Tag Archives: clothes

January: Your Pants or Your Life

3 Jan

The month of January has come around again and people want to be perfect. It happens every year.

No point in trying to overhaul your life all at once. Relax.

Just pick one specific problem to solve. When that is done, think of another problem.

CAUTION: Be sure not to think of all of the problems at once! That is a rookie mistake. You might end up catatonic.

Recently, I thought about my pants and felt annoyed. I realized that I had a pants problem. Some pants were too big, some were too small, some were too long, and most of the pants were not where they were supposed to be. (I was going to say that some of the pants were “too old”, but let’s be realistic — too old means too small.)

I have the pant situation under control now, thanks to some hemming, some hanging, and some handing off to charity. I have nine pairs of pants, and that is plenty.

Pants can be symbolic of life. I have watched What Not to Wear enough times to know that I am supposed to dress for the life I want, and the body I have. Those shiny, stretchy, hot pink pants I used to wear would not work for me now. I am a decade older, I am a size larger, and I go out less frequently. This sounds bad, but it isn’t. I would not trade the last decade for a trim waistline and a pair of pink pants.

There is a happy middle ground between pink pants and mom jeans, however, and that is where I am staying.

Even Nelson Mandela Needs to Clean Out His Closet Once in a While

14 Sep

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.  ~Nelson Mandela

We are changing constantly – sometimes on the inside, sometimes on the outside. Your clothing should fit both your current lifestyle and your current body.

If you find yourself altered but your closet remains unchanged, do something about it!

My Zen Closet

11 May

Once upon a time, I found a question printed on a clothing tag attached to a new purchase:  What if you loved your clothes?”

The question remained in the back of my mind.  I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like.

I was inspired to simplify my wardrobe,  to make dressing easier and to allow myself to feel comfortable and happy in my clothes.  Always.

And so…I have finally achieved a Zen Closet.

Okay, there is still a mess at the bottom, but I can honestly say that I can find something great to wear, each and every day.

This is a summary of what has worked for me. I wish for all humans to experience the joy of a Zen Closet.  No one should feel like they have “nothing to wear”, or waste time and money on clothes that don’t last, don’t mix well, don’t feel good, and don’t flatter them.

In the past, I found that I sometimes coincidentally ended up with multiple items from particular clothing makers.  I did not buy them at the same stores, or even during the same years, and did not look at the labels before purchase.  This pattern caused me to wonder, “What qualities do I appreciate in these particular clothing makers’ designs?  What drew me to them?  What made me wear them and enjoy them?” I came up with answers about colors, textures, styles and other qualities that worked for me.  I have — gradually, over years — eliminated my clothing failures, and added to my wardrobe only pieces that shared those special qualities I had discovered.

This year, I finally have it all figured out.  I know what I want to wear–and it is in my closet! I know the answer to the question. It feels like a revolution.

I have a few favorite pieces of clothing that I look forward to wearing, and always find easy to wear.

Some of my favorites have been in my wardrobe for years, and helped inspire a set a rules about what I like to wear.  Some are relatively new.  One of the older items on this list carried the curious tag leading to years of closet meditation and my eventual closet enlightenment.

These favorites, and all of my other clothes (with only a handful of exceptions), can be classified according to those special qualities I once extrapolated from my coincidental purchases.  Realizing what I love about these clothes, and what I didn’t love about some of the other clothes I have bought over the years, has brought my closet to a state of organized, blissful simplicity.  Getting dressed is easier, laundry is easier, and I’m sure shopping will be easier.  (I actually don’t feel the need to buy new items, because I am so happy with what I have.)

Favorite Items:

A “fine merino wool” sleeveless knit top  (Eileen Fisher)– medium blue

A simple “A-line”  linen skirt  (Eileen Fisher)–pale olive gray

A loose cotton “smock” blouse with details  (Eileen Fisher)–white

Four pairs textured hemp blend cargo slacks (REI)–natural shades

Two scoop-necked light cotton sweaters (Merona, for Target stores)– one magenta, one dark turquoise

A pair of  wide-leg business slacks with a sharp crease  (Sharagano)–gray/white flecked

A straight skirt with wide, tiered, fishtail layers  (Larry Levine)–dark indigo/blue stretch denim

A cashmere blend belted cardigan (Adec2)–gray

A short-sleeve, low-cut, cowl-necked knit top (August Silk)–white with black animal print

An “A-line” cotton skirt  (Jones New York)–black with white accents

A fitted leather blazer with back detail (Arleen Bowman/Chin Chin)–“weathered”  brown

A short-sleeve linen blouse with a silk ruffle  (Carole Little)–white


only bright colors near the face (makes me look younger)

solid colors (easier to mix and match)

blues, greens, dark pinks, whites, soft grays, dark denim, khaki, some black, some orange, some purple, some red

white shirts with minor black prints (there is something crisp about them)

dark jeans with a little bit of stretch


linen, merino wool, cotton, cashmere, leather, hemp

must feel good against the skin

NO delicate fabrics to *snag* on jewelry

NO clingy fabrics or static producing fabrics

NO “pilling” t-shirts

Necklines, lengths, styles, etc.:

clothes that FIT

Scoop-necks, v-necks, low cowl-necks

mainly knee-length skirts, some straight, some A-line, some longer and fuller with pleats

high-waist dresses, especially sleeveless

pants with 2-3 buttons or hooks at the waist and wide legs

coats that are fitted, and wide collared or double-breasted

sharp creases on slacks

cascading layers on dresses and skirts (smooths the figure)

classic and feminine styles

Accents, jewelry, shoes, etc. and miscellaneous:

jewelry that lasts (nothing that corrodes, tarnishes or breaks)

simple “statement” necklaces, especially coral or pearl and other single-material styles

long necklaces or chokers

light earrings (for thin ear lobes)

shoes with arch support, thick soles, low wedge heels

pashmina shawls

layers: combinations of items that work in different seasons

*May you achieve your own Zen Closet!

A Shopping List (to read before shopping for clothing)

17 Mar

1.  When you shop for clothes, always wear something you know looks great on you.  Anything you buy should look as least as good as the clothing in which you arrived.

2.  If you like it, but you don’t think the style will work on you, try it on anyway.  You may be surprised.

3.  If it isn’t a durable fabric with durable stitching, it is “disposable clothing”.  When it is stretched, shrunken, unraveled, threadbare, or covered in “pills”, you will wonder what you ever saw in it.

4.  Printed separates are hard to match.  Think solid.

5.  Dark colors look great on young people, but brighter, lighter colors reflect a youthful light onto an older face.

6.  Don’t buy something because it is “the new trend”.  Buy something that you will still want to wear in five years.

7.  If you are likely to spend a lot of time tugging it up, down, or sideways, you will not be comfortable wearing the item, and it will not leave the closet.

8.  A great necklace, scarf, shoe or bag can make all the difference with simple clothing.

9.  Buying something ON SALE will not save you any money…if you will never wear it.

10.  When you feel tired or discouraged, GO HOME.