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(Note: This article is a part of our 31-day series, “31 Days to a Whole Body Makeover“.)
The clothes make the (wo)man, as Shakespeare would say.
Welcome to my step-by-step guide to overhaul your wardrobe! Don’t be scared, because I am going to show you how to refresh and update the wardrobe you already have!
If you follow my list of my to-dos, you will leave the house feeling confident and ready to take charge! Or “TCB” as I always text to my husband if he asks what I’m doing–Taking Care of Business. Why? Because I have figured out how to dress my very best every time I leave the house, and now you will, too!
Have you been putting off buying clothes for yourself until AFTER you’ve lost weight?
Or maybe you don’t bother dressing yourself because you don’t have anything important to do on any particular day?
Well, you just take those notions and throw them–no, slam dunk them–into the nearest trash can right this very second!!!
We are all about loving yourself NOW and bringing out the beauty you already possess. Here we will explore the best tips for updating your wardrobe and dressing your very best, so you feel your most confident!
How You Dress Influences You and Those Around You
I have learned that taking the time to dress and look my best in the mornings affects my mood, and the moods of those I come into contact with.
Let me explain.
Awhile back, I had one of those mornings where I rolled out of bed at the last minute, missing my chance for a shower before taking the kids to school. I had stayed up way too late working. I hurriedly put on some comfy, albeit over-sized, jeans and a frumpy t-shirt. I tied my hair back without any styling whatsoever, and no makeup. Oh, and I had a bandage on my face from a skin biopsy (that I will tell you about at a later date when I cover skin care), so I was feeling exceptionally unattractive on this particular morning! I expected a swift drop off, then return back home where I could at last shower and get ready for the day.
On the way to school, my older son started to panic because we had forgotten the apple that he was supposed to bring to school for Apple Day. I told him that we would stop at Trader Joe’s on the way, even though I did not want to be seen in public being as disheveled as I was.
As we walked in, I scanned the store for our cousin’s husband who is a manager at this location. Phew, nowhere in sight. I did not want anyone I know to see my in this frumpy, messy state!
I hurried my son to the cash register and as we stood in line, I realized the cashier was gushing over the outfit of the woman in front of me, who was dressed for the office and looking amazing. (She deserved those props; you go, girl!) Suddenly, I felt even doubly awkward with my appearance, but thought maybe because the cashier was such a friendly, bubbly lady that she would be nice to me too, right?
Finally, the customer left. The cashier turned to me and I swear her face dropped and she looked me up and down and smirked! It was as though she was a completely different person. Like the other one went to lunch, and I was suddenly left with Miss JudgyPants over here! I grinned as big as possible and chirped, “Good morningggg!” as I handed her my bag of apples. There was an awkward pause before she snatched them from my hand. I maintained my super-friendly demeanor talking about the apples, and how my son picked out a second in case a friend had forgotten theirs too, but she didn’t say a word to me. Not one word.
I wish I was exaggerating this story, but I’m not.
I’m actually trying to make two points in this story:
1. Making time for yourself in the morning is important because you never know what will unexpectedly pop up! Like an impromptu trip to the nearby grocery store!
2. When you take care of yourself, as in showering and getting dressed first thing, you are going to feel so much more confidence. Who knows, even though I was intentionally overly-friendly to make up for my appearance, maybe she still got the vibe from me that I felt like crud anyway.
Even if you work at home, you should definitely still shower and get dressed every morning because your day is going to be so much more productive for it! I know I can’t write until I am all cleaned up and ready to go! I feel like you, the reader, can tell that I’m not “dressed for work”!
I wish this wasn’t true about our society, but people do judge us based on the way we dress, whether they realize it or not. There are studies that show people feel more safe around police officers and fire fighters in uniform, and more courageous around people in military uniforms. When I worked in the day spa, there was high expectation to dress professionally, and in all black, because that was a uniform. Our uniform sets us apart for what people expect from us, or who they expect us to be.
I’m not saying you need to dress in your Sunday best on every day of the week, not at all. (In fact, I think saving your Sunday best for Sunday only makes it all the more special. Another example of how we dress sets the tone.) What I’m trying to drive home is that getting dressed in clothes that are clean, flattering, and represent who you are, is going to make all the difference when it comes to how your day goes. How you feel about yourself, how motivated you are to take care of business and get what you want, and how you believe others are perceiving you.
What is Your Style?
The last thing I am going to do is tell you what is in this season, what types of clothes you need, or recommend anything along those lines. We should wear our own style.
Do you even know how you would describe your style? If not, get an account on Pinterest (if you don’t already have one) and create a board for Personal Style. Start searching in Pinterest for clothing, shoes, accessories, makeup applications, and hair styles that really appeal to you. Start pinning them into the one board, or make an individual board for each one. Fill up your boards with tons of images that really appeal to you.
Here is an example of my style board that I have been adding to for the past few years:
When you have pinned several (at least 50) Pins, open the board, preferably on a large monitor, so you can really see the Pins spread out in front of you. Notice any similarities in keywords in the description such as “vintage”, “a-line”, “romantic”, “casual”, etc. Start narrowing down to the words and images you think most describe you and start deleting the pins that are not true to that image.
Don’t be afraid to put on there what you REALLY like. I have always been attracted to knee-length dresses and skirts, but was always too afraid to wear them unless they covered all of my legs. But doing this exercise made me try something new, albeit scary. Long story short, I discovered I enjoy wearing skirts that show my calves, and I feel my very best in them!
