Spring Cleaning Made Easy

TopShelf Clothes | How to Spring Clean Your Closet

Warm weather seems to come out of nowhere, and while it’s a pleasant change, it also leaves you scrounging your bedroom for last season’s clothing. Today we are sharing easy tips for spring cleaning your closet from wardrobe stylist, author, and fashion-goddess, Monica Barnett.  

What is Spring Cleaning?

Spring cleaning is truly about getting yourself prepared for the rest of the year. I like to think of it like taxes, which were due April 15th – it’s the time to evaluate what happened last year, and plan to course-correct across the next 8 ½ months.

It’s a phrase we hear all the time but rarely do any of us truly participate in true “spring cleaning”. Why do they call it spring cleaning anyway?! Well it’s rooted in the aspects of Iranian and Jewish cultures.

“The vernal equinox (which falls on March 21), marks the beginning of Spring. In Iranian culture, this date also coincides with the New Year — known as ‘Now Rouz’–and a subsequent two-week celebration marked with traditions that date back to before Islamic rule. Now Rouz is the perfect time to plant new vegetation and burn away the old. In preparation for the celebration, Iranians also view it as the perfect time for a deep, vigorous household cleaning, known as “shaking the house”.

The Jewish origins of spring cleaning also hit close to home. Their reflection on renewal comes just before Passover, when they clean their homes to sweep away any leavened bread in preparation for the holiday. Passover marks the journey of slaves from Egypt, and because these slaves were only given unleavened bread, known as “matzah” in Hebrew, it is a show of gratefulness and respect to rid homes of leavened bread before the holiday.” Read more here.

The Benefits of Spring Cleaning Your Closet:

So now that you know it’s legit, let’s talk purge and renew! As an avid “spring cleaner” not to mention a wardrobe stylist, I understand the benefits of spring cleaning:

  • More space – get rid of bad or non-value added clothes to make room for the fun stuff that you love
  • Better clothes – those same clothes that have stains, tears, or are pilling up get the boot, which means what’s left are all your fabulous purchases to focus on
  • Less money spent – when your closet is less cluttered, you have better focus, which means when you shop, you actually spend on what you truly need versus what you think might work
  • Quicker shopping – it’s the focus you get from knowing what’s in your closet that allows you to get into a store, find what you need, and roll out!
  • Less stress – how many times have you said, “I have nothing to wear” as you look at a closet full of clothes? Spring cleaning leaves you with the best and the brightest so you can work with everything that’s in your closet
  • More versatile closet – when you’ve gotten rid of the junk and you know what you need and what works, your closet becomes a place that works for you and not against you

Spring is the perfect time to clean out your closet for three reasons:

  1. It gives you something to focus on so you don’t think about the cold or the rain!
  2. If done properly, it involves most aspects of your wardrobe from your summer pieces (with heavier pieces layered on top) to your fall items (the lighter stuff).
  3. From a shopping viewpoint, it presents the opportunity to bring “fresh” and “new” elements into your wardrobe that will lighten up your look
11 Simple Rules for a Stress-Free Cleaning Session:
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Yep – you get all of that from being more diligent about what’s in your closet and getting in the habit of spring cleaning. I created a four-part series on building the ideal wardrobe and it’s worth checking out but if you’re focused purely on the tradition of spring cleaning, here’s how-to knock it out in one weekend:
  1. Separate spring/summer from fall/winter (Rome wasn’t built or conquered in one day) – we’re focusing on getting ready for spring/summer
  2. Throw out any item that doesn’t fit (i.e., it’s more than two sizes two small) – the average woman will not drop two full dress sizes across the next two months
  3. Put your whites in a pile. If they have a stain, rip, snag, or hole, discard them
  4. Draw a line in the sand – and choose two bright colors to focus on for spring/summer because these colors will become the focus of your newest purchases
  5. Toss any shoes that have an exposed sole, are from your college days, and cannot be worn with jeans as well as a summer dress
  6. Any shirt with a dingy/yellowing underarm goes out
  7. If you’ve used a shaver on your sweater more than two times in the last two wears then let’s put it in the “donate” pile
  8. What does your headwear section look like? If you love baseball caps, make sure you have a plain cotton one and a fedora – the rest at your discretion
  9. Take any handbags or totes in black and put them away – spring/summer is about color so find your metallic or brightly hued bag and put it into the rotation
  10. Section off your suits by cotton/blend, lightweight wool, heavier wool, and other. Put all of your “other” and heavier wool suits away (storage bags with cedar blocks) and focus on what’s left
  11. Review what’s left and write down a gameplan of items to add to the mix

