5 Tips on Organizing Your Wardrobe When you Share a Closet

Moving in, and buying a house with a special someone is a wonderful experience, but it is also about compromise. This is something I’ve been learning, and practicing the last few weeks. With a dresser and a standard size closet (luckily with closet organizers installed), it has been a challenge to comfortably and neatly organize our clothes in an effective way. I’ve worked with many clients on wardrobe organization, but when it comes to your own pieces, it isn’t as simple it seems. 🙂

As we’ve been working to integrate our wardrobes together, here are a few tips I’ve found helpful.

1.Invest in closet organizers: If your closet only has the standard hanging bar in it, organizing your wardrobe will be a challenge. This is because clothes take up far less space when they are folded. You can pick up closet organizers from places like Canadian Tire, Home Depot, or Ikea, which will all help to maximize the space in your closet. They can then be customized to match what your unique needs. Do you have a lot of suits and dresses? You will need the hanging room. Do you have more sweaters and t-shirts? You would benefit from some pullout drawers. These are just a few examples.

2.Learn an effective folding technique: How you fold your clothes will also impact the amount of space they take up. I recently read Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and she offers readers a wonderful example of how to fold anything. Check out the video below for more details.

3.Keep only what you wear: The fewer items you have to organize, the better when it comes to combining wardrobes. Take turns. Go through each person’s clothes one at a time, and create four piles: keep, donate/consign, toss and repair. The keep pile are clothes which you wear regularly and make you feel great. The donate/consign pile is for items that are not damaged in any way and could be enjoyed by someone else. The toss pile is for clothes which are beyond repair, and are ready to be taken to a fabric recycler (like The Kidney Foundation). The repair pile is for clothes that need to be fixed or taken to a tailor. With reduced wardrobes, it’s easier to fit clothes into a smaller wardrobe.

4.Group like items together. A great way to organize wardrobes is to group like items together e.g. blouses and dressy tops, or skirts, and dresses together, etc. Sharing space, we found grouping our like items together was the most effective way to organize our clothes. We put all of my dressy tops, with his, to share the hanging space, for example, and all of our t-shirts and sweaters in the dresser (in different drawers). We carried this over into other areas, putting all of our shoes in the same place, as well as accessories. This way, if you are looking for something specific, you always know where to go.

5. Use drawer organizers and other closet storage solutions to your advantage: A clean, organized closet is an effective closet that helps minimize the stress of getting ready in the morning. Some items, however, don’t fit nicely into a regular wardrobe like belts, ties, bags, scarves and more. Luckily, stores like HomeSense and Solutions have plenty of options to help in this way, which minimizes visual clutter. Another tip is to purchase wide bins which are short enough to fit under your bed. We use these to store our off-season items.

How did your experience merging closets go? Any advice for a newbie? Comment below.

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Paris is Always a Good Idea

Paris1All French women are known for their chic and effortless style. Parisian beauties spend their days strolling the Champs-Élysées, sipping on espressos and sampling foie gras. What a lovely life eh?! While these are stereotypes of course, not all French women are polished goddesses, there are some things we can learn from studying Paris street style. Things we can apply to make our wardrobes a bit more timeless! The je ne sais quoi our way.

The allure of the French woman is in the simplicity of her dress. Many see their outfits as dull, grey and beige, but the appeal is in their details. A well-chosen handbag, the perfect pair of shoes, a carefully cut blazer – these style basics are not just for French woman, they are the very staples of a classic, ageless wardrobe. Don’t we all want that?

So what wardrobe friends can we count on to keep us chic through the years? These beauties are our true friends worth investing real money in, without skimping.

The Trench Coat

Choose your trench coat with loving care. Give priority to the material, not the name (although if I had the funds to do so, I would absolutely invest in a Burberry trench :)). Look for a true gabardine, wool that’s rough to the touch or leather (like in the Matrix!). Lucky for us, this is one of the few garments that looks better well-worn. As such, a good place to start your search for the perfect trench is your local vintage store – depending on the era they specialize in.

Pea Coats

Yves Saint Laurent made the pea coat classic. However, much like the trench coat it only looks timeless if it is made of a thick woolen fabric as the originals were made of.

Boots

Boots are essential at any age and well suited for a variety of occasions. You can wear them casually or you can dress them up. A pair is necessary to stave off the cold, to breathe in the summer, and to wear to work on casual days. Having a few pairs of high quality boots in your wardrobe will keep you forever chic.

