After slumping into a COVID wardrobe rut, Cheri and Amy needed some help to get their groove back. Today they discuss their transformation from a 24/7 yoga pants trend to a dive into spring. This fun fashion episode will lift your spirits, give you some laughs, and it just might inspire you to start a transformation of your own. You can look your most beautiful with a plan on a budget!
(This page contains affiliate links. Your clicks and purchases help support Grit 'n' Grace at no extra charge to you.)
- Shari Braendel’s Closet Outfit Planner — https://closetoutfitplanner.com/
- Shari Braendel’s website — https://fashionmeetsfaith.com/
- Shari Braendel’s Facebook group — https://www.facebook.com/groups/closetoutfitplannercommunity/ (for those who have purchased the Closet Outfit Planner)
- Episode #222 Machine-generated Transcript — coming soon!
- What do you do when you’re in a wardrobe rut?
- What strategies do you have to “shop your closet”?
- What’s on your spring shopping list?
Featured Guest — Shari Braendel
The Visionary of Fashion Meets Faith, Shari Braendel inspires women to new levels of confidence through her online style programs, her training academy for Christian image consultants and her You Tube Channel: Style Tips with Shari.
The author of Help Me, Jesus, I Have Nothing to Wear (Zondervan), Shari is also the creator of the best-selling capsule wardrobe online course, The 27 Hanger Closet, and the popular Closet Outfit Planner.
Connect with Shari on her website, via Instagram, and on Facebook!
Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)
Grit ‘n’ Grace — The Podcast
Episode #222: How to Transform Your Closet from Disaster to Delight
Note: This is an unedited, machine-generated transcript that is 70-80% accurate.
Amy Carroll: So Cheri, I see that you are doing something today that you haven’t done in 40 years thanks to our friend Shari Braendel.
Cheri Gregory: I am. In fact, it is something I thought I would never, ever do.
Amy Carroll: Okay, hopefully they’re curious by now. Tell our friends what it is.
Cheri Gregory: I am wearing white.
Amy Carroll: (Gasps)
Amy Carroll: Why is wearing white such a big deal for you?
Cheri Gregory: Okay, so, back when I was a teenager, I had my colors, ‘analyzed.’ And I was told that only women who have perfectly white teeth should ever wear white, especially close to their face. And since I’ve always had yellow teeth – and you know me, I’m a rule follower – that meant no white for me, ever.
Amy Carroll: Oh my gosh. You have followed that “advice” for four decades?
Cheri Gregory: Okay, so even though I do feel like in many areas of my life, I’ve moved beyond perfectionism, but obviously, in areas of deep insecurity, I still have pocket perfectionism. And so you know, I mean, years ago, I asked you – I even asked you if I could actually be a platform speaker. This was – I think this was even before you became my message development coach, because I saw so many women on posters and their teeth were all the same color as the poster paper! It was sparkling white! And I was like, ‘Amy, can I be a real speaker, even if I have yellow teeth?’ And then I even asked, you know, when we started working with Shari Braendel I even emailed her specifically – not that I didn’t believe you… okay, I didn’t believe you, true confession.
Amy Carroll: I’m not an expert.
Cheri Gregory: Anyways, the point of all of this is that I am grateful to have a good friend like you and a professional fashionista like Shari Braendel to give me the courage to try something new.
Amy Carroll: Yes, and Shari is helping all of us look our most beautiful.
Cheri Gregory: Well, this is Cheri Gregory –
Amy Carroll: – and I’m Amy Carroll –
Cheri Gregory: – and you’re listening to Grit & Grace: The Podcast that equips you to lose who you’re not love who you are, and live your one life well.
Amy Carroll: Today we’re processing what we’ve been learning from Shari Braendel, creator of the Closet Outfit Planner. The visionary of Fashion Meets Faith, Shari inspires women to new levels of confidence through her online style programs, her training academy for Christian image consultants, and her YouTube channel, Style Tips With Shari. The author of Help Me Jesus, I Have Nothing to Wear!, she is also the creator of the best-selling capsule wardrobe online course, The 27 Hanger Closet, and the popular Closet Outfit Planner.
