Bridgette Raes Style Group Newsletter Annex

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Show style a little love

By Bridgette Raes

Ladies, we have all been guilty of putting ourselves last - behind our jobs, our partners, our children, or our schedules. No matter who we are, we have all chosen something to supersede our own self love at one point or another in our lives. Throw a little love your own way by choosing to do at least one of these ten loving things for your style.

10. Avoid wardrobe abuse

I wrote an article a few months ago introducting the term “wardrobe abuse.” If you find that you are being haphazard with your clothing, it may be a victim of this crime. Now before I call the authorities on you because you are an abusive clothing owner, take a few minutes to understand why you may be abusing your clothing the way you do.

In my opinion, while it may have something to do with laziness (or the fact that you are disorganized) I think the greater reason you may be abusing your wardrobe is because you don’t love it. Like anything else in life, if we love something we want to nurture it and take care of it, regardless of available time or habit. For example, if we love having someone in our life, we make it a point to always call to check in, or do nice things for them. Conversely, if someone is a drain in our life we tend to avoid them or not treat them as nicely as we would if we enjoyed their presence.

The same is true for your clothing. If you are not treating your wardrobe right, start thinking about whether your wardrobe is something that you really love. If it isn’t, it may be time to start incorporating some passion pieces into your wardrobe.

Once you do this, start to notice how much better you take care of the new items in your closet that you love.

9. Assess your space

If you are someone who hates to walk into your closet and choose your outfit for the day, consider that perhaps it isn’t just the wardrobe that is bad, but the closet space itself. If you are someone who opens the closet and feels immediate pangs of anxiety, or feels daunted by the task of merely navigating around to find your favorite sweater, you may want to think about working on the layout of your closet space.

There are a few solutions to this. You can purchase your own wardrobe management tools and do the job yourself. I recommend checking out our Lisa Zaslow’s online store. Lisa is our resident contributor on organization and not only is her selection great, but so are her prices. Click here to visit Lisa’s site.

The other route is to call in a professional. If you are in the New York area, I recommend Astech Closets.

8. Say goodbye to the “icks”

If you are looking to empower your life with an “I am woman, hear me roar!” attitude, then the safest way to start is in the closet. Similar to wardrobe abuse, keeping clothing that you don’t love around has the same negative effect. .

“Oh, come on!” you are probably saying, “It’s only clothing, who cares?” But before you toss out my theory as bunk, think about the last time you wore something that you loved, and how it made you feel. Think about how you interacted with others, how much more confident you felt. Then think about a time when you wore something that you didn’t love, that didn’t express your essence the way you would have liked.

If you are someone who loathes your entire wardrobe, use the “life support” technique I recommend to clients. When you “life support” an item the days of that item are now numbered, and your goal is to replace it in the near future as soon as the budget for that new piece becomes available.

7. Tackle your mending and repair pile

“That pant needs a hem. That shirt is missing a button. Oh, I can’t wear those shoes because they need to be re-soled.” With all of the other things going on in our lives, our mending and repair pile can really become sizeable. This week make it a mission to tackle the pile, and commit to doing something about it.

6. Buy one passion piece

A passionless wardrobe is very common. This week, make it a goal to buy one passion piece for your wardrobe. It doesn’t have to be expensive; perhaps it is a bracelet that caught your eye on the street, a pair of earrings you have been eyeing at the store, or even a new hat that goes with all of your coats. If your wardrobe has been feeling expressionless it is time to infuse it with a little love. If it makes you stop and stare, and it works for your budget, buy it.

The best test to know if something is a passion piece is to walk away from the item. If you find that over the next twenty-four hours your mind is fixated on that item, then go back and purchase it.

5. Buy and wear some sexy underwear— for yourself

To me, there is no better way to honor my feminine side than to wear underwear that makes me feel sexy. Beautiful lingerie doesn’t have to be saved for that someone special. Be your own “someone special” and do it for yourself. If your skivvies have started to look like “granny-central” then make a plan to go and buy one pair of the laciest, frilliest, most girly underwear you can find. If you are someone who has a drawer filled with beautiful undergarments but have been holding off wearing them for the right reason, the right occasion, or the right person, stop waiting; the time is now.