White Shirts…or Black

Go into your boyfriends closet and “borrow” his nicest black or white shirt – preferably the one without the front pocket and shoulder straps. Simple shirts in cotton are timeless and have the versatility to shift with moods. You can wear them long and belted with nothing else for a uber-sexy vibe, you can dress up a pair of jeans for a hint of sophistication, you can even modernize a severe pencil skirt for today’s work environment. In short, the white or black shirt can do just about everything!

V-Neck Cashmere Sweaters

These are absolutely essential. They can be worn fitted, or loose so they craftily fall off your shoulders. They even suit every body type and build. Fantastic! Be sure to always hand-wash your cashmere in tepid water using a mild shampoo. Tumble dry as gentle as possible until damp, and finish by laying the sweater out flat on a towel.

Chinos

These are the brothers of jeans. Chinos are made of cotton and can be worn with our without pleats, broad, narrow, long, short, or rolled up at the cuff. According to the French, avoid wearing these pants with sweaters and sneakers – that is far too casual! Wear them with men’s shirts, or plaid shirts. Wear them with a fine silk blouse and statement jewelry. Wear them with a vest and a man’s jacket.

paris4
paris3

 

Short Leather Jackets

Choose a supple leather, soft and cut close to your body. These jackets are your second skin. They make you look tough, or uptown chic – so long as the fit is tailored. Don’t be afraid to even wear them with your most romantic dresses – they look amazing on everything!

paris5So what can we take away from our look at Parisian street style? Everything in moderation, that is – not too much colour, pattern, or print for your wardrobe staples. Put faith in accessories – this is where you can have some fun! Cut is important, it’s all about how the garment flatters your figure. Dress to your own style, wear what makes you happy, and invest in the basics mentioned above. These articles have longevity so buy them in a quality fabric.

Now if only I could finish off this post by saying (and truly meaning!) I was leaving for Paris in the morning, I would be a happy girl!  Sigh! Well keep dreaming lovelies and while you’re at it have some camembert for me. Should you be in need of some Paris of your own tonight, may I recommend the classic Funny Face starring Audrey Hepburn. Remember, Paris is always a good idea!

xo

Photos by Diego Zuko – Harpers Bazaar

Fashion Tips and Tricks Every Style Maven Should Know

vintagesunniesI recently stumbled upon a website full of fantastic tips and tricks for the stylish woman! While their article featured 101 hints every girl should know, I’ve listed here what I feel are the top take-homes for the everyday lady (they are also the most helpful!).

Give these a try and may you always look fabulous:

