As a Stylist based in Melbourne – Winter is coming. And with a change in season we often review the contents of our wardrobe.

With new trends and fresh pieces hitting stores, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and wanting to purchase additional items to refresh your look to see you through the new season. But what if your closet is already full?

Changing seasons is a perfect time to edit the old and make way for the new. But how do you decide what has passed its used by date and what is still relevant for your style?

Often my clients say to me that they have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear. Yes – even as a teenager, you can feel like your bursting closet has limited options. I even catch myself saying it sometimes, and I conduct wardrobe edits for a living! But every now and again behind those closet doors, I look into the abyss with little inspiration. It happens to all of us. In fact majority of people wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. That’s a lot of dollars wasted and a lot of items not being utilised. A wardrobe cull can seem daunting but I promise you, if you do it right you will feel cleansed and actually have more outfit options than you thought possible.

So where to start.

  1. Take everything out of the closet / drawers.
  2. Try on every thing you own. Yes, Everything.
  3. Create is 3 piles:
  • Love it – These items must be in good quality condition and fit you well. They should be easy to mix and match with other items in your closet and reflect your lifestyle.
  • Maybe – These are the pieces you like but are not really sure how to wear them or they don’t really go with your key pieces. They fit well and are in good condition but theres just something not quite right about them.
  • Donate – It’s time to let these pieces go. They no longer feel like you, they don’t fit right or are worn out or they just no longer suit your lifestyle or don’t mix and match easily to give you multiple outfit options.

Once you have created your piles you can rejoice!

Put all your Love It items back in prime wardrobe position and make sure that the Donate pile leaves the house ASAP before you rifle through it again and have second thoughts.  The Maybe pile should be boxed up for a month – whatever hasn’t been thought about, needed or worn in that time should be taken straight to a thrift store for someone else to love.

Its important during this process to remember that nothing has meaning except for the meaning we give it. Your clothes do not have feelings. Your favourite dress from 3 years that doesn’t fit or isn’t your style any more is not going to be offended if you pass it onto the Salvos.

It also helps to make a shopping list to replace items you put in the Donate pile.  If an item needs replacing due to damage or bad fit – add it to a shopping list. Only do this if it’s a core wardrobe item like denim, jackets or coats, a dress you used to wear all summer… There is no harm is doing some retail therapy to replace lost goods. Just make sure they live up to the Love It key principles before purchasing.

Completing a Wardrobe Edit at the start of a new season will leave you feeling cleansed and give back a feeling of control over what to wear every day rather than being overwhelmed by underwhelming options. Try and mix and match some new outfits with the items you love that reflect your own personal style and give you new outfit options. Think of it as playing dress ups with your own wardrobe. If you need some #inspo get on Pintrest or look up some people you admire on Instagram or via blogs and see if you can recreate a look using items you already own. The Wardrobe Edit is a timely process so put on some music and just get stuck in.  If you find the whole situation much too daunting and need help letting go of things – why not enlist the help of Teen Style? I am only a phone call away.

Body Dismorphic Disorder

Most of my clients, regardless of size or age, talk about their body and the way they look in a negative way. Particularly as women, we automatically distort our self-perception 40% to the negative. That’s a lot of negative self-talk we are doing on a daily basis. And over time these kind of thoughts can be really damaging to our self-esteem and self-confidence.

This week I want to talk about Body Dismorphic Disorder or BDD. Last year, I attended a Seminar run by Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria. Dr Ben Buchanan, from Foundation Psychology ran the seminar and made some really interesting and valuable points around BDD and what it means for the sufferer and how to treat it. While I sat in a room with Psychologists and other mental health professionals, some of the language and detail went a little over my head. But here is what I did learn….

Body Dismorphic Disorder has been around since 1891. But for some reason we don’t talk about it like we do other psychological disorders. But I feel it’s important to start the conversation and help people be more aware of what it is and how it affects the sufferer’s day-to-day life. In my Styling sessions with Clients we always spend time a big part of our time together in front of the mirror, and it amazes me how many of them are uncomfortable with their own reflection.

For those that aren’t sure what BDD is, it is described as the feeling of ugliness or a perceived physical defect, which feels noticeable to others. Sufferers usually have a preoccupation with their appearance and this can cause them a lot of distress in social situations. To most of us, if we encounter someone with BDD regularly or even just pass them by on the street – we wouldn’t think there was anything “wrong” with their appearance at all. But to the sufferer, they truly believe they are flawed. They see it, feel it and are so blinded by the belief that the flaw exists that it makes it very hard to tell or persuade them otherwise.

BDD is caused by a cognitive behaviour – meaning our brain forms strong thought patterns – like creating a continuous dint in parts of the brain and that dint becomes so deep, its very difficult to reverse the damage.

BDD behaviour is created by a mix of:

  • Social factors
  • Psychological and situational factors
  • Neurobiological factors

It’s a disorder that is prevalent among all cultures and there is a pretty even split between female and male sufferers.

In a world where first impression count, mental health issues are on the rise and fashion is bigger and more relevant than ever, how can understanding personal style and how to dress assist someone who views themselves in such a poor way?

For me when I work with Clients we conduct something called the Mirror Strategy. My Client will stand in front of the mirror and gaze at their reflection. We then have an in-depth and raw conversation about what they see. Nine times out of ten my clients will start with the negatives they see. And we all tend do this on some level… Have you ever received a compliment from a friend, loved one or colleague, and all too quickly you counteract it by mentioning something negative about yourself?

The Mirror Strategy allows me to understand what my client is seeing. To understand the parts of themselves they like to hide away or that trigger self-conscious thoughts in them. My job is then to teach them to focus on the positives or as we Stylists like to say – attributes. Starting to focus on these attributes is a great way to start to reverse negative and BDD like thinking. And knowing how to dress your attributes is a great way to improve self-esteem and self-confidence.

Our attributes are the parts of us that we should be drawing attention to when dressing. You might have fantastic legs which means perhaps shorter length skirts and dresses or tighter jeans might be the best way to show off those pins.

Highlighting a small waist with accessories and particular shaped garments can create the illusion of being slimmer. A great booty might require tight jeans and tops that finish just at the waist-band to show it off. For men, a slimmer fit shirt can help to accentuate a smaller frame with broad shoulders. The point is – choosing clothes that highlight these attributes can instantly lift a persons self perception and confidence because they start to understand how to draw attention to these areas which in turn can lead to them not putting the focus on the areas they deem to be a flaw.

So next time you look in the mirror, instead of talking to yourself about what you don’t like – pick an attribute you could start to draw attention to and start to create your wardrobe and clothing choices around that. You’ll be amazed at how it can make you feel. And if you struggle to come up with anything, why not get in touch with me and we can work through the Mirror Strategy together and create some key looks to help draw attention to your assets and get you well on the way to a more positive you!