Cheri Gregory: So I’m excited that we get a chance to have a convo about something as everyday as our wardrobes. And so we’re going to start with lose who you’re not, and my statement of lose who you’re not is you’re not forever 21.
Amy Carroll: Love this. It reminds me of some meme that I saw recently about Forever 51, and it was like yoga pants and glasses of wine.
Cheri Gregory: Well, here’s the thing. When I was a teenager, and in my early 20s, I really did shop at Forever 21. Like I love to be able to ditch in there – and one of my all time favorite dresses had this bright yellow skirt and then like this blousy vest in black and multicolors and then like kind of these peasant sleeves to it. And I loved that dress to death, and it was like dirt cheap. But here’s the thing. First of all, even though I am still somewhat close to my wedding dress weight, my body shape is very different than what it was when I was 21; and shopping on a whim is no longer fun for me. What used to be like, ‘Oh, let me drive to town and zip in and out of the stores!’ I’m like, ‘Oh, don’t make me go shopping.’ So the thing is Shari Braendel’s Closet Outfit Planner makes things so, so easy.
Amy Carroll: Yes, it does.
Cheri Gregory: Now, last week, I told you that I loved it because it meant that I could go shopping without melting down into a puddle of tears.
Amy Carroll: I don’t love to shop like I used to. I mean, I was the girl who could go to the mall all day long. And I’m not like that anymore. I don’t have that kind of patience. And it’s not interesting to me anymore. But crying while you’re shopping I couldn’t quite understand.
Cheri Gregory: So here’s the thing I’ve come to understand – and I didn’t know this when I was younger, but I now understand – for me as a highly sensitive person, going to the mall and going clothes shopping is a total sensory overload nightmare. You’ve got all of the lights, you’ve got all the noises, you’ve got all the textures. And so I used to get in the middle of doing some clothes shopping, and suddenly feel like I was having a full on – not quite like a temper tantrum, not like a toddler who was upset but I would just suddenly feel weepy.
Amy Carroll: Overwhelmed.
Cheri Gregory: Yeah, I used to think it was because I didn’t like I looked in the mirror and now I realize no, it was just sensory overstimulation, it was an overwhelm. And I would literally sometimes just leave everything in the dressing room and just get in the car and go home. Those of our friends who are listening who are also highly sensitive persons may understand this experience.
But here’s the thing. this is why the closet outfit planner was such a help to me as a highly sensitive person, I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt. I didn’t feel like I was going to the mall, you know, like this huge, scary, overwhelming place. I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt. And I was sleuthing to find these specific items. And so it transformed what’s always been such a totally overwhelming experience into this very focused, targeted mission. And that was actually fun. So what is your lose who you’re not statement?
Amy Carroll: You’re not entirely clueless. So this is meant to give hope to those people that feel like ‘I have no clue.’ So years and years ago, Shari was on the Proverbs team with me. And I remember coming to my second She Speaks – and listen. People from outside of the South come to She Speaks are a little stunned. Like, Southern girls like to dress. Do you know what I mean?
Cheri Gregory: I’m a California who came to She Speaks and I was like, oh, my word!
Amy Carroll: And a women’s conference is dress-up central, right? So I would pick out outfits and stuff. And I do like fashion, but I just felt insecure and like, didn’t know what I was doing. And which is how I think everybody probably felt. But I remember the second She Speaks, I walk in and Shari says, oh, I need you up front today. ‘Cause she was going to talk to our team about dress. I was so scared too, because I thought she was gonna make me the negative example. I was so sure.
Cheri Gregory: Here’s Amy, here’s what you should not do.
Amy Carroll: Here’s what not to wear, right? But she didn’t. And she actually had picked four of us out. And she said – oh, no, she told me the day before that she was going to use me. So I show up. She puts four of us up front. And then she talks about the four of us and our style. I was modern classic. And I said to her afterwards, I was like, you scare me to death. I always thought I was gonna be the anti-example. Thank you so much. But how did you know that I would wear the right thing for your example. And she said, because I know you. And I was like, oh. So she had gotten to see me enough that I had this consistent kind of look.
