We are all guilty of keeping things that we need to let go. There's a comfortability with certain items that causes us to death grip them even though we have clearly outgrown them. For example, that bandage dress that's no longer flattering, or that white shirt that is more yellow these days - it's time to let it go, sis!
Summer will be knocking on our doors come June 21st, and it is our duties to be fully prepared with an effective wardrobe. You should feel joy and excitement to curate a look everyday. Take it from boss babe and celebrity stylist Olori Swank. Olori Swank told us, "Style is how you introduce yourself without opening your mouth. Make sure you're saying all the right things."
In order for you to say all the right things, you need unerring staples that will be indisputable.
Did you know that Olori Swank had dreams of being a doctor? Instead, she opted to heal hearts through fashion. From Teyana Taylor to Lance Gross, Swank is a hot commodity in the fashion industry, so she knows a thing or two about styling and closet purging. Being a serial entrepreneur has also taught her lessons on looking like money without spending too much of it. Swank told ESSENCE, "Being fashionable is really being able to express yourself with what you have. I know people who will spend $10,000 on a jacket and the jacket looks terrible because they didn't know how to put it together. And then you'll have a girl who went to Goodwill and spent $15 on her whole outfit and everyone is asking her where she got it from. There's no direct correlation between how much you spend and how fashionable you are."
We had a chance to chop it up with the blue haired beauty to learn tips and tricks for a successful closet purge. Here's the tea!
Where To Start
"The one thing is: any item you've not worn in nine months to a year. Nine times out of ten, if you haven't worn it in forever, it's a sign it needs to go. It may not fit well, the trend might be over, it may be damaged, or you may not like even like it; whatever the reason may be, it's time to get rid of it."
The Truth About "Goal" Items
"Many women see something in a store that they absolutely love but can't quite fit (yet). I do think having ONE goal item is your closet isn't going to kill you; however, if you find yourself in a situation where a lot of the items in your closet are 'goal' items, not only may it discourage you from dressing sharp everyday, it may also cause you to have the 'I have a closet full of clothes, and nothing to wear' syndrome. If you find yourself in this position, it's definitely time for a closet purge!"
The Key To A Successful Closet Purge
"Closet purges are very important! So important that I dedicate a whole section to them in my 101: TheBlueprint For A SWANK Life book. The proper way to purge your closet is to start with items you have not worn in nine months to a year and let them go. Next, let go of items that are too small or too big since nine times out of ten, you will not wear them because they don't fit. Don't fool yourself with the excuse, 'I'll grow into it' or, 'I'll lose weight for it.'
"Another question to ask yourself is, 'What's the likelihood I'll ever wear that item again?' A lot of us have items in our closet that we love; they are so memorable, unique, and distinctive but we are embarrassed to be caught wearing them twice. Unless it's an item that holds extreme sentimental value, like a wedding dress or a vintage sweater passed down from your grandmother, let it go. You should also get rid of any items that are damaged, or don't represent your current style of dress. If a zipper is broken or a button is missing, and you've been saying for the longest time that you were going to get it fixed, and you've yet to get it fixed, most likely you are not going to wear that item again. There's no need to leave it in your closet taking up space when it's not even in the best condition for you to pull out and put on if you feel like wearing it. Also ask yourself, if you were in the mall shopping right now and you were standing in front of this item, would you buy it? If the answer is 'no,' then it is time to let that item go. It's not uncommon for us to love something in the store, buy it, get home, never wear it and then not like it anymore.
"Don't let buyer's remorse be the reason you keep something in your closet especially when you don't intend to wear it. You can donate those items to a battered women's shelter and feel just as good about yourself as the day you bought it. Remember, one woman's 'yikes, I hate this,' is another woman's 'oh my God, I love this.' Lastly, ask yourself if you feel comfortable in an item. If the last time you wore that dress you broke out in hives in front of a dinner party of twenty people, the likelihood of you wearing that dress again, no matter how cute it is, is slim to none."
"One woman's 'Yikes, I hate this,' is another woman's 'Oh my God, I love this.'"
Everyday Closet Essentials
According to Olori, every woman should have these essential items in their wardrobe at all times:
- A black suit (comprised of black pants & a sharp blazer that they can either wear together or separately),
- A little black dress that makes her feel like a star in any room she walks in,
- A white collar dress shirt,
- A pair of jeans that fit her like a dream,
- A leather jacket,
- A pair of classic black pumps,
- A pair of nude pumps,
- A pair of ballet flats,
- A leather daytime bag,
- An evening clutch,
- And a great pair of sunglasses that suit her face.
The Golden Rule For Maintaining An Effective Wardrobe
"Buy only what you love and what you feel confident in. Don't feel pressured to follow every single trend. Invest in quality staple pieces that you can have for years, but don't spend too much money on trendier items you know won't last long in your wardrobe."
Want more stories like this? Check out these xoNecole related reads:
- 5 Steps That Make Closet Purging and Organizing Easier ›
- The Start-to-Finish Guide to Organizing Your Closet ›
- How to Purge and Organize Your Closet - California Closets ›
- SPRING CLOSET PURGE! Organizing a wardrobe that works FOR ... ›
- 7 Steps to a Successful Closet Purge | Real Simple ›
- A Day In the Life of Celebrity Stylist Olori Swank - YouTube ›
- Celebrity Stylist Olori Swank Opens Up About New Book and Advice ... ›
- 101 By Olori SWANK ›
- ESSENCE Network: Celebrity Stylist Olori Swank Shares Her ... ›
- Olori SWANK (@OloriSWANK) | Twitter ›
- Shop the latest on trend women's fashion online at SWANK blue ... ›
- Olori SWANK (@oloriswank) • Instagram photos and videos ›
- OloriSWANK.com ›
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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