Thursday, May 5, 2011

Style Series, Part IV: Wardrobing

The fourth and final appointment with Sue was the wardrobing session: taking the clothes, shoes, and accessories to create an array of outfits. Even though I was feeling a bit under the weather, this was a ton of fun! It was like being in a mini fashion show!

Each outfit began with one of my base pieces (pants or skirt) and building around it. We started with my olive pants and created seven outfits, ranging from business formal to casual to date night. We did the same with my new skinny jeans (something I never thought I would like, but now love), my pinstripe skirt from the suit I already owned and had altered, and the denim skirt that is on layaway.

Every outfit had a "completer" piece - either a jacket, cardigan, or scarf - as well as shoes and accessories. These touches take my look from ordinary and plain to interesting and polished. After finalizing an outfit, Sue would fill in a spread sheet, itemizing everything I was wearing, what settings the outfit would be appropriate for, and which of my style words were portrayed.

Here is an example of using one base piece (pin-stripe skirt) for several different looks (sorry for not modeling them, but I took these photos for my cataloging purposes as well):

Fig. 1: A great outfit for around the office or for meetings.

Fig. 2: A "power" look, but still approachable. Perhaps for a conference talk or when I need to make sure it is clear I'm the boss.

Fig. 3: A going-out look - either for dinner with DH or drinks with the girls (note: this should also include a black pashmina, but I don't have it yet!).

I truly loved all the looks we came up with and, after two hours, we had 21 complete outfits using 17 pieces. We could have gone on for much longer, but we plan on meeting again in August so we can re-configure things for the Fall. The wonderful thing about this is we'll be able to shop for free in my own closet, and probably come up with 20-30 new outfits for the season!

This session was really fun, and I feel more comfortable and confident about the clothes I bought now that I see how versatile they can be. Sue often mentioned throughout this process that I should try to think in terms of price per wear as opposed to the price on the tag, and I can definitely see her point. Being able to wear a $150 pair of pants 10 different ways is a lot better value than buying a $50 pair that I can only wear with a couple of things.

I'm not 100% confident about putting my own outfits together, but I think I have a much better idea about this than before I started with Sue. I now know the look I am going for, and the style words are a great help in leading me in the right direction. I will probably make some mis-steps, but being able to meet with Sue in the future here and there will help me stay on course, and update things as needed.

Next Up: Tips and Final Thoughts