Wardrobe Remix: Danielle

Note: This is the start of a series on how to update your wardrobe creatively. The posts will feature several guest bloggers with ideas on how change up your closet for the season.

remixdaInspired by the creativity and diverse styles around me, I started asking friends and local bloggers to pull together their top tips for a seasonal wardrobe shift. Then, the idea of a remix sprang to life because the focus is careful, deliberate wardrobe planning (as opposed to a budget-busting haul post). As the great ideas started rolling in, my vision for my own closet shifted. Instead of a wardrobe makeover, I’m making room this season.

In my closet this season, I’m making room. – Danielle, Verderamade

It started with buying a matching hangers. Wait, no, it started with a request from my husband to get rid of wire hangers. No, further back… it started when my apartment caught on fire a few years ago. Also known as, the spring that I realized my wardrobe is not the center of the universe.

On New Years Eve, a temperamental stove turned our holiday celebration into a shivering sidewalk wait as the fire department threw a 1/4 of my belongings out the window. Then, on New Years Day, I awoke on a cold, empty room in a sleeping bag with my husband and my cat. I was grateful, homeless, and without a change of clothing.

Everything in our apartment was dirty or damaged — unfit for use. As everything left for the cleaners, I was left with a perplexing situation. Buying a new wardrobe seemed ridiculous –some of my stuff would surely return. So, I borrowed two pairs of pants and two shirts with a plan to rewash them in the middle of the week. That mid-week washing turned into four months of wearing two outfits.

(I kept thinking my things would return “very soon.”)

During that time, I felt self-conscious at my marketing job. But, if there is an antonym for drama-queen, I aspired to win that label during my small crisis.  Life was stressful, living in a temporary, empty space. Life was frightening, running away from a fire clutching my cat as my husband pushed me away from clouds of smoke. Life was exhausting, fighting with insurance companies about who was at fault and who should pay for the damage.

However, I didn’t want to wear my crazy for everybody at work to see. However, a need to take a final insurance phone call revealed that, “Yes, I was still living in a temporary space and hadn’t anyone noticed that I only wore two outfits for the past four months?”

Nope. People weren’t just being polite. They truly didn’t notice that the blue and white blouses and the grey trousers were being heavily rotated. So, I truly embraced the minimalist philosophy. For my closet, this became my new focus. I needed to start making room for more important things than clothes.

Making Room for Positive Growth

#allthethings that I can’t wear is becoming a much shorter list. #allthethings I can do is growing much longer. Raised on magazines and criticism, I have worried too much about what people think, how I look, and how all of that will be interpreted. Frankly, it’s taken 29 years on this earth to manage the internal dialogue of the shaming, body-police. They still police but, I’m no longer echoing those phrases. I take my measurements to alter my clothes to fit my current body — a stark contrast to when I would make plans to alter my body to fit new clothes.

“And yet you are all that you have, so you must be enough. There is no other way.”
― Marya Hornbacher, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia

I need to keep this body warm and healthy while it carries around my mind and soul. A wardrobe focused on goals beyond flattering my figure, such as being a #girlboss and artist, has allowed me to make room for personal growth.

Making Room for Sweet Memories

My relationship with costume jewelry has come full circle with some of my recent projects. As a child, I loved everything that glittered, even if it wasn’t gold. I appreciated the whimsy of the cheapest trinkets and elevated them to art with my imagination. Then, as I grew older, I started to fear their tawdry, chipped green underbelly.

“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

I didn’t cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies. However, I love the theme of costume jewelry from the perspective of Misty. That character is the center of Chuck Palahuniuk’s Diary, an artist with a preference for old mansions, fake broaches, and bad boys. As a young adult, I was torn between nostalgia and all the girls around me who wanted real “rocks”. I’ve never lusted for diamonds, preferring sapphires or Anne Shirley’s amethysts. Then, I started collecting bits of broken jewelry from family and friends. I transformed those broken bits into floral crowns, bracelets, pendant necklaces and keychains. Sure, some of the parts are cheap bits of glass, wood, and copper. But, the history is something that runs very deep into our collective past. So, I am continuing to explore and embrace these sweet (sometimes borrowed) memories.

Making Room for Good Vibes

No matter the order of your morning routine, standing before the closet is a part of that list. At times, I have dreaded that confrontation. Truly, it was a confrontation as my clothing screamed about all the things I was lacking. A wishlist for good figure, clear skin, perfect hair, and straight teeth all distracted me from getting dressed and getting out the door. In my early twenties, my bra size tripled — leaving me to freak out for years about button-popping blouses. It seems like such a silly daily drama, now.

“Please accept my shine.” – Beyonce Knowles, Run the World (Girls)

If we’re going to #runtheworld then, let’s run it with a little dignity and a lot of happy feelings. I’ve taken everything out of my closet that makes me feel crappy. That’s probably not clear advice but, it’s the truth. If an item reminds me of something negative, it’s gone. This includes:

  • jewelry from a controlling ex
  • a shrug stretched by a bitchy roomate
  • a sweatshirt that makes people ask if I’m pregnant
  • a cheap blouse that puckers across my chest
  • shoes that I wore for a terribly unfair performance review

Do I always look good? I’ll never be sure. I do know, however, that I want to feel good. I am letting of that daily torturous dialogue, that sometimes made me such a noxious and unpleasant individual. Seriously, who needs to bring that negative commentary with them into the world each day? So, I have finally made room for more life in my wardrobe– a clearer personal style through positive growth, sweet memories, and good vibes.

Next, you’ll be hearing from several of my favorite artists, crafters, thinkers, and bloggers. Each has their own take on a cold weather wardrobe remix. To stay in the loop on this series –please follow this blog, instagram, or facebook. Also, please sound off in the comments with how you’re remixing your wardrobe for the next season.

If you’re interested in guest blogging for a future remix series, please contact me directly.


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