THE BLOG
07/25/2016 10:46 am ET Updated Jul 26, 2017

How to be Your Own Fashion Editor

How to be Your Own Fashion Editor
by Sharon White with Janna Beatty

Ask any of your friends the question, "How are you?" and their succinct, immediate answer will undoubtedly be: busy. That pretty much sums it up for most of us. We are so plugged in we often feel as though we should upgrade to a newer, more efficient version of ourselves. We are constantly looking for ways to increase the size of our own power strip. I work in the fashion and consulting industry. My advice to clients: Learn to edit.
The definition of edit is: to oversee, rule, manage, correct, revise, amend, change, control. So how can we become our own fashion editors? The first step is to learn about ourselves and establish priorities for our individual lifestyles.
We are bombarded by so many fashion dos and don'ts, prescriptions for style, and skincare and makeup how-tos, we can't help but be confused. I have noticed that some of the information fashion bloggers frequently relay about beauty and style is actually excellent--for them. But what about the rest of us? The blogger on the other side of the computer screen is using herself and her preferences as the context for her own blog. She wears shades, cuts, and prints that work best for her personal coloring and body type. It is perfectly fine to follow fashion bloggers--for inspiration and views on trends. But I caution my clients: "To thine own style be true."
Do you know which cuts of clothing work best for your body type? Can you 'see' colors that light you up, versus those that dull you down? Do you recognize those prints and patterns that harmonize with you naturally? Should you wear fabrics with texture or without texture to create the best look? Do you look better in white or off-white, black or navy? If you can't answer these questions, don't feel bad. The majority of my new clients cannot. It's my job to teach my clients to 'see' themselves more clearly. Once they know which colors, styles, and patterns work for them. They can become their own personal fashion editors.
Overwhelmed and inundated are two words that describe many of the clients who come to me. I see it every day in my business--and it is reflected in their closets. As we seek and are showered with massive amounts of online information, virtual shopping is supposed to make life more efficient. It is easy to "load up" on sale items and bargain fashions. Clothing is so inexpensive that it can be considered disposable. Except that we never seem to dispose of it.
I teach people how to shop.
Over the years my clients have called me a super shopper. But I am really just a 'ruthless editor.' I know what works best for each client and I literally put blinders on when I see garments that don't work. This instantly cuts down clothing choices by at least two-thirds. Shopping--and dressing--simply becomes a process of elimination.
Be your own style editor when you shop. Whether you are buying in a department store or online, if you know yourself, you can search out garments with the specific criteria that 'fits you,' rather than becoming a slave to trends or bargains. Try not to be blinded by the flash of fashion.
Another place where you have editorial control is your own closet. Tossing out items that are not flattering, are outdated, or that no longer fit, will free up space for things that you truly love and feel good about wearing. Once you begin to stock your closet with fewer clothes that actually "go with you," you'll be surprised at how many of the new items will go with each other.
It's okay to give up your clothing. Sometimes clients bring garments to show me during events at my studio. They wonder why they never wear these outfits. (Truthfully, many times the items were on sale--such a good deal, it couldn't be passed up.) I call these "B" outfits. Those outfits that, for one reason or another, aren't quite as flattering as they could be--whether it be fit, color, comfort, etc. I can usually tell why an outfit doesn't work, and I don't hesitate to tell clients. It gives them permission to delete/edit items from their wardrobe--a complimentary service that always ends with happy results.
A professional editor's job is to train the eye to eliminate the superfluous. When we become our own fashion editors, we are in control. We get to make the choices that help us feel most confident and ultimately reflect our authentic selves. Don't be afraid to hit the delete button whether you are in your closet or while you are shopping. It is always important to hold to your own standards of personal style and excellence. The option to edit gives us that power.

Sharon White and Janna Beatty are co-authors of the award-winning book, Quintessential Style: Cultivate and Communicate Your Signature Look. Find them at Qstylethebook.com.