I recommend Darcey Howard at GetLifeStyled.com. She's a fashion consultant with the tag line: because sometimes style is substance.
As a recovering fashionista and anti-fashionista (I've spent time on both sides of the fence), I've currently been searching for the middle road where consciousness permeates clothing choices. I decided my Walmart specials weren't professional enough for my current clientel, or the clientel I wish to attract. But I was worried about returning to my opulent days where I'd spent hours and hundreds of dollars- just on hair; and hours indulging in retail therapy decompressing after a stressful work week. In those years, I prided myself on having a rainbows worth of peter-pan collared silk blouses. I even crossed over into custom suits. Can you say "ouch?"
My current clothes question is what can a professional woman buy and wear that isn't a complete rejection of style, nor a compulsive addiction either? I went to the book store looking for some guidance, say perhaps a book called "Dressing with Feng Shui," or "The Deeper Meaning of Fashion." I didn't find much. Fashion takes up only half a shelf at my local bookstore. I did learn how a well-fitting bra can take years off your figure !
Since I wasn't able to find the illuminating book on professional attire as I had hoped, I started to make my own mini-list.
Dressing on Principle.
1) Convey a message with your dress. People need information in this fast-paced society. It helps if you help them discern. Think of it as an act of self-honesty to reveal your agenda the best you can through your attire. At work, if you want to convery a brand message, think about developing a work uniform for yourself. Faith Popcorn does this with a color requirement at the office, plus a yearly company pin that all staff wear. A local realtor here wears a pink blazer everyday which happens to be the same blazer she's wearing in her business card picture. I asked her about the outfit. She says she doesn't really care about clothes. She developes her appropriate uniform and then she doesn't have to worry about clothes anymore. It's handled-- and she is reinforcing her personal brand.
2) Clothes are to enhance your life, not detract from your life. If shopping, wearing and care take too large a chunk from your week, you may be cheating yourself out of time for other higher priority activities. Is there a way to streamline your clothing choices so as to minimize the impact of "attire" on your true goals and purpose?
3) We all have a best feature or features. What are yours? Are you highlighting them everyday? If not, why not?
4) Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to fall in love at the store and then act on that love. Don't shop out of parsimony or contempt for yourself. Here is my particular form of self-cruelty with shopping. For years, I'd go shopped at a fancy store and then slap my hand as I went to grab some yummy fashion item, like a suade jacket. "You can't afford that." I wouldn't even try the thing on. Then finally I did. Guess what happened? The Native American fringe jacket I had been coveting for years looked bad on my 5'1" frame. All these years I felt deprived from something I didn't even want once I allowed myself to indulge the fantasy.
5) Restraint. Focus on developing a closet filled with" just enough," right at the border where you could use something new. That way, the next time you are traveling and want to buy something, you can. Guilt free. Just enough also means you have the right amount of clothes for your closet and storage sites. Putting away and maintainging your closet becomes joyful when you aren't cramming things into a too-small of a space.
That's what I learned this week in my quest to control my closet and overcome from frump habit in fashion. Call Darcey, she's a professional. She can come over and talk you out of your last style habits, and into your new style future.
Blessings. Make it a great day. "You are a miracle of nature. Take care of yourself!"