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Paula Mangin Headshot

The Rules: How to Break-Up With Your Closet

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Last week was hell. Self-inflicted, nail-breaking, spring cleaning hell.

After the August fire of last summer, where every piece of clothing and accessory I own had to be taken away, de-smoked and rid of soot, it became increasingly clear that I might have a problem with collecting.

When a van pulled up for a third time to deliver more of my stuff, (or more accurately at this point, shit,) I knew I was in trouble. I had crossed into hoarders territory, but in a more organized way and thank god without any rodents involved. (There was one dead beetle on the turtleneck of an old Katayone Adeli sweater dress, but that was the worst of it. Maybe.)

I do clean out my closet once a year, but it was now pretty obvious to me that I wasn't being hard enough on myself or my wardrobe. I knew if I could find an ally to help purge, I wouldn't be able to lie to myself anymore.

Rhianna at Acne could be my truth-teller/psychologist if she'd say, "yes." And she did.

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So far we've worked for 14 hours. We filled three laundry bags of clothes to donate to Salvation Army, made one trip to Buffalo Exchange where I made $320. We still have two more extra-large size plaid bags waiting to go to Buffalo, as well as two plaid bags for consignment shop, Tokio 7 in Manhattan.

Among our findings in my bins and racks was the 25-year-old Betsey Johnson suit that started my whole friendship with Paula. Part of my High-School Prom outfit, pregnancy pants, lots of mesh. (Why?) Multiple black cotton comfy maxi house dresses, impulse purchases and Impulse purchases from when I worked in the Impulse Department of Macy's in 1990.

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Luckily during all this purging I didn't cry. There were tears from hysteric laughing, especially when we found the dead beetle on my turtleneck dress. As Rhianna pointed out, I should have died while wearing it since it was so ugly. True.

I've learned I make the same mistakes over and over again in my wardrobe purchases, and I need some rules in place that are just for me, to make me a smarter shopper.

My Rules:

  1. Less volume, more voluptuous.
  2. Highlight my waist, don't hide it.
  3. Retreat from pleats and run from ruching.
  4. Embrace my boobs: Cleavage is good, high neckline not so.
  5. I don't have to wear stars to feel like one.
  6. A high-wasted silhouette helps my 5'4″ deficiency.
  7. Dare myself to step out of my comfort zone and into new pieces -- like glam/punk S&M shoes and crocodile pajamas.
  8. If my eyes don't sparkle when I try something on, take it off.
  9. Printed fabrics make me happy, but only when applied to handsome shapes that work for me (see above).

What are your fashion rules?

I'm learning they're really good to have. If you don't have any rules, make a list with a friend. It will save you a lot of money and embarrassment in the end.

Now when I try something on, I'll hear Rhianna's judgment call: "That doesn't do anything for you." Or better, "Yes, total SMILF."

Words to live by. I've always wanted to be a SMILF.

Next week we're continuing my journey to SMILFdom and organizing my closet with my newly condensed wardrobe. The best part? I get to add a few pieces to make my wardrobe slightly more contemporary and a smidge less vintage.

I'll definitely keep you posted on the final outcome. And if you happen to be in the market for mesh, I know a Buffalo Exchange that just got a large shipment.

Written by Jennifer Boyd-Einstein.

Originally posted on Blankstareblink.com.