Quarantine and working from home has lowered the fashion bar for so many that lately it feels as if making sure an item is clean is all that matters. OK, so we may no longer have to worry if our blacks match or if our tops are tucked, but that doesn’t mean we have to forgo our style. Maybe it’s time to rethink what we’re wearing while we’re sitting on our couch taking that Zoom call, but that doesn’t mean we have to buy a whole new wardrobe.
Covid-19 has all of us taking a second look at what’s hanging in our closets. With fewer places to go we’re figuring out that we don’t need more clothes, just better quality basics that last. So if we’re shopping less, how do we keep in style with the clothes we already own?
I called on a good friend, Suze Solari who’s an expert at making the best use of the wardrobes we already own to learn how we can stay in fashion.
G: Hey Suze, I know you as a stylish, talented friend but what’s your “real” title?
Suze: I am an Image Consultant and Fashion Author.
G: You always look amazing. Tell me your backstory. How did you become a fashion icon?
Suze: Ahh, you are too sweet. My background is Interior Design. It’s how I harnessed my love for a creative aesthetic, in a room and on a body, and how I honed my ability to combine color texture & pattern.
I always followed fashion and once my kids were in school, I was able to start my personal styling business 10 years ago. I thought it would be fun, and I knew I could help people.
I wrote a fashion column for a local paper, The Wednesday Journal for 5 years and published my first book, The T-Shirt + Jeans Handbook 6 years ago.
My goal was to help busy women, who had somehow forgotten about themselves, to provide a support system and to offer a set of resources to look and feel empowered. Since then I’ve written 4 more handbooks, including The 5 Day Closet Cleanse which launched last month.
G: The timing of this book is perfect since we’re spending a lot more time at home these days. How do we stay fashionable when clean sweat pants feel as if that’s the best we can do?
Suze: It can be challenging. The key is to be aware that what we wear affects how we feel and contributes to our results. So with a little planning we can affect the outcome and achieve our goals just by having the right pieces in our closets that flatter and light us up.
G: So the real challenge is to find those “right pieces” that do that. How do we keep from feeling overwhelmed when we open our closet and see all the stuff we own and the mess inside?
Suze: Also a challenge, LOL…
Keeping order in our closets, especially if they’re small, requires determination and having a system for evaluating, editing and possibly removing what doesn’t serve us and adopting a method for creating ’new’ outfits from what we have. We must also be conscious of how we bring things in and if that practice is the best use of our resources; for example, we need to look at the best use of our time and consider how much new items cost.
G: What should we do before we purge our closet?
Suze: When I’m working with clients, which I’ve done remotely by the way for years, I recommend a thorough evaluation of those items and why we’re not wearing them. I have ‘rules for removal’ and caution them not to remove hastily. Often times, we’re just missing one or two items, like an accessory to make that piece into a dynamite outfit.
G: Speaking of, are there any accessories that should be basics in our wardrobe?
Suze: Yes, accessories are KEY to easily updating your look, and something I find is commonly neglected.
Go for color is my best suggestion: a scarf, a MAJAMAS EARTH headband, a shiny, chunky necklace.
These have an important affect on how you see yourself and how others respond to you as well.
G: What do you recommend holding onto?
Suze: There are tried and true foundational pieces that are essential to making great outfits over and over again that I advise keeping and updating the condition of seasonally.
G: Which brings us to back to basics. Are there any basics you believe in keeping, or one garment we should all own?
Suze: I have a famous ‘Top 10’ list of wardrobe pieces and accessories that I send out to my community as a resource. There is a one such list included in most of my books, including a current list in my new book. At the top is a Fitted Blazer, and if you can find a bright red one to layer over a white scoop or V-neck top (also on the list) you will be well prepared for any Zoom work call.
G: Since we’re shopping less, which is a good thing, how do we keep our wardrobe “fresh”?
Suze: We can do a little planning.
Knowing what we need in our closets and adding a few seasonal pieces to compliment our basics and favorite items is a great way to keep things fresh.
Right now, cropped flared trousers in light weights for summer feel fresh and new.
G: You know me and my mission to stop fast fashion. How do we make sure we shop responsibly?
Suze: It’s critical that we research where the things we buy come from, what those manufactures’ processes are, what they stand for and if they are helping our planet or hurting it.
I enjoy buying from Vintage and Resale shops. It’s the most green way to shop and you get the added benefit of owning something that’s ‘one of a kind’. Shopping with intention, using a list of what we need to guide us and not mindlessly shopping is an empowering practice for ourselves and our world.
G: I wholeheartedly agree. I know recommending people shop second hand sounds contradictory to my business model but as you said, updating a few basics with ethically-made, high quality pieces is great advice and we have beautiful options available at MAJAMAS EARTH. Our focus has shifted to offering more versatile basics and of course Organic and ethically-made intimates which I would never purchase second hand.
Suze: Yes, good point.
G: Where can we pick up your new book The 5 Day Closet Cleanse?
Suze: It’s available on Amazon for $4.49 but it’s also available on iBooks, Barnes & Noble and more.
G: Anything else you want to add about your book?
Suze: I hope people will use it as an organizational tool but it’s more than that.
I included a shopping guide and designed it to be used as an outfit planning resource.
I believe it provides a step by step process for how to bring our closets into harmony with our lives.
G: No more dissonance! What a great way to start finding harmony… with our closets. Thank you for speaking with ME Suze!
– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer
NOTE: Along with supporting local second hand shops and small eco-conscious companies, we encourage you to show your support for Black, women-owned businesses like those listed on BFABW (Buy From A Black Woman).
Let ME know:
What sustainable work from home staples do you wear on repeat?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below!