If you follow these simple 11 rules, you’ll be well on your way to a breathable, workable and versatile spring/summer closet that also allows you to throw in a few fun, trendy pieces to build on what you already have.

Simply put:

  1. Inventory
  2. Assess
  3. Trash
  4. Giveaway
  5. Inventory
  6. Organize
  7. Match

Go. Clean. Purge. Raze. Get ready!

Wedding Wednesday: Best Kept Secret Honeymoon Locales

Blog Contributor: Amanda Goetz, Founder & CEO of Availendar

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Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today we ask you to put down the registry scanner, step away from the Pinterest boards and take a moment to dream about your long-awaited honeymoon.

Let’s all step outside the comfort zone of the “couples-only” resorts and try a radical and exciting approach to this once in a lifetime trip. We found five destinations that are so remote, I am pretty sure they can only be reached through a wardrobe to Narnia.  These best kept secret honeymoon locales will make you forget all about the wedding stress and make everyone jealous of your post-nuptial Instagram feed. 

Honeymoon Destinations: A Walk on the Wild Side

TopShelf Clothes | Honeymoon Destinations

Located in northern Tanzania, the Singita Sasakwa Lodge provides expansive views over the Serengeti plains and its abundance of wildlife. The lodge blends authentic European Style with Eastern African influences, and creates an old-world luxurious setting – a little Gatsby-meets-Lion King. Couples can spend the morning getting up-close and personal with zebras, cheetahs, lions and elephants during a professionally guided game drive and then spend the afternoon relaxing in the spa sipping on wine from the Singita cellars.  If you thought people were animals at your wedding, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Honeymoon Destinations: Not Your Childhood Tree House

TopShelf Clothes | Honeymoon Destinations

Juvet is a boutique hotel in rural Norway set on a steep natural levee and allows for total immersion in nature. Seven unique cabins are set in a valley between two snow-capped mountains, as you perch above the Valldoal River. Each accommodation features a floor-to-ceiling glass pane that runs the length of one full wall so you can admire the serene landscape of birch trees, rushing rivers and stunning mountain terrain. Since you can’t be seen from any of the other houses, you can fully give in to any temptation to strip down and be one with nature.

Honeymoon Destinations: The Quintessential Honeymoon

TopShelf Clothes | Honeymoon Destinations

There are some spots that just scream honeymoon bliss and this is definitely one of them. The Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives is on an exclusive, private and romantic island, lush with tropical plants and encircled by the clear blue waters of one of the largest lagoons of the Maldives. Since this resort is only accessible by boat or seaplane, you will have no choice but to just relax and take in the tranquil sounds, soft sand and warm sun.  

Honeymoon Destinations: Santa’s Backyard

TopShelf Clothes | Honeymoon Destinations

Ever the gracious host, Santa opens up his arctic circle home at Kakslauttanen Igloo Village in northeast Finnish Lapland, allowing you to honeymoon under the beautiful Northern Lights, tucked romantically away in your very own igloo. Quite the juxtaposition as you enjoy steamy dates at a bar made entirely of ice or the world’s largest snow restaurant. During your stay at Kakslauttanen you can try exhilarating winter safaris by reindeer, husky, or snowmobile. My favorite part is being nestled inside one of the 20 thermal glass igloos while taking in stunning views of the Aurora Borealis. Oh and they actually have Santa’s home now open to the public, or you can play Mr. & Mrs. Claus by renting it out for the evening, magic reindeer and all.

