Viewing entries tagged
closet makeover

my baby is here!

my baby is here!

Nope, no human babies, just made an online course ;) 

Making Space is finally here! Seriously, creating this course has been WAY more work than I ever expected. I came up for the idea over the Christmas holidays last year, when I had a little creative space (i.e. grandparents were taking care of my kid). My original idea was for the course to launch in Spring 2017. I quickly realized that was unrealistic and moved it back to Fall 2017. I didn’t realize that that would still require a lot of “hustle” (my LEAST favorite word) over the summer, and so I chose a slower pace. That pace got us here, launching in Winter 2018. I’m really proud of the work I’ve put into this and I know that if it resonates with you, it’ll be really useful.

mindful closet: making space course

Here are all the details:

The course is four weeks long. Every Saturday, you’ll receive an email with the class for the week. In each class, there is a video to watch, workbook exercises to complete, and homework for you to do in your closet. There will also be a private Facebook group where I’ll be checking in on you and you can share about your progress with the other class members. 

Curriculum

Week 1: Define your why, your style, and take inventory

Week 2: Editing

Week 3: Overcoming editing stumbling blocks

Week 4: Organizing what’s left and making a mindful plan going forward

That’s basically it. By the end of the four weeks, you should have a wardrobe filled with only things you wear and feel good in.

FAQ’s

How much time do I need to devote to the class? It’s going to vary for everyone, but on average, you should be prepared to devote at least 2-3 hours a week to the work.

How is the program delivered? You’ll get an email each week with a link to the course website, where you’ll be able to watch the week’s videos and download the corelating worksheets.

How much does Making Space cost? The course will take you through the exact process I use with my one-on-one closet cleanse clients ($450 and up). You'll get the course for $247.

How many people will be in the class? You can start the class whenever you want, so the number of people taking it at any one time will vary. 

Can guys take this class? Nope. For this class, we’re going to focus a lot on the messages we’ve gotten from others about what we as women should be wearing, so it wouldn't be appropriate.

Of course, let me know what other questions you have, I’d love to hear them!

So who should take Making Space?

I really intended this course to be for people who crave more simplicity in their wardrobes but have a hard time getting from the idea of it to actually putting it into practice. If you don’t know what to keep and what to get rid of, if you feel like you have too much but don’t know where to start, if you know your life would be easier without worrying about clothes but you still think you need options, this class is for you.

mindful closet: st. louis personal stylist

Here’s what a few other people who’ve gone through the process had to say about it.

It’s such a relief to have a more consolidated wardrobe, to know what pieces I need to focus on, and to know which pieces I should avoid. - Veronica

I have felt so much better about my clothes, and I continue to let go of pieces that don’t work for me anymore.  - Michelle

Eliminating clothes from my closet could have been tragically painful. Instead it seemed like the easiest decisions I had made in a long time. My closet has since undergone two additional revisions with Dacy and another on my own. She helped me find the freedom of owning less.  - Brooke

More testimonials from people who've taken the class here. If you're ready to sign up, go for it below! If you have more questions, just shoot me an email

(photos: Celeste Boyer)

what do you know about working with plus size clients?

what do you know about working with plus size clients?

 

I've worked with many plus-size clients, most of whom (whether they've told me or not) have had trepidation about working with me. To put it bluntly, how could someone my size know what they need or how hard it can be? I completely acknowledge that life in the wardrobe arena has been pretty easy for me. However, I truly believe that you can find the look and shape that work for you, regardless of size. With every client I work with, I learn more about available resources for all sizes. Recently, I worked with a client who wasn't sure I'd be able to help her. Since she was pretty happy with the results, I asked her to write a guest post about her experience so that you can hear it from her perspective, not mine. Here's Annie:

"Last summer, I told three of my friends that I wanted them to find me a personal stylist for my birthday. I didn’t need them to pay for anything, just to do the legwork to find the person. Looking back, it seems so silly that I couldn’t do a simple google search, but I think that shows how nervous I was about this endeavor. I could not even find the right person to help, I needed her dropped in my lap.