But listen, I was clueless that I had a consistent look. I didn’t – Shari recognized it, but I did it. And so what I want to say to our friends is you probably know more than you think you do. You are not as clueless as you think you are. That we do kind of start to curate our own sense of style. And it’s an expression of our personalities. That’s what I think is fun about fashion.
So I love going to the closet outfit planner, because I see it as a way to help me be creative.
Cheri Gregory: Very fun. So let’s move on from lose who you’re not to love who you are. And for me, especially with the stress of the last year and the fact that last year I bought two items of clothing, and they were yoga pants, and I wore them nonstop, and they were black yoga pants and I alternated between a dark burgundy t shirt and a black t shirt on any given day.
The love who you are statement that I have for myself and anyone else who feels like maybe they’re kind of coming out of a fog from the last year is you are worth dressing up for. And for me, I actually needed to do some really serious closet getting like so much of what was in my closet has been there for 10 to 15 years, it was showing its age in every way possible. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
Amy Carroll: Past its prime.
Cheri Gregory: Past its prime. Here’s the thing. I wasn’t keeping most of them because I love them so much. It’s because I just didn’t want to go through the effort of having to do all sorts of shopping when everything already felt like so much effort.
But here’s the thing. I want all of our friends to realize what a sacrifice I made for them because you know, I’m an enneagram 2 so I will do for others what I won’t do for myself. So y’all, I went shopping for you. You just need to know that.
Amy Carroll: Well, and I wish everybody could see you today ‘cause you look stunning.
Cheri Gregory: I printed out my Closet Outfit Planner. And I gotta be honest here. I was like grumpy about the whole thing. I’m like, All right, I’m gonna force myself to do this. I’m going to take one for the team here. I mean, I know most women would be like ‘Shopping! Yay!’ And I’m like getting in the car. I even sent a picture of my planner and the sign for Kohl’s and I texted you Amy and said ‘Please pray for me. I’m going in.’
But here’s the thing, one thing I did like is the fitting rooms were closed. And that actually was helpful. Like, again, for me as an HSP that really dialed down the over sensory stimulation because I wasn’t allowed to try things on there. And so I bought a ton of stuff and dragged it home with me because it was the only option. And then I was like, okay, I’ll try some of it on and then you started getting like dozens of photos from me as I was putting things together.
Amy Carroll: It was so fun! I was getting a fashion show on my phone.
Cheri Gregory: It actually wasn’t bad. It actually felt – there was something much more comfortable about doing it my own, you know, bedroom. And so then I made some returns, I made some exchanges, you know, size wise. And then I went to Macy’s. And again, because I had my closet outfit planner on hand, I noticed things that I wouldn’t have noticed on my own. I was like, oh, I think that it calls for a duster. And I’m supposed to have something with stripes. And I found this amazing navy long knit duster with whiter stripes, and they’re kind of like that watercolor tie dye kind of effect –
Amy Carroll: They’re white stripes.
Cheri Gregory: They are white stripes. Yeah, almost pure white. And the thing is, I’m not a fan of teeny tiny stripes. They don’t look good on me. But once I saw that, I suddenly like oh, I’m taking – and then I couldn’t wait to get home and see how it mixed a match with everything else. I’ve literally never had that experience in my life, Amy. This idea of oh, I can’t wait to get home and see how this goes with everything else because I’ve always done the Forever 21 I’ll take that and wear it until it you know, falls apart kind of approach. And so that whole mix and match thing is really working.
So I’m almost done; I have a few more things coming in the mail, and then I’m going to do one big return. I know some women buy things and then they say they’re going to return them and they never do. So this approach would not work for somebody like that. I am very regimented. Like I keep the receipt, I make the return, get my money back. So I’m almost done. And it was really fun this morning. Like I didn’t pre-plan this out that I just went to my closet and I’m like okay, and you know this and this and this and I knew that they would all go together and it’s exactly what Shari Braendel cast the vision for, that I could go to my closet and grab things that I knew feel good. Like this sweater is incredibly soft and it’s a little oversized. It just feels really comfortable. And I felt kind of confident that I looked okay when I came on today.
