I am Punk Jenny, Corporate Jenny, and Urbane Jenny. Each me dresses differently. My closet has the moto section, the oxford shirt section, and the skinny pants section—it looks like three different people share it. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se—it’s natural to have more than one side to ourselves. I only worry because sometimes it gets me into trouble.
You know when you go to work and then to a bar afterward without going home to change first? There’s nothing like wearing office clothes into a hipper-than-thou setting to make you feel seriously uncool. But what’s the answer? Wear business clothes but carry bar clothes around with you? What if you make last minute plans? After this happened to me often enough, I realized that having my closet divided so drastically was forcing me to go into situations dressed in ways that made me feel uncomfortable.
The moral of this story is not that I should try harder to dress appropriately for situations, or that I should try to care less about what others might be thinking of me. I don’t want to spend more time on my clothes. I want to spend far, far less time. And I know that people make judgments about my appearance. I try not to let it bother me, but sometimes it does. SO—I want to spend less time on my clothes and I can’t change the way my brain works. BUT—I want to look amazing in every situation, know I look amazing, and feel comfortable because of it.
I’ve realized that the answer is to have one unified, coherent, spectacular wardrobe that expresses the most precious parts of my personality. It should be one single wardrobe instead of many smaller separate ones. Now, how does one create this wardrobe?
The list! The list? Yes, the list. I promise the list will save you from clothing purgatory.
Here’s how it works. Brainstorm a list of words that you want your style to be. And here’s the key—each word has to work for each of your personalities. A word doesn’t go on the list unless it works for all of them.
Here’s my list:
The brilliance (if I do say so myself) of this is that if you force yourself to dress so that every single outfit uses items that ALL meet ALL of these criteria, you will be set for every situation. In my case, it forces Corporate Jenny to make those outfits on the more boring end of the spectrum more eye catching and dynamic, and forces Punk Jenny to do something other than those boring moto jacket/black jeans outfits. What about Urbane Jenny? She has to add a little flair to the standard skinny jeans with boots and boyfriend jacket combo.
I know the list seems like it might be an overly simplistic way to deal with a complicated problem, but it really does work as long as you take the brainstorming seriously enough so that you get a list of qualities that you truly care about.