I do hope that you have read my earlier posts about the four A’s of image management.
Today I will discuss the importance of the fourth A.
The last and perhaps the crucial A stands for Affordability.
We live in weird and wonderful times. We have unlimited access to information at our finger tips. We are inundated with information on subjects that sometimes we are not even aware of. This barrage of information can be both intimidating and overwhelming.
Individuals are posting pictures of themselves on social media minute by minute. A new outfit may get you a lot of likes, but the downside is that you almost can never repeat it, simply because too many people have seen it. Isn’t it weird and amusing?
Social media influencers and celebrities are posting brand new designer looks by the minute. Most often we fall into the trap of comparing our own wardrobes and looks, with these unrealistic standards.
While it is easy to fall into this trap, one must remember that these posts have to be viewed as inspiration and not as an expectation.
The reality I am guessing, is the same for all of us, is that we are always on a budget.
Our image management has to be Affordable, in order to sustain it and implement it. (apart from being Attractive, Authentic and Appropriate.)
To help you achieve this seemingly impossible task, I have given a few tips to create the perfect image for you, without breaking the bank.
1) Take an inventory
Take a good look at your clothes and accessories. Separate and categorize them as per their style (e.g. one piece dresses, tops, skirts, bottoms etc.). This is a very crucial part of the process. You may discover forgotten items that you have not worn for over a year, and maybe few items of clothing that are your favorite ‘go to’ pieces that you keep repeating often.
Ruthlessly discard anything that you have not worn for more that two years. Sort out items that need alterations or repairs. Be honest and unemotional with this exercise. Once you have taken out the old, you can make place for the new.
2) Create a strategy for your shopping plan.
Look for gaps in your wardrobe that need to be filled. For example, you may discover that you do not have a pair of well-fitted boot cut jeans. Or you may realize that you do not have a casual blazer. Make a note of these items and allocate a budget for this and stick to the plan. Look for ideas and inspiration on Pinterest or similar websites and create a ‘mood board’ for yourself. This will help you shop for the look that you are trying to achieve.
3) Shop for classic pieces.
While building your wardrobe, start by shopping for classics. Classics are those items of clothing or accessories that are the foundation pieces of your collection and they never go out of style. Some examples of classics are the little black dress (LBD), blue jeans, white shirt, denim jacket, black formal skirt / trouser, a string of pearls, solitaires, formal black / navy blazer ).
In the case of indian wear, classic pieces could include any tradional authentic indian saree. It could be a paithani, a kanjeevaram, a banarasi silk, a bandhani saree etc. For men, it is the bandhgala, or a pair of jodhpurs or a sleeveless bundi jacket. A beautiful jamewar shawl can also be termed as a classic item in your wardrobe.
While buying classic pieces, ensure that they are made of sturdy fabric and material and that they have an excellent finish.
Classics are timeless, they give more value for money and can be repeated many times. Occasionally even from one generation to the other. They look classy and project a very evolved and refined image .
4) Be patient.
A well curated wardrobe takes time and it evolves over years. It takes ample time and consideration to collect quality goods. Slow and steady always wins the style race. Build your wardrobe piece-by-piece, adding accent pieces to it once your foundation pieces and classic pieces are in place. Assess your wardrobe needs based on the season, your lifestyle and age, and keep tweaking your collection. Please remember, the process in constant and ongoing. Enjoy the journey; don’t be in a hurry to reach the destination!
Another great way to get more mileage and value for money from your clothes, is by clustering them.
A cluster is a collection of clothes and accessories, which when combined in a harmonious manner, look pleasant on a person.
A cluster is open ended and dynamic. Which means that you can add or delete an item from a cluster as per your changing lifestyle or current trends.
Clustering of clothes can be done with your existing wardrobe too, which means that it needs minimal shopping and loads of imagination.
A typical cluster might include the following
· A top
· A skirt
· Blue jeans
· Dark jeand
· Formal trouser
· Formal blazer
· Formal dress
· Casual dress
· Fancy High heels
· Flat shoes/ fancy sandals
· Sports shoes
· A scarf
· A black / tan hand bag
· A small cross body bag
· Wrist watch
· Pair of pearl ear studs
· Neck chain
· Fancy neck piece
In the above cluster, the top could be worn with jeans as well as a skirt. The denim jacket could be worn over a casual dress or teamed with the blue jeans. We can keep adding new items to this cluster, for example, we could add a kurti / tunic to be worn with the jeans etc.
We could have different clusters based on the occasion . Example: a work wear cluster, beach wear cluster, holiday cluster.
Apart from creating many options of mix and match from your current wardrobe, clustering can help you to save huge amounts of money without ever having to repeat an outfit plus you will never hear yourself say “ I have nothing to wear’!!
As you become more observant, aware and experienced, you will become more fluent in creating clusters according to the theme or the occasion.
Clustering of clothes can be challenging at first , but trust me, it’s a lot of fun too!
Clustering helps you to avoid impulsive shopping decisions. Your creativity is enhanced. Life just becomes so simple, sorted and beautiful!!
So, there you are. Now you are armed with the powerful 4 A’s of image management.
Do you feel empowered to take charge of your own image?
Would you like me to share tips on how to cluster your clothes and accessories? Do let me know. Do you have any other questions? Feel free to ask me.
Till the next post, stay happy , healthy and positive !
Credits- cartoon by Cassandra Calin.