The Closet Cure: Finding Your True Love(s!)

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Ah, true love. It often strikes at first sight (across a crowded boutique, a dress, sweater, or pair of jeans, catches your eye, calls your name and you just have to give in and try it on). Before you know it, you simply can’t get enough of the one you’ve fallen for (you find yourself wearing that new jacket even when its a little too hot or too cold for comfort, just because it makes you feel so good to have it on). And, like any true love, it grows over time and has real lasting power (you’ve had those boots reheeled how many times?). Today, your assignment is about recognizing and recording your own true clothing sweethearts – and it’s totally fine if you have lots of pieces you are passionate about – monogamy is not a requirement when it comes to wardrobe affairs.

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Your goal today is to find and focus on the items from your wardrobe that you really love to wear. These are the pieces that consistently help you to look great and feel even better; the ones you’d grab first for a big date or what you rely on when getting dressed for an important day at work. The ones you’d never dream of not packing for that weekend in Paris that I’m sure we all have planned. Essentially, the pieces you are so happy that always come through with a boost of a little sartorial superpower. Got it? Ok, here we go:

Today’s Assignment:

Set aside at least an hour for this exercise. Go to your closet/dresser and focus on pulling out your true loves. Be tough here – these should really be your desert island duds. If you need to, pretend a very scary and strict someone in your life is coming over tomorrow to dig through your wardrobe and has the right to throw out anything they want to, whether you like it or not. Act as if this is your last chance to save a bag of the ones you just can’t live without! And, to keep the panic to a minimum, we can focus on clothing today, we’ll look at shoes later.

Once you’ve pulled your favorites, arrange them into groups by type of item; dresses and skirts together, jeans and pants, tops and sweaters – or whatever makes the most sense to you.

Find a good spot and hang them, one by one (or, as an outfit, if that is how you usually wear the pieces) and take a photo of each. You might want to take an overall lead image and then one that focuses on design details or how they are constructed. Pics that illustrate sleeve length, neckline, skirt length and fullness, pant width, overall structure (a pic that shows whether it’s boxy, fitted, drapey) all are helpful. You can take the photos as if you were going to send them to a tailor to describe what you want for that custom wardrobe you are ordering for your aforementioned Paris weekend.

The photos themselves are less important than the knowledge gained from the process you are going through to take them. Forcing yourself to take a moment to really examine the clothes that work well for you can only result in some conclusions that will help you when choosing new items. (Although, creating a collection on your phone titled “favorites” might serve as a good reminder for future shopping trips.)

Think about consistencies across the items that you start to notice: Do you love ballet neck tops? Black and white prints? Cropped mens-style pants? (If so, you are me!) Are any brands especially well represented? Certain design details that keep showing up? Are all of the pieces that you like the same size? Similar fabrics? Is there a color story forming? What shapes work for you (fitted or boxy or loose pants? high neck or low tops?) See if you can suss out the same for skirts (a-line? wrap? above the knee?).

The goal of this exercise is to distill your findings about your favorites down to some good descriptive phrases and notes on colors and shapes to remember when shopping in the future, so make a few notes, either digitally or on paper that you can refer back to later. Or, if you are simply happy with hanging on to the photos for this purpose, that works too.

Once you’ve done your analysis, keep all of these items together at one side of your closet and/or in one part of your dresser, for now. Voila, a few less things to sort through once we get started on that process – and a lot of self-knowledge gained!

Finally, please share a few findings about your favorites with us in the comments below and share pics of your “true loves” with us on instagram with the hashtag #closetcure.

It’s not too late to join, we’re just getting started! Sign up now: