The Closet Diary (Pt. 2)
I reacted to the comments that my original draft for the Closet Diary (Pt. 1) was too long with a little bit of panic. I'm well aware of the fact that millennials (my main fan base) like quick and easy reads they can squeeze into their super busy lives. So as a result I decided to make a PT. 2 in order to get more into how to actually work with the closet you already have. That's right, we're still not taking you shopping and instead helping you fall in love with what you own.
Date Your Closet:
Dating is a good way to get to know someone that you're hoping to develop a romantic relationship with. I like to think of dating in a broader sense though. In my mind, a date is any one-on-one quality time spent with a person or object you're trying to uncover. I have dates with friends whenever I want to check in on them and hear all about their latest projects. I have dates with family whenever I want to catch up while treating them to lunch. I have dates with my plants where I sit around doing research on their best care and analyze their growth. And yes, I date my clothes.
Before your mind begins to wander into a weird place, let me walk you through ways you can "date" your closet.
Read the tag - Start simple. Most articles of clothing include a care tag. In some regions care tags are actually mandated by law. This is where you will find the quickest way to get vital information on your garment, such as the fabric content, where its made, and care instructions. Knowing the content of your clothing and how to properly care for them (and actually following those rules) will help extend their lifespan. If your garment doesn't contain these details, it should raise a red flag.
Research the fabric- In the case that the inner tag does not provide enough information on how to care for your garment, I encourage you to do your own little research. Clothing made from the same kind of fabric will have similar care instructions. For example, silk is a delicate fabric that is best dry cleaned. Linen improves with every wash if done properly - hand or machine wash (always use the gentle cycle) in warm water, and use gentle detergent. Please avoid the dryer at all cost! When ironing, note that synthetic fabrics can not sustain high heat the way natural fibers like linen or cotton can.
Who made it and how - Along with finding out where your favorite piece of clothing was made, I'd like you to try and figure out WHO made it. By doing a little brand research, I discovered that most brands give little to no information on their production practices and their factories. This sort of disconnect between the consumer and those who actually make our products contributes to our cycle of mass production and feeling like our purchases do not impact anyone except ourselves. Imagine finding out that the clothes on your back were made using child labor? Or that the factory worker that stitched your blouse makes only $3 a day, while working long hours? It might be time to break up with that brand after those discoveries. Ever since I began my transition into becoming a more conscious consumer I’ve found myself being more and more picky about the way clothing is produced - Small batch production doesn’t always make the cut.
This is also a great conversation starter. Whenever someone compliments something I’m wearing, I feel the urge to take the opportunity to talk about the company’s values and production practices. I tell my friends about Vetta’s collections launched in capsules 2-3 times a year (as opposed to 52 times a year like most fast fashion companies), or how Amour Vert produces in small batches using only natural fabrics, and plant a tree for every purchase made.
Find its match- One of my favorite things about “dating” my clothes is actually wearing them. If you’re into fashion, I’m sure at some point you went into your closet and played dress up even if you had no where to go. I do this still. If I re-discover something in my closet that I haven’t worn for some time I make it a point to find new ways of wearing it. For example, Dennis had surprised me with this super cool 2 piece set a few years ago - We were walking down the streets of soho when I spotted the suit on a window display and gasped. The very next day the 2-piece was mine thanks to the better half of Katnis. At first I reserved it for a few special occasions, and then it sort of sat in my closet for some time while I lacked inspiration. Upon re-discovering the seafoam-green dream-team in my closet, I took the time to play a little dress up and find new ways to wear each piece by mixing and matching with other pieces hanging in my closet. This helped me use these items in ways that made them appropriate for different occasions, and I made it a point to wear them as often as possible, regardless of who had seen me in them - Getting my (or Dennis) money’s worth - Thanks for the inspiration, Tiffany Haddish!
Here I am wearing the bottoms in 4 different outfits:
Take it for a Walk - Find out where the outfit wants to take you. Okay, I might be going too far with this “dating” thing, but trust me, it works! Instead of buying clothing with one event in mind and only wearing things a few times before discarding them, I’ll plan out events around the things I just can’t wait to wear. For example, I plan out fancy date nights with Dennis whenever I have a dress I’ve been itching to wear, or drag myself out early on a Sunday to hit my local farmers market so I can take my sunhat for a spin. I don’t own a tracksuit, but if I did I’d plan out a bowling night with friends if my tracksuit wasn’t getting enough play time.
Organize your Closet by purpose or Season
Now, this one does not only pertain to those who live in areas that experience the 4 seasons. It helps me significantly when getting ready in the mornings. I like to divide my clothing based on the weather they're ideal for based on the fabric they’re made of. See why its important to get to know you’re clothing before you organize? Now, there are a hundred ways to choose to organize your closet differently - You can even combine a few methods, however let me share why this one works for me:
Since moving to LA, I've focused on natural fabrics (organic cotton, linen, bamboo, silk) that do well in heat and in cool weather, but I still need to have a section for 90+ degree summer-in-the-Valley weather, and a section for the clothing that are my go to when the temperatures drop below 50. This is not to say that you'll only wear these things during certain seasons. The goal is that your closet isn't so overwhelmed (hence why the aforementioned purging is necessary) that you need to store all of these things away. After all in the desert (Southern LA is a desert), temperatures can range from 90 to 45 in the same day depending on the location of the sun, so you can wear find ways to make your seasonal pieces work year round. Layers will (inevitably) become your best friend - Ever seen an LA girl wearing a denim miniskirt, with a tee under a thick knitted fisherman sweater? She’s has the right idea.
We’re getting close y’all! I’ll take you shopping real soon, I promise.