Honeymoon Destinations: BYOD- Bring Your Own Donkey

TopShelf Clothes | Honeymoon Destinations

I had the pleasure of planning an event at the lovely Chora Resort on the untouched, tiny island of Folegandros, Greece. This remote location boasts only 667 inhabitants and is closed to car and motorcycle traffic. To reach the Mama-Mia-esq church perched atop of a cliff, couples will have to walk or borrow a donkey. The quiet romantic atmosphere at the Chora Resort perfectly complements the magnificent view of the vibrantly blue Aegean Sea. 24 residences are spread throughout the 3,500 square miles of property surrounded by lush gardens with tropical trees and colorful flowers – also known as heaven on earth dipped in olive oil.

Author: Amanda Goetz is the Founder and CEO of Availendar.com: a site helping brides and event planners access the availability calendars of reputable vendors in the event industry. Availendar is currently in beta and being rolled out in NYC. If you are a vendor, bride or event planner please visit www.availendar.com to request an invitation. 

Contact Amanda at Amanda@availendar.com or @availendar 

TopShelf Clothes: 2013 Year in Review

As we look back at 2013, we can’t help but share all that we’ve accomplished here in the TopShelf Clothes office. In addition to officially opening our private beta site to the public, we’ve had numerous press pieces and additions to the TopShelf team. Today we are taking some time to look back at our proudest 2013 moments as we prep for the exciting year ahead!

Year in Review: In the Press

TopShelf Clothes | Year in Review

We’ve had some really great press features this past year with WWD, Refinery29, Third Wave Fashion and InStyle’s September issue to name a few. Our 2013 press was not only amazing for getting the TopShelf name out there, but we really took the time to show people who we are as a company as well. One project, called the TopShelf Style Ride allowed us to sponsor a free shuttle car in the Hamptons. TopShelf Founder and CEO, Katie Nadler spent a few summer Saturdays in the Style Ride herself, talking to beachgoers about the brand and really getting to know our new customers. 

Year in Review: TopShelf Team Additions

TopShelf Clothes | Year in Review

This year we have also been fortunate to add a few outstanding new members to the TopShelf team. In September, our new COO Degelis Tufts came on with fresh ideas, drive and an incredible energy that have really helped transform the team. We also acquired our superstar intern Morgan Hoffman, who has made countless contributions since her start. In addition to our growing in-house team, we spent the past 12 months building our elite team of stylists who have years of experience in anything from personal styling to high fashion editorials. And last, but certainly not least, we expanded our team of developers, adding Ed Tsigal and Botond Denes, each who have an extensive backgrounds in fashion e-commerce.

Year in Review: We’re live, ladies!

TopShelf Clothes | Year in Review

We couldn’t wrap up the year without mentioning that our Beta site is officially open, meaning no more required invite code! This feat was especially exciting, as we can now share our love for easy, personalized styling with a much greater audience. With TopShelf you can bring your closet online with a click of a button and receive online personal shopping recommendations to work with your style and budget. It’s free to join and free to receive weekly outfit suggestions.

Daily Cup of Couture’s TopShelf Lookbook

We are pleased to announce our latest collaboration with fashion blogger Caitlin Fisher of Daily Cup of Couture. Caitlin started her blog in 2009 as an inspiration board for herself and as a way to share her love for fashion with readers. She has since expanded her presence across all social media platforms (we are particularly fond of her Pinterest boards). She juggles the growing popularity of her blog with a full-time job, an active lifestyle, and a variety of social engagements. It’s this do-it-all attitude, along with her taste for chic and refined clothes, that make Caitlin a true TopShelf Woman.

Today, Caitlin’s TopShelf Lookbook, highlights a fall fashion favorite: the fluted skirt. Her 5 outfits take us on a journey from Country Chic to Ladylike Luxe, and we love every minute of it!

Click below to shop:

TopShelf Clothes | Daily Cup of Couture


Stylist Picks: 5 “Best of the Web” Looks

This week, TopShelf Stylist Monica Barnett created 5 truly “best of the web” looks using Rank & Style’s Top 10 Lists. Rank & Style aggregates the best items from across retailers using an algorithm based on user reviews, bestseller lists, editorial recommendations and expert product reviews. Click through below for TopShelf’s full head-to-toe looks from the Top 10’s!