Now you have a visual of the type of clothing that is going to look best on you, because you have figured out your true style tastes. Like my example about wearing knee-length skirts and dresses, this exercise shows that you are attracted to the clothing that will flatter your body. You are now conscious of what clothing appeals to you, and chances are, you probably chose models who look similar to you without you even realizing it!
Clean Out the Closet
First, let’s take inventory of what you have in your closet. Look at each item and decide one thing: If you were out shopping, and you found this on the rack today, for a price tag of $25, would you buy it? If not, it needs to go. It is no longer serving you. If you haven’t worn it in a year or more, really, it has got to go. Donate these items to a thrift shop where they will go to good use, and be the clothing someone else needs to be their very best. Think of it as a service, because it is. (Did you know that some places like Deseret Industries of the LDS Church donates a LOT of the donated clothing and other items to refugees worldwide, including those currently fleeing Syria, to help them feel normalized in their new host country? Amazing, right?)
Next, take out the clothing that you still love but needs mending. Buttons missing, hemlines needing some stitching, or maybe your favorite colored shirt that needs an update, like some embellishments added. Take those clothes and put them in a pile on your bed. Do NOT put off this next part, or it will never get done: Get them fixed right away and put them back into the closet where they will serve you again.
My husband calls this step “the fashion show” because I like to put each piece on and strut out in front of him, and he and I decide together whether or not it actually fits. Not in the “do these pants make me look fat?” way, no, more in the “if this does not fit, I need to know so I can get it the heck away from me!” kind of way. If you don’t have a long-suffering, patient husband like I do, try doing this with a trusted friend.
Take out any clothes that are too big or too small, or just simply not flattering, and put them in the donation pile. I know you are tempted to hold on to these items just in case you lose or gain weight, so listen to me very carefully: Get rid of them. Right now. You need to have clothes that are serving you right this very minute. Don’t hang on to your “fat pants”; that’s like promising you’ll gain weight again! And don’t hang onto the items that are too small, because chances are they’ve already been in your closet for way too long, and by the time they do fit, they will be out of style. Truly, if you cannot bear to part with the smaller clothes, box them up and put them into storage. But don’t you DARE put your “fat pants” in there with them!
Another thing I have seen my friends do is they take a picture of themselves in the mirror wearing certain things and they’ll text a friend or put it on Facebook and ask for opinions. You would be amazed at how helpful other women are willing to be… because they love you and want the best for you. Try this when shopping for a new swimming suit especially!!
Mix and Match
Look again at the clothes that are remaining. Take them out one by one and see how many different things you can pair it with, including accessories. As you lay each outfit out onto the bed, snap a picture with your cell phone or camera and save it to an album to inspire you on a day when you just don’t know what to wear!
You didn’t even realize you had so many options, did you??
Still Need to Shop?
Now, I know I promised you that you already have everything you need. But if you have just eliminated the most of your wardrobe then it’s probably long past time to treat yourself to some new clothes.
The following stores are the stores I personally love and shop at almost exclusively. I like these stores for three reasons:
1. Value and getting the best bang for your buck.
2. Stylish, keeping up with current trends
3. A good selection of plus-size clothing, sizes 12 and up. (Man, plus-size clothing has really come a long way in the past twenty years! Thank you fashion industry!!)
When picking out clothes, I want you to divorce yourself from the size printed on the label. Use it as a guide but do not insist on buying clothes just because they are a certain size, because clothing of the same “size” on the label rarely fit the same! Choose clothes for how they hang on your body. Do not buy clothing that is too tight just because you swear you are a size 10. It just looks terrible. No one can see the label, no one knows what size it is, but I promise you, you will look so! much! slimmer! in clothes that actually fit!
And while you’re shopping….
Buy Flattering Underpinnings!
Lastly and possibly most importantly, ladies. Please. Get some proper underpinnings.
I’m talking about shape wear and bras with real structure that actually fit the way they are intended. No more stringy, flimsy, or shapeless bras, OK? Get the kind that have the right kind of support with wider straps.
Go into any lingerie shop or section of a department store, and there is almost always someone that is more than happy to measure you for your true bra size. A bra that fits you correctly makes a huge difference in the way you look.
Don’t forget to get good, supportive sports bras for exercise. Don’t bother with the “light impact” bras, because those are built like sleeping bras with zero support. Pick a medium to high impact sports bra. The larger the breasts, the higher the support.
And can I tell you about my best friend, Spanx?
Shape wear is important. I once read in a high-fashion magazine (I wish I could link you, but I have long forgotten the source) that clothing is designed and made with the intent that we will wear smoothing undergarments. They are going to hang off our bodies correctly, the way the designers intended them to. I don’t always wear them, certainly not with jeans and a t-shirt, but when I do, I feel pulled together.
I cannot put enough emphasis on how important it is to invest in the right kind of underpinnings. Nothing you could purchase will flatter your figure as well as the right kind of underwear.
Now that you’ve finished all of these steps, you now have a wardrobe that is going to serve you well, every single day. Go on and strut your stuff, Boss Lady!
What are your greatest challenges in buying clothing? Is it cost? Accessibility? Not knowing what looks flattering on you? Please tell me in the comments below!
If you found these tips useful, please share them in your social media! Thank you!