Less time staring into closet means more time living

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

All women do it.

It's called the “closet stare.” It's that time of the day when you open the closet door and wonder what you're going to wear.

Now, there's help.

Authors Michelle Madhok and Eileen Conlan's research found women spend an average of two years of their lives standing in front of their closets, debating that question.

Two years!

In that same amount of time, you could've graduated from business school, renovated a house, landed your dream job, planned a wedding or done a thousand other more interesting things.

“We can help you get to the point where you love going to your closet and know what to wear now,” says Madhok, who with Conlan wrote a book called “Wear This Now” (Harlequin, $16.95). “We want women to be able to do this themselves. It is about empowering them.”

And it all starts with determining the must-haves for each of the four seasons.

“It is supposed to be like a grocery list where you keep your closet stocked with certain items,” says Madhok, founder of Shefinds Media, publisher of shefinds.com, bridefinds.com and momfinds.com.

A widely regarded shopping expert, Madhok has appeared on many national television shows including “Today,” “The Rachael Ray Show” and “Good Morning America.” Conlan is the senior editor, fashion and lifestyle, of Shefinds Media. Previously, a writer and editor at Marie Claire magazine, she has worked in many fashion closets, from Vogue China and Elle to W.

“The key is planning,” says Madhok. “We're here to map out your fashion life and prepare you for the events you can't yet foresee. We want ‘Wear This Now' to be your go-to reference.”

This handy book offers advice such as the best times to score the best deal for clothing and accessories. For instance, buy sweaters in January, handbags and shoes in May, swimsuits in mid-July and trendy items such as peep-toe booties in early October.

“There is a secret to being a pro shopper,” says Madhok. “You have to know when to shop seasonally.”

Madhok and Conlan, who live in New York City, want women to feel like they have a kind of magic closet where they just open it and they know what outfit to wear.

They suggest appropriate attire for different occasions, such as a wedding, black-tie affair, job interview and even a first date.

“We want it to be like a bible of fashion,” Madhok says. “One of the biggest steps for women is to get rid of items which don't fit, or aren't in style or that they just don't like or wear anymore. There is a lot of clutter in that closet, and when you get organized by giving away items, it will be much easier to see what you have.”

Conlan and Madhok suggest at the beginning of each season to hang all articles of clothing in one direction, and as you wear a piece, turn the hanger the opposite way.

At the end of the season, you can see what you've worn.

“There might be a gown or a special-occasion item that you didn't wear, but should keep, but most of the other pieces, if you haven't worn them, it is best to get rid of them,” Conlan says.

Madhok says to place apparel and shoes you wear most in a convenient spot and tuck away special occasion pieces so they aren't in your way every time you are looking for an everyday outfit.

And, you need to get rid of items that don't fit you, says Madhok, because it can be psychologically draining to keep clothing that doesn't fit.

“What are you holding on to it for?” Madhok says. “You might have happy memories of that college sweater or T-shirt with stains, but you will also be happy when you have organization in your closet. Try to edit down your closet.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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