40licious Style: Shopping and Organizing Your Closet

This is our second post from an interview with Audrey Beaulac, who tells us things we probably already knew, but couldn’t put into words.

Audrey Beaulac is very 40licious

Style strategist Audrey Beaulac wants you to throw out anything you don’t love, doesn’t make you feel good, or is no longer working for you. Especially your fat clothes.

“Like a big handbag, big sweatpants will fill up. When your normal clothes start feeling tight, that’s the warning for you to cut back,” she says.

But perhaps none of your clothes fit that well anymore. “You have to be realistic about who you are,” she says, and your 40s is a really important time to define your style. “A lot of clothes in your closet come with a story. You should only have good stories in your closet. Get rid of the self-recrimination in your closet.”

Assessing takes a while. Leave some space to thoroughly go over what you can let go from your closet, and to understand what is still working well. “It’s OK to like what you like,” Beaulac says.

What if you’re still not sure if something is a tosser? “Get your picture taken in it,” Beaulac says, “then get ready to work. Instead of condemning yourself, get ready for some feedback. When you do it on film. You don’t have the same projection cycle as you do in the mirror.”

The trick to keep in mind is to play up your assets and make sure the clothes you keep are highlighting the good stuff you’ve got. If you focus on something you don’t like about your body, say a poochy belly or wide hips, chances are you’ll subconsciously draw attention to them in your clothing. And no matter who you are and how you look, a little advice from Mom goes a long way: keep your posture long and straight, and keep your voice strong but soft.

Jared! Throw out your fat pants!

For building your improved wardrobe, Beaulac suggests starting with the basics: your underwear. As your body changes, chances are your bra size will too, and you most likely are due for a bra fitting. “Be realistic,” she says. She suggests Nordstrom or Linda the Bra Lady. “Look for silhouettes that make you feel good about yourself.

The rear view is equally important – there should be no pantylines. “Spanx are great, but remember, anywhere you squish in, it’s going to come out somewhere else,” Beaulac says.

When you’re ready to move forward with your wardrobe, don’t pay attention to size – fit is what matters. If you’re ordering online, measure yourself and match that to the site’s size chart. And don’t get too attached to the product until it arrives and it works. “Internet ordering is getting better and better about returns,” she says, calling out Amazon.com, Zappos and Boutiques.com as good examples of pleasant and efficient shopping experiences.

She offers this caveat, however: “If you’re looking around and there are boxes all over the place and the clothes are not making you feel very good about yourself, you need to reassess.”

Feeling forlorn about how to conquer all this? Arrange a clothing swap, aka “Naked Lady Party” with your girlfriends. It’s the perfect excuse to take a harsh edit of your closet, takes some risks with new looks, and get honest advice from people who care. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime and you can donate all the leftovers to charity.


Vanessa McGrady40licious Style: Shopping and Organizing Your Closet

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