Your Wardrobe as Your Very Own Personal Network

For years, they have been by my side, remaining loyal and accommodating, supportive and magnanimous. They have seen me laugh. They have seen me cry. They have witnessed my failures, and they can vouch for my successes. No matter the occasion, they stand by me without judgment. They push me to look and feel my best and never cloud my sparkle. There are very few people in my life who possess such qualities. But I am not referring to people.

I have just described my favorite pair of nude flats, my comfort shoe; my only article of clothing appropriate for every occasion, every season, year after year of wear and tear.

So what is your nude flat? What about that old, tattered pair of sweatpants you refuse to give up because it is the one thing you can count on to keep you sane after an exhausting day of work? Or maybe it is your beloved hot pink blazer that surprisingly matches everything and separates you from the otherwise drab office. The concept might be difficult to fully comprehend, but building your wardrobe is essentially equivalent to establishing your personal network. Each piece carries significance that benefits you in whatever way you choose. The best part is, unlike your network of family, friends, colleagues, and other acquaintances; you can easily replace them with no hard feelings, and awkward impressions do not exist.

Family: Your family pieces are those that last forever. They are investment pieces, sometimes gifts. You want to make sure your family piece is a perennial style and will fit despite your fluctuating shape and tastes. Your family should be worth the price of luxury, so go ahead and make it David Yurman, Chanel, Versace, whatever your heart desires.

Friends: Your wardrobe is full of friends. Friend pieces should be inexpensive, fun, and uplifting, the feel-good statement pieces, the ones that make you feel stunning during a night out or after a stressful transition and help you express yourself when meeting new people. Some may last a lifetime like my nude flats, and some could be fleeting like fringe or sequins. Either way, they are worn with care and killer confidence.

Colleagues: Your colleagues are your competition, or your workout apparel. They push you to be your best whenever you wear them.

Mentors: Your mentors are those pieces that you absolutely love but could never “pull off.” Well guess what? With the help of your colleagues, you can rock that body hugging strapless little black dress. Or maybe you are inspired by the avant-garde fashions. Your family and friends can make the fashion-forward pieces a little less extreme and, thus, a little more comfortable with the classics.

Boss: You may not love your bosses, or professional clothing, but abiding by their rules, or wearing them, is necessary. You vent to your actual friends about your boss, so think about using your friend pieces to make the best of your boss pieces. Button downs in fun prints, pencil skirts in bright colors, and bold statement necklaces can all make a huge difference in your outlook.

Acquaintances: Acquaintances can often be the most fun to be around and the most fun to wear. You have a limited time with them, so you feel as if you can be whomever you want. The pieces associated with this aspect of your network are your travel pieces, including maxi dresses, rompers, floppy straw hats, over size sunglasses. Some acquaintances are worthless immediately following the vacation, but others can become friends or colleagues and demand more attention. It is important to choose wisely on which acquaintances you want to spend the most, whether it is the Tom Ford sunglasses or the Eric Javits straw hat or even the perfect dress.