How often do you look in your closet and discover you have nothing to wear? According to New York City-based image consultant George Brescia, it probably happens more often than you think.
“A lot of women … wear a small percentage of their closet, as little as 5 percent. They have a full closet, but they don’t know how to wear what is in there,” says Brescia, author of “Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life: Because You Can’t Go Naked” (Gallery Books, $22).
I don’t have to tell you how much money we waste on clothing that doesn’t fit or that we never wear. Brescia’s goal is to help you build a closet full of perfect 10s – clothing that looks great on you no matter where you are going or what you are doing. Getting there does not require you to follow trends or rules or to spend a lot of time and money shopping. It means deciding what you want to communicate through your clothing and using your best assets to do it.
“People don’t have a closet full of 10s because they don’t realize every aspect of their lives is important,” Brescia says. Forget shopping for clothing to “run around in,” he says. And don’t bother consulting magazines so you can stock up on seasonal trends.
“You always want to accentuate your best assets whether it is your blue eyes or your great legs. Maybe that is not the trend, but it is what you look good in,” Brescia says.
The whole process can be overwhelming, but a good place to start is with Brescia’s list of 22 items every woman should have in her closet. Here are a dozen of the items on his list:
• A classic little black dress (LBD)
• A sexy, pull-out-all-the-stops dress (which could also be your LBD)
• A pencil skirt
• A pair of black dress pants
• The ultimate pair of jeans
• A silk blouse
• Three perfect tees
• A cashmere sweater
• Two perfect cardigans
• A fitted blazer
• A classic fitted trench coat
• A great winter coat
The list is important, but more important is finding the version of those items in the best color, fit and style that make them perfect for you.
“Take those essentials and tailor them to what looks good on you,” Brescia says. “We talk about the LBD, but you have to get the black dress that fits your body. Is it a sheath, a fit and flare or is it a black jumpsuit?”
When it comes to colors, Brescia says it is important to try different ones. “You can tell in two minutes when you are illuminated,” he says. Consider the items in your wardrobe that draw compliments when you wear them. This is a good indication of which colors work best for you.
In his book, Brescia walks you through the many stages of changing your wardrobe to improve your life, but he notes, this isn’t a one-shot type of thing.
“Every season you want to go through what is working for you and what is not working,” he says. “You are waking up to your life and becoming present in your life and showing up in the world.”
And that is something we should do every day.