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The M Dash

Live with purpose.

Business Time: 3 Simple Rules for Whipping Your Closet into Shape

April 16, 2014

It’s Wednesday, which means just one thing—it’s Business Time! Below, Sarah LaFleur, CEO of MM.LaFleurshares what’s on her mind this week.

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Bienvenue, spring! ‘Tis about time. First, let me explain the above photo, which my father just sent from Tokyo.

There’s nothing like cherry blossoms to remind me of spring in Japan. There, April is the start of the new year—the American equivalent of September. Around this time, most Japanese do what is known as a koromo-gae, which quite literally translates into “the changing of clothes.”

Japanese typically live in small houses, so most people don’t keep their entire wardrobes in their closets. Instead, they swap out their clothes seasonally. When the cherry blossoms start to bloom, they make room for spring and summer clothes, and pack away their winter ones.

Alas, my NYC apartment is even smaller than a Japanese house, so I had to get creative when it came time for “the changing of the clothes” chez moi. Other than doing my tax returns, this was the process that I dreaded most, but after spending a weekend cleaning out my closet, I realized something: Working in fashion has made me a much more effective “ wardrobe editor.”

I went from this…

…to this!

I ain’t no Martha Stewart, but nonetheless, these are the new rules of my closet:

1. Work clothes in one section, play clothes in another. See those wooden hangers in the front? Those are my M.M. dresses. I own seven of them, and every day, I choose one out of these seven to wear to work. Getting ready in the morning has never been easier. Obama once said something in Vanity Fair about narrowing his suiting options so he can preserve his brainpower for the important decisions he has to make every day. I might not be managing crises like Syria, Ukraine, or Obamacare, but I still like getting ready like POTUS.

2. Match your hangers. Miyako (our designer) taught me this little trick. When we were opening our first pop-up store last October, our clothes were initially hanging on similar-looking but different hangers, and the dresses looked horrible! She told us to hang them all on identical hangers, and suddenly, they were like little jewels sparkling in the dark. Different hangers = your clothes look ugly. Uniform hangers = your clothes look pretty. It’s that simple.

3. Hang; don’t fold. You know the t-shirts and the tank tops that are a little bit nicer than your other t-shirts and tank tops? We’ll call them the “appropriate for the public” t-shirts. I used to keep these in a drawer, where they would inevitably get wrinkly. I ended up overlooking them and mistakenly assuming I didn’t own any “quintessential basics.” Once I hung them up, the wrinkles subsided and I realized that I actually owned three almost-identical grey v-neck t-shirts. “Ma’am, step away from the $75 James Perse t-shirts!” (Side note: Do NOT hang your chunky knits. Those will stretch out.)

So tell us, fellow busy professional women: What tricks do you use to show your closet who’s boss?

– Sarah

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