A collection of short stories…
Client – Ms. Green (unseasoned)
Definition: Female, college senior
Destination: Wall Street Internship
Problem: Student Wardrobe – term used loosely!
Solution: Wardrobe Discovery, Shop With You
Mrs. Mom referred Ms. Green to me as a result of years of bickering over the appropriate attire for any and all occasions. Having just survived the previous 20 years of shopping angst, they both realized this internship (think first impression) was just too important to jeopardize.
To diffuse the situation I worked directly with the student starting with what was already in her closet. I pulled out the potential ‘workable’ items (basic solid tops, one pair of black pants, etc) and categorized them on the rolling rack. Then the two of us referred to my list of Wardrobe Essentials and created a ‘to buy’ list around what she already had in order to create multiple outfits out of minimal key pieces. Based on the list and the budget, we headed to the outlet mall to shop at only two stores, one for the clothing and one for the foundation pieces (If you think college students clothing is in tough shape, you should see the underwear!) We (again no Mom) were in and out of the mall in three hours, purchased 19 items, spent $275 and saved $240. I love a bargain when it fits into the wardrobe plan. Ms. Green was well equipped, wardrobe and confidence-wise for her internship. And Mom was delighted.
Mrs. Dove – I can’t thank you enough for teaching me the basics and starting me off on the right foot. My co-workers commented multiple times on how well put together I always looked! - Dena S.
Client – Mrs. Blue (gloomy)
Definition: Stay at home mom, former corporate executive
Destination: Bus stop, PTA meetings, volunteer and social engagements
Problem: Caught in between two wardrobe worlds
Solution: Closet edit, shop for you, look-book
Mrs. Blue (two munchkins in tow) approached me at my local Dunkin Donuts one morning. She remarked that she had seen me several times and I always looked so well put together (well we know not always). She shared that she not only didn’t have the time to pull herself (shower) together in the morning and she didn’t even have the right clothes in her closet to choose from for her current day-to-day activities. She admitted that she had a closet full of clothes, but they were all from her former life (her professional working life) and that she felt guilty buying anything else as there wasn’t room for one more hanger!
We decided to start with a closet edit as it was necessary for me to categorize what she had to decide what to keep, what to store, what to donate, what could be tailored for her post-baby body, and what she could integrate into her current lifestyle. The closet transformation was remarkable and she was astounded how much of her former ‘work-wear’ could be transitioned into casual wear with a few tailoring tricks (button changes), a few accessories added, and matching them back to a new pair of dark wash bootleg non-mommy jeans (mommy jeans defined as light wash, high rise, butt magnifying pants). I shopped for her and picked up a few cross-over items (accessories that can marry a corporate piece to a casual piece and make for a great casual sheik look!) I then photographed dozens of outfits including her shoes and created a look-book for her. Happy client – no longer blue!
Doreen, I look forward to seeing you at Dunkin; you won’t believe the transformation! I look casually sheik; feel comfortable and confident, well polished and happy. My husband was delighted that the shopping was done in my own closet! Can’t thank you enough.
Client – Mr. Red (temporarily red faced)
Definition: Worker Bee, passed over for promotions
Destination: Same job, same desk, same salary
Problem: Wearing the same ill-fitting clothing for 25 years.
Solution: Wardrobe discovery, fit re-assessment, shop with you.
Mrs. Red reached out to me (help please) on behalf of her husband. She described her husband (her college sweetheart) as a hard working dad, who prefers coaching little league, but is stuck in a corporate cubical environment. He goes off to work everyday in what she describes as “quite possibly the college blazer”. His aversion to purchasing new clothing stems from having had a difficult time fitting his short muscular frame. When he purchased off-the-rack clothing to fit his body width, the body length was always too long. He personally shared that less experienced, more polished, well-dressed men in his office have received promotions that he was also in line for. We jumped right into a wardrobe discovery and size re-assessment, quickly realizing that he wasn’t even the size that he was currently wearing. We brought key salvageable pieces in for tailoring and donated those that were beyond hope. We completed his transformation by shopping together to update his basics and spice up his sweaters, belts and shoes to pull together a well polished look. Easy – done – confidant, ready and up for the challenge!
