A couple of months ago, I was the lucky winner of a copy of Nothing to Wear? A 5-Step Cure for the Common Closet by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo from Visual Therapy. I didn’t know at the time what the book was about and I’d never heard of the authors but flipping through it made me interested enough to take it on vacation. I devoured it before we even reached Thailand and now I’m just itching to implement their ideas.
The book is an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow guide to setting your own style and building your wardrobe, for those of us who are style-challenged. To begin with there’s a helpful questionnaire to determine your style – classic, chic, whimsical or bohemian. In reality, few people fall totally in one category – I was pretty evenly divided between all four but my gut is saying chic/whimsical. Joe and Jesse also suggest clipping photos of looks you like, pieces of clothing that catch your eye and to keep a file of these to inspire you. You can also create an inspiration or vision board – a noticeboard hanging by your closet on which you can pin looks that appeal.
I bought my board at the weekend and hanging it was just one of several chores I did in the early hours of the morning still trying to adjust to jetlag. I’ve one picture tacked up now – it’s a Cover Girl ad featuring Drew Barrymore. I like how she’s done her makeup. The only magazine I subscribe to is Time and I don’t think I’m going to get much fashion inspiration from there so I’m going to have beg, steal, borrow or even buy some fashion magazines.
The next step is the dreaded clearing out your closet. Joe and Jesse lay it all out with what should be easy to follow directions. I say “should be” because I haven’t done this yet. They do suggest setting aside two complete days and blitzing through this. I can see the value in doing it this way but it’s not going to work for me – it’s very rare that I have a complete day to myself let alone two. So I’m going to do it little by little. I figure I can sort through each section of my closet, as it is currently organized, deciding what to keep, what to give away and what could be altered. Then once I have the clothes I’m keeping I can reorganize.
They suggest three guidelines for deciding what to keep:
- Do I love it?
- Do I like what I see when I look in the mirror?
- Does it represent me and the image I want to portray?
And they’re smart enough to recognize that sometimes there’s an emotional attachment to an item which makes parting with it impossible and in which case you can keep it but separate it from your active wardrobe.
The next piece of the puzzle is to identify the gaps, the essential clothing items you’re missing. Joe and Jesse call it your capsule wardrobe – the pieces are the same regardless of your style. It’s the design of each piece that will differ. Once you have the foundation, then you can add complementary pieces that add flexibility for both season and occasion. Lots of shopping tips included here.
Perhaps the most exciting step is creating outfits and if you do this ahead of time, stylish dressing becomes effortless and panic buys are a rarity. They suggest creating a look book – a photo album featuring the different combinations. A friend of mine did something like this but she used her cellphone camera and stored the photos on her photo. I really like this idea – it seems like it would be simpler to do and easy to maintain. However, I’m a long way from this step.
This book would make a great gift for anyone (including yourself) who’s looking for a makeover whether that’s because of a change in career, a promotion or one of life’s milestones. It would even make a great gift for young adult who’s just starting to build her wardrobe. For me, I’m intrigued that this book fell into my lap right now when I’m feeling energized about updating my look, and breaking out of the cocoon I feel I’ve been in since before my divorce. It’s even coincidentally related to another exciting project I’ll be starting at the end August and will be sharing with you soon.
P.S. This is an unsolicited review for which I’ve received no compensation. I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t absolutely love this book 🙂
Photo Credit: creativesista21 – Flickr