Did I do that? An @KonMari_method mistake?

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I’ve started re-hanging the clothes that I have already accepted with joy into my life because frankly, I could only handle seeing my “hangable” clothes in a massive pile on the floor for so long.

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Picture my nice “hang-ables” on the floor. I couldn’t picture them there long which is why you don’t see them now!

Not sure if I was supposed to do that, but because Kondo says we can sort in sections, I figured I was okay.

Now that those items are back, my closet seems extra packed, even though I’ve reduced it by two garbage bags!

Part of the problem is that Kondo has us putting all seasons together. I usually separate my closet into fall/winter and spring/summer, switching out each season.

Closet was feeling too full after combining all seasons in one!

Closet was feeling too full after combining all seasons in one!

Now I am facing a packed, all-seasons closet and more clothes will need to go in there as I still have “sets” and “light jackets” to consider. This has made me question my original joyous decisions.

  • Is everything newly replaced in the now overflowing closet really a joy-sparker?
  • Did I cheat on some decisions and let my practical brain take over?
  • What if an item didn’t spark joy, but sparked a lot of compliments, should I have kept it?

If I do love everything in there, as long as it sparks joy, that’s supposed to be fine. At the same time I don’t think it would hurt to run them by one more sorting phase, just to be sure. I don’t receive joy from an overfull closet.

So before I go any further, I am going to add a step: trying on the items I have already re-hung and once again asking myself, “Does this spark joy? No really, I mean it this time…JOY!?”

Maybe I should have added that step before I moved to rehanging, or maybe I should have been more discerning with my previous decisions.

Not sure how long this added step is going to take. Kondo says the whole discarding process from clothes to books, then papers and beyond could take half a year. I’m committed to seeing this process through, so stay tuned! Check out this video for more visuals! 

Still enthusiastic (kinda) about the @KonMari_method

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So I’ve been Marie Kondo-ing my immediate surroundings, starting with my clothes. From the piles I am selecting those items that bring me joy.

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This is just one section of clothes I've piled up to sort.

I have limited time so while I took all clothes from my closets and drawers, and shoes from everywhere, I’ve had to sort them in sections, doing chunks at a time.

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I’ve probably made it through about half of my wardrobe heap and started re-hanging certain items, attempting to order them so they “rise to the right.” This rising to the right business seems somewhat subjective. More on that later.

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Are these clothes "rising to the right?" I hope so.

So far, I’ve got a garbage bag full of non-joy for Goodwill and a smaller pile for possible consignment.

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To Goodwill and a second phase of life for these items.

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This pile for consignment.

It’s been both a grueling and energizing experience.  Grueling because I am blessed with a huuuge amount of clothes that need sorting. Energizing because I am ridding myself of items that are not joyous in my life, so I feel lighter. Lighter is good.

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These hangers represent a lighter me.

Marie Kondo “Konverts” please to share your KonMari experiences.

Empty your purse at night? @KonMari_method says yes

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If you empty your purse at night, you rest your handbag and it lasts longer says Marie Kondo.

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So I tried it the other night. If you empty the bag, you have to find a place to put the contents. I found this clear shoebox.

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Doing this gave me a different feeling, I don’t know, more organized and in control.

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I placed the purse upside down on top of the box, my own idea to avoid germs, lol. In the future I suppose I could wipe the bottom :-).

That morning I refilled the purse, opting to leave out some items, like a stack of other people’s business cards. (Kondo says we don’t need them anyway).

I am so hard on handbags, this Konmari idea is the perfect plan for purse preservation!

When to say YES! to the dress

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I bought three new items the other day which inspired me to ponder when it’s okay to add items to the closet.

As many of you know, I’m pretty much a “shop your closet kind of girl.” I rarely buy new clothes and instead prefer to use the fabulous items already in my closet in new and creative ways.

Howeva! The other day I noticed that Ivy and Leo in uptown was having one of its monster 75% off sales.

I gave a quick perusal and found three items that fit my “say yes to the dress” philosophy.

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One was a fuschia felt pea coat. Why yes? Great color for my skin, love the belted pea coat for my hour-glass shape, and the price at $23 seemed like a steal.

