Brain Fog, Closet Edits and the Importance of Just Two Words


Did you ever feel as if your brain has moved out and checked into a hotel in some other town? That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling lately! If any of you are familiar with the term “brain fog” that comes with fibromyalgia, it, in and of itself, creates its own struggle to focus. But due to some insurance issues, the docs have been playing musical meds with me, switching up about every 3 or 4 weeks, each time having to re-adjust to a whole new set of side effects and leaving my head in such a fog that even Rudolph’s shiny nose would not be able to see its way through!

I have been mustering what little mental faculties I have (like I had many in the first place – admit it, you were thinking it!) to work on my class work. I suddenly looked at my schedule and realized I only had TWO units left! Wow! I can’t believe I’ve moved so quickly through the program. I knew they used a “move at your own pace” approach, allowing a maximum of 3 years to complete your certification. I didn’t expect myself to take the full 3 years, but I didn’t rush myself through, either.

Though there were only two units, they were by far the two largest units of the study. The second to the last unit, which I just completed, contained five relatively large assignments. The last unit, which I’m just beginning, holds a whopping eleven projects!

In the past, I have talked about some of the topics we’ve studied, though you may or may not have realized that was what I was doing. But, before I finish up the program completely, I thought I’d walk you through some of exactly what I do. So welcome to Unit 7!

Unit 7 was “Creating and Editing a Wardrobe”. For me, this is really getting into the fun part. Some of the last several units we’d dealt with a lot of the “business” end – working up quotes, determining your pay scale, dealing with client issues…YUCK! Not my cup of tea. I was thrilled to finally see a light at the end of that tunnel!

There were six books to read within the unit, one video to watch and then five hands-on projects. The biggest part of our focus was probably on working on wardrobe editing. Some of you may already be familiar with this term, some not. But, it’s a very basic part of what a personal stylist does. My first assignment was to do a very basic closet edit and wardrobe analysis on myself!

Here’s the 411 of how this essentially goes – the vast majority of stylists have an “essentials” or base list. These are items of clothing that are felt to be the absolute bare minimum, most essential things that every woman (or man) should have in their wardrobe. If you have these minimum things, potentially you should be able to pull together a look for whatever situation you find yourself in. Every stylist’s list is a little different. (I, personally, stand by the belief that each person’s base list needs to be personalized to that individual’s lifestyle. It would be absurd to presume to think that the same list that would be appropriate for a 30-something single business woman who lives in Upper East Manhattan is also appropriate for a 30-something stay-at-home mom in rural Idaho.)

My first assignment was to go through my entire wardrobe with this base list provided by the school (I find their list impractical, but that is neither here nor there) and see what essential items I was missing. After identifying my missing items, I was then to determine the top three pieces that would be most beneficial to add to my wardrobe, go online and “shop” for said pieces and then, describe two outfits that I could create with these imaginary pieces using existing pieces in my wardrobe.

Camisole drawer; color blocked for efficiency and rolled for space



t-shirts; arranged by color and sleeve length; again, rolled, not folded for space efficiency


What I thought was going to be a long and tedious process actually went relatively quickly because I know my wardrobe quite well. Though it may look like I have a ton of clothes, what I actually have is a total lack of storage! It’s true! (Mr. T is probably shaking his head right now, but it is totally true!) With 5 kids in a technically only 3 bedroom house, Mr. T and I took the attic “bedroom”. There are no actual closets in our room, only a small not-quite-waist high storage closet and a small armoire. It requires some creative storage and the acceptance of a certain amount of clutter!


Sweaters stored in my great grandmother’s kitchen hutch. There are pants in the very bottom and pajamas in the silverware drawer!


Small armoire for dresses, skirts and blouses



Anyway…. Back to the assignment….

I was a little surprised by how few of the items on the list I was actually missing. Barely more than the 3 I needed for my “most important” ones. The three I chose as my most important missing pieces:

– a pair of nude heels

– a pair of black cigarette pants (I’ve actually been looking for a pair of these for some time!)

– a white long-sleeved t-shirt (I just picked this up at a thrift shop the other day!)

I took my pieces and described the following looks:

With the black cigarette pants I would then add my black sequined tank top, top that with my rose-colored velvet blazer. I would add the nude heels, black chandelier earrings and black and white opalescent multi-layer stretch bracelet and you’ve got a great date night outfit.

For the second outfit I put together the cigarette pants, the long-sleeved white shirt and topped that with a short bolero denim jacket. On my feet a pair of gold metallic loafers. Finish it off with a lovely metal, raffia and rhinestone statement necklace and small rhinestone and pearl stud earrings and you’re set for a day of running errands!


Once I finished off assignment one, rummaging through my own clothes, the next three assignments sent me off to rummage through someone else’s stuff! I needed to track down a willing victim….I mean volunteer, to let me do essentially the same thing to her wardrobe. Plus a bit more! My dear sweet friend, Audra, who I told you about briefly almost two years ago graciously stepped in! Audra let me spend an afternoon going through her clothes and finding the missing “essentials” in her wardrobe. I would later take an imaginary budget and go shopping online for Audra, purchasing for her the five pieces that I felt would be the most beneficial in upgrading her wardrobe.

Additionally to this part of the assignment, Audra picked out two outfits that represented the typical outfit she wears from day-to-day. It was then my job to take the pieces of those two outfits, and using only items from her own closet, create four new looks for Audra, that hopefully were fresh ideas for her to wear.

The day went well. Pictures were taken, and I enjoyed a great visit with a dear friend. But, lest you think anything I do ever goes as planned… The next day I am happily putting my information into the computer for the assignment when I take a quick glance up at the instructions and realize by the simple switching of TWO WORDS when I originally read the instructions I had done the creating of the four outfits completely wrong and needed to go back to Audra’s and re-do that entire section! (Remember what I said about brain fog?!) Thankfully, Audra is the most kind, gracious woman on the planet and we were able to re-do the assignment within just a few days! Thank Heavens for good friends!


One of the outfits put together for Audra using her own wardrobe pieces

I was so glad when this unit was finished! I have to tell you that after making that flub with Audra’s part of the project, it really made me a nervous wreck to turn it in! Nothing can be turned in until ALL of the projects for the unit are complete and I sighed a big sigh of relief when I finally hit that “send” button. But, when the notification showed up in my inbox that my grade was in, I was such a wreck it took me 24 hours to work up the courage to open it up! (Yes, I’m a coward – a 50 yr. old coward!)


Until We Meet Again!



(Oh, did you want to know my grade? I got an A!)



7 Replies to “Brain Fog, Closet Edits and the Importance of Just Two Words”

  1. Of course you got an “A” Ronnie!! How fabulous. It’s something you love, so it makes it so wonderful to do and enjoy!!
    I can’t believe how fast you’ve gotten in your course!! Kudos to you for all of your hard work!!
    And I absolutely love how you use your grandma’s hutch for your “closet”—now that’s impressive thinking outside the box!!


  2. Ronnie, since we have only recently discovered that each of us have blogs, I didn’t realize you were doing this program. It is never to late to do something you really love. I decided to get my masters ar 53-I was the only grandmother in the class! Congratulations on the A. It sounds like you worked hard for it. Take care, Terri xox


    1. I completely agree, Terri! And good for you! Yes, most of the other students in the program (all of the others?!) are early 20-somethings, but I’m okay with that. There’s something to be said for time and experience, and yet, new young ideas can be inspiring as well!


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