Building Your Stylish Wardrobe

After you have an idea of the direction you want to go in, you can get started
searching for the tools — that is, the clothing and accessories — that can
help you to meet your goal. Woo-hoo! Time to have some fun. Your closet is
about to get a makeover, and so are you! The next section has the details.
Using my 10 System to create
the perfect closet
Once you decide on your style direction, it’s time to focus on what you have
going on behind those closet doors. Quality, fit, and style are the most important
factors when creating your wardrobe.

This means everything in your
closet should be first-rate
, whether it’s a formal gown or sweat pants. So
here’s the deal about your closet (and read this sentence over and over again):
Everything in it is a 10 — that is, the best — or it’s about to be. If it isn’t a 10,
guess where it’s going? Yup! Out the door. Nothing less than a 10 is acceptable.

No, not even to just run to the market, walk the dog, or lounge in at home.
In order for your clothing to be considered a 10, it has to pass the following
test. And, yes, you must go through your closet piece by piece, trying things
on and asking these five questions of every single item.

These questions are
in no particular order and are all equally important
. Be ruthless! This is not a multiple-choice portion Every criteria in this list needs to be met
or the item is out the door like a bad date

You must be brutally honest with yourself. Sometimes it helps to have a friend with you, someone whose fashion sense you trust (but any really honest friend will do). It makes the whole process a lot more fun, and you can do it for each other, so you both benefit.

What condition is it in?
Before you even try anything on, take a look at each garment and survey
its condition.

  • Is it permanently stained?
  • Are there holes beyond repair?
  • Isit stretched out to the point that it no longer fits well?
  • Is the material pilly (does it have those little round nubby things that cling to lots of sweaters in particular)?

If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, you don’t even
need to try it on. Toss those pieces straight onto the donation pile.
Does it fit?
If it passed the quality control test, the next step is to try it on. Does it fit?
And, more importantly, is it flattering? Is it really a 10? Do you feel like a million
bucks when you put it on? If not, it’s outta there.
If you have a blouse that goes perfectly with a particular pair of pants but it
happens to be a little tight so that it shows off that bulge around your tummy,
then it’s the wrong choice for you. Ditch it! If you feel uncomfortable about its
defects, you won’t wear it no matter how well it goes with the pants. Better to get rid of that blouse and avoid feeling conflicted every time you see it than to

keep it just because it’s the only blouse you have in that color.
Is it in style?
Is the piece in style? If not, is it more of a classic piece that will always be in
style? Or is it a high-quality item that may come back into style? (The latter
scenario is rare. Even when things come back into style years later, they’re
always a bit different. Remember the shoulder pads in the 1980s? Well, when they tried to bring them back recently, the pads were on a much smaller scale and the whole trend didn’t really take off again, so those pieces weren’t worth keeping anyway.) So, if the piece isn’t a classic and is truly last year’s
trend (or even last decade’s trend), out it goes.

Is it relevant to your current life?
How does this garment fit into your life? Is it an old college sweat shirt? Are
they your spinning shoes, and you haven’t seen the inside of a gym in years?
Is it a sweater set from your younger, more conservative days? Take stock of
your day-to-day life and your activities, and then evaluate what you actually
need and actually wear. Do you need office clothes, workout clothes, party
clothes? It can be all of the above, but if you don’t play tennis anymore or
don’t work in an office anymore, or if anything in your life has changed that
affects your wardrobe, then you need to be okay with letting these pieces go.
Don’t get sentimental about your old suits. If you don’t use them, someone
else may be able to. Isn’t that a lot better? And just think about how nice your
closet will look with less clutter!

Do you ever actually wear it?
This is where you really have to be straight with yourself. We all have things
in our closet that we’re either “saving” or we just think we may wear someday
in this other life we’re not living. Sometimes, the piece isn’t really your
style or color, but you think it’s a nice top and you may find a reason to wear
it one day. Trust me, you won’t. If it’s something you put on and then change
out of every time before you leave the house, you really don’t feel comfortable
in it, so don’t even bother. Just get rid of it.
If there’s even a question, a maybe, it’s out. Seriously.
Obviously, if your ex-boyfriend gave you a sweat shirt back in high school, you
can keep that. Yes, even if it’s full of holes. But there better be a really good
story behind any item you choose to keep that isn’t a 10!

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