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Then I found this cute jade green number. A bit shorter than I usually go for, but tights or leggings would solve that problem. Also, I love the “cold shoulder” cut-outs and the color makes my skin pop. With the sale: $10!image

Finally, came across this take on an animal print. Teal blue and beige with some reptile skin and leopard spots mixed in. Add my curves and you’ve got a show-
stopper that can work on the beach or the dance floor, depending upon accessories and mood. Price? $13!

Conclusion: Three new items for under $50! A veritable fashion coup!

What made me say yes to the dress?
1) Is the color good for my skin? YES!
2) Figure-flattering? YES!
3) Can the item be mixed in with what I already own? YES!
4) Must be timeless…able to extend beyond the trends YES!
4) Will the purchase keep me within my budget for the month? Wellll…..

Fashionista spotted at the light rail

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I caught another fashionista in action while modeling for the “inner funky” video at the light rail station near the Epicentre weeks ago. Her name: Jasmine Lotharp. And as far as fashion essence, hers slapped me in the face like a helping of my mom’s homemade banana pudding. First came the short spiky hair in “I’m not afraid to rock it” red. Now if shocking hair colors aren’t your thing, and I’ll have to say drastic color isn’t always mine, you might have turned away and never turned back. But if you were like me at that moment, you couldn’t stop looking! The reward? A serving of style with Jasmine’s short, but not too short purple tank dress accented with tasteful neck cut-outs. The ultimate accessory? Check out those leopard print shoes.  Sorry I didn’t hold the camera on them long enough!  I was so taken by this undeniable display of fashionable individuality, I asked the photographer to stop in the middle of my own shoot so I could talk to her.  Here is our unedited talk. Really funny lady. She’s just 18 years old and she wants to go to fashion school one day. With her uncanny sense of style, I’d say that dream will become a reality. If you listen closely to the video, you’ll see that the guys left a lot to be desired when compared to their well-dressed companions. (Another blog, another day  for male fashion.) Thanks to Jasmine for a fun first interview!

Fashionista sighting in Charlotte

So last week I was going for a fitness walk in Uptown over lunch.  When I’m fitness-walking, fashion is the last thing on my mind. I wear a pair of walking shoes, a t-shirt, and a visor. While this is the PERFECT outfit for a calorie-burning walk in the hot sun, it is definitely not a fashion statement-making ensemble.
On my walk I spotted a woman whose outfit just screamed “take my picture!” Didn’t want to bother her, but I changed my mind.  An outfit that well-put together was once in a lifetime.

“May I snap your photo for my blog?” I asked.  She laughed, agreed and told the person on the phone that she was being asked to be photographed. “I’ve been getting that all day with this outfit,” she said into the phone.

I can see why, I told her. You really “put your foot in it” with that combination. And speaking of feet, those shoes! Of course the shoes had to be photographed!
So what made this outfit “must see?” I loved the way she used the neutral navy dress as a backdrop for several keenly placed bright blue accents. There is bright blue in the lace top, bright blue in the bracelet, bright blue in the necklace and of course, those superstar shoes! The silvery scarf-belt at her waist pulled everything together and added the perfect highlight. Our model looked confident, feminine, fun and flirty.

Who is our model?  Mrs. Kimberly M. Tabor! She is a Wedding Director and Event Coordinator. If you’d like to have contact her, I’ll help you get in touch with her.

Your thoughts on this outfit? What did you notice? Ever had a “great outfit day” loaded with compliments? Do share!

I-shops-my-closet dilemma #2: Channeling the inner funky

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So last week I prepared for my photo shoot. No, the current banner image was not my first choice. I just haven’t been able to put together the banner image I wanted with my current resources.

Then in walked Telow MowZus Baugh, of Just Imagine Photography. He’s a one year Charlotte newcomer and veteran photographer. It was serendipitous.  He understood my banner concept, and agreed to shoot it at a very reasonable rate, but first he wanted to shoot a video interview that captured my artistic essence. Warning! His portfolio is more risque than I’m used to and I won’t be modeling any boudoir photos! But check it out anyway. (It’s not for children!)
My artistic essence? But what IS my artistic essence?  There’s the traditional me. The 9-5 me. The me that most see and the me that I grew up with. Conservative, not too much cleavage and definitely matching.

But…somewhere, deep down inside, below the conservative outer shell is a funky artist diva.  But how to reach that inner artist?  Is it possible to put together a funky, artistic look by using what’s in my closet?