Doreen, What can I say other than I couldn’t have done it without you. Quick, painless, humorous, and money well spent! -Dan R
Client – Mrs. Yellow (not brave)
Definition: Retired Teacher experiencing a changing body profile
Destination: The golden years of re-discovery
Problem: Closets (and more closets) full of out-dated misfits.
Solution: Closet Edit, Wardrobe Discovery
Mrs. Yellow was newly retired and was feeling like a fish out of water. Quite rightly so as she had been working in the same school for 25 years. She and her husband are anxious to start travelling once they get their house in order. Not two days into the process, my phone rang. “I don’t know where to begin, I have so much clothing, it’s over-whelming; the closets look like a history lesson!” She was right, too much stuff, most of it outdated by decades and most did not fit. I knew this would be a 3 rolling rack job with lots of emotions attached. We gently went through the items as I categorized them by donate, purge, consign, store, tailor, keep and accessorize. Despite her initial fear of letting go of things, she quickly jumped on board with the concept of less is more. She was wearing less than 20% of what she owned and had so much stuff that she could never make use of it all even if she tried. Some of her donations were even targeted at specific needs of her church, making those “feel good with purpose” donations.
Once we had the closet paired down, she tried some pieces on so we could discuss her changing body shape and how best to dress her proportionately. At that point a few more pieces were donated, as they were not flattering for her current figure. We created a list of hat key items now might be missing so she can be on the lookout in the future on her travels with her husband. Mrs. Yellow has been liberated and is free to move about the country!
Doreen, I dreaded the day that I had to clean out 25 years of “school clothes”, but you made it fun, educational, fruitful and liberating. I am recommending you to ALL of my retired friends; you are just what they need! -Jane B.
Client – Mr. Purple (imperial rank)
Definition: Well dressed CEO
Destination: Anywhere he wants
Problem: All his casual clothing has NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB logos
Solution: Shop for you
Mr. Purple is a personal friend of the family. I knew him first through his start-up business where I was always impressed with how well dressed, tailored and appointed he was. There was never a time that I didn’t remark that he looked just plain great. (I have always been a fan of a man in a well-tailored suit.) Over time we began to socialize in groups with our spouses. I couldn’t help but notice that his casual attire had me thinking Felix Unger and Oscar Madison! There wasn’t one item that didn’t have a major league logo on it, I felt like I was at the Sports Authority. Well, I couldn’t help myself; I had to address the elephant in the room (much to the delight of his wife). He shared that he is just too busy, too stressed to bother shopping to look good for his ‘down-time’. His idea of casual shopping was picking up a sausage sub and a sweatshirt at Fenway. Quick, easy fix, I shopped for him and by the way, he looks great now 24/7!
Doreen, You were right – night and day! -David T.
Client – Ms. Black (devoid of light)
Definition: Young professional, climbing the ladder
Destination: Corner office
Problem: Fear of looking stylish because she ‘works in a man’s world’ (what?)
Solution: Wardrobe discovery, shop for you
Ms. Black had the closet from heaven; built in closet system filled with Chanel, Tahari, Armani and so on. There was only one problem, it was 98% black! You couldn’t tell one item from the others, she looked exactly the same every day. She refused to even accessorize differently for fear it she might make some sort of fashion blunder. I met her at Bloomingdales, she was buying black shoes (no surprise there). She commented on my attire, black and white (my favorite as well) but splashed with silver accessories and a bit of color in a scarf. As we chatted about how nicely boring she looked, we tried my accessories on her and the relationship began! The following week we started with the wardrobe discovery which resulted in a great list of accessory must-haves. Her work schedule left no time for shopping so I gathered and brought my finds to the office, complete with printed suggestions on how to use these accessories to make her wardrobe colorful, sophisticated and stylish.
Doreen, At first my co-workers couldn’t figure out what was up with me and now everyday they look for just the right comment on my stylish combos! I feel more confident about being creative with my look. Thank you for that! -Marysia H.