  1. Despite what it says on the tag, cashmere is best washed by hand. To dry it, use a salad spinner, which releases excess water in seconds.
  2. Wash new jeans twice before taking them to the tailor. Why? Because jeans will always shrink in length when washed.
  3. The secret to well-fitting everyday clothes is Lycra. The formulas to look for: 95% cotton/5% Lycra spandex for T-shirts, and at least 2% Lycra for jeans to hold their shape.
  4. “Always organize your clothes going light to dark from left to right in your closet. Your eye will follow the color and thus help you stay organized.” — Melanie Charlton Fascitelli, Founder, Clos-ette and Clos-ette Too.
  5. “If you don’t have time to try on jeans in the store, try the Neck Method: You can determine your size by placing the waistline of the jeans around the diameter of your neck. If the waistline of the pant comfortably meets at back of your neck, then the jeans will fit.”— Sarah Ahmed, Creative Director, DL1961 Premium Denim
    (must give this a try asap!)
  6. Cut down your closet by 25% by asking yourself this one question: “If I were shopping right this second, would I buy this?” If the answer’s no, out it goes. — Melanie Charlton Fascitelli, Founder, Clos-ette and Clos-ette Too.
  7. Never put your swimwear in the washing machine, and always hand dry. The machine will damage the suit and it will lose its elasticity. The only exception: At the end of the summer or vacation, wash your swimwear in lingerie washing bags on the gentle cycle with a bit if Drift or Woolite. But only after many wears.” —Shoshanna Gruss, Designer
  8. Dressy occasions aren’t the time to play with trends, so know your silhouette and stick to it to always look your best. Perfect example: Sofia Vergara knows she looks good in mermaid dresses, and always chooses variations of the shape on red carpets.
  9. “Never put a garment on immediately after ironing, as this can actually cause new wrinkles to form. Instead, let it sit for five minutes to set the press.” — Althea Harper, Designer and Rowenta Brand Ambassador
  10. The best way to de-fuzz a sweater: use a pumice stone.
  11. Spray tights with sticky (read: cheap) hairspray to avoid holes and runs.
  12. If you don’t feel like trying on a dress but still want to see where the hem will hit you, align the shoulder seam exactly with your shoulder bone (not your collarbone).
  13. Revamp an old coat by swapping out the buttons and having a tailor replace the lining with something eye-catching, like a pattern or a bright color.
  14. Break in stiff or too-snug shoes by slipping them on with socks and blasting your feet with a hot hairdryer.
  15. To stop squeaky shoes, remove the insole and apply Vaseline or WD-40 before replacing it.
  16. When you’re shopping for a jacket, coat, or blazer, pay attention to the fit around the shoulders. While a tailor can tweak pretty much everything about the fit of a jacket—from tapering the waist to shortening it—they can’t change the shoulders. Make sure the seams sit perfectly at the bony tops of your shoulders.
  17. Everyday bras should be replaced every three to six months, as that’s when they start to lose elasticity and support.
  18. Ideally, a pencil skirt should hit just at the top of your knee. Any lower and it will start to shorten your leg.
  19. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-fitting, stylish winter coat. You can be wearing pajamas underneath and you’ll still look perfectly put together.
  20. Don’t buy items you know you won’t properly care for. For example, if you know you’re never going to hand-wash that delicate cami or beaded sweater, don’t buy it.
  21. To achieve the perfectly effortless cuffed sleeve, keep the top button (which is called the gauntlet) buttoned while you roll.
  22. Freeze jeans inside a plastic bag for two days to zap odor without running them through the washing machine.
  23. Looking for an easy trick to make your bare legs look longer? Try pumps the same color of your skin, which gives give the illusion that your legs extend a few extra inches.
  24. A modern trick to looking like the most effortlessly stylish girl in the room: Pair dressy bottoms (a velvet maxi, a leather or beaded skirt, silk pants) with a worn gray crew-neck sweatshirt or T-shirt.
  25. When it doubt, always choose the smaller denim size, since jeans stretch with wear.
  26. The easiest way to make your closet look organized: Buy all the same hangers for everything–same color, same shape.
  27. If you can’t fit two fingers underneath your bra band comfortably, it’s probably too tight.
  28. Pile on good accessories—scarves, sunglasses, hats, statement jewelry—to instantly transform even the most basic outfit.
  29. If you’re unsure about an impulse or sale purchase, leave it at the store. If you’re still thinking about it when you wake up the next day, buy it.
  30. There’s nothing cooler than sticking to a signature style you know looks good on you. Slaves to fashion are never chic!

Intrigued? For the full list of 101 visit the StyleCaster’s website.

Do you use any of these tips regularly? Or did you learn something new?

I am most excited to try #5 the jean fitting tip as there are times (aka boxing day) where the prices are right but the changing room lines are just too long (I’m sure you can relate :)), and #6 to clean out my closet for fall.

Image courtesy of crossingilandmono at tumblr.

Get Classy and Carry On This Fall

With the shortage of hot weather this summer (at least for the moment!), some of you may be thinking fall a little earlier than normal. That’s ok! As per the fashion cycle, there is already a plethora of fall fashion hitting the shelves as we speak. You’re in good company.

As September approaches, ideas begin to formulate such as back to school beauty, adding lowlights, and finally starting those things you’ve put off all summer long (jogging anyone?!). On a slightly less exciting note, for me, this also means getting fiscally responsible – aka setting a budget for my fall shopping.  Very few of us have the shopping budgets of starlets, thus some planning is in order to pave our path to chicness.

Hot items to incorporate into your wardrobe this fall include:

  • The Ankle Boot
  • A Cuddly Oversize Clutch
  • The Tulip Skirt
  • Small Structured Handheld Bags (goodbye shoulder straps)
  • The Over-the-Knee Boot
  • A White or Camel Coat
  • The Turtleneck
  • White Cigarette Pants
  • A Motorcycle Jacket
  • The Chelsea Boot

Many of these items are the same fall must-haves mentioned last year, with slightly updated shapes. That means, pick and choose your favourites, but don’t be concerned if you can’t afford them. They will be back again, so buy what you love, leave what you don’t. Lucky for us budget-babes, the secret to looking fabulous all year long is to dress classy. Opt for lady-like looks and you will build a wardrobe that flatters, is timeless and won’t break the bank each season. You can wear the same items again and still look current! Pretty great right?