Amy Carroll: You look gorgeous. See that’s the thing, is most of us are kind of gushing. We’re kind of gushing over the Closet Outfit Planner. But the truth is, is that we have both done it now. This isn’t a hypothetical This is oh my gosh, this really works. And so for me one of the things is you are still your spunky self.
Cheri Gregory: Oh, I like that.
Amy Carroll: Yeah. And so for all of you, our friends that are listening, you are still your spunky self.
Okay, so full disclosure, I am not anywhere close to the size I was when I got married. That dress hanging in my closet. Sadly, forlornly, it will never go on this body again. But that is okay. But here’s the thing. So got the weight gain. But also, I’ve talked about that I let my hair go gray. And I will say, Kathy Lipp and I talked about this a little bit, there’s a little bit of a psychology around that that’s funky. It’s kind of funky to look at yourself in the mirror and go, I am a woman of an age that I have gray hair. And I haven’t quite known what to do with that it’s been an adjustment. But having this clothing plan has really helped me to realize no, I still like funky. You know, I still like to wear something a little different than what everybody else is wearing.
I mean, it’s just always been an expression of who I was. But in my worst perfectionistic days, Cheri, like when my children were being born, I was shopping not for myself, but for who I thought I should be. And I look at pictures in those days – and I even wrote about this I think in Breaking Up With Perfect – I don’t even recognize myself. I’m like who bought that fair isle sweater?
Amy Carroll: Like, there’s nothing wrong with a fair isle sweater!
Cheri Gregory: No, but on you? I can’t imagine!
Amy Carroll: Amy Carroll wouldn’t have worn one. Or shouldn’t have you know, it’s just wasn’t my – I wasn’t a prep. Prep looked great on some of my friends, but that was not me. But I’d started dressing for who I thought I should be. And Shari doing this Closet Outfit Planner has brought out the spunky again, you know, like oh, I’m gonna dress for who I am and just own that.
Yeah, I can’t go into Forever 21 anymore either. But I’ll buy those – and Shari says this is okay, her YouTube channel, by the way, y’all so, so good. You have to go follow her on her YouTube channel, I watch it every Saturday. And so she talks about like for as you get older, you’re not head to toe in the trends, but you can wear one or two things. So like I just bought some bright green shoes.
Cheri Gregory: Fabulous.
Amy Carroll: And her Facebook group is so great too. And I think you talked about this a little bit Cheri – the thing that I love about our Facebook group is there are women of many decades and all different body shapes and sizes. And that is a wonderful thing. Because let’s just face it, we all look at magazine covers, and we see cookie cutter beautiful. This is what size a beautiful body is. This is what you know, whatever. There’s just cookie cutter beauty a lot of times on the front of magazines, but what Shari’s Facebook page does, as you look at all these beautiful women, and there’s no cookie cutter about it. And they are finding like joy in expressing themselves in their outward appearance again, it’s really fun. And Cheri, you’ve been posting some pictures. I really like that.
Cheri Gregory: Yeah, I’m having to like control myself and not post daily.
Amy Carroll: I did that at the beginning too. Now I’m having more fun watching other people. But I like seeing your pictures.
Cheri Gregory: But it’s fun! It’s fun to see somebody post a picture. And like just yesterday, I noticed somebody was like, well, I found this top, should I keep it and a bunch of people were jumping in. Some of them were just like ordinary people like us. And some were some of Shari Braendel’s style squad. So they’d been trained by her. And they were like, yes, yes. And they were giving reasons why. And then it was just fun to be able to say ‘You look lovely.’ And I’ll admit, you know, when I’ve posted a few pictures, and you know, I’ve gotten some positive feedback. I’m like, you know, I’m not gonna base my identity on it. But it felt nice.
Amy Carroll: It does feel good, it does, to have community that’s cheering for you.
Cheri Gregory: Yes. And it’s nice to know I can still pull things together, even though I have always felt that I have no fashion sense. Like you said, I might have a little bit more than I realized.
