My friend Jesse Garza has been a stylist for years, and he is an expert not only at helping women feel like their best selves, but also whipping their closets into beautiful, organized oases. Picture it: you walk into your closet in the morning and it’s a haven, not a prison. Wouldn’t that make getting dressed more relaxing, more fun?
He and his parter at Visual Therapy, Joe Lupo, live by the advice that you should break your wardrobe down into cake and frosting. Frosting is the bling, the ruffles, the trends. They’re the things the magpies in us see and go, “Pretty! I want!” Jewelry and accessories mostly fall into this category, but so do garments that don’t function for your everyday life, or those with an expiration date. That bright orange suede jacket you couldn’t resist? The new sheer lace dress calling your name? Anything with cutouts? Frosting. And guess what? Most of us have way too much of it.
Frosting is delicious, but too much leaves you feeling sick, and the same goes for your wardrobe. Sometimes when we look in our closets and think, “I have nothing to wear,” it’s because the frosting is overwhelming everything else.
That’s where the cake comes in, the pieces that are the foundations of your closet—but don’t think of them as boring. Too often words like “basics,” “staples” or, shudder, “workhorses” get tossed around to describe these garments. It may seem like a small thing, but using these terms makes the act of getting dressed seem like a chore. It strips the fun away from fashion.
Anything but basic: This sculptural coat may seem like frosting, but with its flattering shape and ultra-comfortable fit, it could be a unique piece of cake for many women's closets.
That’s why I think Jesse’s metaphor is so brilliant: Cake is delicious and a treat on its own. Your wardrobe “cake” are items that you can always turn to, that never let you down, that make you feel gorgeous and confident. True, there are certain items that most women should have in their closets: a great dress, some versatile tops, well-fitting pants, and a jacket that tops everything off. But cake is intimately tied to your personality and lifestyle, so, just like you may prefer Devil's Food to Red Velvet, every woman’s take will be a little different. Perhaps most importantly, cake doesn’t have to mean conservative, traditional, or “basic.” Cake can include bold colors, prints, and interesting shapes—it's all about how it makes you feel on a regular basis, not every once in a while.
So think about your own closets in this way and assess what's cake vs. what's frosting. If there's not enough of the former, start to think about pieces that will fill those gaps. Before you know it, your closet will feel balanced and inviting. It's having your cake and eating it too.