I recently worked with a client who has lost a considerable amount of weight and is joyously wearing clothing several sizes smaller than when we started working together. The last item bought during our most recent session? A pink lacy thong.

4. Clean out your closet

If you haven’t started the New Year with a clean closet then use this week to clean out the space. You don’t have to do a full purge but with self-love as the theme this week, do a quick pass and pull out items that have lost the love. These are the items that you feel less than passionate about, and have time and time again passed over for something else.

Scared to get rid of these things for fear that you may need them? Be honest with yourself - if you have been passing these items over, chances are that you won’t miss them. If you are still hesitant, follow my suggestion of boxing them away and out of sight. Give yourself six months to see if you pull them out of storage. If six months go by and you forget you even had these items, let them go once and for all.

3. Show off your bod

Every woman is clear about what parts of her body she dislikes or would trade in a heartbeat. These are the areas where we immediately focus when we look in the mirror. Let’s face it, these areas aren’t going away tomorrow, and if they did we would find a new area of our body to fixate on.

Instead of damning the areas of your body that you hate, why not celebrate the areas that you love by showing them off. You may have larger thighs but you were blessed with toned arms. Perhaps your stomach isn’t your best feature but man, were you blessed with great legs. Women love to focus on what they don’t have or weren’t blessed with, vs. finding gratitude for the areas that we do love.

Women also don’t often give themselves permission to love their bodies just as they are. Why can’t we be proud, why can’t we look in the mirror with love? There comes a point when we all have to accept that the ideal isn’t going to happen. This does not mean giving up, or sulking in the bathroom because you have cellulite. It means stopping the unrealistic pressure to be something that, without airbrushing and Photoshop, you will never achieve.

The other trap that women fall into is believing that once we look perfect, we will be perfect. That attitude is just a silly hamster wheel, and I encourage all of you who are racing on it to get off immediately. There is no perfect body; there is no perfect size. There is the perfection that you are right now, and this week I encourage you to rediscover those areas that you love and honor them by giving them center stage.

2. Get a fresh new haircut

Isn’t it amazing how a few inches off your hair makes you feel like you’ve lost ten pounds? If you have been dying for a change, the quickest way to throw yourself into it is to make a date with your hairstylist.

I did this about six months ago. Prior to this big change I had variations of the same style for years. The simple trimming of about four inches off my hair changed everything. If you hair has been stuck in a comfort zone for too long, try something new and embrace the effects of change.

1. Do a style collage

So, you want to change your style but you don’t know where to start? Collaging is a great exercise. Before I work with a client I encourage them to rip images from magazines and catalogs that are representative of their desired style. If you are someone who has given thought to a style upgrade, I recommend this exercise to get closer in touch with the inner you who wants to come out,

Start by purchasing some magazines and collecting the catalogs that come in the mail. Set aside an uninterrupted hour to work on this project. Gather supplies like tape or glue and a piece of poster board, or a large piece of paper. Start going through each magazine or catalog and rip out any image that grabs your attention. If you stop on an image rip it out. Don’t think about it too much. There is a reason you are stopping and staring. Don’t muddy this process with thoughts like, “Well I could never wear that!” or “That’s not me.” Just rip and gather. After you have ripped out all of your photos from the magazines and catalogs, lay the images out in front of you. Start taking time to assess each image, looking for the similarities between photos. Perhaps you ripped out a lot images that showcase a particular color, or maybe there is a silhouette that keeps repeating itself. Maybe you will notice a style of jewelry that you have never considered buying before, but through this exercise you start to see it repeating through the images pulled.

After your assessment, start attaching the images as a collage and keep it for reference and inspiration in your closet. In addition, use this collage as an inspirational and working tool when cleaning your closet and shopping. Start by making a list of some of the items or colors that keep showing up in your collage, and make it a point to search for these items on your next shopping trip.

I have learned that the amount of love you have to give to others is equal to the amount of love you are able to give yourself first. This week, I hope that you will all take the time to fill you personal gas tanks with a little style-TLC.

(c) 2005 Bridgette Raes Style Group

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