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Feb 20, 2014

Jill Chivers' 6 Week Mini Course Review & 40 Hangers Closet

I've been working on the Jill Chivers' email mini course in the past 6 weeks and I am ready to share my exploration into this 'challenge!'

First off, the course DOES cover what it sets out to do. It helps you tame your spending with clothing, AND it helps you learn more about your 'style personality' and how to tame your own wardrobe.

I just spent a while last night, taming my closet and although the course content does not give specifics on HOW to actually sort or organize your closet ie. there are no pictures of sorting methods or which organizational system will benefit you more (I will try to share some tips on this in the future), there is enough 'encouragement' I guess, to get you to take action. Or at least in my case, I ended up Googling 'how to sort wardrobe' and found a delightful new system called 'The 40 Hanger Closet' which worked out beautifully for me! :-)

Inspirational images I found for my closet...

The 40 Hanger Closet is not something that Jill Chivers endorses, just something I found, but I really liked it because compared to Project 333, it was easier to work with. As you can see from the images, although it is called 40 Hangers, you still have lots of shoes, accessories and folded up Tshirts and knit tops in your closet arsenal... so it wasn't as 'stressful' for me to 'Minimalize.'

I know that Project 333 does allow you to choose your own number but because it is called 333, and the initial guideline itself is 33 items for 3 months, I feel like I'm not really winning if I call it 553 or something like that...

Suffice to say, my 3 sectioned dressing room looks beautiful now with my main built in storage, my 2ndary standing armoire, and my coat rack totaling 40 hangers in all. With other compartments and drawers housing my other articles of clothing...

I can't say that it looks like a 'Boutique' yet, but it certainly is getting there! I especially LOVE my pants hanging neatly in a row, and that part of my wardrobe DEFINITELY looks like a boutique! I still have to find a way to store my accessories and jewelry, though.

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Anyhow, to continue with the 'review'...

Secondly, the 6 week course gives lots of thought prompts for those still struggling with shopping issues. I've actually weaned myself off from shopping last year Summer onwards. So I didn't have as much of a need to address these shopaholic tendencies... which I used to have in my twenties.

So, those of you who really spend a lot on clothes and fashion, with little yield and empty wallets or overwhelming credit card bills, please get yourself to a 12 step recovery group OR heed Jill Chivers' advice! The wonderful thing about Chivers' program is that it is specific to WOMEN AND FASHION SHOPPING, which I do believe is more pronounced in women's behavior than in men.

I personally spent my 6 weeks, not buying frivolously for fashion. I did get some thermals during my visit to Chicago, but I did not spend on getting any new clothes otherwise! And it really gave me the 'Power Pause' as Jill calls it, to reflect upon my behavior.

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I think though, my final and my most favored part of her email course was... this. 

Learning about 'Personality Dressing.' Boy, that really was a savvy, nifty little exercise she gave us! I learnt about myself SO MUCH from this! I hope you can learn from it too!

I mean, having been through heaven and hell of color draping, to learning how to Dress My Truth according to Carol Tuttle's system, and learning about Zodiac dressing and Fashion Feng Shui, and two dozen other fashion authors all pushing their concepts and theories on us... I really feel like I've seen and researched more than enough.

Those of you who have read some of my past blog posts would know that I've done Kibbe as well as 18 Personalities, looked at Capsule Wardrobe from iVillage, as well as clothes clusters from Sterling Style Academy, as well as the differing seasonal color analyses out there including the highly revered Sci/Art system. (Wait, maybe I haven't blogged about them ALL yet...)

Anywho, the approach that Jill Chivers espouses reminded me of two very old school fashion and style writers, as well as Fashion Feng Shui's course exercise my friends did for their homework assignment. Her approach to figuring out how you choose to dress and how you already dress, and delving into WHY gave me insights about my way of dressing, far more succinctly than any system or exercise I'd done so far!

So yes, I felt really good for finally getting round to doing her email course!

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For the die-hard fans of fashion and style reading, the two old school writers that this exercise reminded me of are, a) the two female authors of 'Simple Isn't Easy: How to Find Your Personal Style and Look Fantastic Every Day!' namely Olivia Goldsmith and Amy Fine Collins, and b) the authors of '10 Steps to Fashion Freedom: Discover Your Personal Style From the Inside Out' by Malcolm Levene and Kate Mayfield.

I remember reading these two books in my 20s, as a starting out fashion-lover and shopper. The former gives 6 recipes of creating your 'Personal Uniform' as well as teaching you how important it is to try on EVERYTHING you own. And how to come up with your own dressing recipe. For example, the author Ms. Goldsmith shares how her personal uniform is 6 quality pants with well chosen silk blouse collection, with some special occasion skirts. I think it was from reading this book that I first actually tried on everything I owned, and thinking and feeling that I must create my own 'uniform.'

The latter book, focused more on writing things down in your journal. And reflecting on the image you want to project. I remember it was from this book that I started thinking about my favorite fashion icons, as well as 'keywords' to describe my personal fashion style.

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Well, if I had only one choice, I'd go with Jill Chivers' exercise. It cut through a lot of 'misguided' thinking about what is needed and how much is needed to dress myself well.

And it really helped me discover what was already happening, in a fresh new important way! It was like learning about myself from a completely different perspective...

I think it was the Lesson 7 from Week 3. I had to examine how I was dressing myself already and what worked, and WHY I felt this way about the article of clothing I repeatedly wore or loved to wear.

I won't share all the steps here because I think it might infringe upon copyrights issues and such, and I would like Jill Chivers to do well in her business! But actually singling out the clothes I wore often and loved to wear, and writing it down WHY it was happening so gave me a new confidence about my fashion choices and what really mattered to me.

Chivers gets you to examine the opposite too, about what doesn't work and what you hate to wear and examine those too. This list I came up with was even more insight giving than the first!

Let's give you a taste of what I learnt about myself:

a) from what I love to wear and wear often, I found that being current and wearing slimming clothes, as well as having clothes that were chic/calming/flirty/festive were important to me. Having that range mattered to me in my clothing selections.

b) from what disliked wearing and avoided wearing from my existing stash of clothes, being well covered in terms of both being warm and hitting the right lengths, as well as having the right weight of fabric so that my flabby skin won't show was paramount, as well as the garment fabric not being coarse meant a lot to me.

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To wrap up, Jill Chivers email course was really worth the money. The only small yet solvable problem I personally had with the format of her course was that it did not give you any access to a 'Group' or 'Community' and that for a 'social learner' like me, getting email inboxes alone didn't inspire me enough to read through the lessons and answer them all. I needed a social context and like minded friends to actually DO the email course.

Thanks for reading!

Be stylish, be you!



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