Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at 10:08PM
You easily arise at 4:30 in the morning, you slip out of bed, and shortly after, head outside for an invigorating 10 mile run. Ahhhhh......After a relaxing shower with the requisite shave, exfoliate, and pluck ritual, (because it's important to look polished at all times), you effortlessly slip into your ivory-colored cashmere bathrobe, the one that your supermodel/genius/Nobel Prize winning husband purchased for you from the 7th Floor of Bergdorf Goodman, "Just because." You make yourself a steaming mug of cappuccino with just the right amount of foam. (Yes, you have a shiny cappuccino maker in your sparkling kitchen that is never, ever messy. Don't argue. Just go with it.) As you sip on your cappuccino, you saunter into your closet. You turn on the light. You hear the faint tinkling of Chopin in the background. Hmmm...You ponder which setting would be most helpful to you today, and finally decide on the "Morning Sunlight" category for the lights. Perfect! Among the rows of impecably pressed designer clothes hung by style and color on wooden hangers, (purchased from Gracious Home), you effortlessly choose a gorgeous ensemble that you have never worn before and that is perfect for today's Time, Place, and Occasion, (T.P.O.).
Gazing into your three-way mirror, you feel giddy with delight about how fantastic you look from every angle.
This is you, non? It's not you? WHAT?? You hit the snooze button on your blaring radio/alarm clock a minimum of four times every morning and don't have time for a run? You are bleary-eyed and incoherent while you get dressed, sipping on a chipped mug of stale Sanka that you made in your disorganized kitchen? Your closet is a dark 35"x37" box with a jumble of shoes and old clothes languishing in disarray on the floor? You put on pretty much the same outfits all the time even though you have an inkling that you may have way more clothes than you actually wear? You leave the house with your hair still wet???
Not to worry. You don't have to have the energy of Richard Simmons on speed, the free time of Lindsay Lohan waiting for her call back, or the money of a Rockafeller to be an Everyday Glamour Chick, (E.G.C.). Trust me. I'm going to teach you a method of getting dressed that will just make it look like you do. You'll be able to get dressed quickly and easily, bleary-eyed or not. You'll wear more of what you own in your wardrobe, rushed or not. You'll be Best Dressed List-worthy, Rockafeller or not.
All that is required is a little prep work. It's well worth it. You're going to develop what I call a Core Wardrobe. Core Wardrobes are like snowflakes--unique and unrepeatable. And anyway, they're very handy.
Get with the program. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Fashion math. Multiplication. You'll be looking for 4 bottoms and 7 tops that all mix and match together interchangeably, (not counting accessories). A dress counts as 1 top and 1 bottom. 4 bottoms times 7 tops equals 28 different outfits. Well, except that a cardigan or a jacket is something that you layer over different tops. So adding a jacket and/or cardigan increases the number of potential outfits exponentially, but let's just say 7x4=28, just to keep it simple. Fashion math is not like real math--it's flexible and sometimes a little inaccurate.
How to find 4 bottoms & 7 tops that all mix and match interchangeably, (not counting accessories):
Start with the bottoms. Dig out all of your pants, skirts, and dresses and find your 4 all time favorites. Keep it within the season, (Fall or Spring?), and within the time & occasion, (work, daytime casual, evening fun, etc.?). For example, if you decide to work on you Fall Work Core Wardrobe, then find the top 4 favorite pants, skirts, and/or dresses that look amazing on you and are appropriate for work in the Fall. They need to be different from one another. You can't pick out 4 of the same-cut black pants. No!! Four very different bottoms, please.
Next are finding the tops. Don't give up. Take a deep breath instead. Start by finding your top 10 ab-fab, fave-rave shirts, blouses, sweaters, and/or jackets for work in the Fall. Then start trying them on with your 4 bottoms and narrow it down to 7 tops that work will all 4 bottoms. Have a couple tops that you adore that work with only 3 out of the 4 bottoms? Don't worry about it. Be a little flexible. You don't have to be perfectly accurate because this is fashion math, remember?
Step 2: Dig out your accessories. Of course, you've read my, "Handbags: Symbols of um....Femininity" post. You haven't?? Read it! All you need are 4 handbags: 1 dark, 1 light, 1 novelty, and 1 clutch. Take a look at your shoes, scarves and jewelry. And go for a bra fitting while your at it.
Still haven't found your Core pieces? Here's a cheat sheet that may help you.
- Bottoms--4 very different pieces that you love.
- Tops--try...1)white shirt, 2)neutral top, 3)colorful top, 4)patterned top, 5)cardigan, 6)jacket, 7)sweater.
- All tops and bottoms must be in shapes, colors, and styles that flatter YOU!
Step 4: Put the Core Wardrobe front and center. Next time you're bleary-eyed and incoherent, reach for the Core pieces, accessorize, and you'll finally have the time to actually finish that cup of Sanka of yours before zipping out the door looking smashing.
Finally...THE BEAUTY OF THE CORE WARDROBE
You've found your basics! Congrats! Most likely, you'll find that other pieces in your wardrobe work well with the Core pieces. And this means--more outfits without spending a dime! Developing a Core Wardrobe also gives you style direction. You'll get crystal clear about what you really need to shop for to make the most of your wardrobe. And you may come to realize that you don't actually need yet another pair of black pants. Or another Grateful Dead tie-dyed t-shirt. And you can feel giddy with delight about how fantastic you look from every angle.