Monday, May 2, 2011

Style Series, Part I: The Initial Appointment

This week will consist of a series of five posts about my experience working with a wardrobe consultant over a two-week period in April.

My first appointment with Susan Jacobs (of Personal Style Image Consulting) on April 14th was both really fun and really eye-opening in terms of what I had in my closet.

The first 2 hours consisted of an interview. Sue asked me lots of questions, such as what I wanted to get from this experience, which part(s) of my wardrobe needed the most work, what I wanted and needed from my wardrobe, what I wanted my clothes to say about me, etc.. I showed her pictures of clothing/accessories/furnishings that I found in magazines, and showed her some of my own favorite items.

Using that information, we made a style recipe card with a list of words that I want my wardrobe to say about me. This will help me when I go shopping (i.e., if the clothes don't portray those words, then put them back!). My words are: classic, traditional, simple, polished, approachable, warm, grounded, attractive, vibrant, current, alluring, and intriguing. Each word has associated textures, fabric, cuts, etc., so it makes the shopping process a bit easier.

Before I go on, I want to state that this whole process is not changing me, my style, or my likes or dislikes (this tends to be a big sticking point with people on shows like What Not To Wear, for example). It's all about finding clothes that I love, fit my personality, look great, match my style words, and are suitable for my new work environment.

The second part of the appointment concentrated on the clothes I already owned. I really thought I had a good base, and we would be able to put a bunch of outfits together and I would only need a few completer pieces. But, looking in my closet more closely, we discovered I had a limited number of pieces to work with in order to put together a professional wardrobe that encompassed the image I wanted to portray (see words above). I had a suit (a jacket and skirt), three cardigans, a few tops, and three pairs of dress pants. A start, but not nearly enough to put together several outfits.

So, unfortunately we couldn't continue with the second part of the session as planned. Instead, we went through all my clothes and accessories and got rid of anything that was worn out, the wrong size, out-dated, not age-appropriate, or otherwise unwearable.

The next step was to shop for some basic pieces and other things to get my professional wardrobe up and running. Before our shopping trip, I had some homework: get some of my current pieces tailored so they fit properly, organize my closet, and get a bra fitting (the last post in this series will consist of tips I learned from this process, and I will include what I did for each of these).

I was excited about the shopping trips (we ended up doing two), but was unsure about the cost of creating a full wardrobe. I couldn't help but think I shouldn't be spending money on something so seemingly "frivolous." After all, it was just for myself - not for us, not for Evan, and not for the house. Some familiar, ladies?

DH and I talked about it, and we agreed that I would need a new wardrobe for work no matter what. So, why not have someone help me put together a fantastic and versatile wardrobe that all works together? It was fun, exciting, and would save me money in the end too! We agreed on a budget that I could spend, so we both felt comfortable before I even set foot in a store.

Plus, I'm worth it, damnit!

Next up: the shoe shopping trip.