I-shops-my-closet dilemma #2. How to locate your inner funky.

I surveyed my closet. Visions of my 9-5 stared back. I started breathing fast. Calm down, there has to be a logical way to approach this.  Ahh, start with your funkiest accessories, I told myself.  My Darrell Roach Designs (DRD) earrings are one my funkiest accessories. Darrell is a NC bred celebrity jewelry designer who now resides in LA. I met him in 2006 at a beauty shop where he was hawking his wares. When I saw his work, I realized I had to have something from him.  I wear one of his rings and a bracelet daily. His work has donned the likes of Susan Taylor, Eva Marcille, Beyonce, and most recently, Prince! Yes, Mr. Purple Rain himself.

The earrings are neutral copper hoops with whispery orange stones. I abolutely love them! He designed a set of bracelets that complement them. With them, I often wear a necklace designed by another Charlotte designer, Mary B. Sanders of Mahogany Mary. She is an up and coming designer who will be forming her own website and blog soon!

So the next question I asked myself was, what colors look best on my skin that also go with the earrings? I decided on an Island orange sleeveless knit top that I’ve had for years. I paired it with one of my favorite neutrals, my leopard print skirt. Bottoming out the look: a pair of my favorite funky sandals. 

Here’s one of the photos from the shoot. For the most part, I love how the outfit  turned out! After a two-hour shoot, we were losing daylight, but somehow MowZus captured what light was available juxtaposed with the orangey glow of the light rail benches. The result? Funky, Achieved.


My Steps
1) Start with your funkiest accessory or item of clothing.
2) Next find the colors that look best on your skin and also go with the funky item.
3) Make sure that all pieces fit well and are figure flattering.
4) Pay attention to detail. What undergarments do you need to make sure to have a smooth line underneath? I love Spanx and Assets. I find them extremely comfortable and extremely forgiving!
5) What about the hair? What hairstyle adds to your funky? In my case I set my hair in twists, wore it up to work and then took out the twists later to form a sort of loose crimped look for the shoot.
6) Check out the look in the mirror, do you feel both funky and at ease with the look? Then you’re all set!
Note: I feel I look a bit more lumpy than I’d like in the photo. I looked much smoother in the mirror. They say photos add five pounds (or was it ten?). A smoother line underneath or a less form-fitting top might have worked better. But overall, I’m pleased!

How about you?
Ever had to channel a part of yourself you or others don’t often get to see? Maybe you’ve had to go from conservative to funky, or from funky to conservative. How did you achieve the different look? What worked or didn’t work? Please comment and share with me and others.

Really neat scarf organizer!

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One of the first steps in maintaining an “I-shops-my-closet” lifestyle is to have an organized closet that allows you to easily see what’s there. My scarves were a problem point for me. I had them “organized”, but in a way that wasn’t very useful.

Here’s what my scarf organization used to look like: 

I used one of those accordion style wooden peg hangers. Many of my scarves were buried and it was hard to find them. They often fell to the floor, also. Boo!

Although it was cool the way my scarves decorated the wall, I could never really SEE all of them. I had tried other options in the past, scarf hangers, belt hangers. None of them worked. So I went to YouTube, did a search for “scarf organization” and found an inspirational  video.  Theeasydiy used clear shower curtain rings and a plastic hanger to hang her scarves.

I decided to take the same idea, but I used pvc pipe cut to size ($3.00), a chain I already had at home (free!) and the shower curtain rings ($1.25 for 12 from dollar store, I used three boxes $4.00).

I strung the pipe with the chain, used a key ring circle (.97 for two from Home Depot) to connect the ends of the chain, pulled the scarves through the curtain rings and hung them on the wall, using two nails for each side of the chain. Since the peg hanger was now empty, I used it for my necklaces. I LOVE the new look!

Here’s what my scarf organization looks like now! 

Please comment and tell me what you think of my adaptation to theeasydiy’s idea. What scarf organization ideas have worked for you?

Fashionistas spotted in Baltimore!

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As you might have guessed, I love fashion. I also love to observe how other women express themselves through their clothes. On the last day of the VOCUS Users Conference, I got brave and based on advice given by one of the speakers, Dayna Steele, I did as any ‘rock star” would. I asked. And then I snapped. Check out these stylish women. What do you think?

Innovative Individuality

Spotted at conference: Looking Goood!

