Is a closet fashion stylist the answer to our clothing and confidence issues?
Sustainability is on the minds of many fashion lovers these days. We’ve given up fast fashion. We swap and trade instead of buying new, scour thrift stores and invest in high-quality organic pieces of clothing. But there’s another, even more effective answer to the sustainability quandary that’s been right under noses this whole time: shopping our own closets. It may help boost our self-confidence too, not to mention save us oodles of money.
Meet Megan M. Evans, founder of the Well Coiffed Closet. The South Carolina native operates her closet makeover businesses in her hometown of Charleston as well as in New York City and Los Angeles, where she currently resides.
What is “shopping your closet?” It’s about as straightforward as it sounds. Evans comes to your home, helps you to organize and “edit” your closet (a term as an editor that I totally love!). She also helps you to better understand your personal style and the colors that look best on you. Then she picks out outfit ideas to help you re-inspire your wardrobe.
Megan was kind enough to give me a closet makeover, one I sorely needed. And she had her work cut out for her. Before becoming a mom a year ago, I was a bit of a psycho neat-freak (once you have a kid you learn to live in a state of perpetually almost-clean). There was just one area where that didn’t hold true: my closet. I’m a t-shirt hoarder and so is my partner. (We often joke that between his t-shirt collection and mine, it’s going to be our daughter’s rather pathetic dowry.) In fact, I don’t like throwing any clothes away as it just seems like a waste. Of course I donate some old clothes, but I have this idea that someday I’ll need an item that I donated and be forced to buy it new, which just feels so wrong. Add to that the fact that I’m still breastfeeding and holding onto a few extra pounds since the pregnancy, and there’s a closet full of stuff that doesn’t fit me so great. Yay.
But Megan wasn’t intimidated. She’s worked with a lot of new moms too, which made me feel hopeful. Her upbeat positivity and Southern charm also made me feel at home letting an otherwise total stranger sort through my messy closet. “Everything you see in front of you is something you should be able to wear right now,” she said. And for me, that wasn’t the case. Her goal is really to help women build confidence, and love what they see in their closets. Besides being a mom, I work at home, which means jeans and tees are my go-to looks. Honestly, somedays I rock the PJs or workout clothes ALL DAY. So when there are other places for me to be, where, you know, I need to actually look like a human, I struggle for something cute to wear. (Don’t even get me started on brushing my hair.)
After spending years in PR and the film industry, Megan started the Well Coiffed Closet in 2010. She was that friend who would help her friends find amazing outfits to wear when they were staring at piles of gorgeous clothes they didn’t know what to do with. She’d makeover their closets and really loved doing it. Finally, she took an image consulting and stylist program at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and began launching her business, which just took off from there.
As we started into my bedroom closet, her first order of business was rehanging all items on slim line hangers (you can get them at Bed, Bath & Beyond). Not only does it maximize hanging space, but everything looks uniform and way more organized than my old mishmash of hangers.
We then “edited” my closet for items with stains, holes or that just looked wrong on me. “Look at the pieces and take out what you’re not wearing and find out why: is it too big, too small, does it need a refresh?” she asks. “Is there a piece you can change the buttons on to make it feel new? Take those pieces out first and go through the process of why,” she says. It made absolute sense as we went through every single item and discussed each piece. I was surprised at the emotional attachments I had to clothes, both those I wore a lot and the items I’d hardly ever worn! Clothing really does play a powerful role in who we are, how we present ourselves and how we feel.
After we edited it down, Megan started her magic and reorganized by season, color and length. We hung as much as we could, even some tees that I could wear for (the often-elusive) date-night. We identified some needs I have as well, such as a good blazer, a pair of pumps and black jeans. “Spend less on the pieces that are trendy for only a season,” she says. “Invest in classic timeless pieces like [the blazer or pumps].” She also addressed the ever-changing fashion trends. For example, skinny jeans may be out right now but they’ll be back, so there’s no reason to ditch a classic pair of jeans because something else is trending. “If it feels too young or outdated, those are the things you definitely need to get rid of, but hang onto classics,” she says.
Another rule she swears by is if she’s buying something new—either for a client or herself—something else has to go. She also recommends sticking to shopping for the seasons, after you’ve done an “edit” and identified needs. And never impulse buy. “People leave tags on items in their closets and have nothing to wear them with because they just don’t know what to do with those impulse items,” she says.
After the edit came the really fun part: “shopping” my own closet. Megan gets to work. “Know what colors work best for you,” she stresses. “Wearing the right color can make you feel more alive and people will say you look great, even if you’re not wearing any makeup. Color is key.” She uses color swatches to identify the best colors for your skin tone (I’m best in warm “autumn” tones). So with that in mind, she pulled three outfits for me: something I can wear for a work meeting or event, a date night getup, and an outfit for a wedding next weekend in Palm Springs. I was kind of in shock at the results (and the quickness with which she pulled the outfits together). Those pants with that shirt? Duh. How did I never think of that? She did an incredible job. (She even included the Akola necklace (center) that I scored in our Fair Trade and Fabulous September Box!) They were great outfits that I will actually wear and instantly new variations on those combos came to my mind. It was like she unlocked a new way of seeing my wardrobe with just a few idea suggestions.
It really feels like a weight has been lifted and like I have an entirely new wardrobe, and I haven’t purchased anything new—in fact, I threw out a whole heck of a lot even after I did a cursory purge before she came. “The goal is not to spend to thousands on a new wardrobe,” says Megan. “The idea is you want to be able to see everything in a way that allows you to shop your closet and mix and match new looks.” Not only is it a sustainable fashion solution, it’s a confidence building one, too. And that looks great on everybody.
Check out Megan and her team of closet stylists at wellcoiffedcloset.com.
Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
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image (top) Amy, Jill Ettinger