Fashion is the way I introduce myself to the world, every day, without saying anything.

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image by Victoria Gloria.

March rolls around, and we trade out our winter coats for swimsuit fantasies. Raise your hand if you’ve been looking at Spring clothing all week (which, admittedly, is such a tease here in chilly NYC). Me, too.

But I don’t want to talk about pieces you’re going to buy this Spring. I’m interested more in what you already own, rife with potential, waiting patiently to be worn.

I am in a near constant state of changing over my wardrobe. There is always a pile to donate, a pile for Poshmark, a pile for Buffalo Exchange (though I always have bad luck there, to be honest). Old clothes are dropping like flies and I’m being very selective with any new additions. They have to adhere to a previous list I came up with earlier this year, or be second-hand (like these).

So, how does one make the most of their existing wardrobe? Even if you’ve been purchasing nothing but fast fashion for the past 5 years, there are bound to be lifetime staples in your wardrobe. We just have to find them.

Here’s a quick, 10 minute exercise to refresh your existing wardrobe:

1. Break down “the pile”: You know the one. We all have the pile. One of my clients called it her “clirty” clothes (clean + dirty = clirty). It’s the pile we keep shamefully off to the side in our bedroom, where we keep the 5 pieces that we actually wear. We all have the pile. Even I have the pile. Right now my pile is as follows: my jeans, my white tee, my sweatshirt, and a cardigan I’ve been rotating into my outfits…there’s other stuff in there too, but you get the point. So, first step is to take all the clothes in the pile and put them away.

2. Resurrect the back of your closet: I’ve talked about this before, but so often we’re only dressing ourselves from “the pile” or from eye-level in our closet (or from some routine-wired part of our workday brain) that we forget what we actually own. And it’s usually some great stuff. Here’s the easy part: divide your clothes in half and physically move the hangers to the front of your closet. And that’s it. With something new to look at, you’re way more likely to think outside the box, develop a new habit (neural pathways, anyone?) and choose something new to wear. Bonus: you rediscover pieces you love and have neglected as of late.

3. Change your base for one week: Okay, so you’re starting from scratch now, yeah? Can you, just for 5 days, commit to wearing something you haven’t worn in a minute? When I say “your base” I mean the staples that make up your style. So for me, my base is a pair of black jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe the next 5 days I’ll wear slacks, or blue jeans, or a blouse, etc. You get the picture. It’s kind of uncomfortable to break out of a habit (remember when I wore lipstick for 30 days in a row?) but I am a firm believer that it works wonders.

4. If all else fails, call in the big guns. We can do it together, except we’ll be much more thorough. There will be many many laughs involved, promise!



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