In today’s episode, we’re discussing how to dress like a true pageant queen. It’s simple, but not so easy. It comes down to what you have in your closet. And if you’re listening, you need to update your closet. Yes, you. I’m talking to you – the woman who’s had the same hair-do for like 7 years and you’re still wearing your favorite shirt from college, and you wish they still made those shoes you always love.
And, I’m also talking to me, because it’s high-time I get a new ‘favorite shirt’ so I don’t end up in People Magazine with a side-by-side photo in the same shirt – one dated 2009 and the other 2016. If that’s you, it’s time for an upgrade.
As you grow (up, old, into yourself), you have new priorities, responsibilities, and personality! Whether you like it or not, you’re judged by your appearance and every woman knows that what you wear has a lot to do with how you feel. If you are still holding onto things that no longer represent the new you (or the best you), then you are doing yourself a disservice, and others will know it too.
At the start of each new year, I review my closet for a wardrobe update. I did this for the first time when I moved to LA several years ago because I discovered that my wardrobe was mostly built for the east-coast cold where even in the summer, the buildings are freezing due to the cranked AC. Plus, I needed to make some room in my closet for my newly adopted west-coast casual style.
A wardrobe change was also inevitable when I stopped working from an office and started managing fitness studios. That’s when I got to ditch a lot of my slacks and button ups and move into a more preferred Lulu leggings and tanks.
I actually really love this process because it lets me take a fresh look at who I am and how I want to present who I am to others that don’t know me. And it doesn’t need to be difficult. I broke my process into 7 steps.
1 – Discover who you are today
What are the 3 biggest roles you play in life? Do you spend 8 hours a day at the office, then workout for an hour and go to play dates with the kids on the weekends? Do you go to class during the day, and sorority meetings in the evenings and volunteer on the weekends? I know you do more than just 3 things, but for now, just pick the top 3. For me, it’s working from home, working out, and going to social events. So the 3 main places I am at are home, the gym or studio, and speaking/coaching/networking events.
2 – Determine how you want to be at each of these things
Do you want to be professional, comfortable, trendy, risqué? I usual want to be comfortable at home, trendy when working out, and casually fashionable at social events. Write down 3 words that you want to be described as at these events. My words are: respectable, approachable, and fit.
3 – Choose 3 colors you know you look absolutely great in
Usually, these colors go together well, because you’re likely already wearing them. Like red, navy, and white OR green, white and yellow OR orange, blue and black. Mine are fuchsia, blue, and orange – though, I don’t regularly wear fuchsia and orange together 😉
4 – Put a notepad and pen next to your dresser or closet
For one full week, write down all the things you wish you had. Do you wish you had a cute blazer to throw on top of this outfit or a statement necklace or beige wedges – write it all down.
5 – Inventory your closet (and your jewelry, accessories, nail polish, and shoes)
Pull out every single stinkin’ thing and ask yourself if you wore this to one of those 3 places, playing one of those 3 roles, would you be described as one of those 3 words. If not, put it in the “no” pile. If so, put it in the yes pile. Don’t have a maybe pile. Your closet is the maybe pile and you aren’t putting this back in there unless you feel like a million bucks in it! Hanging onto ‘maybe’ pieces isn’t a part of this process. Time to make a decision. I promise, I’m helping you.
6 – Fill in the blanks
Set a specific budget and shop for the things you Need. This is not a shopping spree for the things you want. This is just to fill in your missing pieces. What I mean is, I don’t want you going out and buying like 6 more shirts for $20 dollars each that are gonna just get ratty like the last ones. Be mindful about what you’re buying. Choose pieces that represent the new you and will go well with what you already have. For some of us in some stages of life, this is a major over-haul. That’s how it was for me when I quit working at universities and started my own business. I basically needed a whole new wardrobe!
7 – Get rid of the “no” pile
You have a few choices of what to do with things. You could put them in the garbage if they simply aren’t usable (like bras with the underwire popping out, ladies). You could donate what you know is out-dated, but still in good shape. Take it to a good-will, salvation army, or dress for success. Or, throw a wardrobe exchange with your girlfriends. Ask everyone to bring over their wearable “no”s and trade clothes with your besties. Whatever you do, don’t put it back in your closet.
You don’t have to go through this process every year, though that would be in your best interest. I recommend at least every 3 years while you’re still in your 20’s and 30’s. There’s a big difference between 28 and 31. And between 2013 and 2016. By maintaining an updated look, you’ll always be seen as relevant, relatable, and forward-thinking – great qualities of a titleholder!
And, that, ladies is how you win a pageant.
For more great pageant training, enroll in the Free Pageant Course