How to Love What’s in Your Closet

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Last week I was giving a talk to a group of teachers on the creative process, and one the steps that often gets glossed over, is the idea of resistance. In fact, I don’t always include it in my own presentations, however, while I was in the middle of preparing for the presentation I ran face first into a huge brick wall of resistance.

Suddenly I was sure that I was good enough, I mean what in the world was I thinking, saying that I could teach a group of teachers about creativity? I decided that I didn’t know enough about creativity, or anything in general, and needed to research. ( Never mind that this was a 90 min presentation and I have a masters in creativity studies, plus 10 years of experience teaching it, and practicing it.)

While I”m fully aware, that you may think that I’ve gone off the deep end after you read when I”m about to type, I’ve decided that’s okay, because I really want you to get this concept of resistance, because it’s sneaky , and easy to miss, until you know that you’re looking for it.

So during my mini resistance breakdown, here’s what happened.

  • I decided that I needed to learn how to be a better presenter a   perfect presenter. So I headed over to , and began to dive into their research about what makes up the perfect TED talk.
  • I learned that it’s important to be charismatic, and even though this comes pretty naturally to me when I”m in front of a room full of people, that didn’t matter, I was in resistance mode, so I watched a 20 minute talk about how to be more charismatic.
  • Next I watched a 20 minute talk about using your hands when talking, another thing that I do naturally.
  • Followed by a 20 minute talk on body language and power poses. ( I’d seen this one before, but at this point, it didn’t matter, I’d given into resistance and wasn’t about to stop now)
  • Then I learned about the importance of smiling, and watched a talk to see how much the speaker smiled.
  • Followed by uncovering that there is a shape, yes a visual shape, that the perfect speech fits into. So then I decided that I needed to fit mine into this shape. And while I was struggling to do so, I reminded myself that I was neither giving a TED talk or a speech. I was leading a workshop, which isn’t exactly the same thing.
  • Somehow this realization led me to Netflix, and I uncovered  “The First Monday in May”, which is a great documentary about setting up the MET show China, Though the looking glass. And after watching it, because I teach art history, I decided that I needed to write an art history lesson based on the movie.
  • And because Netflix is so kind and helpful, it recommended that I watch ” The 100 Year Show”, another awesome documentary about a 100 year old painter, who was only discovered in her 90s and now has a solo show at the Whitney. Her work is minimal and all about 2D design, which happens to be another thing that I teach, so I wrote another lesson plan.

While I learned a lot and did accomplish a few things during this insane afternoon/ evening of resistance, I wasn’t working on what I was supposed to be working on. That’s why resistance can be sneaky.

So what in the world does this have to do with you?

For a long time I’ve thought that resistance only shows up in our work, but recently I’ve realized that it also shows up in how we dress and present ourselves.

It’s that voice that tells you that you’re “too old” to wear that.

Or that says, ” you can’t pull that off.” or ” you need to look your age”

None of these things are true. There’s nothing wrong with “looking your age,” whatever that even means, but that shouldn’t stop you from wearing something that you want to wear.

And pulling things off, has much more to do with confidence than it does with what you’re wearing. Put it on, stand up tall, shoulders back, chest out, and wear it with pride.

Don’t be afraid to be playful, not everything has to be the same color. Here are 3 different colors that all work together. There a similar shade of color,  but add variety. There are also several different textures in this outfit, which helps to add more visual interest. And if you think that you’re too old to wear boyfriend jeans with holes, that why I’ve added the long vest it’s the perfect addition to tons of items in your closet to make them look just a touch more professional.

Boyfriend Jeans for Fall


Yes, you can mix patterns. There’s a pattern in the shirt and in the scarf. If you’re going to mix pattern, think about the scale of the pattern. The pattern on the shirt is a large and bold print, while the pattern on the scarf, is simple and not overly bold, this way that don’t complete with each other.

Fall pattern mixing


Style Challenge: This week, when you’re staring at your closet and feeling like you hate everything that you own, try a color combination that you’ve never worn before. On another day, give pattern a try.

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