Picture for a moment that perfectly nice, sorta handsome, sorta smart guy from work who you know even on his best day isn't going to register more than a 4/10 in any mutual compatibility category but whose hopes you knowingly keep high with your overly enthusiastic "don't you look nice today!" declarations and thrice weekly "here you go!" Cosi bread donations.
The Steve Urkel to your Laura Winslow, if you will.
The comfortable, familiar feeling of being in the presence of someone who clearly adores you but, let's be honest, you could take or leave, is exactly how I feel about the middling, mediocre, wear-out-of-default clothing I like to call, "filler"-wear.
Look in your closets.
Look in your drawers.
Look on your shelves.
Aside from Rachel Bilson, my friend Olivia and Katie Holmes' stylist, all of whom, in addition to having limitless funds with which to purchase whatever their little hearts desire also seem to have an incredible eye for instantaneous this-could-go-with-this filtering, my guess is that for most of you, a good 20-50% of the clothing stuffed, shoved and wedged into these places are items you neither particularly like nor dislike and that fit neither particularly well nor poorly. In short, these are the wardrobe components you reach for on the days you just don't want to deal with -or think you're capable of- creating a cute look.
I can already tell most of your faces are in a raised-brow, "Yeah, and?" expression, but wait a minute, let me finish.
The primary reason I started this blog was to address the rumor those in serious jobs oft like to spread that time and money spent on developing and honing a sense style is more a superficial indulgence than it is, for example, a mechanism for increased confidence. Now I could easily rely on any number of obvious examples to drive this point home: cocktail dress vs. sweatpants; good hair day vs. bad hair day; new hip heel vs. old worn-out flat; flawless makeup vs. ruddy, bare face, etc. But frankly, I find it much more satisfying, not to mention more convincing to tackle the less high profile -but nonetheless important- issue of "filler"-wear.
If you wouldn't date mediocrity, why wear it? If you see something better down the road, why settle before you've reached it? If you can channel Sienna and Monica in outfits X and Y, why slip into suburban Mom mode with outfit Z?
My advice? Implement an out-of-sight/out-of-mind assault on your wardrobe and eliminate every last piece of "filler"-wear you can find. Give yourself the joy to every morning choose only from those clothes that in any number of outfit permutations will give you an out-of-control ego. These pieces don't have to be from a pricey boutique in Georgetown -I'm definitely not encouraging you to replace GAP with Saks-Jandel- they just need to be tops, bottoms and shoes you actually like -- or better yet, love.
Laura may not have been able to move away from Urkel, but we sure as hell can replace our boxy twin-set shells and had-'em-for-years tapered black pants with tailored blouses and ass-enhancing, hemmed just right trousers.
10 questions to help you discern between "keeper" clothing and "filler"-wear...
- Do you look forward to wearing it?
- When you buy something new, do you envision the new item paired with it?
- Was it a gift? Are you holding onto it out of guilt/obligation?
- Have you kept it because you love it or because you don't hate it?
- Do you feel it accentuates your strengths? Minimizes your flaws?
- Has it ever elicited a compliment from a stranger?
- Are you as likely to wear it at home as you are at work/out to dinner?
- Would you be upset if it were irretrievably lost?
- Do you ever find yourself saying, "It used to be cute"?
- Do you give yourself an "it's not awful" look in the full-length before you head out the door?