I have never been a girly girl. I was a tomboy growing up. My “look” was a bunch of plain cotton tops that I thought I could mix and match with any pants. I thought I didn’t care about clothes. I never thought about putting together an outfit, or having an intentional look. I can’t include pictures of how I dressed before Dacy because I avoided the camera like crazy. There are no pictures.

I told my friends that I didn’t want someone to tell me that if I lost 50 lbs I could wear trendy looks. I have always felt like clothes are designed for a size 2-6, and they just make them bigger for larger sizes. I was worried how Dacy would be able to understand that and find clothes actually made for women like me. I didn’t want a total makeover or to become someone else. I wanted to find someone who could help me be a better version of me. What I didn’t know at the time, but realized through this process, was that I wanted someone to help me like the person I saw in the mirror.

Even though I sought out a stylist, and had met Dacy twice before she came to my house for our first session, I was still pretty nervous. I have always hated trying on clothes because it made me feel fat. I don’t go to clothing stores, I only buy clothes online. Even when I get new clothes, I would often try them on without looking in a mirror. If it didn’t feel too tight, I kept it. I knew I wasn’t going to have a lot of patience for trying on clothes, looking at myself in the mirror, and talking about how I look in clothes. I thought, after a few outfits, I am going to refuse to try on more clothes, I am going to cry, and I am going to want to stop. But I didn’t. We went through every item in my closet. I never cried, never felt fat and ugly, never wanted to run and hide.  

I stood in my closet, not in front of a mirror.  So, big win #1 – I didn’t have to see myself in the clothes, and see the look on my face when I didn’t like what I saw. That kept me mentally engaged. But the absolute best thing Dacy did for me that day was that she made it about the clothes. It was never about my body. It wasn’t my fault that the shirt didn’t fit, it was the shirt’s fault. Bad shirt! She never said my arms look fat. She said, I don’t like the way that sleeve hangs. I don’t like where the shirt hits your waist. Instead of saying I have a big waist, she said I had skinny legs. It was never my fault. That was a new experience for someone with self-esteem issues that are very tied up in my size.  

Dacy was both sweet and stern. She didn’t say why the heck did you ever buy that? She said that top did its job, it’s ok to let it go. It used to fit, it used to be in style, and that was great, but I give you permission to find something new. When I did have a shirt that I was in love with, she asked me why. I got to share my emotional connection to that shirt, how it hid my problem areas, showed off what I liked, the color was perfect, whatever. She listened, absorbed it, and took the responsibility for finding me a new shirt that would do those things for me. Because I didn’t try on clothes, or look at myself in the mirror, I didn’t know what I looked like in my clothes. I also didn’t see how those clothes fit differently over time, either because my body changed, or because they were getting stretched out or shrinking. All I knew is when I bought this shirt 2, 5, 7 years ago, I liked it. So I thought I had to keep it until it ripped or didn’t fit. If it fit, it stayed in the closet.

Dacy asked me if I bought clothes that were too small for me. I thought she meant, do I buy clothes thinking I will lose 10 pounds. I said no, I have accepted my body. But what I realized after that day, as I thought about so many things she said to me, was that yes, I do buy clothes that are too small. I got to a point where I thought pants were supposed to feel that way. It wasn’t the pants fault they were rolling at my waist, it was my body’s fault. So I bought the size clothes I thought I wore, and if the clothes looked or felt bad, I blamed myself, not the clothes.

While Dacy and I were emptying my closet, she very gently called me an organized hoarder. I was a little caught off guard. I don’t have piles of stuff on the floor, and my countertops aren’t full of collections of random things. Everything in my house has a place, and is in its place, but her comment really got me thinking. I have so much in my house that I wouldn’t buy today, but because I already own it, I keep in case I might need it someday. Isn’t that the definition of a hoarder? So, I committed to throwing away one thing a day. Every day, forever. I committed to stop buying things because it would be cute if I ever get invited to a BBQ. Now I’ll wait until I get the invite, and know that that serving platter is at Target if I still want it. I am starting to purge the stuff I have accumulated, and make much better decisions about what I do actually buy. It’s very refreshing. One more way I feel like a better version of myself.