Amy Carroll: Yes, I think that’s always been true. So tell us how to live our one life well, Cheri, what should we be thinking about?
Cheri Gregory: Okay, so I have four questions we can ask ourselves – and these won’t apply to everybody, you know it for our friends who are listening, pick the question or questions that apply to you. The questions – I needed to ask all four, let’s just be clear. So number 1: Am I stuck in a rut? And the conversation we’re having today is about wardrobe. For me, my wardrobe was evidence of a larger rut. So the fact that I had two pair of black yoga pants and was wearing a lot of black t-shirts was reflective that I think I probably have been in a bit of a situational depression over the last year. And so recognizing that I was in a wardrobe rut and just rut rut was valuable.
Second question: How do my clothes reflect my mood and impact my mood? So like, early in COVID, I was thinking we’re in a crisis, how I dress doesn’t matter, nobody cares. And then as the months tick by, it was more of a nobody cares, I don’t care, how I dress doesn’t matter, I don’t matter. I mean, it was just this downhill slide. And I think I’m recognizing it now that I’m actually putting on some lighter, brighter colors and having people say, Cheri, you look so – and I know they want to say so much better. But instead they say ‘You look so good in such light colors!’ And I’m like, I have been wearing a little too much black, have I, okay. It was just good to recognize how do my clothes reflect my mood, but then how does that outward actually impact the inward. It really is a relationship that can go both ways?
Amy Carroll: Yes, I think we can all identify with that.
Cheri Gregory: And then number three: How can I shop my closet? I was convinced – like, literally I got rid of 75% of what was in there because it really really needed to go. And so I thought with what I had left, I couldn’t possibly do any mixing and matching. But for Easter I pulled out a flowered Coldwater Creek skirt from 2005, a raspberry colored LL Bean cardigan from 2010 and then I bought a $5 lemonade colored t-shirt from Target and these adorable little $19 lemonade sandals from Target for $25. I had an all new outfit that I loved.
Amy Carroll: And you looked so pretty and so springy in that.
Cheri Gregory: So this whole idea of shop your closet and I am sold. I guess it’s kind of more of that sleuthing kind of a treasure hunt in your own closet. And then question number four is: What’s on my shopping list? And this is where the Closet Outfit Planner has been so helpful. According to mine right now, I need a navy blouse that’s either sleeveless or short sleeve, a white blouse that’s eyelet or ruffled, a blazer in navy or neutral, a dress that’s white or solid, and a skirt that’s white.
And for me having it down to that list, and I have it in the Notes app in my phone, it just feels so doable. It means I’m only going to go to certain parts of the store or if I do online shopping I’m only going to look at those places. And I started – I was at Target the other day, and I started looking at these adorable aqua wide legged capris, and then I stopped myself, and I’m like, uh huh, I don’t need them. They’re not part of the plan. And the plan is flexible, but it also keeps me out of danger on either extreme: either wild spending sprees, or being so rigid that I’m not allowed to wear my bell bottoms – which according to Shari Braendel, I am. So the questions again: Am I stuck in a wardrobe rut and might that indicate a larger rut? How do my clothes reflect my mood and impact my mood? How can I shop my closet? And what’s on my shopping list?
So action Amy, tell us. What should we do?
Amy Carroll: Okay, before I say what we should do, I was wracking my brain, Cheri. And I think all of our friends that listen know that we’re not like big product pushers, do you know what I mean? But the one action step that really everybody should take is to get the Closet Outfit Planner. Y’all, it’s $27. It’s so inexpensive. I don’t think we’ve ever said like an action step is to buy a product ever before. But it will make you feel better about yourself. It will save you money, it will help you get out of a rut, with the stuff in your closet, it will solve all the problems that you just presented. And so that’s the action step.
Cheri Gregory: Absolutely. Well, and then they can join us in Shari’s closet outfit planner Facebook group, and they can post pictures, too.
Amy Carroll: Oh, yeah. And when you do make sure that you tag Cheri and I so we see you, we would love that.
