Mar 21, 2017

[Column] Create Your Own Style Principle 6. Your Laundry Cycle & Cost Per Wear Principle

20 Ways to Create Your Own Style Series #06

Principle 6. Your Laundry Cycle & Cost Per Wear Principle

Today we will talk about your laundry cycle and how it might affect your personal style and wardrobe needs.
This is something that is not talked enough about in my opinion! But there is a link between the two!

First, everyone has a slightly different laundry cycle. The idea of what is 'soiled enough for a wash' differs. Some people wash their clothes after one wear. Others, may wear it a 2~3 times or 3~4 times before it is tossed into the laundry basket. 

Depending on how your body is shaped or what movements you repeatedly engage in, different parts of your clothing gets worn out. This could be how much worn a pair of jeans might be especially around the knees bit, or how much one perspires. 

Also, there is a difference in how many unrepeated outfits an individual prefers to wear in a week. Some are happy wearing the same clothes repeatedly in a week, others consciously try to have no repeat outfits in a weekly or monthly cycle. 

One final thing is depending on how frequently one shops affects the laundry cycle. You may be comfortable getting new 'on trend' clothes for each season which are not too pricey, or you may be the type of person who wants the best quality that lasts a decade while paying a higher amount for an item.

Now, depending on your wash cycle, there may be a few patterns that follow.

First, your wash cycle determines exactly how many number of clothing items you need. Those that wear repeat outfits, you may need a fewer number of items, but you may need to buy new clothes in a 1~2 year cycle. This is great if you like wearing trendy clothes or prefer to feel like you are wearing new clothes all the time. As long as you have your week's outfits covered, you're good to go. Then, there are those who consciously try to wear no repeat outfits on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly cycle. These people may need a larger number of clothing items to avoid repeats. And they may have a larger amount of clothes to launder or take to a dry cleaner's at the end of a season. As they like to seek variety in their outfits, they will receive a lot of attention from their fashion. The most conservative types prefer to invest in items that last a long time. This may be a cashmere sweater that costs more and requires dry cleaning each year, but because they last a decade or a couple of decades, to them this feels more economic and saves them unnecessary shopping.

Second, your laundry cycle may require a particular type of arrangement in your wardrobe. For those who wear an item multiple times before a wash, they may enjoy having a few hooks to separate out the worn clothes from the freshly laundered clothes. Maybe have a hook to hang items worn once, one for things worn twice, and in the third wear it gets tossed into the laundry basket. If you wear a variety of coats in the Winter, you may mentally decide how many wears it takes before you want to take it to the dry cleaners. Place a dry cleaning bag to collect coats that have been worn enough times.

Third, use the Cost Per Wear formula for savvy spending. This formula works by dividing the cost of a garment by how many times you wear it. Let's imagine that you are out shopping and you see a great coat on sale for half price. And there is also a neat pair of pants that has no discount. Most people might opt to buy that coat. But if you calculate how much each it will cost per wear, you will know with certainty which option is better miles for your dollar. If the coat costs $1,000, and is sold at $500, and you wear the coat 50 times, then each wear costs you a $10. If the pants that are not on sale costs $350, and you wear this 50 times, your cost per wear tells you it is actually costing you $7 per wear. The pants that is not on sale is cheaper for you than the coat in actuality. Especially if you include dry cleaner's fees, it will be even more accurate. If you wear a coat about 25 times before it goes to the dry cleaner's and you do this twice, add this cost to see how it averages in your cost per wear.

Having examined your laundry and clothing purchase cycle, your pattern may well correlate to your Adler Lifestyle Identity. Each Lifestyle tends to prefer something different, and aim for a different focus.
Of the four Lifestyles, the Pleasing & Pleasure Seeking type is likely to enjoy the coming and goings of fashion trends and novelty. As casual attire is highly preferred, they may stay clear of the higher maintenance suits. Fabrics with spandex and some stretch and no requirement for ironing is important. Laundry cycle needs to be kept at a minimum! The lighter the load, the better! These people tend to display their clothes more than 'hide' them in drawers. So their wardrobes tend to get messy or 'all over the place' quite easily. They may engage in impulse buys if they are not careful.

