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Monday, April 10, 2006

Education by the Book

I continued my education this week with a newly published book: Nothing to Wear: A Five Step Cure for the Common Closet by Joe Lupo and Jesse Garza. I have a habit of reading these "closet" dream books. After a certain number of them, there really is nothing new under the sun. But I have to say, I LOVED Lupo and Garza's book. First of all, this was somewhat realistic for those of us living the churchmouse-chic lifestyle. Yes, the fashion lists included names like Gucci, and Hermes. But --- it also included the Gap, Talbots, and Ann Taylor. The closet cleaning and organizing section contained clear directions and simply shopping lists. Those shopping lists actually included WalMart, KMart and Target as suggested sources. These men are not advocating the unrealistically expensive cedar hangers (not on my budget, not in this lifetime!). They actually recommend the inexpensive plastic, tubular hangers that I adore from KMart. "All one color, all one style," they recommend. They comment that it gives your closet the look of a chic boutique.
I took another look at mine. I have white, tubular hangers from KMart. Yes, they're all the same and because KMart is affordable and accessible, I can add to my collection at any time. I'll confess, I did it because it looks neat and clean. My closet can be an absolute mess at times, any help I can get in the looking neat department is welcomed. I don't think I'm looking anything like a chic botique right now, but the closet does look pretty good.
The closets in the book are the usual gorgeous built-ins --- white shelving everywhere, custom nooks and cubbies abound. This is not going to happen in my life and my budget. I have the white canvas sweater organizers that hang from the rod as my cubbies. I have a set of white shelving from HomeDepot that my husband and I crawled around on the floor and assembled ourselves one weekend. Its not custom built, but its clean, neat, functional, and organized.
I may not be rich and famous. I may not have the trust-fund to afford stylists and custom closets. But part of living on the coattails is having the frugal version of all of that. I have a lovely closet, not the crammed, disorganized mess that so many of us in the churchmouse category own. I read books like Nothing to Wear, and I take notes. I learn, I grow. I keep an idea file (something they also recommend) so that I know what I want and what I love. I can look for repetitive themes to guide my purchases and keep my look smart and elegant and chic.
I love books like Nothing to Wear. They educate me for a fraction of what hiring a personal stylist would cost me. I went to the Visual-Therapy website. A session with the authors of this book would set me back over $4000 between the up front fee and the shopping fee. Then what would I spend on clothes?? Thank you very much. I'll take my $4000 shopping (okay, I'll take my $400 shopping!) and read the book and take notes instead.