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A New You This Spring Season

WRITTEN BY: GENESIS GONZALEZ  | PHOTOGRAPHED BY: ARIANE MOSHAYEDI

The spring season is upon us, and we all know what that means! It’s time to organize, de-clutter, get rid of the old, and filter in the…“Hello, new spring wardrobe!” We tend to accumulate so much over the year, and if you’re like me, it’s often a collection of clothes, shoes and handbags that have my closet filled to the top. Whether I wear or use everything is a different story. But the time has come to reorganize not only the closet, but perhaps learn a thing or two to keep organized throughout the year. I know when we hear the words “clean, ” “toss out, ” or “I don’t even know where to begin, ” it can be a little overwhelming, but spring cleaning doesn’t have be dreadful, in fact, it can be fun, freeing, and in many ways, a unique opportunity to learn about ourselves and our style!

Enter the always fashionable Leslie Christen. An organize guru and style expert, Leslie Christen is here to help any individual become a little more organized and spruce up their spring wardrobe. Christen has worked as a stylist and costume designer for many years. She has seen it all when it comes to closet reorganizing, personal shopping, and revamping the wardrobe. It is important to note that her true passion lies “working with clients on an individual basis to assess their strengths, minimize body challenges, and help them authentically express their individuality.” She is here to help you discover your style, wear the clothes you will love and feel great in, and most importantly, see to it that you never utter the words, “I have nothing to wear!” ever again.

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1. EDIT YOUR WARDROBE!

The first step, when diving into spring cleaning your closet, is deciding what stays and what goes. Then, go through every item in your wardrobe—yes, this includes shoes, jewelry, and accessories— and sort each garment into one of the three piles. Leave what you’re keeping in the closet and make a space for all things to be donated, and everything else that’s a lost cause and needs to be tossed.

2. DECIDE WHAT TO STORE.

Not everyone has the space to leave all seasons of clothes out all year round. Small closets, or even no closet space, tiny apartments, or a large wardrobe hinders the ability to keep your winter clothing constantly accessible. Properly storing winter clothing or summer clothing during the off season not only frees up space in your bedroom and closet, but also gives you a clean and fresh start to dressing when the change of weather hits. Remember that the cleaner and more organized you pack your winter clothing, the easier and more pleasant experience you will have pulling it back out in the fall.

3. ORGANIZE HANGING GARMENTS BY STYLE AND COLOR.

This is a pretty basic organization tip, but it’s proven to work well, especially in tight spaces. To keep things orderly, just group like pieces together: long dresses, skirts, trousers, cropped jackets and blazers, blouses, t-shirts, etc. This makes it much easier to pull an outfit together quickly, and prevents the whole ‘throwing everything on the bed’ routine when you’re looking for a specific piece.

4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT HANGER.

A gaggle of mismatched hangers in your closet really throws your clarity off. Choose one hanger you like and commit to it. I like the slim velvet hangers because they take up the least amount of space. It will just make your closet look cleaner and more organized (even if it’s not).

5. TO HANG OR TO FOLD?

Fabric is crucial when it comes to knowing what to fold and what to hang. Knitwear folds well, so keep sweaters, sweater-vests, knitted dresses and the like folded on shelves. If you need to free up hangers, jeans, khakis and cords fold well. These pants can be folded over hangers or folded into quarters and stored on a shelf.

An Exclusive Interview With Leslie Christen

Q: What is the number one thing to keep in mind as we begin to reorganize and de-clutter?

Leslie Christen: Think objectively about each and every item. You should be wearing everything in your closet. If you’re not wearing it, then why are you keeping it? Accumulating clothes won’t make you happy, but looking great every day in the best fitting, and most flattering outfits will.

Q: What are your top three dos and top three don’ts to spring cleaning?

LC: I’ll just stick with the “dos.” If you’ve ever uttered the words “I have nothing to wear” or “This closet is a mess, ” then you know the don’ts! Dos: think objectively about each and every piece. Aa bottle of bubbly helps; you’re going to be there for a while, and if it’s too daunting, hire a closet curator like myself.

Q: How do we avoid buying the same styles we are used to, especially when we are looking to expand our wardrobe selection? Do you recommend following the trends?