The Comfort Seeking Lifestyle is the one that is often attached to the 'story' of the garment! They like clothes that have a 'personal story' or were acquired with a special 'story' rather than something that has a highly 'commercial' imprint. They may be the most elegant and graceful in their fashion, but also be the most 'frumpy' or 'too too casual.' As Comfort Seeking types, in the extremes, they feel justified to not invest too much into their outward 'appearances' because it might feel too 'surfacey and fake.' But as they also have steady, evenness, their sensibilities usually drive them towards a relaxed yet well put-together outfits once they invest into it. As they are not attached to things on a commercial level as much, some of these types prefer wearing an item and have no problem discarding them, unless they have a 'favorite clothing' which they wear to its threadbare destruction! Comfort Seeking types may keep things in neat piles and often have trouble purchase decisions on their own, and may ask many questions to friends and family members they trust and feel comfortable confiding in.

The Superiority Seeking person is the one that zips through the mall when shopping. They are pragmatic and prefer easy to care items, and even if they have a gorgeous silk shirt a dozen in their wardrobe, may not wear those as often. They decide quickly and a large number of this type do not enjoy shopping. I recommend this type to view their wardrobe space and office space as a 'Cockpit of a Jet Plane.' They like things to be done quickly, and they are also the type once they know what's best on them, the fastest to take action clearing out their closet, stock up with what works for them!

The Control Seeking type are the Gurus of Wardrobe Management! They have their own system that they have worked out, they have a strategy for everything! This type usually has a discerning eye, they often have their own style recipes, and tend to stick to their principle of dressing for years. You may view these people as Mini At Home Laundry Services, as they are quite good at maintaining what they own. They like quality, they like maintaining quality. They may even view this as an important skill to possess. As *Qualia* is an important concept to them, be it at work or in relationships, or materials they own.

In this episode, we looked at how laundry cycles and cost per wear can contribute to your Personal Style Creation and wardrobe management. I hope that you will find something of use here, and enjoy putting your dollar where it brings you the most Style & Abundance!

Stay Informed & Stylish!

Love from Seoul,

Jessica Flatshoenista

Mar 12, 2017

[Column] Create Your Own Style Principle 5. Analyze Your Lifestyle Pie & Wardrobe Pie

20 Ways to Create Your Own Style Series #05

Principle 5. Analyze Your Lifestyle Pie & Wardrobe Pie

In this column, we will use some nifty charts and pies to investigate how well what you own in your wardrobes matches your lifestyle needs!

What Life Cycle Are You In?
Each of us has a domain that we perform in. For some of us, our current life cycle has us working mainly in our careers, with a few hours spent socializing and on fitness. Others may be focused on child rearing and working on our homes. Some are single and dividing their time at work and on a leisure pursuit. Whether our secondary domains are going on a lot of busienss trips, or getting busy with a full social calendar, or going to a church, the lifestyle may be totally varied. Your Lifestyle will include in a snapshot the various domains you are performing in, your roles and responsibilities, your whereabouts, your individual focus in life.

Today, we will rely on 4 tools of assessment in 5 steps.

First, you will record how your time is spent in a week in a Lifestyle Chart.
Second, you will create a Lifestyle Pie based on Step 1.
Third, you will record your Wardrobe Chart to see what is in your current wardrobe.
Fourth, you will create a Wardrobe Pie based on Step 3.
Fifth, and last, we will compare your two pies: Lifestyle VS Wardrobe!

Case Study 1. 
Bestselling Writer Ms. So Beautiful is a gallery owner who lives with her husband and daughter who is a teenager. She splits her time at the gallery on weekdays, and church on Sundays. Recently, there has been an increase in face to face contact with the publishers and book promoting events.

Case Study 2. 
Mr. Cool Guy is a globetrotting businessman in his late 40s. He loves hiking the mountains when he can. A few time a year, he goes on dates but his business being his current priority, he is not in a hurry to settle down. Lately, there have been more and more funerals to attend, with his friends' parent passing away.

