gmhTODAY 29 gmhTODAY Jan March 2020 - Page 68

Karen La Corte Your Life, Your Style The Wardrobe Challenge: H ello 2020! We’ve seen a lot of changes in the last twenty years. Changes in world affairs, the housing market, diets and nutrition, fashion trends, and our own body image. None of us are getting any younger, but if you let yourself, you can be even better! Never feel bad about getting older. It is a privilege that should be embraced. With this new decade of hopes, dreams and promises of “doing better,” comes my new column. It is designed to help you present your best possible version of yourself to others and to help you develop a positive attitude and energy about yourself. I’m still all about good manners of course. That never goes out of style! But I’m going to incorporate good manners with good taste, good looks, and a good, healthy well-being for you. Let’s begin by focusing on the “new you.” Are you ready to accept my “Wardrobe Challenge?” It begins with your closet. I have a few questions for you that came up in a conversation I had with a group of friends recently. How much is enough? Do you still have tags on unworn clothes in your closet? Ladies: How many pairs of black pants do you own? (Not counting leggings.) Does anybody wear nylons anymore? And men, do you always have to wear a tie with your suit? Here’s the most important question for everyone: With all the clothes you have, do you ever feel like you have nothing to wear? When nothing mixes or matches you’re stuck in chaos and conflict. I’m going to try to break this all down for you. I say try because I don’t even want to tell you how many clothes I have. I guess you could say I’m a fash- ionista, a clothes horse or maybe if I’m really honest, a shopaholic. (Okay, so maybe I need a twelve-step program.) 68 Karen La Corte is an etiquette and manners expert trained and certified by the Emily Post Institute in Vermont. Karen is happy to answer your questions — email her at “How Much is Enough” I told my friends that I could probably go on at least twenty trips and no one would know I left by looking in my closet! And after talking to some of you, I am not alone. So, let’s clean out your closet. Some questions about yourself need to be answered honestly. Do your clothes reflect your age and lifestyle? Do you work in an office environment, go to a gym, enjoy going out socially? Do you frequent events for the arts, attend fundraisers, enjoy travel? Think about the activities that make you happy. Do you love your jeans but still like to look polished, classy and well-put together? You get what I mean here. Next you need to take everything out of your closet (or if it’s closets, tackle one at a time). Drawers should follow. I know—this is a lot of work. You’ll thank me later. Carefully go through and purge what you really don’t like anymore or what doesn’t fit the “person you are now.” This is the biggie here. You are now identifying the look you want to present to the world. You can sell the clothes you don’t want, give them to a charity, or simply throw them out if they’re showing their wear. Now start hanging up the items you want to keep. You’re in trouble if you have nothing left to hang up! (Call me and we’ll deal with this together!) I use the Joy Mangano slim hangers. You get why, I’m sure! Try, I said try, not to overstuff when putting your items back. I like to color code pants, tops and skirts. I separate those out as well as dresses, suits, coats and evening wear. (I know you must have one or two dressy pieces, come on!) Put your sweaters and knits in drawers or place them folded on shelves so they won’t lose their shape. If you have a small closet, put them in containers under GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN WINTER 2020 your bed. Shoes can be put under your clothes or up on shelves depending on your space. Turn dead wall space into racks for accessories like belts, hats and scarves. Some things to NEVER give away are accessories. Accessories like belts and scarves along with jewelry (costume or real) can be used over and over with different outfits and looks. It’s okay to be undecided about some clothing items, but don’t hesitate to get rid of that piece you hate just because it was expensive. KEEP all the classic pieces as they never go out of style—that camel skirt, the basic black dress, the navy blazer. If you’re worried about getting rid of too much, box it up in a plastic bin or two and put them up in the garage or shed. Think on them awhile. If you haven’t gotten that bin down in a year or two, then you know what to do. So, I’d love to hear your results from your “Wardrobe Challenge.” How much clothing you cram into that closet of yours is subjective. Is downsizing really the answer, or is it just organiz- ing and filtering out that matters? Be honest with yourself. Are you going for the minimalistic approach of mix- ing and matching or do you like the idea that you have many choices? The bottom line is I’m not going to tell you how many black pants you need or if you should wear a suit or a sport coat to a wedding. I can only make sugges- tions. Remember, it’s not WHAT you wear, but HOW you wear it! Buy for the lifestyle you have—not your fantasy lifestyle. Know that clothing is a means of expression and not a uniform. Start wearing the clothes you are saving for “one day.” My mantra for 2020 is a quote off a plaque I saw in a novelty store: “Get Up, Dress Up, Show Up but Never Give Up!”