Posted on January 24 2019
We're big fans of Marie Kondo here at Recess. We find her dedication to fighting clutter inspiring, and not far from our own values. We're equally impressed by the massive impact that one single woman has had in motivating millions to let go of the mountains of belongings we all unconsciously accumulate as we make our way through life.
I sat down with Recess owner and founder Marie Monsod. She's an expert in spotting the cast aside gems from the depths of her client's closets and giving them a new life. Marie plays a large role in helping people identify what they should keep or let go of, and often doubles as the neighborhood fashion therapist.
Marie is a true lover of fashion; she appreciates the unexpected and eclectic, and sees the hidden potential of almost everything. This point of view is directly reflected throughout the shop merchandise, which at any given moment could have an unlabeled vintage sequined jumpsuit hanging next to an Oscar de la Renta gown and an Yves Saint Laurent blouse. We sunk into the lush velvet settee at Marie's beautiful Spanish Colonial living room in Los Angeles and talked shop:
What do you think about Marie Kondo?
I think she's an inspiring woman, and admire what she's done for the tidying/organizing industry. It's amazing how many people she's touched, and I love that she's created a strong business that fills a need for many people. She makes you think about your home and your lifestyle. She helps people look at their homes differently, to respect the home in its entirety. I love her process and systematic breakdown of a potentially overwhelming situation.
What are your thoughts on becoming and staying organized?
Keeping your closet organized is important because if you can't see things, you won't wear them. And how I keep organized is by going through pieces every month so it never feels like a task to de-clutter. Pieces that I haven't worn in over a year or pieces that don't quite fit right even though I like looking at them.
I like putting similar items together and even color coordinating if I'm feeling extra ambitious. This really helps when you're looking for something and saves time in the mornings. I also like using clear containers for accessories so you can see them easily.
"We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of." -MARIE KONDO
What sparks joy for you?
A lace up sleeve on an Ozbek jacket, a unique cut out on a Gaultier dress, a silk velvet burnout gown, anything with tassels, metallic leather, a unique box bag- it all makes me happy. Shopping for antique furnishings while traveling and tasting our way through exotic destinations and living life to the fullest is what sparks joy in me.
How does one identify an item that sparks joy?
There's so much fast fashion around us and it's easy to get trapped into buying things even though we don't need them. I feel overwhelmed by how much fashion is being produced and if we don't give into it, hopefully companies will stop putting out as much every season. I know I'm not alone in this fatigue, and it's understandably difficult to find that joy with so much excess obscuring it.
I want people to think about that first designer piece you might have had to save up for, something you never thought you could look good in, something you can wear with many outfits, a piece that makes you feel good when it's on, the print or color, and again if it's vintage.
I'm a big believer in recycling and love vintage because if you gently wear something, it has value and you can sell it after to someone else who will then receive joy from that item.
How would you describe your personal style?
I'm a jeans and silk blouse or button down shirt kind of girl and like to always add fun shoes or statement jewelry. If I lived in a cold climate, I would throw on a piece of outerwear from a camel coat to a mohair multicolor sweater to an embroidered duster.
What's your take on off-duty dressing?
Off-duty dressing does not mean doing errands in work-out pants. You never know who you're going to run in to, and doesn't leave room for spontaneity. What if a friend invited you to lunch in 20 minutes? What if you randomly decide to take a day trip to Palm Springs because your friends are there? This has happened to me before!
"If sweatpants are your everyday attire, you'll end up looking like you belong in them, which is not very attractive. What you wear in the house does impact your self-image." -MARIE KONDO
Who is your favorite style muse?
Catherine Baba. She is so chic on her bike with her chiffon dress, tassel earrings and high heels. -and- Aureta. She is bold and makes a statement with color, texture and print.
"The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life." -MARIE KONDO
What are you always looking out for?
Saint Laurent, Gaultier, Comme des Garcons, statement earrings and anything metallic...oh and the Missoni piano shawl dress from the 70s.
What's your view on your role in all of this?
I understand not everyone is into vintage or recycling, but choosing your pieces carefully is smart for your home and your wallet- not only for fashion items, but also furniture and household items. I understand it's easy to go to a chain store and buy something in the moment, on impulse, or to fill a need. However, thoughtfully waiting or saving for the right piece will work out better in the long run and spark joy when you're at home enjoying it. Every piece of furniture in my home is vintage or used, and while it took time finding them, we love knowing that we took that time and appreciate them even more. One of my favorite finds are a pair of deco inspired chairs from the 60s that I found at a thrift store for $19.99 each. They were completely destroyed and after reupholstering them in one of my favorite colors- mint, they bring me joy.
I think of it as curating the closet and home. We do the same in our store in that we try to curate it to have pieces that may spark joy for our customers. I always tell customers that at the end of the day it's just stuff and we don't really need them. If something just hangs in a closet or is tucked away in a drawer, let this piece bring joy to someone else.
Now that you're sold on tidying:
It goes without saying that Marie is very much in touch with what sparks her joy- and makes it her mission to help others do the same. Once you've completed MonMarie / KonMari on your wardrobe, you'll have to put all those unwanted items somewhere. Check out our easy process and bring a selection to Recess -and replace them with something that sparks joy.
You might help someone else find their spark, and for items that may not hold their resale value, donate to your local charities.
One can never have too many YSL silk blouses though, and the cover image is a trick question- it's a no-brainer to keep both tops! Throughout the years, Marie has seen and owned her fair share of pieces that make her heart skip a beat. She's diligent in only holding on to the pieces that really get her excited- and a great YSL tie-neck blouse in a fun print and color does just that. Even better when it comes in two!
by Erica Sanae
Photography by Justin Guthrie