Honoring spring and the tradition of sprucing things up, I treated my closet to a bit of an organizational update. Mind you, if you’ve seen my closet, you know it’s immaculate to begin with. But I had a dirty little secret in there. It was my sock drawer. Long story short, I tossed out thirty-two pairs of socks that had lost their elasticity, or that the colors were no longer in alignment with my personal style. While curating my socks, I wondered why the sock drawer fell into such a state of chaos. The answer was simple: my clothes and accessories [the socks, too, now] are so well chosen and organized that I don’t spend much time in the closet.
Once the socks were organized to my satisfaction, I found myself lingering in the closet, appreciating that every item had a place, but also that every item holds a meaning.
In my work with clients, I’m always evaluating their wardrobes, identifying the messages of their clothing items, while organizing their closets. So, this time around, it was really fun to turn the tables on my wardrobe and think back on how my wardrobe has evolved.
The oldest shirt that hangs in the closet is this amazing piece of textile from Missoni. It’s cotton flannel and has so many colors woven through it. I haven’t taken it in for carbon dating, but my guess is that it’s from 1992. This prized shirt has probably outlasted some marriages, and is older than some children you know! But I hold on to this shirt, and wear it on some special occasions because it’s a resplendent representation of who I am in terms of color representation: warm yet vivid, cozy yet highly alert. Stylistically, it reminds me of my creative approach to the visual arts. This is really a cornerstone piece in my collection that has inspired the purchase of so many other shirts. One time about a year ago, while curating a client’s closet, I found that he had the very same shirt. On a subsequent visit back to his house, I wore the shirt. Luckily, I had told my client that he could keep his copy of the shirt. He was so elated that his wife took pictures of us wearing our shirts. I’ll never get rid of this shirt or the client!
Moving down the rack, there it was, a Christian Lacroix shirt I bought in February 2007, at a Paris men’s clothing boutique in Le Marais, near Place des Vosges. It was my first trip to Paris. My mother had passed away two months before, and I was feeling a Joseph-quake inside myself. This shirt is a bit louder in color and style than me, but I reserve it for occasions like Valentine’s Day or Christmastime. The poppy polka dots and that adrenaline rush of red always remind me to be happy and daring, even in the depths of sorrow. I knew from this shirt that Paris would become my cure-all, or at least that I’d be doing a lot more shopping in Paris over the years.
My style has really evolved from blended, earthy coloring and patterns. Although the Lacroix shirt sticks out as the anomaly in my wardrobe of shirts, this Gitman Bros. shirt, a more recent purchase, says urban hipster. Still a big fan of cozy cotton flannel, there’s nothing grandpa-like about the hot fuchsia coloring featured here. I’ll throw this on with anything from a jean to a Zegna dress pant and sport coat and always with my Hermes brown belt with gold buckle and dark brown shoes. It’s great having a strong focus in a shirt like that, because that means the focus is on me – in a good way.
It didn’t occur to me at the time, but while trying clothes on at the Kenzo boutique during a winter holiday trip to Paris in 2010, I became a fan of the line’s runway collection – big time! This amazing heavy-duty, slim-fitting wool pant is the most funky cool hipster pant I’ve ever owned. Every time I wear it, either with a fabulous coordinating sweater, or a body-conscious ribbed knit, or a very dark urban camouflage chic shirt, I’m ready for the business of fashion or fun.
My closet is a treasure trove of beautiful stuff, from the inside out. There’s the aesthetic beauty and there’s seeing life’s experiences through the vessel that is our wardrobe. If you don’t have that experience, like remembering something amazing happening to you while wearing a special piece of clothing, we have to talk. Your wardrobe should tell an exciting story, just like mine.
Joseph Rosenfeld helps high-profile individuals revitalize, manage, and be secure in their personal visual brand. Visit JosephRosenfeld.com for details.