To put it bluntly, the past 13 months were extremely troubling and challenging. When a woman stops noticing or caring about what is hanging in her closet, you know she is distressed! The stress of enforced isolation from family, friends, and her shopping haunts, and the fear of COVID-19 forced her to turn her attention to new coping skills. And even though from the day of the cavemen women have loved to gather, shopping was replaced with learning how to gather her wits about her. So, a closet full of clothes became meaningless. I swear I did not look at my belongings hanging in my closet since March of 2020.
I Believe in Miracles
One day recently out of the blue, life seemed to return to a new normal. A proclamation was spread throughout the country that masks were no longer necessary, children would return to their classroom, restaurants, and business could open their doors and I was deliriously elated.
How did I take to this? I walked out the revolving door of my condo in the sky and onto the streets of my beautiful Chicago and I was shocked that the streets were filled with people and they had smiles on their faces instead of masks. I felt the positive energy in the air and I breathed it in and tried to swallow it. It felt that delicious.
It took a few more days for it to register that my life was returning to a new normal. It really hit me when my Ultimate Concierge and I had dinner at Carmine’s on Rush Street and it was jammed pack with people laughing and sharing smiles. I was elated and mentioned to Shelly later that evening that I forgot COVID-19 existed.
That evening when I was about to close my eyes, I thought, “OMG, I will be going out into the world again and I have not thought about my wardrobe for over a year! My clothes, shoes, handbags, etc., were in drawers and on hangers dormant in my small walk-in closet! All of a sudden a feeling of glee filled me and I had a hard time falling asleep hoping morning would hurry and arrive so I could tackle a project I loved.
A Burst of Energy
The next morning when I opened my eyes, I immediately felt a burst of energy. I opened the windows and took in the city. Then, I walked over to my small walk-in closet, threw open the doors, and stared at my shoes, handbags, shirts, skirts, dresses, jackets, scarves of all types, and was taken aback that everything I owned looked like new inventory from Neiman’s, J Crew, Armani, and Dior (to name just a few).
I was like a kid in a candy store. I did not know what to look at first. So, I scanned my clothing on hangers, opened all the drawers, and loved what I saw. Then eyed my shoes on the shelves in my tiny walk-in closet. I decided I treasured everything in my small walk-in closet and felt a rush of gratitude.
Making a List
The first thing I did was make a list of what I wanted to accomplish. I began by taking inventory of everything. I tried on every pair of shoes because of my bunions and the next day, Francesco, the magician shoemaker, rang my doorbell. He left with three huge bags of shoes, each pair having a note about the problem. Next, I checked my clothes. Finally, since I am a gatherer, I decided where I could fill in a few new pieces from the spring-fall collection that would complement what I owned. It was a joyful but hard task. And, I am not done.
I Enjoy Sharing Everything… Except for My Husband!
I learned at an early age to be a selective shopper, to buy quality over quantity, to fill my drawers with interesting accessories, and to remember it is always style and not the fashion of the day that counts. I learned not to spend my money on a one-season fashion hit. My mother was my teacher and her advice has served me well. Whenever the opportunity occurs, I love to huddle with women of all ages and if they ask me to pass my knowledge and advise to them, I do so with pleasure. Sharing is caring and women need women in their lives… of all ages.
I recall asking my mom why some of her friends were much younger than she and my dad and she explained her views on multigenerational relationships. Like mother like daughter. I took it one step further and had a multigenerational group of women to my home from ages 28 to 96. This was for an article for the New York Times. The meet-up was to last two hours. We were all talking at the 2.5-hour mark and my friends wanted to meet again. I purposely choose women who knew me (but barely) or not at all. When I finally stopped the meeting, they all wanted to meet again. The discussion went nonstop and the questions the older women and younger women wanted answers to were enlightening.
Money Does Not Create a Women’s Style
From the time I started shopping with my mom around the age of 9, I already had my opinions on what I liked and they did not always match my mother’s! I would go through the clothes on the rack and at my young age, I knew what to choose. My mother always told me it was too expensive. She was a wise shopper and she did her best to instill her wisdom in me.
She taught me to be keen-eyed when I shopped, to only buy what I felt good in, and to look for keepers. I still adore my 30-year-old Chanel chain belts and my Gucci bamboo handle handbags and guess what…they are back in style. Why did I keep them? I kept them because I loved them and they were keepers. And, I still wear a wide black soft leather belt that was my mom’s and she just turned 100! So, darling, don’t discard a belonging because you think it is out of style. If you love it, keep it, because everything eventually becomes fashionable again.
Ask Yourself, What Makes You Feel Visible?
Ask yourself what makes you feel happy and visible to others? If you immediately begin to discuss your outer looks, I will have to flunk you.
Your beauty comes from your inner beauty; your warmth, intellect, smile, and positivity, for starters. In order to be visible to others, your visibility must begin from within. Therefore before you change the color of your hair, think about your attitude!
Play Off Your Assets!
Of course, the way you carry yourself and your outer style, your outfits, play a role. Therefore, it is up to you to know your best attributes so you can play off your assets. When you shop, you must consider your body shape. If your shoulders are broad and the “in jacket” has broad shoulders, pass because this type of design will never become you. If you have beautiful legs, show them off with great shoes and shortie boots. Don’t become a fad buyer. I know a sheath dress does not flatter my body type so I don’t try them on.
Colors counts and not all colors flatter yours or my skin tone. I don’t wear any shade of brown. The entire brown color palette washes me out. I do not love the entire color palette of grey and even though I read that the primary color for the 2021 Spring-Summer season is grey, it does not mean I will buy grey. I love white, shades of green, deep navy, and some soft shades And, I love a sprinkle of Chinese Red in my accessories if they are made in America! So, darling, shop with your body image and skin coloring in mind. And, remember the importance of a woman’s accessories… shoes, glasses, handbags, belts, hats, scarves, a flower, and of course jewelry.
Lastly a Few Outfits
And finally, I would like to share of few of the outfits I put together for you from my closet. As you will be able to see, they are a range of colors and styles. Have fun with your outfits, and see how many ways you can mix and match your pieces and accessories for multiple looks. If you click the links associated, they may or may not be the same exact product, and for some, I could not find any sort of match. As I mentioned, many of the items I purchase I’ve had for many years, and are no longer in stock or made. However, you can find similar items like them from the same (or different) retailers. For that reason, I either included similar products or the designer’s name. Happy shopping!
I hope you found some inspiration for your closet. What are some of your favorite items in your closet? Please share with me in the comments.
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