A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear is a dilemma many women face each morning. Their closets are filled with glittery sweaters that scratch, lavender slacks that go with nothing and inexpensive fit and flare dresses that do everything but fit. They eventually choose one of about twenty cheap, colorful tops to wear with the same black slacks they’ve worn day after day. They find one black pump and seek desperately for the mate while trying to find a yellow beaded necklace that just might go well with the top. Leaving for the office in short brown boots (that other shoe never did show up), they promise, once again, to organize their closets and thin out their wardrobes. If this sounds familiar, read on!
Too many women shop on a whim, buying items on sale that they don’t need, that don’t fit well and that don’t match anything else they own. They pick up two or three glittery tops at Walmart, a couple of dresses at Rose and slacks on sale more at Kmart. Then they spend Saturday afternoon snatching up slacks, sweaters and tops at Goodwill. For only a dollar, you can’t go wrong, can you? Yes, you can go wrong and eventually regret the purchases you have made. When your closet looks like Goodwill’s one dollar rack and is packed with more pieces than it was ever meant to hold, it’s time to make some changes.
An important distinction to make is between quantity and quality. A quality wardrobe is well thought out, contains coordinating and contrasting separates that mix and match well, and may not have very many pieces. It generally stays within one color palette, building outfits around black and white. The pieces are mid-range brand names, a cut above cut-rate department stores. An ideal winter wardrobe would have one charcoal grey suit jacket, one matching pencil skirt, one pair of matching slacks and several colorful shells. It would contain two long-sleeved soft bow blouses and two bright print blouses. A shoe rack would hold a pair of classic black pumps, a pair of comfortable black flats and a pair of black dress boots. Using the same few pieces, you could have a different look for every day of the week and maintain a chic career presence that can go from the classroom to the boardroom and beyond.
Leslie Johnson, an office manager at a New York law firm, said that newly hired young women often showed up for work in printed cotton skirts, gauzy peasant tops and glittery sweaters. She advised them to invest in one good suit and two nice blouses so they would represent the office with an appropriately professional appearance. If a young woman seemed especially promising and likely to succeed, Mrs. Johnson would occasionally give her the money to buy appropriate business apparel out of petty cash. Dowdy looks are an absolute negative when meeting clients and working your way up the corporate ladder.
If it’s time to reorganize your closet, don’t wait. Get rid of everything that doesn’t match or fit and make it easy to find your favorite career separates. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy your new closet and how stress-free it will make your mornings.
As always, maximize your style and minimize your spending.