Here  are my sophisticated staples for this fall:

  1. A Classic Trenchcoat: This iconic staple has graced glamazons from Brigitte Bardot to Gwyneth Paltrow. Skip the trendy pinks and flashy fabrics and opt for a traditional tan cotton style that hits just below the knee. You can wear this over anything from dresses to jeans.
  2. Black Sling-Backs: These shoes ooze sexiness and can instantly take a seemingly blasé outfit to the next level. As long as the shoe has a pointed toe, skinny heel, and clean lines, you will always look polished.
  3. Faux Diamond Studs: They shimmer, glimmer, glamour, and go with absolutely everything. Diamonds truly are a glam girl’s best friend…even better when you can fool everyone into thinking you’ve spent a fortune on them. The trick is to not buy too big, when choosing your studs don’t go larger than two carats. Anything bigger will be a dead giveaway that your bling-bling is bogus.
  4. Stylish Daytime Bag: A great tote is the best accessory to to pull an entire outfit together. The perfect bag will be roomy enough to fit your life, structured so you don’t look slumpy, and neutral in colour like a camel, brown, or black. It’s fun and necessary to have bags in bright colours, to add the oomph to an outfit, but be sure to have your basics first.
  5. A Chic Clutch: Whether it be sequined, satin, beaded, or braided, a tiny handbag is a going out essential. Black is a great investment because it will almost always match your shoes and other accessories. It is also suitable to bring to black tie events.
  6. One Fabulous Suit: Even if your job doesn’t require you to suit up, every girl should own a lightweight wool suit in black of grey. Even better, get a suit jacket that goes with both a pencil skirt and some trousers.
  7. The Little Black Dress: This article will take you from cocktails to first dates to holiday parties. For optimum versatility choose one that skims your knees.
  8. Dark Denim Jeans: You know the one’s I’m talking about – the one’s that make your butt look amazing. Semidressy, slim fitting jeans are an absolute must have, heck buy 3 pairs!

Mix and match the classic picks with the trendy list and you will be on your way to smart-shopping this fall. Set your budget and stick to it. All these silhouettes are available at various price points for your shopping pleasure. Good luck readers and be ever fabulous.

Images Courtesy of http://fashionlovesfilms.blogspot.ca/2011/12/brigitte-bardot.html and http://emmablock.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/style-icon-brigitte-bardo/

Style Your Way

An impressive fashionista (aka Diana Vreeland) once said: true style means never having to reinvent yourself. Style is knowing what works best for you, not someone else. While inspiration from others is essential whether it be through magazines, television, runway images, or simply what you see on the street, it’s important to make these styles work for you. It all comes down to knowing what’s best based on your age, colouring, figure, and tastes. Understanding this information will make it that much easier to shop and create chic looks. While I can’t claim to be an expert in this area (hence why I want to become an image consultant),  it is important to consider the results from a colour analysis,  a traditional “what’s your body type” test, and surveys of your work and social activities. Combining this information will give you a good idea of which items you already own and what you still need to purchase.

While we all need a tweak now and then, such as a new haircut after graduating college or clothes for a promotion, this is not the same as reinventing yourself. Styles do change over time, so adding a few updates each season is essential. However, don’t give up on your core style just for the sake of fashion – don’t be a slave to trends. Be you. You’re the only one who can do that and let’s face it, you rock at it reader!

rachelmcadams

Remember what looks good on one person won’t look great on another person. For example, I personally am always drawn to colourful maxi dresses, one’s with a nautical theme, one’s with beautiful prints…..all of them (literally!). But the short 5’4″ person that I am just can’t pull it off. Seriously I look even shorter than I already am (unless worn with sky high heels which is not the point of a summer maxi dress that screams comfort!). So while every summer I dream of maxi, I stick to shorter hemlines for my dresses.

Rachel Zoe – stylist to the stars says “style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” So readers, your mission should you choose to accept is to determine what you want to say to the world, and dress in a way that your external appearance matches how you feel inside. Take some time to do a colour analysis, body type test, and find your style inspiration. An image that works for you should make you feel confident, attractive, and work for your body type, budget, and activities. This is not a painless process but I hope it is fun! Just know, I’ll be here every step of the way to chat, commiserate, and cheer you on.