Step 1. Record Your Lifestyle Chart.
The Lifestyle Chart is composed of four domains. 

A. Time Spent At Work
B. Time Spent with Family
C. Time Spent Socially
D. Time Spent in Leisure & Sleep

Record all four areas A, B, C, D and the subcatgeories with how much time you spend in each one. Then add up each category. 

Case Studies 1 & 2​
Lifestyle Charts of Ms. So Beautiful & Mr. Cool Guy

Use the four category tallies to create a small chart to be used for your Pie.

Step 2. Make The Lifestyle Pie!
Excel will create a Pie Chart for you if you use the numbers for A, B, C, and D. Choose the chart that shows the percentages.


Step 3. Record in Your Wardrobe Chart.
The Wardrobe Chart verifies if you have something to wear for each subcategory. For instance, if you have enough to wear to the office, how many outfits you own, if your clothes are in good condition. If you do not have something appropriate, or there is no outfit at all, you can mark it as a minus number. If the clothing is the same as another subcategory above, mark it zero. 

Wardrobe Charts of Ms. So Beautiful & Mr. Cool Guy

Tally up for each category. And you are all set for your next step!

Step 4. Let's Make Your Wardrobe Pie!

Using your category tallies from Step 3, you can click on Excel's Chart Wizard for your Wardrobe Pie.


Step 5. Final Analysis

Case Study 1. 
Ms. So Beautiful's Lifestyle Pie VS Wardrobe Pie

Here's our first Pie Off! 

Ms. So Beautiful was spending 41% of her time at her gallery and work related events, but in her wardrobe, she had 38% which means she is overall well covered with a few items missing. As she had recorded in her Wardrobe Chart, she needed something better to represent herself for meeting publishers and for book launch events. Her gallery required chic black and gray dresses for the most part, but these felt a bit heavy handed for her book related roles.

On the other hand, her Social Life only required 6% of her time, but there was a whopping 32% of outfits for this subcategory! She was holding on to quite a few skirt suits for her church events, as well as dresses that she liked to buy which got worn on rare occasions in a week. Now, Ms. So Beautiful could relocate some of her skirt suits she usually wears to church and maybe get one new jacket to wear to her book promotions and publisher meetings. If not, she can always look for or invest in a beautiful scarf or a statement necklace to jazz up her work dress to wear to a book launch or meeting.

Finally, Ms. Beautiful did not have big deficiencies for other categories like Family Time and Leisure, so even though the Pies are not an exact match, she does not have an urgent item, maybe except for a small bag she can take for shopping. Should she decide to increase on either of the categories, it would be wise to first decrease her spendings for the Social Life category. Or find better uses of the less worn items in that category.

Case Study 2. 
Mr. Cool Guy's Lifestyle Pie VS Wardrobe Pie

In Mr. Cool Guy's case, he had a pretty well lined up Lifestyle & Wardrobe Pies, which shows a well justified spending. It was his Leisure category that needed some looking into, because he was spending 38% of his time in Leisure clothes, but he owned only 18% of items for this. He says that he never bothered with this category much because a Tshirt and a pair of shorts felt like enough for around the house wear. With a Tshirt and boxers for sleeping.

Reversely, despite his time spent Socializing (4%), he had 18% of his outfits hanging in his wardrobe. He says that because his Mother was picky about what he wore and wearing jeans and Tshirts were not good enough for her, he ended up with these chino pants and knit wears. As Mr. Cool Guy is in his 40s, he can take a jacket from his work capsule, and pair it with a chinos. And relocate a pair or two of the chinos and the knit top for his lacking Easy Casual leisure category. This way, he can dress up a bit more for both his Mom and around the home and neighborhood.

Lastly, Mr. Cool Guy owns a little excess of leather jacket and jeans looks for his Social category, and taking one or two items from this to create a new Dating Wear category with a well matched shirt or knit top will allow for a more varied outfit usage.

