Transform U: Seed Your New Garden

By Auretha Callison

Last month you tilled, now plant new clothes in your closet.
by Auretha Callison
You’ve decided that this is the year to transform your image. You’ve made it through the slush in style; you’ve cleared your closet to create space for the new. Now what?

The first thing to do in creating a new wardrobe is to make a list of what you want and need. Where are the holes in your closet? (Narnia, here we come!)

Let’s say you need a classic raincoat, a new flattering swimsuit, and Tevastm for that river trip. Oh, and an updated white blouse for under that suit, shoes to match, and a bag for your laptop….

Your long list can seem daunting. Questions like these start piling up:

• How much shopping time am I going to have to put in to gather all these clothes?
• Where do I get all this stuff?
• How expensive will it be?

As your personal shopping diva, my advice is to follow this plan: First, prioritize your needs. Then create a budget. It’s realistic to budget $400 a month for a year if you are completely redoing your wardrobe (including shoes, coats, underwear).

Just so you know…it’s okay to buy new clothing. It’s not an eco-sin. You will not develop a shopping addiction. It’s okay. We are not allowed to walk around naked in public, and it’s okay for you to buy new clothes. I know you needed to hear that.

Next, determine your shopping sites. Where have you liked to shop in the past? Base your decisions on who has the best return policy, salespeople, lighting in their dressing rooms (scratch that-they all suck), company reputation and green policies. Who carries clothes that fit your body? How do you feel in the store-helped or ignored? The best salespeople are the ones who are emotionally available to actually listen to what you need.

You can start at the sale racks. Timing is everything. Ask sales staff about the store’s sale times throughout the year, take notes and mark them in your planner. Careful sale shopping can save you 60% or more on retail prices.

If you see something that sets your heart pounding because you absolutely love it, don’t put that off hoping it will still be around at sale time. This kind of response to a garment only happens a few times times in one life. You only live once, so go for it!

Finding and gathering these sartorial tools for transformation (i.e., clothes) does take time. Grimace, wince, do a little shudder dance. Once you’ve gotten that out of your system, allow yourself a joyful squeal. It’s fun to get new stuff! It’s new clean energy entering your world! As you gain age and wardrobe wisdom, you should be improving and updating constantly. You recognize your best colors, your best fit-your best everything.

Care less about what other people think and more about what you think. If a "man bag" suits your life, then get one, and make it snappy! I’m all for men having their phones and keys in one place.

Finding all these new fabulous tools feels good. Looks good. Is good. Have fun with it and transform one petal at a time. Begin the change that you long to see in the world. 

Auretha Callison is an image and essence consultant in Salt Lake City, Utah and there is no one more fun to go shopping with.

This article was originally published on April 1, 2008.