Photo: Jamar Stephens

Photo: Jamar Stephens

Afiya Francisco is a Style Expert, television and fashion personality, speaker, and brand ambassador. The Style House is a multimedia platform designed to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity & joy. 

A Well-Edited Wardrobe

If, as they say, a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind, it makes sense to extend my intention of wellness to the closet. With this in mind, and inspired by Carine's Roitfeld's quote in the first issue of Rosewood, I reached out to editor, and all-around style maven extraordinaire, Aya McMillan for her opinion on the subject. Here she shares her thoughts on the importance of an edited wardrobe:

My word of the moment is “edit.” I am constantly editing my world because I want less of everything and only the best. We should all edit more in life because it’s very healthy and freeing. Edit the clothes in your closet, edit your social schedule, edit the people you surround yourself with. Edit everything! It will lead to new energy and a much more fulfilled life.
— Carine Roitfeld, Rosewood Issue 1.

It reminds me of Andre Leon Talley's interview with the New York Times a while back where he declared that "all of life is editing."

I think the older that I've gotten, the more I've come to realize how crucial it is to continuously take stock of your life and figure out what's working and what's not. It's not about perfection but just constant refinement. And that applies not just to your personal style but all facets of your life - from your beauty routine to the friends you keep. 

I'm trying to be more diligent (read: ruthless) about the pieces in my closet. My guy will look at it and wonder why I need so many different shoes or jeans that basically all look the same to him (and why he gets shafted with 20% of the closet). I'm completely guilty of attaching on to a certain look or piece and not just buying one or two but like, a dozen. I have insane number of Equipment blouses, for example.... the point of a well-edited closet is really just like life. The more you're consumed by stuff, the unhappier you'll be. It's just better to simplify and stick with what actually works for you. That's ultimately the difference between fashion and style, no? 

As to how I edit my closet (and subsequently how I decide which pieces to add to it) - it's really based on one simple question: do I LOVE it? Not just like it or love it but LOOOOOVE it. And it''s gotta be something I can wear on multiple occasions and with multiple things. I'm trying to be much more selective now about what I do buy because half the time I think I LOVE something that I didn't buy for whatever reason and a year later I think back to it and realize how glad I am that I didn't spend the money. The thrill is gone, as they say. 

And then there are those pieces that I still kick myself for not getting when I had the chance and they just remain that elusive one that got away. I troll eBay or online vintage stores like the 1stdibs in the pathetic hope that I'll get a second chance. (Balenciaga school boy blazer, circa 2007, call me!) 


As for what I'm planning on adding this year, I actually can't say too much right now. These days I tend to be more in a home decor frame of mind (perfect pumps, no problem. Table lamps, not so much...) and I'm still purchasing stuff for this season because it's so damn cold (on the hunt for the perfect cable knit turtleneck and a fur popsicle scarf from Charlotte Simone. That said, I'm going to update my look with a few key pieces that riff on spring trends:

  • flared jeans (I like the ones from MiH),
  • suede A-line mini,
  • slit skirts (I have an amazing one from YSL that Taylor Tomasi Hill was photographed in but would like maybe one more for day),
  • midi skirts
  • culottes
  • I also tend to invest quite heavily on accessories so you'll probably see me with a bucket bag from Mansur Gavriel and a few jewels (I'm feeling brooches lately). 

It sounds like more than what it actually is. I've been more mindful the last few years of just consuming and collecting tons of crap. I see it with a lot of millenials where they'll buy an insane amount of Forever 21 or Asos or whatever - and I love those stores too - but they're really disposable pieces. It just gets kinda gross after awhile. When I moved a few years back I had like eight garbage bags filled with clothes from fast fashion retailers that I gave to Goodwill. It was literally thousands of dollars worth of stuff that I had maybe fore a season or two and then it was gone. It was such a waste.  So many of the trends just keep coming back so if you buy less but better (it sounds so boring, I know, but it's so true) then you'll be able to bring them out again and again. And it's not necessarily about classics either (I mean, is there a duller word in the english dictionary?!) For example, I have this vintage caramel suede fitted tunic with deep front pockets by Chanel that I haven't ever worn but I knew I loved and would find some proper time to wear it. Now that that look is back this season, you can bet your ass I'll be living in it this summer.

It can be painful but you kind of have to think of editing as the difference between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now. I mean, Chanel. That's love. That's forever...



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