Get the look: Try on these suggestions for dressing efficiently
“I have nothing to wear,” you think.
Meanwhile, you stare at a closet filled clothes and sigh. Then your mind wanders to a quote you heard at some point, such as this gem from Mark Twain: “Clothes make the man (or woman). Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
And to make things more interested — stifle a yawn and get some coffee — research bears out the importance of being well-dressed.
A study by Joy V. Peluchette and Katherine Karl, published in the Autumn 2007 issue of the Human Resource Development Quarterly, found that “respondents felt most authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire but friendliest when wearing casual or business casual attire.”
The study abstract goes on to say that “significant two-way interactions were found between dress preference and mode of dress worn on self-perceptions of productivity, trustworthiness, creativity, and friendliness.”
So much for comfy ripped jeans. And while Adam Levine can get away with wearing a holey white T-shirt on “The Voice,” most of us would be better off covering that shirt up with a dress vest, sport coat and scarf.
While all this reflection doesn’t solve the “nothing to wear” problem, it does establish that what you wear effects your mood as well as your productivity at work or at home. What you wear also projects to those around you a little bit about who you are and how you care for yourself.
So it’s time to take the time to get your wardrobe organized, which will help your mornings go more smoothly and allow you to better prepare for fall and the accompanying seasonal clothing changes leading into winter.
All clothing is expensive, no matter where you buy it, said Beth Bauerle, stylist and owner of Main Paige, 542 Main St.
You need to be able to get plenty of mileage and crossover from your clothing, she said as she gave these tips for both men and women for putting together a wardrobe and dressing efficiently.
Build a base for your wardrobe
Base pieces are those items of clothing, such as pants or skirts, that you will build the rest of your wardrobe around.
Depending on your way of life or career, the base pieces may change, but these three qualifications won’t. Make sure your base pieces are of good quality, fit well and are easy to care for, Bauerle said.
If you buy something that requires dry cleaning, you might not wear it as often as you could because of needing to take it to the cleaners, she said.
You may fall in love something in a store, but it doesn’t really fit as well as it could. Again, you’ll be less likely to wear it, thereby making your wardrobe less efficient.
Ashley Martini, a Florida-based style consultant and founder of Martini Fashions (ashleymartini.com), recommended creating a “capsule wardrobe” of 15–20 pieces that can be mixed and matched. “The beauty of building your own closet this way is that you always have something to wear,” Martini wrote in her book “Styletini: Shake Up Your Style, Stir Up Your Confidence.”
“The best capsule wardrobe is one that’s a mix of basic and statement pieces, with some pieces that can be worn year round and others that are seasonal,” Martini wrote.
Choosing a base color for your wardrobe can help as you build it, Bauerle said.
Black and brown are the easiest base colors. Blue can work, but since it can change from season to season, it can be a difficult color to match and build on, she said.
Having a base color can help particularly when traveling. Because each piece can be used and matched with nearly everything else, you can actually pack less, decrease the number of shoes needed and still have plenty of outfits.
Know what you have, get what you need
After reading that first tip, if you haven’t made a date to go through your closet with a critical eye, then now is the time to write it on the calendar.
Look for holes, stains, frayed hems, sprung seams and styles that are comically out of fashion, Detroit-based fashion writer Cari Waldman told ABC News.
Also keep in mind when a piece may not be appropriate for where you are in life.
When you do detect these things, get those clothes out of there so you’re not even tempted to wear them, then make a list of what you need, starting with base pieces.
“We are on budgets, we have priorities like basketball camp and ballet lessons. That pair of shoes we’re looking at on Sex and The City just aren’t realistic, but every year, invest in one piece,” Waldman says.
And when you step into a store, don’t be intimidated. Step up and talk to a salesperson. Tell them what you want and your price range, Bauerle said.
Not only can that salesperson quickly help you find what you need, he or she can suggest ways to wear or accessorize a piece that you may not have thought of, she said.
If you build a relationship with a good salesperson, he or she may even call you when something comes in that you can afford and that complementsCHECK the wardrobe you’ve created, she said.
And please, please, don’t wait until you really need something to go shopping, Bauerle said. Doing that is like grocery shopping when you’re ravenously hungry.
Instead, plan ahead. “You’ll make better choices,” Bauerle said. You want to find the best pieces that give you the most number of outfits.
Take photographs of your outfits
This might sound silly, but when you’re in a hurry to get to work or to pack for vacation, having a photo library of possible outfits can save you time.
So, when you bring that cute velvet jacket home from the store, lay it out with other pieces from your wardrobe to create as many outfits as possible. Photograph each one, Bauerle recommended.
That way you won’t forget how the jacket looks with jeans and a T-shirt or with the dressy outfit or the button-down and pants. You also may find an unexpected way to put a killer outfit together.
“You don’t want to be tied to wearing a piece of clothing the way you bought it,” Bauerle said. “Get out of your box. I think clothing should be fun. It should go with your moods.”
Spend some time learning about clothes, what they are made of and where they come from. Ask a salesperson why you should buy this expensive T-shirt versus a less expensive one, Bauerle says.
A good salesperson should be able to tell you about fabric, drape and function.
Learn the difference between natural and manmade fibers and what you like.
If you are concerned about how environmentally conscience a manufacturer might be, then look them up.
All of these things will help you to more efficiently find and add clothing to your wardrobe that you actually want to wear, a lot.
And always remember that “comfort is number one,” Bauerle said. “It doesn’t matter how good you look if you’re not comfortable.”