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The Curated Closet

The Curated Closet, Review Part I

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I found this dense, wise book via Pinterest, somehow, though the exact linkup eludes me. However it happened last Fall, I was interested enough on initial meeting to request it at my local library. I then had to wait months to work my way up the request list. I must have seen it shortly after it was published (September 2016), and didn’t realize it would be in such high demand.

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe by Anuschka Rees is like fashion jujitsu. It requires applying oneself to serious study, some possibly painful internal reflection, a laborious teasing out of why you like what you like, and a cold, hard look into why you are reading a self-help book predicated on solving wardrobe mayhem. And then the student becomes the master. Now I know why it took so long for my turn in the library queue (and why I am possibly accruing overdue fines as I type)… the author guides you, the reader, on a one-way odyssey of self-exploration through a textile-laden universe beset with buyer’s remorse, aspirational garments, and an impractical number of shoes. In other words, your closet.

Don’t despair! If you are willing to dive deep and truly consider what she’s saying, the benefits are manifold. The light at the end of this tunnel, it turns out, is a much greater ability to simultaneously a) stock your closet with things that can be worn harmoniously with each other in an endless variety of interesting ways, b) stop yourself from making unwise shopping decisions, and c) have confidence in your own innate, unique sense of style. This book took me through all sorts of crazy detail about how a motivated person could look and feel chic every single day, and spat me out wide-eyed at the end like a baby seeing colors for the first time. All of a sudden (actually, after many days of diligently doing my closet homework), I have a much clearer sense of what I like in terms of silhouettes, colors, and styling. And what I don’t like, and sometimes why.

Despite the fact that, generally, the fashion styling in the book encompassed whole categories of clothing that fall at terminal velocity into my personal wardrobe dislikes (cropped and/or pleated pants, belly-baring shirts, coats indistinguishable from bathrobes, orthopedic-looking footwear, etc), I found it beautifully photographed, easy to understand, and quite liberating. What models are wearing… then, now or ever… is irrelevant to anyone else’s wardrobe, a point the book itself makes repeatedly. So this post is my strong recommendation that you read The Curated Closet if you also feel you need a swift kick in the style department. I will post again about the more nitty gritty process and my own results from doing the homework… how this rethinking has changed my closet (and future sewing plans) on a practical level.

“Buy less, choose well, and make it last.” – Vivienne Westwood

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