Most of the time, when I speak to women about using a wardrobe stylist (or personal stylist if I could just use any keyword I wanted without having to worry about google rankings – insert eye roll), they always act as though it’s a luxury and completely out of their reach. I feel that way about hiring an interior design consultant. I’d love it, but is it really in my budget, I don’t know? No matter the cost, we have to feel like we’re getting value and it’s making our lives easier. I feel like most women want to have a nice wardrobe, but they’re not sure they need to have a nice wardrobe. I TOTALLY GET IT. The thing is, having an easy wardrobe that goes together nicely SAVES US TIME. Having a clutter free closet actually decreases our anxiety. AND having clothes that make us feel good is a HUGE form of self care. So what does it look like to work with a stylist? I am using a recent client to show you exactly what I do in a typical client session.
This is the most important step one can do when trying to put together a wardrobe. If you have a small budget for a wardrobe stylist, hiring someone to clean out your closet would be the FIRST thing I’d recommend. We can sometimes have sentimental attachments to clothes, and while it’s nice to keep things that mean something, if it’s causing our closets to be cluttered with a bunch of stuff, it’s actually doing more harm than good. A great book that talks about this is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Having a clean, organized closet can create space for positive things to flow into your life. Having a small wardrobe full of items you love will help you feel good about yourself. If you want to hear more about how dressing ourselves is a form of self care, I’ve written about it before. I have a few guidelines I use when cleaning out a closet, but I typically have to spend most time negotiating with my clients on how to get rid of a lot of stuff. And that’s what I’m there for, so I don’t mind, but that’s also why I encourage hiring someone (hey, hopefully me!) to help you. Sometimes, we need a little nudge to help us move forward and let things go. Isn’t that true with just about everything?
Defining Your Style & Wardrobe Build
Each of us already has a sense of style within us. We have certain fabrics that feel good on our skin, certain colors that make us happy, and certain styles that make us feel good about ourselves. The challenge is that we don’t always know how to put them together in a cohesive wardrobe. We aren’t sure how to get out of our comfort zone. We don’t know how to incorporate trends into our existing space. I mean, even I struggle with that sometimes! It’s normal because we’re not in the habit of purging old stuff. We don’t want to spend the money on ourselves, and we all have a lot of other things going on. If you’re like me, you’re just trying to make it through the day without killing someone! Maybe not that extreme, but you know what I’m saying.
How do I come up with a wardrobe for my clients? Upon booking, I send my clients a questionnaire. I ask things that help me understand their sense of style, what the main purpose of the wardrobe is, and what their daily life is like. I also ask if they have a Pinterest Board so that I can see what types of things they like. After looking through their closet, I will go home and create a mood board. My mood boards include outfits that I know they will like, some of the pins from their own Pinterest board, a variety of colors that they like, as well as flowers, and lifestyle pictures. I want to create a feeling that goes along with what I think they want.
Lastly, I review what’s already in their closet, and decide what items they need to complete the wardrobe. I create a shopping list and give examples of where items can be found. Some people hire me for personal shopping, others just use the list I create.
Here is an example of the Mood Board I created for my current client.
The Shopping List
1. Pink Trench Coat or Camel Trench Coat
2. Blazer (solid color)
3. Leather Moto Jacket
1. Button Ups
1. Update work pants – skinny/cigarette/straight leg in neutral colors)
2. denim (trouser, distressed skinny, skinny or straight leg)
1. Pencil Skirt
2. Midi Skirt or flowy aline skirt
1. Over the knee boots
2. colorful flats (pink, green, or yellow)
3. neutral boots – flat and small heel
1. Long Necklaces
2. Scarves (neutral colors)
My client needs comfortable but appropriate work wear, weekend wear for a mom, and date night clothes. She has a good amount of usable tops and dresses, so my goal is to find some key investment pieces that will add some style and update her wardrobe.
I try to make sure and shop at local places, if possible. The challenge with shopping at local boutiques is that finding specific pieces can be difficult as they tend to be more trendy. They are typically more expensive which is fine if my client has an unlimited budget. Of the ones I’ve had, most people wanted to be reasonable, which I understand. For this client, I did find some pieces are a couple of local stores and I’m bringing them to her to try on. We will go shopping together at another day to find the remainder of the items on the list. This is where we’ll hit up more of the chains like Loft, Banana Republic, J.Crew, etc. Here are some of the pieces I found today.
The last piece to this wardrobe build will be putting everything together. I’ll take pictures of outfits styled together and put them in book so that my client has a reference guide when getting dressed. The nice thing about having a cohesive wardrobe is that it’s easier to experiment and put things together without getting lost. That being said, having a guide is super helpful and so, that’s something I like to make sure my clients have.
There you have it! What do you think about the clothes? I’m going to try really hard not to keep things for myself…. the challenge of being a wardrobe stylist!