I hate shopping for clothes. I don’t need a Kardashian closet of clothes, but when I leave my apartment, I want to feel good in what I am wearing. I have been working from home a lot the past few years so I have spent most of my time in yoga pants and t-shirts while the rest of my wardrobe has not gotten much attention. Every time I opened my closet recently, I have been faced with stuff I didn’t like any more or didn’t really fit right or I was just tired of wearing.
With everything else going on in the world right now, this is clearly not a REAL problem. But when you are trying to push yourself to spend more time out in the world, it helps if you can feel amazing when you walk out the door.
On my pilgrimage to the UK, I met a woman who was starting a business helping people clear out their closets and fill them with clothes they actually love. I was tempted to work with her but it seemed extravagant to hire someone to help me buy clothes. But when I talked with Chris more about what she does, I realized it was so much more than just “going shopping.” I really loved the idea of how she “curates closets” so I signed on as a client. And here is how it went….
We started with a creative process to understand what I like and how I want to feel in my clothes. I filled out a questionnaire with questions like “What images come to mind that represent how you want to feel in my clothes”, “Who are your style icons?”, “What are your favorite body parts”? Chris used the questionnaire to pull together images from the internet of my style icons in outfits that might interest me. I was initially skeptical about this questionnaire, but it was really amazing to see how Chris used those answers to bring wardrobe ideas to life! (See below!!) Chris is a professional costume designer and wardrobe stylist. She has spent years designing and shopping for TV and movie characters. For her personal clients she is dressing them for the part they most want to play – their true, authentic and best selves. (My style icons were used as examples, but the end result was a mix that is uniquely me.)
We went through the images and some were spot on and a few were rejected. As you can see illustrated above, my style icons are Jennifer Aniston and Gloria Steinham (classic, simple, and on trend) with just a touch of Cher (sexy and sparkly). Chris came over for our second session with a story board of my style icons and lots of inspiration for cool clothes that I would love to own. We used it as our starting point for shopping, but now I also have this beautiful style book that I can refer to when I shop in the future.
Step two of the process was closet clearing. We took a full day and I tried on every single piece of clothing that I own. We decided what to keep and what to donate. If I wasn’t sure what I wanted to keep or toss, Chris would point out my body language and expression and help me make the right choice. We ended up with three bags of clothes and shoes to donate. There was also some Reiki thrown in because Chris is one of my new spiritual friends. (This part is completely optional but highly recommended.)
The other amazing thing that happened when we went through my closet is that Chris helped me alter quite a few things that I was not wearing because they did just didn’t fit right. Chris fitted them for me on the spot (with my collection of safety pins I never thought I would use) so all I had to do was drop them off and tell the tailor to make the changes. She fixed another dress with double sided tape and removed buttons on a sweater that we decided would better off without them. We found combinations of things I would not have thought to wear together and identified some simple things to buy that would fix some other wardrobe issues (like this amazing body suit from Free People that I can now wear under three different tops that I wasn’t wearing because I didn’t have the right thing to wear under them! See results below.)
And this was all before we even spent one day shopping!
Next up was our first shopping trip just to explore what could be fun and help me think out of the wardrobe box! We went to a popular thrift store in NYC, not with the intent to actually BUY anything but try things on and maybe bring out my Cher side! It worked! We had a lot of fun and I unexpectedly came home with this crazy rainbow unicorn dress. I am not sure where or when I will wear it but I love it and I am sure Cher would too (and it only cost $16.)
We had three more sessions of hard core shopping. Shopping with Chris was a lot more fun than shopping by myself. She loves the thrill of the hunt so she went through the racks looking for things that aligned to our storyboard and our list of what I needed to compliment what I already have. I just followed her around and said…yes, no, maybe? She encouraged me to try things on I might not otherwise try and gave honest feedback on what worked and what didn’t. She was incredibly patient with me as I analyzed the pros and cons of every piece. Can I wear it with multiple different things? Is it comfortable? Do I have somewhere to wear it? Do I really like it? Will I like it in a few months? Will I be hot? Do I have something to layer it with? (this is what its like to be in my head on a shopping trip!)
I ended up with so many beautiful things that I never would have taken the time to find on my own (see a sub-set below.) I learned which floor to hit at Bloomingdale’s on future solo shopping trips. I have at least one wardrobe piece that reminds me of each of my style icons. I donated a ton of stuff that someone else will wear and love and will no longer sit in my closet unused. I fixed a bunch of wardrobe issues with clothes I already own. And I can no longer use the excuse that I don’t have anything to wear to keep me from leaving my house.
We all want to feel good and look good. When I am wearing something that makes me feel amazing I give off a different energy than when I am wearing something that makes me feel blah. I am more likely to smile at strangers and send out positive vibes which contributes to a more positive world. This is why Chris does the work she does (she says it much more eloquently than I do) and why I decided I wanted her to help me upgrade my wardrobe. And I am very happy that I did!
If you live in NYC and need a wardrobe overhaul and want some help to make that happen, I highly recommend getting your closed curated by my friend Chris Rumery! (Find her at chrisrumery.com)