Sunday, March 11, 2012

Transforming Mr. Brown Part I; The Closet

Hello there! It's been a hectic few weeks, but lots of fun as well. I am so excited to begin sharing The Transformation of Mr. Brown with you at long last. Thanks to all of your support and donations, we were able to meet and exceed our goal of $2,000 for the Tiki Techs! (You guys are amazing!) That meant it was time for me to roll up my sleeves and tackle Mr. Brown's closet, wild mane and grizzly man beard.

He had cleaned up his room quite a lot before I arrived. On one hand, I was grateful since it spared me some of the untold horrors of bachelorhood. On the other hand, I wished I could have seen his usual routine so I could best help him with new ways to manage it.

We began by creating three piles. One for things that he likes that don't fit at the moment. The second were things he can wear right now. The third were things deemed inappropriate for contact with other humans. This pile came to include several shirts that were covered with ink after an unfortunate incident with pen exploding in the dryer, man capris from the late 90's complete with hammer loops, and one pair of sweatpants with a hole in the butt which I have actually seen him wear to school.

He fought me a little, but I could tell it felt good to be making room for something fresh and new.

Next, we packed the things that he might be able to use soon into a suitcase and put it on the top most shelf. That way he can revisit them in a month or two when he is wearing a different size but they won't take up precious closet space until then. A great closet is filled with things you love and look great in right this second. It makes mistakes impossible.

We also decided to hang everything he owns except for underwear, socks and undershirts. This is not a man who is ever going to iron his clothes, so I encouraged him to get into the habit of hanging everything as quickly as possible after taking it out of the dryer. (Can't get there in time Get a clean hand towel wet and toss it in the dryer with the clothes for 5-10 minutes. The steam from the towel helps loosen wrinkles.) This way gravity helps to fight wrinkles and there are no messy piles or stacks to contend with. He can also see everything he has to choose from at once instead of forgetting about all the things tucked away in a dresser (or in a crumpled heap on the floor.)

We put all the pants on one bar and the shirts on another. We added a rolling cart with cubbies for underwear, socks and undershirts which are perfectly fine rumpled. We made a list of things we would need repair- new shoelaces, shoe polish, etc. We also thought about what he would need to replace or update.

When I first began thinking about a look for Justin, I knew it would have to be relaxed and incredibly easy. I wanted to show him that it doesn't take that much extra effort to look polished if you do a little planning ahead. I also wanted him to see the difference between absolutely no effort whatsoever and the power that polished grooming and wardrobe can offer as you tackle your day. Hawaii's culture of Aloha wear (that's what they call it!) can be done with elegance and refinement, but it's still be comfortable and easy. Tommy Bahama and Tori Richard both sprung to mind immediately as a brands that could work for Justin's busy but casual professional life. It's all about natural fibers, relaxed fit, soft, tropical colors and ease. It seemed like it might suit him.

It's also rather brutally expensive. But not a bad starting point for inspiration.
The next day we went shopping at Macy's. Justin actually loves to shop- he's a crazy bargain hunter. This shopping trip was a bit different from his norm, since I asked him to try on everything and talk with me about what he liked and didn't like and why. Although it was out of his comfort zone, we found some things that looked really terrific on him and he started to volunteer some thoughts about colors and patterns that showed there is a little pizazz and creativity in there after all. (He revealed that at home he has a massive collection of ties- so there must be a little bit of a dandy in there somewhere!)

In the end, he bought two new pairs of khakis to replace some that had been edited out. We found four beautiful new shirts- two long sleeve (one in an aqua gingham that was so cool!), two short sleeve Tommy Bahama pieces (on super clearance!) in beautiful silk that I could tell made him stand a little taller. He also found some nice brown boots that he can wear in the robotics machine shop for safety with a little style too.

We also indulged in some new socks and undershirts from Target. (Don't you agree that brand new socks are one of life's wonderful luxuries? They are always so cushy and soft!) I also found him a few Aloha shirts on clearance at Target that I think will look great with his reddish hair and make his blue eyes really pop.

I am looking forward to sharing his haircut and shave with you next!

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