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Style Points: Tonya Cleans House


Meet T. Every morning, she looks at her closets (two large side-by-sides! Lucky girl) and stares. And stares.
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6:30 am…honestly, it is just too early to have to think this hard about clothes!

T 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. Just like many of us, she has found herself in a “clothes-rut.” The good news it that the strategy I am sharing with you today can really help you sort and polish your collection. One of my favorite things to do as a freelance stylist is to come help people with their wardrobes.

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 and we got right to work. We started with the first Phase. Phase one 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 everything.

I like to make several categories of clothes based on the individual. T’s clothes belonged 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 repairs or alterations: 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 take-to-the-tailor and a take-to-the-cobbler pile (for shoe repairs).

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 their goals (And I call later to make sure the pile is gone). Heck, I have even taken the pile myself to the Crowded Closest on my way out the door.

4. 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. What a great idea to re-purpose those hard-earned tees! And a super sewing project for the cold winter ahead.

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WWTD? Cardi? Donation pile. Although, I love the silk ruffle top she is trying on.

It took us about three hours to go through about 10 years worth of clothes. We were excited to get to the portion of the project where new outfits are assembled! She had so many great pieces already in stock and it was a cinch to put lots of cute ensembles together (along with a quick scarf-tying lesson, naturally).

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An errand runners delight!

Lastly, I made a section dedicated to her work uniforms, 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 knew fit, looked good and she likes (definition of wardrobe heaven!). Once we had gone through it all, I discovered some real style gem; a black velvet blazer that she should be wearing all season long! You will never regret owning a velvet blazer. ever

Do you have a favorite piece that you are excited about wearing this Fall? Tell me all about your closet issues or clothes questions in the comments area below.

Photos by Tonya Kehoe