Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fashion Exorcism

This article started in a closet. No shock there. Every woman’s closet I see is different in so many ways. But at the same time, every closet is the same in one particular way:

There are eerie, disembodied voices and ghosts of styles past
that haunt each and every one.

It shouldn’t surprise us that the spirits in the movie Poltergeist took up residence in a female’s closet. So I guess that makes me the creepy little woman who is called in to “cleanse” it. It is my job to purge the ghosts and banish the little voices so that you can build your wardrobe, style sense and confidence on a brand new foundation.
In clearing out their wardrobes, women always tell me the stories behind their clothes – and unintentionally clue me into whose voices have shaped and continue to influence what they buy, what they hold onto, what they would never wear, and what they wear way too often.
They’ve cited their moms, grandmas, aunts, daughters, mothers-in-law, husbands, friends, a best friend from high school, department store sales staff, Heidi Klum, Clinton and Stacy from What Not to Wear, the ubiquitous Oprah, their therapist, Victoria Beckham, their kids, and even old boyfriends as influences over what they wear.

Not all those little voices that have shaped what you wear are positive, are they? Do they tell you to wear items you love and that make you feel wonderful? Or do they criticize and nitpick?
Who is haunting your closet?
Can you identify five things that have been said about YOU, your clothing, or about style in general that have stuck with you? Are they positive or negative? Who said them?
Dear Old Mom
Let me guess. Your mom was on your list more than once. Moms are our primary style consultants as we’re growing up, aren’t they? And a woman’s mother always lives in her closet in one way or another.
Some of the things I’ve heard “mom’s” voice say in client’s closets:
“You can’t wear red (yellow, green, black, brown, white, etc, etc…) because it washes you out.”
“Your hips are too wide to wear skirts.”
“Don’t wear costume jewelry.”
“Long skirts are modest.”
“Shopping at JC Penney’s is sensible.”
“As long as it fits, keep it.”
“If it doesn’t have holes in it, keep it.”
“Buy for your kids first.”
“You’re too tall to wear heels.”
“Only shop at sales.”
“Only rich people shop there.”
Did you ever wonder where your mom heard what she was telling you? It was probably from her mom’s voice in her own closet! We may be living with the ghosts of the 1950’s or the even the Depression-era in our closets and we don’t even know it!
(Hmmm….my grandma grew up living with HER grandmother, so that probably means I can trace my closet voices back to mid-1800s Poland. Scary indeed!)
Well-Meaning Girlfriends
We can also be misled by our friends. There are those friends who tell you everything looks great on you (the enablers – they allow you to waste your money on styles that may not be the best because they are afraid to give an honest opinion) and those who give a little too much constructive criticism (“Those jeans make your butt look HUGE!”). The negative sticks with us for a lot longer than compliments, unfortunately. And the problem is that neither friend is doing anything particularly helpful. They’re hurting us more than they’re helping!
Be Sensible
Think of all the people who have influenced what you wear over the years. What has stuck with you?
Then ask yourself this question:
Does it make sense to me now, or have I been listening to it for so long that it has lost all reason?
If it doesn’t make sense, it’s time to banish those voices from your closet and stop allowing misguided advice (and the poor clothing choices they have caused) to manifest in your closet. If you like red, then WEAR RED – there are shades that flatter everyone! If you love skirts, then find a shape that flatters you and wear skirts all you want! Shop wherever you feel comfortable and at places that fit your budget. There are great items to be found at every price point.
It’s my pleasure to be called in to clear out the evil spirits from a lot of women’s closets. I banish the scary voices from their heads and eradicate the years of bad advice hanging out in their wardrobe. Believe me, there are tried and true tactics and principles that work for every woman, whether you want to look thinner, taller, younger, more polished, wealthier or more professional.
The first step is to acknowledge the scary spirits that are lurking around. That way, you can exorcise them and build from a fresh perspective.
If you need a closet exorcism, contact me and I will be happy to come to your closet with a crucifix, rosary and holy water (and a lot of great advice!) to banish those spirits, voices and lingering doubts forever!
“This closet is clean.”
Coming next month: Fashion Exorcism Part 2: Ghost Stories

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