Clothes that Spark Joy, Plus New Year, New Hair


Marie Kondo, eat your heart out.

To explain what it means to “spark joy” on her new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Marie makes what I can only describe as a delighted “zingy” sound. Her eyes light up and a self-satisfied smile that hints at having a little secret overcomes her face. I liken this emotion to a cute cartoon character who, when they get a bright idea, has a light bulb pop up over their head during that aha! moment.

When I was a kid, I wanted to wear dresses. My favorite dress – that I still vividly remember – as a young child around 4 years old was a crepe sundress in the prettiest midnight blue of my Crayola color dreams. It had a delicate pleated skirt with little white flowers dotting the bottom. There was also this orange corduroy suspender dress that I used to match with my older sis way before “twinning” was a hashtag. I never wore pants as a kid. I liked textures, though I didn’t want to be itchy.

I didn’t want to feel restricted by the clothes on my body, but rather the opposite: uninhibited, energized, ready to dance when I wanted to.

(True story: in the 1st grade I once got in trouble when I stood up at my desk in the middle of a lesson and launched into an arabesque simply because I was feeling the music from the talent show rehearsal going on in the next classroom.) When I was in middle school and everyone else was wearing Levi’s and Z Cavariccis, I still hated jeans because they always felt stiff and, on my petite body, would bunch up around the waist and crotch. Thankfully fabrics and denim have come a long way these days – smooth stretch jeggings, anyone? (Btw have Z Cavariccis really made a comeback?) I also remember a flowy sunshine yellow blouse that as a teen I used to love pairing with short white shorts because it made me feel like a California girl.

Though my mom and I today have conflicting accounts about the materials these items were made from, the one thing all these pieces of clothing from my childhood have in common is that they are a vessel for cultivating and sparking joy. Calling up these memories is precisely what I needed to tap into it myself as an adult.

Wearing   Rachel Roy   dress from   T.J.Maxx  , Zara metallic booties (old, similar   here  ),   Rachel Zoe   tuxedo jacket from   Macy’s   (similar   here  ), DVF wool coat from Nordstrom Rack (old)

Wearing Rachel Roy dress from T.J.Maxx, Zara metallic booties (old, similar here), Rachel Zoe tuxedo jacket from Macy’s (similar here), DVF wool coat from Nordstrom Rack (old)

Rather than telling you to eliminate everything in your house, the Marie Kondo method helps you to evaluate if something fits into your life. It’s less about rejecting consumerism, and more about identifying what items spark joy, and then giving it a place in your home. Beginning with clothing, Marie Kondo instructs us to hold each item one at a time, as if possessing it near your heart will help you to know if it sparks joy for you. For books, she guides us to tap each book to “wake it up” before you decide if it’s a keeper. Clothes and Books are only two of the categories in the Marie Kondo method. There’s also Paperwork, Komono (Miscellaneous), and Sentimental. Before kids, I used to find it very difficult to let go of my clothing (I had items in my closet that were over 10 years old!). But while evaluating my closet last week, I clutched these pieces to my chest and knew immediately this $20 midnight blue silky Rachel Roy dress (it was such a steal at T.J.Maxx!) and glittery Rachel Zoe black tuxedo jacket were indeed joy-sparkers. And to further my joy-tapping, creative expressing experience, how about these metallic blue booties? Instant zing.

But now, as I embark on my own process of tidying up, I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be my kids’ baby clothes and special childhood knick-knacks that will be the hardest to let go.

Leave me a comment below about what piece of clothing sparks joy for you!


Pssssst! How do you like my new short hair? I literally woke up two days before the new year and decided I needed a change in my life. Is it cliche of me to say that I feel like a new person (and at least a couple pounds lighter)?

Photos by Alessandra.