels are long and small elements are gathered to evoke "bigness".

Turquoise with multi-media. Created by JoyD. Winter 2012/13
Materials + Features = Product: Put it all together and you get the statement necklace which tops the lists as the predominant trend seen online and in print for the winter of 2012-13. Oversized earrings, with chandelier styles still in vogue, and multiple bracelets, beaded or cuffed, recur featuring the components listed.

So what have I missed? 
What's the trend in your part of the world for the winter of 2012-13?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Purchase Less, Look Great

We have all seen the phrase, "spend less, look great" but added to that we should probably also be purchasing less. As we get closer to Christmas, many vow to spend less and then they break that vow by allowing themselves to get caught up in the commercialism of it all. And so how can we spend less on our wardrobes as we prepare for Christmas gatherings and festivities?

Of course, "less" is relative to your income, and for the most part, unless you are independently wealthy or have "sheikh" status, spending "less" is  an underlying thought when most of us go shopping. But in fact it really doesn't matter how much you spend (as stated, some have greater expendable income than others) we really should be purchasing less, quantity wise, and looking great with less choice. 

And so I propose three holiday season challenges for you and your closet:

1 Challenge yourself to choose what you have in your closet instead of claiming you have nothing to wear and heading out to the shopping mall. Essentially go "shopping" in your closet. For formal and semi-formal Christmas parties, bring out that little black dress or the trousers and possible tops along with all the accessories and shoes that you can add that will dress up the basics or dress them down to accommodate the variety of events during the holidays. By pre-planning and playing with ideas, you will surprise yourself with all the combinations. Going shopping under the stress of getting something new for a particular event is the worst way to go shopping. You end up buying something you don't really need and it just may end up never being worn again.

Because of what's going on with the economy, I think women are realizing that maybe they don't need a closet full of clothes. They just need the right clothes. 
- Michael Kors

2 Challenge yourself to see the potential in a thrift store item or in a single piece that can complement what you already have. If you do feel that you must buy something new for the holiday season, take the advice of the the North American television show, Diva on a Dime. The hosts choose a runway outfit and then proceed to duplicate the look for the client. It is always fascinating to watch. The hosts scour thrift stores, vintage accessory shops, fabric stores, and sample designer trunk sales to find the "look" without the extravagant price tags. 

Buy what you don't have yet or what you really want, which can be mixed with what you already own. Buy only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping.

- Karl Lagerfeld 

3 Challenge yourself to spend only a certain amount of money. Decide on that amount before you leave your home and do not go over that pre-determined number.

The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.
- Erma Bombeck 

Men don't seem to have the problem that women have when getting "dressed up" but Diva on a Dime also inspires me to ask, are there television shows like this for men? I would think that there must be an audience of men who are looking to look good for less. In fact, thinking about my brother who has a limited "formal" wardrobe, a show of this kind would be perfect for him when he has special occasions to attend. Whether he would actually watch or act upon the suggestions is quite another thing. 

Consider yourself challenged and let me know what you found in your closet and how you re-invented it.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Seasonal Closet Analysis: Usefulness

Closet Content Analysis: A Strategy to Determine Usefulness

Choices: Colour Assigned Hangers as an Organizational Tool


Now that I'm back in my Canadian home, I need to organize my clothing for winter. I have attempted the subject of closet organization before in a pre-sale closet analysis post but this time I need to analyse my closet relative to season change. 

"Begin at the beginning", the King said gravely, "and go till you come to the end; then stop."  

- Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

Depending on your personality type the following three steps may seem ridiculous or miraculous. If organizing your closet is a pain, this strategy just might work this time.

1 Get Your Tools Ready. 
Have available three different colours of hangers: one for NICE (clothing you love and always wear), one for NOTE-WORTHY (those that you occasionally wear but can't bear to part with or belong to another season), and one for NO THANKS. For your NO THANKS choices, buy a package or two of red hangers or any colour that is significantly different than the hanger colours being used for your NICE and NOTE-WORTHY choices.

2 Start Sorting. Ask yourself the following when, what, how, where, and why questions as you analyse each item of clothing hanging in your closet.

When do I wear it? (Seasons, months, weeks, days; how often)
If something is only to be worn in another season than which you are in, place it on a NOTE-WORTHY hanger. So if it's winter and you have the luxury of another closet, put the summer NICE/NOTE-WORTHY pieces aside. Place those items which receive seldom or never responses and hang them on your NO THANKS coloured hangers.

What items in your closet are your favourites?
You will probably be able to answer this question without thinking twice and of course, it is related to the "when" question. Your favourites are in an "easy to get to" spot in your closet and you choose them often and wear them comfortably. Put them on your NICE hangers.

How does it fit? (perfectly, too tight, too big)
There is a special category here and it is - tight, but since I'm on Weight Watchers/or any other weight loss program, I'll be able to wear it comfortably in two months, put it on your NOTE-WORTHY hangers. Or "too loose" but I love wearing it around the house. The NO THANKS hangers get the stuff that not only doesn't fit but no longer suits your lifestyle.

Where do I wear it?
By the time you ask yourself this question, your NO THANKS choices are already on their assigned hangers. If the answer is work or "going out" put it on your NICE hangers; if the answer is "at home only" put it on your NOTE-WORTHY hangers or fold them and put them in a drawer rather than taking up space in your closet.

Why do I wear it? (feelings, comfort, need/work requirements)
Clothing for work and your favourite "going out" clothing go on your NICE and NOTE-WORTHY hangers. Maybe you don't wear them often but they are your "formal fancy dress" clothes - those are NOTE-WORTHY.

By the time you have answered all these questions, you will have analysed and sorted out the stuff that is just taking up space in your closet. However, I'm not suggesting you throw or give the NO THANKS things away yet.

3 Dealing with the NO THANKS Lot. Put the NO THANKS clothing in another closet or in another part of your closet. Now they will be on hold for two months. If you retrieve any of your NO THANKS items during the two month period, change them to a NOTE-WORTHY coloured hanger. If you do not seek out or wear any of these items for the two months, it's time to determine what you want to do with them. Your choices are: consignment shop but only if the items are in exceptional quality; a charity depot; "put to other uses" bin (craft & painting clothes, craft bin for re-using fabrics or rag bin); 100% natural fibres to a fabric recycler; or the trash.

Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.
- Pearl S. Buck 

Now you have another task to add to your list for a cold and snowy or rainy winter day!