LC: I always suggest creating a uniform. We all have pieces that we gravitate toward every day while dressing—buy more of those pieces. Create your ultimate wardrobe with the most flattering items already in your closet. Invest in these pieces since you’ll have them for a long time and when looking to incorporate trends, buy them at a lower price point and stick to accessories.

Q: Spring cleaning can be overwhelming at times, as there is so much to go through. Any tips for making the process easier, as well as time well spent?

LC: Try not to tackle it all in one day. It’s a daunting task and one that’s best divided over a few days. Don’t have a friend come over and help. They won’t be honest with you about pieces that don’t work, and you’ll end up talking more than working, because quite frankly, it’s more fun! Hire a professional like me that can knock it out within hours; I’m super straightforward with what doesn’t work, and I always suggest pieces that would work better.

Q: What would you say to those struggling to let go, or second guessing a blouse that they more than likely will not wear again?

LC: Identify items that you just never wear and put them in outfits for the week. If you still don’t end up being able to wear it, then the item must go. You’ll never reach for it because it just doesn’t work with the rest of your wardrobe, and now it’s just taking up valuable space.

Q: Can spring cleaning be healthy and freeing for the soul? Do you feel it can help keep us organized, or even more focused on other things as well?

LC: My motto is: AN ORGANIZED CLOSET = AN ORGANIZED LIFE.

Q: How often should we clean out the closet and update our wardrobe?

LC: Every six months, you should edit your closet.

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Q: Is there a right and wrong way to organize the closet by season? Should large winter coats stay in the back? And what should be at the forefront?

LC: I like to keep things orderly, group like pieces together, and color coordinate: long dresses, skirts, trousers, cropped jackets and blazers, blouses, t-shirts, etc. This makes it much easier to pull an outfit together quickly, and prevents the whole ‘throwing everything on the bed’ routine when you’re looking for a specific piece.

Q: Which pieces can we still hold onto for another season? How do we know if something is still in season or hasn’t lost its value in still wearing?

LC: When it comes to simplifying your wardrobe, the first place to start is the basics. Knowing which materials to look for can help you decide which pieces to buy, which pieces will be best for different occasions, and which pieces will last for a long time. A good rule of thumb is to stick with natural fibers: cotton, linen, wool, leather, and silk should make up the majority of your wardrobe.

Q: Are there some staple pieces to add to our spring wardrobe?

LC: Some items to consider for spring would be a trench in classic camel, or mix it up and opt for a pink or ice blue one. Try ballerina flats with pointed toes and ankle straps; or go with classic yet edgy styles including anything studded or very strappy. Complete your outfits with statement accessories; marble, rock quartz, and agate will be the materials for spring, and don’t forget to get a ladylike handbag!

Q: In selecting our new wardrobe, size and fit should be things to consider, correct? I tend to have clothes both a little bigger and a little smaller; I never know exactly what the right size is. Any tips to finding a more tailored or well-fitted wardrobe?

LC: None of us can really wear clothing right off the rack. I always suggest buying one size bigger and having it tailored to your body. A great tailor should be your best friend. It’s also true for heels—buy a half size bigger, because your foot expands throughout the day. Also utilize insoles, such as Foot Petals, to create the perfect fit.

Q: If you can deconstruct an outfit perfect for the spring season, what items or pieces of clothing would that consist of? Would it be more trend forward, or maybe even functional?

LC: This question is a little more personal to the individual. For my clients, I always suggest classic pieces. If they’re more casual, wear a great pair of jeans, a silk blouse, and pointy toe heels or sneakers. If they’re dressier, then a skinny cropped trouser and blazer combo with a killer statement heel is essential. More bohemian? Go for a flowing maxi dress, a standard denim jacket, and gladiator sandals.

Q: Can spring cleaning consist of getting rid of some shoes, purses, or even accessories?

LC: Oh yes! We accumulate pieces throughout our lives that we love and spent good money on, but it’s sometimes hard to part with them. One brilliant question I ask my clients while cleaning out their closet is, “If you were shopping today, would you buy this?” If they say “No, ” then it quite possibly might be past its prime, but not always. For those items, I let them stay in the closet for 6-12 months longer, and then reassess. If they still haven’t worn it, then it must go. Someone out there will love and wear it more.

LESLIE CHRISTEN OF LESLIE CHRISTEN LIFESTYLING

www.lesliechristen.com