* * *

My wish for you is that you will feel stimulated to verify whether your spendings on fashion are currently supporting all areas of your life, and for your immediate future needs. Awaken the dormant areas of your wardrobe real estate. It is so easy these days to be influenced by various fashion magazines or advertisement, TV shows, because there is huge fundings spent persuading us. We're always being targeted to spend more. While buying something new is necessary and a creative way of engaging in Life, I hope you will move towards more balance and proactive use of what you already own!

*The Lifestyle Pie concept comes from an author I've admired for many years, Nancy Nix-Rice, one of her books called <Looking Good>. For reader's convenience, I added in a Step 3, which seemed to be missing from the book.

Mar 6, 2017

[Column] How To Create Your Own Style ::: Instead Of Buying A New Fashion Item, Create New Outfit Combinations

20 Ways to Create Your Own Style Series #04

Principle 4. Instead Of Buying A New Fashion Item, Create New Outfit Combinations

Is your wardrobe filled with stuff, but there is nothing to wear?!

This is a common complaint from women that men find hard to fathom. But this happens! We buy, and buy, but we still need that new ‘New Thing!’

You probably have the experience of buying a pair of new shoes, then you realize none of your skirts really match the shoes, and you end up buying a new skirt, blouse, bag, and get yourself a new hairdo too! See, THIS is the trap of shopping!! You started out thinking that a new pair of shoes would totally give your wardrobe the right fix… you were so convinced! But none of your existing stuff really went with the new shoes… At the end of the day, what is left in your hands is a lighter wallet…

Today, we will find strategies to prevent this~

What is an Outfit Ensemble?
First, let’s take a look at what an outfit extends to. In our mother’s generation, they used to call it an ‘ensemble’ but nowadays we tend to call it an ‘outfit.’ Clothes used to be divided into ‘everyday clothes’ to wear outside the home and ‘home clothes,’ but as urban life demanded professionalism and with the advent of various media like TV, magazine, and internet, we have become acculturated to a new level of sophistication. We became sensitized to what our favorite TV characters were wearing, often becoming emotionally invested in them, or our fashion magazines pushed us to model-status beauty and designer-led garb. Our jobs, increasingly favored those who looked the part and exuded higher levels of professionalism; if you wanted to get ahead, you better be something more distinguished than a ‘regular reliable worker bee.’ So now, an outfit doesn’t just ‘cover us up’ to look decent enough, it needs at least some level of visible polish and refinement. And it is usually the well chosen jewelry and accessories that complement our fabric garments that holistically create our much desired ‘mood’ and ‘authentic alluring image.’

Enter Capsule Wardrobe System
Second, we look at the concept of a capsule wardrobe! A Capsule Wardrobe was devised to solve the issue of ‘never having enough outfits’ with the minimal number of items. A capsule consists of well planned out pieces that ALL work together to create the maximum number of mix-and-matches. Colors are limited to 3 usually, and a capsule may contain 5 to 8 items minimum. Example) A jacket, three tops, and three bottoms = 7 items.

As can be seen in the image example, this capsule is limited to black, cream, and red. The common erroneous belief is that having MORE colors or designs will give a HIGHER number of outfits. But contrary to this mistaken idea, you actually create more wearable outfits by having LESS colors and designs! I know this sounds so counter-intuitive! Note also, how this capsule favored only solid colors in the mix, and very basic shapes with no design details that draw attention. You really want these base items in your wardrobe real estate if you want to make your dollars perform for you! Keeping them solid and simple helps you create the maximum number of outfits possible and easy to mix and match. These well chosen basic items will become your friendly allies in creating your most functional and optimal wardrobe.

Once your capsule items are set, now you get to have the fun from choosing your ‘accessories ensemble.’ You can opt for serious glasses and work watch, stud earrings, smart comfortable work shoes, and a briefcase sized bag for an interview or big meeting on the job. For celebrating your friend’s birthday or going out clubbing, you can jazz it up with sexy long boots, big earrings, bracelets, and a slightly new hairdo, and some dramatic eye makeup. For attending a wedding or a church event, you can go with your cream outfit, with a silk scarf and some pearls to suit the mood.