The Look: Everyday Chic

TopShelf Clothes | Stylist Picks

Shop the Look: 1. House of Harlow Leather Necklace ($75); 2. Alice + Olivia Metallic Elyse Blazer ($495); 3. All Saints Lucille Leather Skirt ($348); 4. Alice + Olivia Hilary d’Orsay Flats ($240); 5. Giles & Brother Cortina Cuff ($100)

The Look: Night On The Town

TopShelf Clothes | Stylist Picks

Shop the Look: 1. Parker Key Leather Dress ($396); 2. Clare Vivier Crocodile Clutch ($180); 3. Gorjana Teagan Cuff ($120); 4. Michael Kors Glam  Studs ($55); 5. BB Dakota Jasper Jacket ($83); 6. BCBG d’Orsay Pump ($58)

The Look: Travel Savvy

TopShelf Clothes | Stylist Picks

Shop the Look: 1. Paige Skyline 12 Skinny Jeans ($158); 2. Doma Vintage Leather Jacket ($635); 3. Rag & Bone Classic Newbury Booties ($495); 4. BaubleBar Archipelago Bib ($38); 5. Rimowa Salsa Air Ultralight Suitcase ($475); 6. Kors Slim Double Wrap Watch ($160)

The Look: Weekday Hustle

TopShelf Clothes | Stylist Picks

Shop the Look: 1. J.Crew No. 2 Pencil Skirt ($110); 2. J.Crew Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater ($198); 3. Asos Classic Trench ($107); 4. French Connection Maresella Bootie ($150); 5. Alexis Bittar Lightning Bolt Collar ($345); 6. Dior Rouge Colour in 999 ($34)

The Look: Girls Weekend

TopShelf Clothes | Stylist Pick

Shop the Look: 1. Intermix Camo Silk Pants ($198); 2. Equipment Signature Blouse ($208); 3. Helmut Lang Smoking Tux Blazer ($575); 4. Cole Haan Cassidy Bootie ($268); 5. Elizabeth And James Sling Backpack ($445); 6. Hive & Honey Spike Stud Earring ($18)

About Monica:

TopShelf Clothes | Stylist Picks

Monica has over ten years of formal personal styling and image consulting experience, She has worked as an external consultant for Neiman Marcus, currently partners with Saks Fifth Avenue regularly, is part of Vogue Magazine’s elite Influencer Network, and is one of Lucky Magazine’s Style Collective Shoppers. She is founder/editor-in-chief of Blueprint for StyleFor more on Monica Barnett, check out her TopShelf Stylist Profile.

Wedding Feature: Glamour at the Plaza

Wedding planning is undoubtedly a hard task when you want everything from the rehearsal dinner to the after party to be perfect. Whether you turn to Pinterest for ideas or to an experienced wedding planner, looking to other’s ceremonies for reference is a great help.

Today we’re taking a peek at the gorgeous ceremony and reception of glamour bride Sam Haber, one of TopShelf’s very own clients, for wedding inspiration. With the Plaza Hotel as a venue and a Marchesa wedding gown, it wasn’t difficult to get inspired!  

Wedding Inspiration: The Venue

TopShelf Clothes | Wedding Inspiration

Reception and ceremony held at the Plaza Hotel in NYC. Photos courtesy of Arnold Brower

Ambiance is key to making your big day memorable. Choose a location that you are both attracted to and one that is easily accessible for your loved ones. Then customize the space with your dream décor.

Sam chose to hold her wedding at the Plaza Hotel, home of Eloise and the majestic ballroom. The ceremony was held in the Terra Room, followed by cocktails in the Palm Court, a reception in the Grand Ballroom, and an after party in the Centennial Foyer. While most people aren’t lucky enough to celebrate their day at the luxurious Plaza, choosing a large space like the Plaza Hotel will allow you to switch up the venue and décor without requiring any kind of transportation for your guests.

