Learning to Let Go


For most people, at some point in their lives, they develop a way of dressing themselves that inevitably remains a signature look for them.  Has a friend ever held up an item of clothing at a store and said, “This looks like you…”

No, the item does not have a picture of your face on it, but instead, simply reminds them of a look you normally personify.  These resemblances can be in the color, cut, or commonly in the style of the garment (e.g. a Ralph Lauren oxford).  Whichever it is, we all become comfortable in certain pieces and looks we wear, and just sometimes, we become too comfortable and need to be rescued from our old fashion addictions and adapt to a new style.

 If you are a fan of Saturday Night Live, you will undoubtedly remember the 2003 skit about “Mom Jeans”.  Catch up on the hilarious skit, here. The sketch pokes fun at the denim trend from the late 80’s and early 90’s, worn by moms everywhere.  These jeans, which have a 9 inch rise, (sometimes) elastic waist, and tapered leg are nowadays, commonly known only as, “Mom jeans”.   They were comfortable, convenient and as the SNL parody points out, versatile, seeing as they were available in variable lengths such as ankle, cropped, and even shorts, making them suitable for any occasion, even “date night” with your husband (at which point in the video, I cannot help but laugh and cringe at the same time)!

Dreaded "Mom jeans"

I have been on a rescue mission for years, trying to evacuate these dreadful jeans from my own mother’s closet.  When I was finally given permission to help her clean and de-clutter her closet, I gave her 3 rules.  The first would be to let me take out all things I felt needed to go. The second, if she had any objections, she would need to try on the item and then explain to me logically, why she felt it needed to stay. And the third rule – once it was in the “toss” pile…it stayed there.  Things went fairly smoothly until I hit her 30+ pile of jeans (yes, I counted)!  Sadly, most of them were “Mom jeans”, the wrong size, or a wash that was bordering the 80’s acid jeans.

After donating bags of clothes (I was able to talk her into getting rid of 10 pairs of jeans), we talked about what kinds of denim she needs to be purchasing for her body type and lifestyle.  My mother really does try to take the notes and little tips I’ve given her and apply them when out shopping; but, as I’ve just found out, is still confused on some basic denim knowledge.

Yesterday, I found her wearing a pair of “curvy” jeans.  This would be fine if she had a good amount of curvature within her hips and behind, but like me, assuming she is where I get it from, have small hips. Therefore, “curvy” denim is not for us.  When explained, it was misunderstood that the term “curvy” applied not to the hip area, but rather the leg opening.  I informed her that the 4 common leg openings are referred to normally as a flare leg – which has anywhere from a 21” to 27” opening at the bottom, bootcut – 18” to 20”, straight leg – 15” to 17”, and skinny – 10” to 12”. 







The best part of my evening came when I suggested that she try on a pair of my skinny jeans to get a feel for the difference between what she had to what she could go towards.  My mother has very long and skinny legs (sadly, which my sister and I did not inherit) and is built for a straight leg or skinny jean.  After trying on my pair, her legs looked fantastic but the rise was too low.  Now remember, there are many different types of jeans and most likely, you aren’t going to find the perfect pair at the first store.  Each company has a different cut and rise for their styles.

Most women who are 40 and older prefer a jean with a higher rise, anywhere from 8-10 inches.  After shopping with their kids and primarily seeing ultra low-rise jeans, it can be discouraging that there is a fashionable jean available for them – but there is!  Companies all over are creating jeans for moms that have a great wash to them, feel good to the touch, and even have a tummy tuck panel built into the jeans to help diminish any signs of unwanted bulge!  Even Oprah supports these jeans, models them herself on the cover of O Magazine, and adds them to her list of 10 ultimate-favorite things!

All in all there are jeans out there for you! It’s time to rid your closet of those unwanted and unfashionable jeans and re-stock your shelves with updated versions, ones that you could actually wear on date night!


Spring Cleaning

This past week as temperatures outside rose and the sun donned its glorious face for more than an hour, it was nice to see people outside with uplifted moods, smiling faces, and energetic attitudes around me.  It’s a no-brainer that healthy vitamin D from the sun had an effect on these noticeable changes, but I also like to think that just one smile or positive thought can spread like wild fire and be contagious to others.
I found myself outside for most of the weekend taking advantage of being able to do my daily exercise outdoors instead of on the dreaded treadmill, in house.  After a long walk outside, I finished up with some stretches and found myself still filled with extra energy.  So, like any normal person I began to think about what was next on my to-do list.  Should I wash my car? No, it was to rain the next day.  Should I organize that stack of papers awaiting me? Probably, but that simply doesn’t interest me enough.  With the spring daffodils popping up next to me as I’m contemplating my next activity, it came to me.  I would clean out my closet!  It’s time to officially box up those bulky sweaters, store the snow boots, and make way for warmer climate clothing!
Immediately after going in the house, entering my room, and opening my closet doors, I wanted to reconsider.  What did I get myself into?!  Ok, rules to giving your closet a healthy spring-cleaning – take it step-by-step.  As I looked through all of my clothes, I started to realize how many things I haven’t worn this year…or last year for that matter!  Rule #1 – If you haven’t worn an item in over two years, it doesn’t belong in your closet!  Now, there are a few exceptions, but for the most part, you should know if it needs to be retired or not.  Use your good judgement.  Rule #2 – when going through old jeans and pants, it’s worth trying every pair to get a good idea of how they still fit – if they still fit – which leads me to Rule #3 – if you can’t button them, it is time to cut the cord and let ’em go!  Don’t hold onto them thinking that one day you will squeeze back into them.  I’m all for positive thoughts but being honest with yourself comes first.  Besides, when you do get back down to your goal size, you can go out and purchase a new & improved pair!
Next comes the hard part.  Figuring out which items to keep, store, or toss.  So, let’s talk about some key pieces that are “In” and “Out” and which ones you should “Keep” because they are pieces you can wear time and time again.

As for pants, it is time to get rid of the jeggings, whether they be denim colored, faded or not.  Stock instead slouchy, wide-legged pants in a lightweight fabric such as linen.  Go ahead and keep those straight-legged jeans and skinnies.   In terms of coats, the classic trench is back!  If you don’t own one, this is a key piece worth investing in since it will never go out of style and can be worn for multiple seasons.  So, find a well-fitting one and add it to your closet!  Go ahead and get rid of the puffy, transparent, or iridescent coats because they’re out and store that military jacket for fall.  When it comes to bags and shoes, it’s time to welcome structured and crisp handbags made of leather (favorable colors are white, peach, nutmeg, and lavender) and give away the slouchy, overly studded bags.  Be sure to keep the classic mono-colored tote though.  Like the trench, the tote bag will stick around for years to come.  Step into cold colored wedges this season that make for a statement piece.  With the long hem on pants and skirts this season, the added height makes for gorgeous stems.  Spaghetti thin, sky high stilettos are a thing of the past, but be sure to store and keep those neutral and rose colored pumps and sandals. 

As for dresses – everything seems to be in! From mini to maxi to monochromatic and wild prints!  Have fun wearing your favorite dress around day or night!

After a successful re-vamping of your closet, I am sure you will feel relaxed, refreshed, and ready for spring! I know I am!