3 Tips for Successful Coordination

1. ‘The Rule of Core Fours’
If you are currently suffering from your wardrobe blues, begin with this rule of ‘Core Fours.’ In Japan this is known as the ‘Rule of Creating Sets’ and in the West, it is known as the ‘Rule of Core Fours.’ First, choose your main color that you confidently wear the most often. Let’s pretend that it’s black, you want to make sure that you have a jacket-top-skirt-pants that are all in good condition and look great on you. These are your ‘Core Fours in Black.’

Even if you’re going for the brighter colors, go for Core Fours in them.

Once you start following this rule, creating new combinations becomes super easy and quick! You’ll look slimmer because your top and bottom create something called ‘a column of color’ and with lines that accentuate your best assets, you’ll totally look classy. Just having these four well matched cores, will now give you a sense of color identity, instantly helps you look slimmer, and you now have 4 ready-to-go ensembles!

1. Top + Pants
2. Top + Skirt
3. Top + Pants + Jacket
4. Top + Skirt + Jacket

Oftentimes when I felt like I had nothing to wear, invariably it was those times when I had a lot of ‘Wardrobe Orphans’ that were not part of a ‘Core Four.’ Instances like none of my black tank tees were exactly right, I had a pair of black pants that became a size too small over the Winter, or that expensive black jacket just hung there and my hand somehow kept evading it. When you lack the core four, a well matched set, coordinating for an outfit becomes a headache. So from now on, instead of retail therapy, it’s time for you to go excavating in your own wardrobe! Check for colors that form a Core Four. You may discover that your actually don’t have a set of blacks that work together, but end up with a White Set that had been dormant till now, or a surprising wealth of seven navy items~!

2. Create Your Own UNIFORM!

When you observe your unworn clothes hanging in the closet, most of the times these are items that were in trend that really caught your eye, or bought during the season’s change transitions. In other words, these are the items you bought that did not adhere to ‘Your Own Uniform.’ As humans are creatures of habit, clothes you wear everyday tend to fall into 2~3 outfit formulas. Like wearing a dress, or top+pants, cardigan+skirt, you usually have a set formula you’re following. For men, this might be choosing from a jacket or a cardigan, choosing between a shirt or T-shirt, and selecting between a suit pant or chino pants.

My biggest shopping mistakes were found in my scarves and belts. Especially for Spring and Fall scarves. I could never find the right ones, and the reason was that I kept buying scarf designs that were outside of ‘My Uniform’ realm! Maybe it’s because in Spring I wanted to look more elegant, and in Fall I wanted to Trenchcoat Chic, I kept buying classic feminine scarves that ended up never being worn! I was so mystified! They always looked so appropriate in glossy magazines! Why is this not working out for me?! Well, it turns out, I’m a very casual dresser – I almost always wear a pair of jeans or skinny jeans. And those scarves were a better match for dresses or suit skirts. If I had been aware of ‘My Uniform Formula’ I would have gone for casual or semi-casual belts and scarves. And these would have really dressed things up and be worn regularly.

Write down what you wore today, and what combination of top and bottom you wore yesterday. Then figure out what ‘Your Uniform’ for the week is in advance. Maybe it’s 5 tops with 3 bottoms, with a weekend top and bottom… Or you might want to list up 40 of your items to form a “Uniform Capsule.”

3. Up-Cycling~~

Third method of refreshing your wardrobe without shopping is to not just recycle but Up-Cycle something you already own. Take your unworn long coat in for a trim, make it a half-coat. The mafia-mama fox fur coat your Mom wore in the 80s in a decent condition can be taken in for shearing of the sleeves to give you a really neat fur trimmed vest for driving. Your Dad’s suit jacket he no longer needs after retirement can become your sexy new suit-dress. Or his big size Burberry shirt can become your sleeveless shirt style dress! There are so many fun ways to bring the Newness into your wardrobe! UpCycling is not only wallet-friendly, but it is a step forward for the environment. In London there is a specialty boutique that helps you alter your clothes to create a new look. For those of you savvy sewers, you can create new styles as a challenge, and for the rest of us, we can always find a local alteration shop to help us get there!

Wishing you a lovely Spring week wherever you are!

Jessica in Seoul

Instagram ::: Hepburn School