Monday, 29 August 2011

Getting ready for Fall, part 1 | Divide and conquer

Fall is the most important shopping season for the fashion industry. While insiders have already moved on to Spring 2012, magazines introduce women to Fall/Winter 2011 fashion with their thickest editions of the year (remember the documentary "The September Issue"?), and consumers reward the industry with big business during this period. As the fashionable mom does not escape the trend, this post launches our series on FW11 fashion with tips about how to get ready for Fall.

The fashionable mom's challenge as she gets ready for Fall is that this iconic moment coincides with going back to school for the little ones in her life. Before this moment, all her energies are mainly concentrated on assembling school packages and other related necessities. Summer wear is disoderly thrown back in her closet and once school starts, in the morning there is not too much time to think about what to wear and to look for it in case it is not immediately accessible.

My rule and my advice is thus to have clothes and accessories organized before the new academic year frenzy begins. Adding to this space with new purchases is something I generally do later, once everyone has gotten into the new year's routine and I have more time to breathe. (I will thus come back to this point in my next posts.)

The best moment to begin your preparations obviously depend on where you live and thus when Fall starts. If you are one of those lucky ones who enjoys a Southern climate and will not see Fall until January my advice will definitely come too early for you. Even I will actually have to make some adjustments this year, since Fall in Milan should be milder and last longer than what I am used to in Canada.

The key to my preparations is to divide and conquer. To do so, the organization of my closet space is extremely important. At home in Canada as in the apartment we will be staying this year in Milan, I have created three separate spaces in my closet:
1) a main space for in-season clothing, which includes drawers or shelves for knitwear, belts, and handbags;
2) a space for eveningwear and outerwear, including their corresponding accessories such as evening clutches and scarves hats and gloves;
3) a space to store out-of-season clothing and accessories, either on hangers or in boxes.

These spaces can co-exist in one closet, or can correspond to different areas in your house. The important thing is to make them readily identifiable. For instance, if you have one big closet, you can put out-of-season clothing inside garment bags and move them to one of the least accessible corners, while leaving the central area for items you daily wear. If you have separate spaces in your home, the latter should always be placed in the most accessible area -- where you could fish out items even with the lights off. You may notice I have not mentioned shoes. It is because I do not like to store them together with my clothes, because they may create unpleasant smells. I keep only evening shoes (in their original boxes) with my eveningwear, but everything else goes in a separate place. For instance, at home in Canada, I keep rain and winter boots in the mudroom -- but I will have to come up with creative solutions for our apartment in Milan.

Once all my in-season clothing is in the main area of my closet, I further divide it into tops, bottoms, jeans, dresses, and knitwear. (Experts will tell you to also color-code your items, from light to dark shades, but I seldom do it.) I also divide outerwear into light items (trenches, peacoats, leather jackets) and heavy items (winter coats and puffer jackets).

You're done! This strategy should allow you to glide through your closet and easily find what to wear in the morning!

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