Years ago, friends and I worked through Julia Cameron's 12 week creativity course, The Artist’s Way. The work was intense and reveling, we felt empowered. We so enjoyed each other’s weekly company that we craved something more (can you tell this was pre-kids?). All of us were feel fashion-inept at the time, so we decided to create our own personal course we called The Fashion Way.
Based mostly on a book we found by Jennifer Robin called Clothe your Spirit: Dressing for Self Expression, we set out to shift our vision from using the arts to express our creative selves to using our bodies as our own palates. Focused on finding each person’s own assets and personality, and boosted with hilarity-inducing pictures from the 80’s, the book actually did a reasonable job of helping me identify what I like about me, both my body and my “spirit”. It also gave me the idea of clothes as vocabulary for expressing who I am and how I want to be perceived as opposed to falling in line with what the media says I should look like.
Fast forward 10 years, I still rely on some of the underlying principles I learned alongside my girlfriends. And, my wardrobe needs are radically different. My requirements as the homeschooling mom of 2 young kids may be the direct opposite of those I had working in a casual corporate environment. Last year, I once again found myself in my closet cursing the closet full of clothes with nothing to wear.
Enter MissusSmartyPants. A recommendation from FlyLady, I discovered her site during one of my midnight surfing binges. Mom bought me a subscription to her site and I’ve been enjoying her weekly diatribes. Though her theories spend little time supporting my woo-woo urges to express my inner spirit through my clothing, she makes the mechanics of what to buy, how to wear it and where to buy very simple. Her emails every week allow me to spend a few minutes remembering what it feels like to think about just me, linking me back to the self-loving, navel gazing young woman I used to be.
Here is some of my favorite bits from MissusSmartyPants:
List for a "seasonless" basic wardrobe:
2 Pairs of Pants. One black, other pair in a neutral color (in seasonless fabrics)
2 pairs of jeans. One casual style, other pair darker and dressier.
1 dress. Basic black (or other dark neutral) that can be dressed up or down. A simple sheath dress is best.
2 shirts/dress blouses. White or ivory & 1 colored
V-neck tee shirts. White, black, etc. and with some stretch (fitted)
3 sweaters. Seasonless and lightweight
2 jackets. Tailored, must coordinate with pants (one can be a denim jacket)
1 skirt. Basic black (or other dark neutral) in mid-weight fabric (like garbardine)
1 purse. Classic design/shape. Opposite to your body shape (for example: if you are curvy, a rectangular purse with structure)
Basic shoes. Black and brown pumps, flats, mules, and pair of sneakers
** Style Tip: You can stretch your wardrobe if own two shirts for every pant (or skirt). Pants and skirts can be repeated more often.
A concise list of fashion DOs for my body type
I’m a type “B” Beautiful Me
Tips for pants (usually my down fall because of my small waist, ample hips and long legs) include:
· Choose only flat front pants.
· Pants should be mid-rise (below or at navel) and ease into a straight leg.
· Average to taller “B’s” can wear a more flared pant.
· A flare or boot-cut pant balances the curve of the hips
· Shorts should be the length of a mini-skirt (mid-thigh), or should be at the knee (Bermuda, city shorts) to be attractive on your legs.
A color palate for my best colors
Warm tones like ivory, beige, camel, golden yellow, peach, bright green, salmon or warmish pinks and violet. Warm light and bright colors are best. Avoid black and blue-reds. (again, blogger and I have differing opinions about formatting and it won't let me import the image with the color chart - sorry)
My weekly subscription features shopping recommendations for my body shape with real pictures from real websites. Not that I do much shopping these days, but I enjoy the pictures and the information does influence my occasional outings to the thrift store. In danger of sounding lame, so far my favorite tidbit from these weekly missives has been a pointer to the pantyline-free undies from Jockey.
Probably my favorite thing about MissusSmartyPants - her emails every week allow me to spend a few minutes remembering what it feels like to think about just me, linking me back to the self-loving, navel gazing young woman I used to be.