Thursday, January 27, 2011

How I get dressed, part 1

I was reading Kendi's post today, part 5 of her "Create a Working Closet" series. All the posts she's done for this series are so well-written, practical, and for a lot of people, really helpful. She discusses how to eliminate unnecessary items from your wardrobe, how to shop intentionally, and gives tips for picking outfits in advance. The series has been very successful, and I'm sure there are a lot of people who will put her advice into action.

I will not be one of those people.

For me, fashion has ALWAYS be spontaneous and organic. I am a procrastinator. I don't do lists. I hate planning stuff.  And this doesn't only apply to what I wear, it's all aspects of my life. In school, I did everything last minute, especially papers or writing assignments. I would stay up the night before, clacking away at the keyboard until I was done. And it was glorious. I sacrificed perfect grammar, since I didn't have the time or perspective to properly edit, but the quality and creativity level were always far superior when working under pressure. The best ideas and decisions in my life always come organically, and in the moment. Screw schedules. To heck with checklists. It's just not me.

I have no problem with people who need organization and order, in fact, I rather envy them. And while I do thrive in spontaneity, I keep my living space tidy and clothes/projects neat. But I feel like someone needs to say that it's okay to do fashion and style in the moment. I'm 27 years old, and I know myself well enough to know I will never function by planning my outfits in advance. In fact, it seems crazy to me. How will I possibly know what I want to wear tomorrow, much less a week from now? Just as there are many different ways to wear one item of clothing, there are many approaches to getting dressed. So I thought I would share my process with you as an alternative to the sketch/plan/list in advance approach. Spontaneous dressing doesn't have to be stressful or time-consuming, as long as you take a very intentional approach to your closet.

This is the first thing I see when I start getting dressed:

First of all, it's important not to get overwhelmed by possibilities. I always start with one thing I want to wear that day. It's usually a skirt, dress, or pants, since I find that's the easiest starting place for me. Today, I wanted to wear my purple suede skirt I got secondhand last month. Sometimes I might decide the night before the starting garment, but it's never set in stone, and I just go with my instincts in the morning when I open my closet. In this case, I pulled out my skirt and got started 

As for the rest, I don't want this post to be too long, so I'm going to break it into 2 parts. Come back later for  the rest of my process...which is pretty much the whole process since at this point I've only picked out one item! And remember, my way might not work for you either, but the biggest tip I can give you is to have some sort of blueprint for how you get dressed. It may be as simple as starting to pay attention to what you're doing in the morning and repeating the techniques that work while eliminating those that cause frustration. And don't feel pressure to fit into anyone else's idea of the "right" way to get dressed. Change and growth can be good, and maybe trying out some new techniques will improve your style and morning routine. But clothes are so utterly personal, and ultimately you are the one looking into that closet, choosing each item, and walking out the door. Don't be afraid to try, experiment, and fail. But just make sure you pay attention to what causes each failure as much as what causes success. Even this small step will put you well on your way to figuring out what's best for you. 

I hope this was helpful to some of you! Part two will be posted later today!

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