Monday, October 29, 2012

Fashion Styling Mission: Curate Tina's Wardrobe (PHASE 1)

Tina is 30. Every morning, she looks at her closets (two large side-by-sides! Lucky girl.) and stares. And stares.

Her beloved is moving in soon and she knows she has to make some changes. Tina wants her closets to only hold "go-to" pieces that work for her. She is, like many of us, so dreadfully tired of not knowing what to wear in a jiffy.  A little background: I've known Tina for several years and she is a bright, bubbly, beautiful and accomplished woman and still, like many of us, she has found herself in a "clothes-rut." Can you relate? I know I sure can.

Her first step towards resolving this problem was simply to let me know. Initially, Tina asked me to come over and help her assemble some cute outfits. No problem! I showed up last Friday and we got right to work. We started with the first Phase. Phase 1 is probably the hardest one: going through the clothes piece-by-piece. This can be a tedious task, requiring the owner to let go of things and to be willing to try on clothes over and over. Clothes belonged, in Tina's case, in several categories:

1. Keep: The garment fits. It is something that looks good and fits well. It is in good shape. It conforms to her new vision of what she wants to wear. These items were tried on and got hung right back up.

2. Keep But Needs Repaired or Altered:  Many of her skirts fit well but were all an inch and a half too long. Her tailor will hem these up for just a few dollars a piece. Proportion is everything. So we made her a tailor and a cobbler pile.

3. Discard: Too worn, wrong color, does not fit into her new vision, time to give it new life by donating it to charity. This was a HUGE pile. She did not struggle at all with this pile. She recognized that she had gotten her money's worth and it was time to move on and hopefully help someone else out in the process. For other people, this is the sticking point: the hardest pile. Which is why I am there to help the client stay true to the vision.

4: Give To Her Sister: There were a few items she knew her sister would love (a couple of darling wrap-style dresses) and we set them aside.

5: Dress Up Bin: Tina hopes to have her niece and perhaps her own children play with the old bridesmaid dresses and accessories that she was keeping so we put them in a bin called "Dress-Up."

6. T-Shirt Quilt Bin: As a competitive athlete, Tina has amassed a lot of race and event tees. These tees are sentimental and she has a bin for the design portion of the tees in order to make a tee-shirt quilt in the future. The other tees that are perfectly good but not of sentimental value went to the charity pile. What a great idea to re-purpose those hard-earned tees! And a super sewing project for the cold winter ahead.

It took us about two hours to go through about 10 years worth of clothes. When I first arrived at Tina's house she showed me magazine pages she had placed in a folder. These were torn-out images of outfits and styles she liked. Wow! What a great help that was for me to see the direction she wanted to take this project. She is in a period of transition, like many of us experience, and wants her clothes to express where she is currently (professional, young-but-not-college-aged, modern, bubbly and hip). Quality fabrics and cuts, modern touches with layers, flattering, and comfortable describes her off-duty look.

I made a section dedicated to her work uniforms (she is a Fire Dept. Lt.), a section for skirts, blazers, dress shorts, dressy tops and casual tops. So, at the end of Phase 1, she could stick her hand in her closet and pull something out that she knows is good. Items that she knows fit her and that she likes. Once we had gone through it all, I discovered some real style gems. A black velvet blazer, a black fitted bustier, three or four nice jackets and much more.

I threw some outfits together very quickly before I left to inspire her and show her she has most of what she needs already! She was thrilled with what I put together. Her black Gap (I recommend these) leggings looked amazing under several dresses and tops. Her soft striped B&W infinity scarf went with so many outfits and was like the cherry on top!
At one point in the mirror, Tina squealed and smiled and instantly saw herself in a whole new way. She started to put things together herself and it was in her words,"life-changing."

I left with a list in my tote bag of garments that Tina needs to fill in gaps.  I will type up this list and send links to possible ideas (personal shopping) for her to consider on her own time. For Tina, we are looking at a few cashmere sweaters (these always go on sale in Dec and Jan) and some patterned leggings and some brown Frye boots.
This way she can budget out her needs as she sees fit while adding quality garments that fit into her new 30's.

Seeing the joy on Tina's face and her newfound enthusiasm was the most rewarding part of my session with her. Sometimes, we all just need someone to help guide us and sort things out. I know that my strength is in curating (whether in art, design, interior design, clothing) and editing. We worked together and also had a lot of fun.

So just what happens in Phase 2? We will go through her shoes and accessories. This is the stage where I come back over and we photograph Tina in some outfits (daytime, date night, going out etc) for reference. I will download them and send them to her in files so she can just look at them and either replicate them or use them for inspiration.

Remember that clutter is emotionally draining and an organized closet is a gift to yourself. I am continually organizing mine because I too, have to keep this in mind. I just feel better when I know that I have what I need, and what I have I like and looks great. I will leave you with this thought: if it is on sale but you don't need it, it doesn't fit well or isn't flattering- you have my permission to give it to charity (Crowded Closet in Iowa City is my charity of choice). It will probably make you feel better. Baby steps!

Bonus Photo:


  1. That is awesome! And I'm sure it was fun going through all those clothes. And I think every woman goes through a transition period here and there, I feel I never know what clothes I'm supposed to wear since I'm coming up on 40 next year! I feel her dilemma. :)

    1. Thanks Janie for leaving a comment, I am glad you enjoyed it. It just feels so good to feel like you are making things the way you want them...

  2. Tina is so stunning - it's nice to see you helping her come into her own fun, funky, personality enhancing style. You are the gay BFF who tells you: "Oh, honey, NO!" if something is unflattering or just plain ugly. Well played on the Frye boots - Tina will rock those! Really good, practical advice - esp keeping your closet curated and organized!

    1. I agree, she sure is. Thank you for all of your kind words! I like helping.

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  4. Amazing as always! Right on task, hitting the right notes, empowering and letting go of old clothes and emotions... this is like the Tonya Trifecta! I'd hire you, girl :-)