As many of you know, Fresh Collective is currently offering our HAPPY NEW YOU sale, which is allowing us to offer some of our best selling brands at ridiculously low prices. It got us thinking about the concept of creating a “new you” and how to go about presenting yourself in the best possible light. I’ve been thinking about really taking control over our image and how it reflects upon us.
Me, Fern and my best pals Rob and Corey at the WORN Fashion Journal’s Black Cat Ball. Retro dresses and pin-up couture will NEVER go out of style!
There are three types of clothing. Well, there’s a lot more than three actual kinds of clothing, but for all intents and purposes, for this argument, there are three kinds of clothing.
1) The kind of clothing which you love because they’re COMFORTABLE
2) The kind of clothing which you love because they make you LOOK GREAT
3) The kind of clothing which you DON’T love but they likely take up the majority of your closet. These are likely a size too big/small, a strange colour, or just not the right cut for you, but they’ve made their way into your closet due to hasty shopping decisions or a lack of purging.
Go to your closet and fill up a big bag with everything that falls under the third type. These items are the frienemies of your closet. They lurk in the shadows and may be regularly called upon, but they sabotage a good outfit and leave you feeling less than sensational about yourself. This bag should be donated to a worthy charity, organization, friend or family member who could really use them, and may have the perfect shape/colour for them. Toss in those shoes which are adorable but pinch/slide/squeeze. I promise, no matter how adorable they are, you’ll find something cuter, and with the right fit, before the snow melts.
I personally suggest reaching out within your community to see if there are any organizations which are in need of specific items or garments. Many shelters and women’s centers offer programs which provide women with job training, interview skills and even assist them in building a professional wardrobe for work. One shelter which I’ve donated to in the past expressed a need for plus size garments, while others are in need of petite-sized items for teens. Most desperately seek shoes, outerwear and new undergarments (those cute undies you’ve never taken the tags off and show through all your slinky work pants? Check).
…found these at a thrift shop. This means someone actually bought these at some point in time.
Now, you’ve got two types of clothing left, and this likely amounts to about a third of your closet remaining.
“But Jamie, now I barely have any clothes left to wear! What do I do?”
You shop. You’d be shopping for new spring clothing anyways, but this time you should be shopping with purpose and seeking out items which truly contribute to your wardrobe, not just add volume to it. We’ve all heard that its not the quantity of an item that matters, but the quality, so ensure that your closet is curated with items specific to your body type, colouring, lifestyle and PERSONALITY. A customer came into my store here in Kensington Market and shared her shopping secrets with me, and I’ve got to say that I absolutely loved the way she communicated this. Her rules were simple: First, you MUST like what you’re trying on BETTER than what you came in wearing. If you’re not excited to wear the item, It’ll make its way to category #3, which is a no-no for your closet. You MUST be really drawn to the item, and you MUST take risks in trying on items you would not typically try on. You’ll often be surprised by what you like, and it will lead to a more exciting, playful range of outfits.
Secondly, You MUST have at least two coordinating pieces at home to create an outfit with. Basically, if the item you’re trying on right now is the ONLY thing you buy today, can you wear it tomorrow? Can you pair it with at least two other things currently sitting in your closet? If not, skip it. It’ll sit on a hanger for weeks until you find a matching skirt/pants/top/belt to wear it with. Basically, it’ll be a lovely piece of art for your room.
My friend Chantel and I modelling the Bionic Suki skirt at Fresh Collective Kensington Market. We LOVE the forgiving chevron pattern and the simple cut, not to mention the ultra-comfy stretch knit material! (NOW ONLY $25 – SHOP ONLINE)
I’ve shopped using these two rules over the last couple of months, and have REALLY noticed a difference in how I shop, and am truly impressed with my own ability to say no to iffy items. I’ve saved a bundle! Not only that, but once I started purging my closet, and my only options were the pieces which made me feel and look amazing, I started getting compliments from total strangers! On a side note, keep the flattery coming. Its great.
The next step is to figure out how to make Type 1 and Type 2 one and the same. This means being unforgiving while selecting new items to be added to your wardrobe, and ensuring that each new addition is both comfortable AND flattering. Those too-big yoga pants are a great choice for a home-from-work-with-the-flu day, or for painting your living room. The “comfortable” but not “wearable” clothing should be kept to a minimum unless you work as a painter for a living. Comfortable clothing can be stylish, and stylish clothing can be extremely comfortable! Check out this shot of me in the Fresh Baked Goods jersey dresses and cardigan, which feel like nightclothes but look darling for springtime!
Check out my most recent Fresh Baked Goods buys! These are made from the comfiest bamboo jersey around, and feel like you’re wearing yoga pants on your entire body. Look for styles that skim over your trouble spots and accentuate your best assets! (SHOP FRESH BAKED GOODS ONLINE)
So, what do you look for when you start building your wardrobe? Look for pieces which play up your best assets (long legs, narrow waist, great posture) and gently disguise the areas which need a bit of extra TLC (ruching in the mid-section, using a belt to create or emphasize a waist, busy prints to create “visual confusion”). Look for items which have a bit of retro flair to them, which dates them less by skipping over the concept of ‘trendy”. Look for great shoes which are versatile, comfortable, but still fun and feminine. INVEST IN A GOOD HIGH-WAISTED BELT. Or two. Pick out something in a vibrant hue which brightens your complexion and boosts your mood. Try on anything which you think may be intriguing, even if you’re positive it’ll look ridiculous on. Buy a coloured bag, and wear it with shoes in a totally different shade. TAKE RISKS!
Banish the Little Black Dress! Stock up on interesting, figure-flattering pieces in fun prints and vivid colours!
So, friends, I encourage you to sift through your closets and take a look at what your clothes say about you. Are they the clothes of a fashion-savvy lady who knows her body and brand well, or are they the garments of someone who doesn’t doesn’t really have much to say? Do they reflect a sassy, fun demeanor or do they remind you of items someone twenty years older than you would wear? Do they fit properly? Do they bring out the very best in you? Do they say “Hey world, I’m a fun, bold and fearless woman and YOU are my oyster!”? No? Then buh-bye. Off to their next life, where they can be cherished and loved the way you’ll love your new collection of specially-selected garments and accessories. Your body is a canvas, ladies! Create some artwork!
Need some help discovering your personal style? Want some pointers on how to play up your best features and get creative with fashion? Book a style consultation with our Swagger Coach by emailing Jamie@freshcollective.com .