Manage Your Wardrobe with Paper Dolls

by | Mar 1, 2012 | Blog, We Wear...

(and, like, getting rid of things maybe)

I have a problem with buying too many clothes. I don’t mean I have a shopping addiction — although if I lived in a place where the height of sophisticated style wasn’t the Gap, I might. What I mean is that I have a problem buying super cheap, hilarious second-hand clothes, just because they’re super cheap and hilarious. Like a $3 Northern Getaway t-shirt with airbrushed kittens on it. Or a $6 one-piece jumpsuit pattered with tiny ice-cream cones. Or everything that’s velvet. Stupid, stupid stuff. (To be fair, though, I’ve been wearing that jumpsuit for three years).

I wear everything at least a few times and some of my favourite, long-worn pieces have been cheap, ridiculous impulse buys at one point (I’m looking at you, rust-coloured mohair sweater with velvet buttons!). And when I’m done with them I just put them in a bag and donate them right back to the Salvation Army. (Really, I’m renting clothes from them. I should totally just be able to pay a flat monthly rate, like Netflix.)

So how do you manage your wardrobe so that mornings are sane, you’re able to own the things that you love, and find and wear the things that you own?

1. Minimalism.
Sometimes I like to try and convince myself that I want to be a minimalist and I get rid of lots and lots of stuff and just keep the tried-and-true pieces that I’ve worn for years. But then I realize that I’ve been wearing these clothes for years and I am so bored. It works for some people: Mr. Forest Friend has had many of his clothes since high school. But he hates clothes, and if they didn’t get dirty and stinky and worn out, he’d prefer to wear the same outfit until he died in it.

Blogger Emily Wall edited her wardrobe down to one rack and found the process and the result utterly liberating. (If being a minimalist meant trading all my trash for her rack of exquisite pieces, then put me in a white room with a Philip Glass soundtrack.) There are also lots of blog-based projects that challenge readers to pare down their wardrobes to a certain number of pieces for a set period of time. But I think the key to living with a minimalist wardrobe is a desire to embrace a classic style, which is something I have yet to get into. Maybe it’ll happen when I turn 30? Or when I spawn younglings whose antics rob me of sartorial energy for anything but straight-legged jeans and ballet flats? But for now I’ll stick with my blue and pink striped turtleneck and you can shove your camel trench coat up your professionally-groomed butt.

2. Organization
For someone who considers rompers and fur hats to be wardrobe staples, creative organization is necessary. Remember Cher’s closet in the film Clueless, how she has a computer program that puts outfits together and gives her a virtual preview of what it would look like on her? That’s basically what I made this weekend. It’s a little less fancy and it was a lot more work, but essentially it’s a paper doll of me along with an array of clothes that I actually own.

Okay, maybe it’s a little narcissistic to make a paper doll of yourself. But it’s a really fun way to play with your clothes and put together outfits without making a giant mess (the giant mess comes later when I actually get dressed) — especially when it’s been winter forever and everything you own seems boring.

If you want to make your own digital paper doll, here’s how:
a. Draw a picture of yourself in your underwear! Trace it in black pen.
b. Lay some tracing paper over the picture of yourself and draw clothes to fit the outline of your body.
c. Scan your drawings.
d. In a photo editing program like Photoshop, select and copy each piece of clothing out of the white background of the paper you drew them on, and paste into a new file with a transparent background. That way, you can layer the clothing over your doll without taking the whole white page with you.
e. Add colour with the paint bucket tool and details with the paintbrush.
f. Make outfits!

3. Live in Sweden…
Because then you can take advantage of Lånegarderoben — clothes libraries! I AM NOT KIDDING THIS ACTUALLY EXISTS. At this Lånegarderoben (literally “loan closet” — use your Google Translate to read the posts), you pay SEK 600 (about $90 Canadian) for six months and you can borrow up to three of their beautiful designer items for a maximum of three months. This is perfect for people with short fashion attention spans, meagre wallets and tiny closets. Why do I need another reason to move to Scandinavia? Why do people even live in places that aren’t Scandinavia? (And why wouldn’t this work in Canada? Answer: the small percentage of Canadians who are really interested in fashion is mostly made up of people who can afford to buy their own beautiful designer clothing, and do so. Everyone else gets their clothes at the Sally Ann, the mall or Canadian Tire. Mostly Canadian Tire. Actually, that might not be a bad idea for a post: “Fishnets Made Out of Fish Nets: Sartorial Adventures in Canadian Tire.”)

Hey, I’m Christel

Aquarius rising / Aries sun / Libra moon

Continually transforming under Pluto’s mysterious tutelage. Uncovering long-lost gifts of divination. Exploring the unknown, unconscious and unacknowledged.

My readings combine tarot and oracle cards with astrology, numerology and a mix of esoteric material, including channelled and transmitted works.