Meet my fun friend Cyndi. She is a smart entrepreneur who is busy and colorful. Well, everywhere but in her closet. When we explored its depths (and I mean depths, she got a bigger closet this year), we found she wasn’t very adventuresome or colorful (except for in one category, keep reading!).
Welcome to the first of a three part series for Fashion Fridays on Closet Essentials. What must you have as a part of your wardrobe? What should you ditch? What could you change? How should you be thinking about what’s in your closet now?
That’s what we’re going to tackle with this series. Cyndi was gracious enough to serve as my first guinea pig! Cyndi’s lifestyle is a mix so her wardrobe has to be as well. She owns her own law firm so a workday could mean anything from working on her computer from home (very casual), to meeting with clients in her office (professional but business casual), to appearing in court on behalf of her clients (suit is a must). She has an active daughter so weekends are busy running errands, and she’ll rarely dress up – perhaps for an evening out with her husband since even Sunday church isn’t particularly dressy.
This is what Cyndi was doing right:
Summer Casual! She had a closet full of gorgeous dresses in every color and pattern you could imagine. A casual maxidress for running errands or bright sundresses for movie night or brunch with friends. She also had an assortment of wedges that she could pair comfortably with the dresses. A great look for casual summer weekends.
This is where Cyndi was missing the mark:
Everything else. While her dresses reflected her colorful and interesting personality, her winter wardrobe and work wardrobe was primarily made up of black, brown, bland gray, and creams.
Here’s what closet essentials Cyndi was missing:
1. Neutral work pumps. This is not black or brown. These are actually less neutral than bone, taupe or gray. And Cyndi didn’t have a single solitary pair in that color family which left her stumped on what to pair with a couple of her lovely, but rarely worn, work suits. Now Cyndi does have some medical issues with her feet that leave many of the mass market shoes out of reach, but there are supportive shoes that can feel modern and work appropriate.
VANELi, Cole Haan, Rockport, and others all design heels for comfort, and if you hit Nordstrom’s during a semi-annual sale you can pick up some of these higher priced pumps for $100 (often well designed comfort shoes are pricier). It will require a lot of work, and I told Cyndi she’d probably have to spend a few hours in a shoe department in order to understand what shoes offer the support she knows her feet need. Here’s some great options:
Cole Haan Bethany wedge –
VANELI peep toe pewter pumps –
Geox snake skin embossed pumps –
2. Colorful shells. Cyndi has to wear more conservative suits to court and most of her suits were black. However, she normally paired her black suit with a black shell or possibly an ecru or gray shell.
My advice: STOP! Here is a wide open opportunity to infuse a work wardrobe with bright color. With her skin tone and hair color, she could easily shine in reds, purples, turquoises, and pinks. Luckily, you can nearly always pick up work shells on sale and she needs about five to jump start her work wardrobe.
This bold red patterned number from Loft comes in at under $50 –
As does this mauve mosaic shell that’s on sale at Loft this week –
3. Accessories. Cyndi has virtually no necklaces or scarves. The few necklaces she does have would pair well with a tunic and jeans but couldn’t be worn for work, and there’s not much in the way of color and texture in the scarf category either. This is the simplest and cheapest solution. While she mentioned she’s less comfortable accessorizing with necklaces, she was completely on board with picking up some interesting scarves. I always start at Charming Charlie’s for entry price point color and infinity scarves are the easiest to style.
This turquoise ocean inspired infinity scarf only runs $18 –
While this dot infinity scarf comes in around $40 from Macy’s (without coupons) but in gorgeous colors like fuschia, cherry, and iris –
But don’t exclude statement necklaces just because they’re not typically in your comfort zone. It’s good to have a couple pieces that you could pair for work or a night out. Stella & Dot or Chloe & Isabel are great places to get inspiration (and catch sales to make them more affordable).
I like this Meridian piece from Chloe & Isabel –
Here were the list of tips left hanging inside Cyndi’s closet door along with a few action items:
1. If you are wearing three of the same colors when you get ready to leave, then swap one of them out for something brighter.
Have fun – mix patterns and colors and textures! (Here was one of OUR experiments shopping in her closet!)
2. Get a color wheel and tape it to your door – experiment with coordinating and contrasting instead of matching all your outfits.
3. Accessorize! Throw on a scarf or necklace or interesting earrings before you walk out the door.
4. Tailor your suits. Take in your best fitting, most modern blazer and have at least three of your suit jackets hemmed up several inches to modernize them. Also, consider converting them from two buttons to one button for your frame and modernizing the buttons.
5. Shorten your shirts. Tunics don’t actually hide your bum, they accentuate it. Consider instead wearing a shorter shirt with a casual blazer (in a color other than beige! – she had three).
How about you? When’s the last time you evaluated your closet? What are you missing? What do you love best? And let’s all give Cyndi a huge shout out for being the first in our series! Next week, you’ll travel with me to my best friend’s closet reno!