Knowing you’d be healthier if you worked out more doesn’t have quite the motivating power of knowing that your Paddington bag will last longer if you store it properly or you won’t have to shell out another $200 on a pair of jeans if you just washed them correctly.
So, here’s hoping fashion resolutions are easier to keep than the normal variety!
Store bags and shoes properly: Okay, now I’ve made significant strides towards this goal in the past year. I now have tissue in all of my bags, and have them stored on as spacious a shelf as I can spare. Unfortunately, I usually end up with a pile of bags and tissue on the closet floor at the end of the week. But, if you are a little more disciplined, keeping tissue or newspaper in your handbags will help them retain their shape.
If you don’t have a free shelf, the hanging handbag file from thecontainerstore.com is a great way to store your purses in clear, easily accessible plastic pouches that hang from a door or rod. The key here is easy access so you’re not fumbling around in a big pile of purses.
Now, a habit I’m a little more lax about is caring for my leather. I have a nice little row of leather cleaners and moisturizers from each time I purchase an expensive bag and have visions of myself treating it gingerly and maintaining its brand new perfection for years to come. Unfortunately, I generally clean and moisturize my leather only when I’ve rubbed it against a dirty car or dropped it in the snow (from a second floor balcony. Don’t ask.)
But, if you can manage it, using a good cleaner and moisturizer on your leather bags and shoes once a season or every six months is a great idea. It’s fun to do this when the seasons change and you’re all excited about using the items that have languished in the back of the closet since spring. Suede or other quality skin accessories should come with their own cleaning instruction, but might require some expensive professional care if they really get dirty.
There are plethoras of ways to store shoes if you have the closet space. Any home organization store department has racks and shelves designed for this purpose. Target has some modular pieces that can be stacked as you accrue more items. Again, thecontainerstore.com has some of the best and cheapest plastic, see through shoe boxes. Other people opt for the original boxes with Polaroid’s or descriptions on them so you can tell what’s inside.
Shoe trees do for shoes what tissue does for bags, though I will admit to not owning a singe pair. I do use boot trees, however, since they have the added benefit of allowing knee-high boots to stand up straight instead of falling over on the pair next to them, creating a domino effect.
Purchasing only shoes and bags that fill a specific need: The metallic purple purse I bought this fall, as well as a comment on the number of black shoes I own from a friend who has more clothes than anyone I know, inspired this resolution.
Since shoes and bags can’t make me feel fat, and they are more of an “investment” than clothes, I tend to go straight to the accessories department of any department store. While I have always said that potato chips were my version of crack (maybe that’s why I feel fat) the shoe sale rack comes in a close second when it comes to addictions. With accessories, I can’t resist a bargain. I blame this (along with myriad psychological flaws) on my mother.
But, my friend was right; I have a lot of black heels. I have a row of purses in all conceivable (and many unconceivable) colors. Since I could never go off accessories cold turkey for any attainable length of time, I think the criterion that they fill a specific need is a good one. If I have an outfit that none of my shoes go with, I can get them guilt free. Same with something that’s unique and unlike anything I own – like that perfect red tote that eludes me.
Doing more shopping on the internet: This suggestion comes from a tall friend with whom I regularly debate which is more difficult, fashion-wise – being tall or being short. Being on the end of the spectrum that is compared to gnomes rather than super models, I think I know who has it worse. But, whatever! She needs pants that come in lengths, too.
That’s why sites like J. Crew, Banana Republic, etc., while possibly gauche, are great. You know what size you are, and they tell you what the inseam is. (Speaking of inseams, I got a fantastic idea off of Stacey from TLC’s What Not to Wear – buy the same great fitting jeans in different lengths to go with flats or heels – why didn’t I think of that?)
An internet shopping tip that I came up with myself is to put things you like in your shopping bag or wish list, whichever the site allows you to save until your next visit. Then go back in a few days and look at the items again, if you still really want them, go ahead and splurge. If they no longer excite you, it was obviously an impulse purchase you’ll never miss.
Buying basics – Another friend (oh the conversations I have in the name of fashion) has committed to establishing a great wardrobe of basics in 2006. A great suit, jeans, crisp white shirt, things that can go conservative or sexy, dressy or casual.
It’s a good idea to try on your basics once a year to make sure that they still fit right and haven’t gotten too worn looking. It’s easy to say “I already have a white button down,” but if it’s yellow around the collar you obviously shouldn’t be wearing it. Just because they’re basics doesn’t mean you don’t have to reinvest in some new items every few years.
So, these resolutions are designed to get you out of the house quicker in the morning and spend less time standing in front of your closet in your underwear. (I’m not the only one, am I?)
Here’s to getting your obsessions under control in the New Year, while maintaining your fabulous look.