Styling My Mom, part I
“But I’m not going to have anything to wear!”
“What are you going to do with that?!”
These slightly panicked outbursts from my mother, during my post-Thanksgiving visit (I hosted my brother-in-law & family at my house this year).
I decided that my birthday & Christmas gift to her would be my services as a wardrobe consultant: closet editing and personal shopping. I thought that if I broke it down into a few sessions over time, it would be less traumatic. Of course, I didn’t tell her that this was my plan.
[The adventure continues after the jump!]
My mom owns a small virtual assisting service/copy shop, and having recently lost her only employee (my sister) to college, she doesn’t have much time to shop, much less keep house. Most nights, it’s all she can do to put on a pot of pasta and do some bookkeeping before bed. I try to help her out whenever I can, and thought it was about time for some lady-pampering.
My mom actually has a pretty clear sense of style, although it has long been beaten into submission by raising 3 kids and owning a print shop (before she sold the press and invested in the mother of all copy machines). She also loves to sew, and is a total fabric-aholic. But you wouldn’t know any of this from her workaday uniform, which runs to black and practical.
My mom is also hilarious, and does comedic melodrama as well as Carol Burnett. Hence the quotes above.
My goal is to establish a flexible core wardrobe that she can easily accessorize and complement with the jewel tone colors and prints that she loves.
For the first session, I roped her into cleaning off the top of her dresser. I was looking forward to the archaeological dig, while she stood by for my instructions with trepidation.
Microfiber dust cloth in hand, and several boxes at the ready, we began.
I started by sorting the old receipts and bank slips into the containers for “recycling” and “shredding”. I re-organized her jewelry back into its trays and displays– she has a serious earring collection, including a pair of bone hoops that my dad made for her. I moved several handbags from the corner of the dresser to the closet shelf, and threw out some old bottles of various hair products.
I dusted the knick-knacks, organizers, and the dresser top itself as we progressed. Finally we approached the last obstacle, a catch-all basket* full of historical artifacts, keys with long-lost locks, and paperclips. While I finished dusting our childhood toys and tossing the bent paperclips and un-shoed shoelaces, I assigned her to pulling out everything from her closet that did not fit.
We successfully filled the small trash can, extracted at least a solid pound of paper to be recycled or shredded, and a full garbage bag of ill-fitting clothes destined for a thrift store.
We also found a floral scarf that she had never worn, but looks totally awesome with her all-black career clothes– keeper!
Some of the more interesting (i.e. random) things we unearthed from the dresser top:
- 3 matchbox cars
- 3 diaper pins
- 2 Italian lira coins
- a purse-size atomizer of Chanel No. 5, a gift from my dad (!)
Time: about an hour and a half.
*Today’s homework for updating your wardrobe:
“Catch-all containers” really live up to their name, and then some.
Stick to organizers with many dividers– and choose organizers or jewelry displays with a vertical orientation that take up a small footprint on your dresser or vanity.
Try to find an organizer that is completely open, or made of clear plastic, so you can see your jewelry and accessories, and you will be able to use them more often.
Click through these affiliate links *right here* for examples. (Yes, I will get a commission if you decide to buy. Fashion bloggers gotta eat too!)
A place for everything, and everything in its place.