(Re)making friends

This Saturday I will have the delightful experience of helping a friend of mine select a new wardrobe! The Traveling Psychologist has not bought new clothes in three years, and is finally up for a bit of refurbishment.

Ladies — and I am afraid this post is geared toward the women, although I’m always happy to hear from the gents — if you are fashion-challenged, or simply in a rut, don’t ever hesitate to ask a stylish friend to help you clean your closet, or shop, or simply sit down and figure out what you ought to be wearing, already. (In general, don’t be hesitant to ask for practical lessons from friends. Spending an afternoon teaching or learning knitting, auto maintenance, clicker training, or souffle-making is cheap and practical entertainment.)

The Psychologist and I are starting with the “sit down and figure out” bit at first. There’s no point running off shopping when you don’t know what you’re shopping for. Trying things on and buying what looks good is a nice way to wind up with a closet full of lovely garments that don’t get along with your lifestyle or each other. Here are some questions I sent my friend to think about:

1. You bike every day. What constraints does that put on what you can wear?
2. What kinds of clothes feel best on you: fitted, flowing, or structured?
3. What parts of your body do you prefer to cover, and which do you like to highlight?
4. Do you often have to go from one level of formality to another without having time to change?
5. Pick six colors that you like best: three neutrals, three colors.

The Traveling Psychologist is never going to be a woman who cares a great deal about clothes. She likes to look good, but the hunter-gatherer thrill of shopping is lost on her, and I don’t think she enjoys putting outfits together as much as I do. So my goal is to figure out a couple of basic silhouettes that will work for her, which she can then change up with various accessories. The “Traveling” part of her moniker ensures an appropriately Cantabridgian wardrobe of exotic earrings, shawls, and bracelets.

Have you ever asked a friend to help you revamp your look, or done the same for someone else? How did it work out?

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