Northside SF  

Your closet is a wonderland: Why spending time in there might just
be good for you
By Alison Dunn

How many times have you complained that you have nothing to wear, and thengone out and bought something new, only to realize that you have virtually the same thing already hanging in your closet? I have been down this catwalk more than once before, and it has led me to where I am today: Fashion Rehab.

I have been on a shopping hiatus since June 2009. My best friend (and fellow shopaholic), Perdy Andrews, and I started a project called 365 Fashion Rehab where we set out to give up our favorite pastime of shopping for one whole year. Repeat clothing purchases, lack of real assets (as in ones that you don’t sell on eBay),excessive shopping binges … well the list goes on, and we decided to put an end to it all.

Although I wanted to be a conscious shopper, my attempts at budgeting were just not working. With celebrity fascination at an all-time high, I couldn’t stop myself from wanting what everyone else had. Was spending my hard-earned money on a pair of sunglasses designed by Victoria Beckham worth it? No, I don’t think so. My relationship with “things” was turning me into a person I almost didn’t recognize. Giving up shopping has forced me to dig deep and recognize that happiness and self-worth do notcome in the form of a designer handbag. Looking great and credit card debt do not have to go hand in hand. I wouldn’t have been able to come this far without the support of my friends and family … or my closet.

Now I have regular dates with my closet the same way I would browse the sales floor of my favorite store. I will grab a coffee, sit on the edge of my bed, peruse my hangers and decide what I am going to “buy” that day. This didn’t happen overnight, though. My closet needed a little TLC to bring itsstylish self back to life. I definitely had to haul some items back into rotation. They came from the overflowingbags of clothes that had been crammed in theback corner of my closet since before the birth of my nearly two-year-old daughter.

I actually haven’t gotten rid of anything since starting the project (that would be pureinsanity), but I have taken notice of the hits and misses. Weeding out is key to successful closet shopping. Your closet should reflect the season and be full of ready-to-wear-now pieces. The items that are a bit snug, are well made but not necessarily of the moment, and are age appropriate but not currently appealing, can be stored in the back of your closet for a later date.

Now for the tough stuff!What should you get rid of? Anything that you wore as a teenager, pieces that are not flattering to your body type no matter how much you work out, and items that do not fit your lifestyle. You also should call in a trusted friend for a second opinion. My downfall was that I would binge and purge my wardrobe quarterly, only to go out and replace what I had just given away, which could be considered routine for any shopaholic.

Once your closet is well organized, where do you start? Love those red pumps but they never see the light of day? Don’t let them bean afterthought; make them the star of your ensemble. Pair them with your skinny black pants, cream-colored blouse, cinch it with a belt and voila!You are ready to go! Make a pact with yourself that you will wear one “new” (by “new” I mean something in your closet rarely worn – we all have them!) piece each day for two weeks. You will be amazed at your creativity and the compliments you receive.

So what are you waiting for? Sidle up to that closet of yours and tell it how much you havemissed your time together. Make a pact for the next few months to only buy items that are absolute necessities, and let your creativity unfold. Your closet (and your credit cards) will thank you.

Alison Dunn lives in the Marina. Read more about her year of no shopping at

September 2011 Issue


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