Wedding Inspiration: The Fashion

TopShelf Clothes | Wedding Inspiration

From Left to Right: Sam Haber in Marchesa, bridal accessories, custom Eloise clutch, custom Stone Fox Bride head piece. Photos courtesy of Skye Lehman.

Wedding fashion is one of our most favorite aspects. From the dress to the accessories, all pieces add up to a memorable, timeless look. When choosing your wedding outfit (or outfits) do not forget to find something that is not only stunning, but also incredibly comfortable. Both style and fit evoke confidence so that you have nothing to worry about when all eyes are on you.

Our featured bride, opted for a gorgeous Marchesa gown and a custom veil for her wedding day. As for the shoes, Sam sported Charlotte Olympia for the ceremony and Miu Miu for the after party. She finished off her look with probably the best part about her outfit; a custom Olympia le Tan Eloise Clutch to go with her dreamy ceremony at the hotel.

Wedding Inspiration: The Food

TopShelf Clothes | Wedding Inspiration

From left to right: Reception menu from Foremost catering, the cutting of the cake. Photos courtesy of Skye Lehman.

Dining is major component of your wedding day. Choose a menu that suits everyone’s tastes (vegetarians, pescetarians, and major sweet tooths) to keep all your guests happy and lively all night long. Keep the menu relatively simple and fuss-free to eat; there’s nothing that spoils your guests’ experience like getting up from dinner with stains on their newly purchased suits and dresses. As much as we love bruschetta, messy foods or anything with bones are generally a bad idea. Providing options for your guests is also important. Bite sized finger foods or appetizers on skewers are great for hors d’oeuvres. And as for the entrée, choose something light and filling that requires minimal effort to eat. You can stick to traditional steak or chicken recipes, which are always a hit, or offer inventive sushi entrées. One-bite foods are packed with flavor and easy to munch on in a party setting.

What photo from Sam’s wedding is your favorite? What’s your dream wedding location?

Follow us on Pinterest for more wedding inspiration.

2012 Year in Review: TopShelf Clothes Highlights

As we look back at our year, we at TopShelf have made monumental moves. In addition to our literal move from Midtown to Soho, we’ve evolved as a business as well. We wanted to take the time to share our most memorable TopShelf moments as we prepare for the exciting year ahead.

2012 Year in Review: DreamIt Venture’s Demo Day

TopShelf Clothes | 2012 in Review

DreamIt Venture’s Demo Day marked one of the first big steps for TopShelf Clothes. The event occurred at the end of the summer tech incubator program as CEO, Katie Nadler, presented the business to investors, fellow entrepreneurs and press. It was a huge accomplishment to show the startup world how one person’s single idea had transformed into a business with a product and a team in just a matter of 12 weeks.

2012 Year in Review: Moving Offices

TopShelf Clothes | Year in Review

In early October, we moved from DreamIt Ventures in bustling Midtown to our new WeWork Labs in Soho. In addition to our new space, we acquired VP of Engineering, Andrew Frankel who has made invaluable contributions to TopShelf Clothes. Moving to our own offices was a sign that TopShelf was here to stay, even though it’s time at DreamIt had come to a close.

2012 Year in Review: Marketing Site and Private Beta Launch

TopShelf Clothes | Best of TopShelf

The end of the summer marked our Private Beta launch and the end of 2012 year marked the launch of our official marketing site to the public. After months of working with shoppers on our private beta site, this public preview of our style services was a huge advancement of the TopShelf Clothes brand. Check out the new TopShelf site and be sure to sign up for our wait list to receive personalized style advice when we open up the site to new members!

2012 Year in Review: Team Mixers

TopShelf Clothes | Best of TopShelf

What better way to get acquainted with your fellow stylish team members, than with social events? The feeling of belonging to a special team of talented individuals is an important part of TopShelf Clothes. Especially with many of our stylists working remotely, the chance to come together to celebrate our accomplishments and get to know one another is what holds our network together. Whether that means pizza and champagne in our office, rooftop cocktails at a swanky hotel bar, or apps and games at a local Italian food restaurant we’ve held regular mixers as the TopShelf Clothes team continues to grow.