This young diva (Amy) was fashionably casual all week. I had to snap this photo.The skinny jeans paired with the casual wedges and printed knit top made a statement of style great for my blog.

Creative Conference Fashion

Another creative look I just couldn’t pass by. Loved the hair, the snappy shawl and my favorite, the green flats which are perfect for lots of airport walking. Go Veleisa!

Great casual pieces working together

Catherine did a great job of working casual pieces (beige flats, jean top and red patterned skirt) to form a comfortable, yet pulled together look. The big red bag (though she tried to hide it) was a roomy, hobo style bag that iced this very fashionable cake.

And finally, rocking my “I-shops-my-closet” look

Me, rocking one of my red-striped blouse dilemma outfits.

I thought I’d add my own casual last day of conference look. Yes, it’s from my previous blog post. One of the looks devised from the red striped blouse

I-Shops-My-Closet fashion dilemma: What to do with a red, white and grey top?

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So I have this red, white and grey top. I love this top! It has three quarter length sleeves and a v-neck that starts buttoning about 6″ from the collar, making it great for necklace wearing.

A really great red striped top has lost its partner. Time for an “I shops my closet” solution!

It’s the type of top that can double as a blouse or a jacket. I usually wear it with my heather grey slacks, but last fall those slacks were quarantined to the off-season closet until I could squeeze back into them. So…what to do with this perfectly good blouse now missing its favorite partner?

First step: Evaluate the colors in the top and examine my closet for items with similar colors.

White? I could wear it as a jacket with a white tee or camisole underneath and then pair with white bottoms.  I have lots of white tees and camisoles, but I don’t have any white bottoms. Since white tends to make things look bigger, with “alla my backside”,  I rarely wear white bottoms.

Grey? I only have the grey pants and they are on ice. All of my other bottoms are either black solids, or prints that would clash. Black would work and is one of my favorite neutrals, but sometimes I get tired of wearing black all the time.

Red?  Wait a minute, I have a solid red skirt, a red dress, a red sleeveless sweater, two red belts and at least three pairs of red shoes!

Once I pulled them out, I have about 5 pairs of red shoes and 2 red belts!

Step Two: Try on the items to see how they look together.
I slipped on the shirt and the skirt. Ding-ding-ding-ding, WINNER! Just need something to nip in the waist. The red patent leather belt? Too dark. The red belt with the silver buckle? BINGO!

Red striped top with red knit skirt and red stretchy belt. Ding-Ding-Ding!

Now the shoes. First up, The red open toe mule sandals. They’d do in  a rush. Very comfortable, just not as sharp of a look as I’d like with this outfit. The red ankle-strap closed toe shoes? Classics that give a sort of “Mad Men” feel. They’d work. Finally, the patent-leather Mary Janes. Ding-ding-ding-ding! WINNER!

The red patent leather Mary Janes add just the right playful touch to an outfit that features lots of red! Can you believe those shoes were less than $40!

What about this red sleeveless sweater?  Would it work as a vest?  I slipped it on over the top and while it does look nice, perhaps the two reds clash? What do you think? I have worn the combination before.

Looking at the red from the skirt and the sweater, they seem to clash a bit. One is orangey and one has blue undertones. I’ve worn them together before, not sure if I’d wear the skirt and sweater together again. However the blouse and sweater would go fine with my heather grey slacks or another neutral bottom.

But wait, there’s more! Remember the red dress I told you about? Belting the top over the dress netted me yet another look.

Red-striped top worn as a jacket over red dress.

And finally, one last outfit. I forgot that I had a white sleeveless sweater exactly like the red one. The white sweater over the top resulted in a look that goes nicely with my many black neutrals, or maybe even the red skirt!

White sweater vest works out great with the top. What a finale!

So this little exploratory session netted  four new looks using a lonely striped top.

Lessons Learned

  •  If you haven’t worn something in a year, instead of throwing it out as some experts say, take a second look at it. Why aren’t you wearing it? Try it with things you already own and with accessories you already have. Even if you think you might not like the look, try it anyway with just you and your mirror, you may be surprised.
  • Always try to come up with two looks per item. This helps you extend your wardrobe.
  • When buying clothes, avoid the trends. Buy things that are flattering to your figure because they NEVER go out of style.
  • Maintenance tip: Always keep your shoes clean, shined and in good repair.