Alright. So the scripture for this week is one that’s kind of unusual. It’s Habakkuk 2:2, and it says “The Lord answered me, write the vision, make it plain on tablet so that He may run who reads it.” You know, I didn’t even look up the historical context. I’m assuming we’re not using it strictly in context. But it’s a great visual, because what Shari has said is, hey, what I’ve done is I’ve written these things down and given you a vision – because, you know, when we’re visionless, we get in those ruts, and we don’t look our best, and all of that – she’s written something down to give us a vision so we can run with it. So it’s a great scripture for that.
Cheri Gregory: I love it. All right, well, for me, of course, the grit is going to be – at least initially, I felt like I had to grit my teeth and just do it. Because this is not an – it has not traditionally been an area where I have felt like I have had talent or the energy to do it. And so for me, the delightful part here is after gritting my teeth and doing it, I’m actually discovering how much fun it is and excited to exercise that plan and have the results.
So how about you? What’s the grace for you Amy?
Amy Carroll: You know, the grace in this is just giving me permission to kind of engage that creative side of me. That’s why I like fashion is just the creativity and the self expression of it. So there’s a grace and there’s a freedom in just kind of given yourself the permission to do that.
Cheri Gregory: I love it. So Amy, what is your favorite thing about Shari Braendel’s Closet Outfit Planner?
Amy Carroll: I think it really is the flexibility, you know. When the first time I looked at the pictures, I was like, I don’t know if this is really my style, but when you read about it, you start to realize oh no, these aren’t the exact pieces I’m supposed to have, this isn’t the exact look, this is an idea that then frees me up to apply my look to it and so yeah, I really do love that. How about you?
Cheri Gregory: I think it is the structure with flexibility. It’s that perfect blend, you know. When Shari said that I could buy skinny jeans or I could choose bell bottoms, I’m like, ah, I get it. You know, like there’s th recommendation, but then I can make my own choices within it. It really works well. So structure with the flexibility.
Amy Carroll: So you my friend are going to rock your bell bottom jeans, and I’m going to rock my white combat boots.
Cheri Gregory: I love it.
Well friends, we sure hope you’ve enjoyed listening to Episode 222 of Grit & Grace: The Podcast as much as we’ve enjoyed making it for you.
Amy Carroll: And we want to say a big thank you to Shari Braendel of Fashion Meets Faith and creator of the Closet Outfit Planner for making this episode possible. Check out our web page at gritngracethepodcast.com/episode222. There you’ll find this week’s transcript, a link to the Closet Outfit Planner, and a link to Shari’s Facebook group.
Cheri Gregory: I have become hooked on Shari’s Closet Outfit Planner Facebook group, I’m no good at accessorizing and it’s been fun to post a selfie of an outfit and ask the other women in the group – including members of Shari’s style squad – for advice about how to pull it all together and add some accessories
Amy Carroll: That is a fun group. And we have our friend Kim Nowlan in there that’s part of the style squad, and so I always – you know I’m looking for Kim, did Kim comment on my picture, because yeah, that’s an affirmation for sure.
Cheri Gregory: Yeah, I’m learning so much and I don’t know if I dare say but I am starting to feel like I might have more fashion sense after all.
Amy Carroll: Hurrah.
Cheri Gregory: Now speaking of Facebook groups, if you’re not yet a member of our Facebook group, just go to Facebook and search for Grit N Grace: The Community and you’ll find us. We would love to have you join us.
Amy Carroll: Well Cheri – this is a wrap for season 3 of Grit & Grace: The Podcast 2.0!
Cheri Gregory: We’re still here!
Amy Carroll: And friends, we are already busy and recording and editing the phenomenal episodes for season four – Cheri. The interviews have been seriously incredible.
Cheri Gregory: Jaw-dropping. Absolutely. So we’re going to take a little bit of a break to focus on all the behind the scenes stuff that needs to get done –
Amy Carroll: – and then we’ll be back in May. Make sure that you join us.
Cheri Gregory: For today, grow your grit,
Amy Carroll: embrace God’s grace,
Cheri Gregory: and as God reveals the next step to live your one life well,
Amy Carroll: We’ll be cheering you on. So –
Both: – take it!
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