Update Your Wardrobe with Tips from Patti Schisel

If there’s one tip I can give you about simplifying your life, it’s to look for people who’ve already done the thing you want to do, and copy them.

I’m not talking about plagiarism or copyright infringement.

I’m talking about analyzing the best to learn from the best, whether that’s getting out of debt or starting your own business or wearing awesome clothes.

Copy people who know what they’re doing.

For instance, when I read a book or watch a movie, I am always looking for how the writer develops a character. I notice things like foreshadowing and plot points, small details that make a difference in the end. (I tell my critique clients to study great writers, too.)

By studying how others write, I am figuring out how to write a good story of my own.

You can use this method for all aspects of life.

Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it. – Anthony J. D’Angelo

A writer works from home, in yoga pants

Recently, I’d begun to feel my wardrobe had become a bit too … comfortable.

I’d even worn some of my comfy creations in public, which meant I inevitably saw a hundred people I knew at the store. (Why does that always happen?!)

I sat down with my friend Patti Schisel, owner of The Ultimate Closet in Green Bay, to refresh my fashion awareness. Here are some tips you can copy to update your wardrobe at any age:

1. Always dress for your body type.

You may be tempted to snag the latest summer trend from the stores, but if it won’t flatter your body type, don’t bother. Schisel recommends researching which types of clothes will look the best on your figure before you head out for the stores.

  • Learn more: I found a site where you can compare your body to fruit (weirdly fun) … or you can calculate your body shape here … and then have fun combing the internet to find out which styles flatter you.

2. Let your clothes showcase your strengths as a person.

A writer shouldn’t dress like a lawyer, and vice versa. Choose accessories that tell people a little more about yourself.

For instance, I love wearing this chain-mail bracelet that Mr. Right made for me. It’s simple, goes with everything, yet gives others a glimpse into my life, and the creative people I connect to.


On the other hand, I don’t want to look SO creative that an editor might wonder if I can meet a deadline. Balance is the key.

(P.S. I would like you all to know I snapped the above photo using my iPad Mini and the tip of my nose. How’s that for creative?!)

3. Put your wardrobe to work.

Think of how you can wear each item you buy in a variety of seasons. You can layer a blouse or dress with other items, such as a long sweater, leggings and boots to keep them working all year.

4. Know your style.

If you’re feeling uncertain about which clothes you’d feel most comfortable in, look through magazines and tear out pages with outfits you like. Use the women’s fashion category on Pinterest to get an idea of the clothes you like or don’t like.

“My look is Bohemian rock star,” Schisel says. “I like the Bohemian look, but I also like a black leather jacket and gaudy earrings. I can rock them both.”

  • More: Don’t wear a costume. If Bohemian isn’t you, you won’t look good wearing those styles. “When you’re true to yourself, you’ll get compliments,” Schisel adds.

Do you have a tip we can copy?

Best place to buy leggings?

Favorite Etsy shop?

A go-to outfit, lipstick shade or hairdo?

Share your best fashion advice in the comments below, and share this post on Facebook or Twitter so your friends can chime in, too.

Every yoga pants-wearing writer in the world thanks you in advance.

Photo by Jason Hargrove

Check out Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk, coming January 2016 from Delacorte Press/Random House. Visit her author site here.

{ 1 comment }

1 AmandaT April 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I usually try to take a trusted friend with me shopping. She’ll get me to try things on I wouldn’t normally try and give me an honest evaluation of things I do try.

In a pinch you can ask the ladies around you in the dressing room, most are more than happy to say “yay” or “nay” when asked.

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