Tips for Rebuilding Your Wardrobe After a Flood

Guest post by Jodi Skorupski

My husband and I used to dream about owning water-front property.  You know, a nice little home with a view of the water where we could relax and kick back?  Well it’s been close to a month since Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey swept through Houston and we’re seriously rethinking our love of water-front property!  Now I’m thinking maybe a home in the desert is preferable!  But in all seriousness, Harvey has done a number on Houston.  To varying degrees everyone has been affected by the flooding and everyone is still struggling to regain our footing and sense of normalcy.  For those families dealing with a flooded home or business, their days are consumed by contractors, insurance agents, FEMA and any number of other service providers that will hopefully help them reclaim their homes and their lives.

In the meantime, life goes on.  Every morning we wake up, get dressed (well, I hope so anyway) and face the world.  But when you have so many overwhelming decisions to make about your home and your future, deciding what to wear and what to purchase to wear can feel unworthy of the daily “to do” list.  And yet, how we dress can make all the difference in how we feel and as a result, how effective we can be in both our professional and personal lives.  Projecting a strong confident persona (even when you don’t necessarily feel strong or confident) is never more important than in times like this.

To this end, here are a few suggestions that can make at least the “what to wear” decision a little easier.

  1. Borrow from a friend.  I guarantee you there are people willing to help.  Also, don’t be afraid to cast a wide net.  If you’re anything like me you’re a member of several online communities: Nextdoor, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  In an appropriate forum you can post what event you need to dress for, such a job interview or an evening out and any specifics such as your size or color preference, and see what someone can lend.
  2. Use a fashion subscription box like Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, Bombfell (for men), Gwynnie Bee (plus size) or MM. LaFleur (focuses on women’s work wear).  You have to fill out a questionnaire to start but you don’t have to decide which pieces you want to order since they do that for you.  Then the clothes will arrive at your doorstep, office, or wherever you choose.  Under normal circumstances I have some criticisms of these services, but under these circumstances they can be a great way to get you through.
  3. Rent your clothes.  Le Tote and Rent the Runway (they’ve branched out from just special event clothing) are online clothing rental companies and similar to the fashion subscription boxes except that you don’t keep anything.  You wear and return.  You won’t need to take time from your day to shop in a store but you will have decide what you want to order.  Le Tote even has maternity clothes!
  4. Drive through pick-up.  Nordstrom stores now offer the ability to order online and pick up in store.  But they’ve upped the ante by not even requiring that you get out of the car.  You simply let them know when you’re arriving and they’ll bring it out to you.  It’s like fast food for clothes!  Similar to rental, you still have to decide what you want but you can surf online at your convenience and don’t have to spend time in the store sifting through the racks.
  5. Hire a Wardrobe Stylist.  This is not a shameless plug.  The truth is that a stylist can take a lot of the stress away, especially if you are a professional or have a special event coming up and the image you present is important to your success.  A stylist can meet with you then do the shopping for you and bring the items to you or accompany you to shop.  They will also take care of returns and exchanges.  You’re basically delegating the task of shopping for yourself to a professional and the only decision you have to make is, “I like it” or “I don’t like it”, which can be a huge relief.

Now that you know where to buy, here’s what to buy.  Among the items you buy should be:

  • a well-fitting pair of ankle length lightly or not distressed jeans, which can be worn with heels or flats
  • a sheath or shift dress, depending on your shape, in a neutral color like black or navy
  • a solid blouse in a drapery fabric like silk or imitation silk

These pieces form a good base to be mixed and matched to make several outfits or be worn to different types of occasions with a simple change of shoes and accessories.

In the immortal words of Billy Crystal’s character on Saturday Night Live, Fernando, “It’s better to look good than to feel good dahling!”  Okay, so that’s not totally true.  But, looking pulled-together can make you feel pulled-together at a time when you might feel like most everything is falling apart.   To this end, I sincerely hope that these tips will help relieve at least one area of stress and start you on your way.

Jodi Skorupski is a personal stylist and the owner of Style Success.  For more information on recovering your wardrobe after a flood, check out the video Jodi filmed with me on the Closet Reboot YouTube channel.

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