Over the last three months, I’ve noticed a disconcerting trend among my 5’3 and under clients, one that I now must address. I don’t know exactly when stores unleashed ‘petites’ (my guess would be the 80s when most everything was excessive and useless), but they are obsolete at best, detrimental at worst.
Now don’t get me wrong- I fully understand the need behind this distinction: smaller women need pants and tops that don’t always require length alteration. Great in theory. Unfortunately, the stores only stock maybe one third of their merchandise in petite form, severely limiting your selection. Start with the entire store, and if you find a pair of pants you like, then ask if they come in petite.
Another problem with the notion of ‘petites’ is the erroneous idea that smaller women need smaller clothing. In my eyes, tops that all hit above the hip and, god forbid, 3/4 length anything only makes you look smaller. Plays in proportion are a fundamental part of good style, and will only help flatter your frame. I will say it again: small women do not need small clothes.
Finally, pay no mind to the number on the label. While we all average towards one size, the fit of any item varies tremendously from person to person. I typically wear a medium in JCREW but didn’t like the snug look of a particular sweater. Instead of assuming it wasn’t for me, I tried the extra-large, loved the baggy look, and bought it. One measure of style creativity is how many different sizes you have in your closet, so let go of the restrictions and remember that ‘your size’ is only the place to start.
With Spring on the horizon, most women know that they should clean out their closets; very few actually will. For one thing, it’s a massive undertaking. Even if you’re among the fortunate few who know what should stay and what should go, you then have to answer the call to get rid of things you paid for, perhaps loved at one point, and certainly have some attachment to.
But you must. Having an closet overflowing with every season, every trend, every type of clothing kills the inspiration. The true ingenuity of style lies in pairing old things in new ways, and sometimes this is as simple as having a particular blouse hanging next to a particular jacket. If that blouse and jacket are surrounded by pieces that you don’t wear and don’t love, you’ll never see the possibilities of the pairing.
One of my most popular services is the closet repurposing, and it’s proving more popular than ever during this time of year. If it’s simply not in your budget to bring me in, here are a few tips to help with the big clean.
*The closet is for fashion only! I lecture my clients who (all of them) keep their workout/Patagucci/Boulder-wear hanging next to their beautiful tops and jackets and sweaters. Put the activewear in a drawer and the P’Gucci in the coat closet. This applies to footwear as well: Crocs and trainers all go in the hall closet or the mudroom or the garage. The closet is sacred.
*Keep your closet streamlined by moving the ‘other’ season’s stuff to another closet or into plastic storage boxes.
*Long before ‘skinny jeans’, we all had our skinny jeans. And still do. One or two items that no longer fit but might someday… is fine and helps keep the motivation. An entire wardrobe that hasn’t fit in years… is depressing and kills the motivation. Work your best style with what fits *now* and donate the rest.
*If you haven’t worn a piece in a year but still aren’t ready to part with it, put it in the back of your closet and give it 6 months. If it’s still untouched, it’s time to move on.
If I can’t have this absolutely gorgeous Elizabeth & James kimono-inspired blouse, then I hope one of you can. Available only in a XS/S, it’s 60% off. Available here.
**goes to cry in corner**
Admittedly, I have a bit of an industrial fetish.. If it’s made of steel, was used in factories or businesses, and dates from roughly 1920-1950, I’m gonna love it.
This is a 1920s dental cabinet with amazing details, so much so that you’re gonna have to see for yourself. I would use it in the master bathroom (granted, a large bathroom), the dining room, or as an entry piece in the foyer.
Currently, I’m working on converting one of my guy friends into my first male client. Over cocktails last night, I gave him my oft-repeated speech: the most important part of a guy’s style is footwear. So inspired by you Rob, and for all my readers, here is the gold stardard: John Varvatos. At just under $600, these particular boots are not cheap. However, their bi-annual sale will take a big chunk out of the price. This is all nothing to say of the confidence in wearing the best boots available… That is priceless.