After Dacy cleaned out my closet it took some getting used to it being so sparse. However, I knew I could wear anything that was left because we’d only kept what worked.

Next was shopping. Because Dacy said there were better plus-size options online, she sent me a link to a digital lookbook of clothes to purchase.  A ton of clothes. I think it was good there were so many. I didn’t have time to really look at the clothes she chose, and pre-judge. I just had to get online and start buying. Lots of clothes I never would have picked, and there were several stores I hadn’t previously shopped at. She stayed in the price range I had been paying for clothes all along.

The sizes she told me to buy were all sizes I hadn’t worn before. That was something I had to mentally process and it took a while. I was initially a little depressed, oh my God am I really that size?! But I knew she had taken measurements, and bought clothes off the measurements, not off the sizes.  So, I trusted her and just went with it. Well, she was right.

The day we had our personal shopping try-on session, I was excited. I have never been excited about clothes before, ever. This time, she made me face a mirror, and I got nervous right away. But again Dacy talked about the clothes, not my body. Because the clothes were the right size and fit for my body, I didn’t mind looking at myself in the mirror. I was smiling, standing up straight. I wasn’t poking at my problem areas or looking through the clothes to the body underneath. I started to see outfits, not just a way to not be naked.  

For instance, I never knew that jackets could be part of the outfit. I always considered outer layers as a warmth layer, something you take off. But she was building really cute looks for me that involved wearing a jacket all day long! What?! We had discussed that I needed a nice dress and she found it! I tried it on, looked in the mirror and said, man, I look hot! I don’t think I have said that, or thought that, in over 20 years. I didn’t want to take the dress off. Now I can’t wait to have a reason to wear it, because I know I will look good.

plus size personal styling

(the dress Annie loved: here)

The clothes she chose for me were exactly what I wanted.  Still me, just better.  These clothes really can be mixed and matched. She kept the pants, shoes, and jewelry really simple, and the tops are the focal point of the look.

It did take a few days to get used to my new silhouette. I love the way I look, but it is very different from what I am used to seeing. Now, when I get dressed, I try on several outfits, not searching for one I can handle, but choosing between multiple great choices. I love every outfit I put on. I can’t wait to get dressed. I take no more time to get ready each day, but I feel so much better when I turn off the light and close the closet door. People in my life have noticed. I don’t think any of them even realize that it’s because of new clothes, they just know I look different. I think that it’s as much about the confidence I have as it is about the properly fitting clothes. I look at mirrors when I walk by now. I walk tall, and smile."

P.S. Check out St. Louis blogger Cassie on Eloquii (one of my go-to plus size resources)'s website!

organizing your closet to reduce visual clutter

organizing your closet to reduce visual clutter

As the weather finally moves above freezing, we're hit with a a natural urge to clean and reorganize our closets. For general purging and closet decluttering tips, see my post on 5 Steps to Wardrobe Nirvana or use the "does it spark joy?" criteria from Marie Kondo's methodAs you're moving your spring and summer clothes in and your winter clothes out, here are a few more tips to make getting dressed a little less confusing:

 

display only what you're wearing right now


Only keep the clothes you wear on a regular basis accessible. If you have other storage space, this is where out of season clothes, special occasion clothes, and transitional clothes (i.e. the pre-pregnancy jeans) should go. Even if you technically have room in your closet for these items (as I do), I recommend keeping them out of your everyday closet. Seeing too many options makes decision making confusing. The fewer items you have to look at as you get dressed, the easier it will be. No need to flip past cocktail dresses when you're getting dressed for work. If you have to store everything in the same space, make sure the things you wear on a daily basis are front and center.

 

 

keep everything where you can see it


When I reorganized my closet last summer, I realized that I had more necklaces that I could see at once. I wanted to have a way to display them all so that I might be more likely to wear some of the neglected ones. Since my closet has more hanging space than I really need, I decided to use some of the wall space to display them. Since doing this (and taking this photo), I've gotten rid of many necklaces, since seeing them on a regular basis still didn't entice me to wear them. The same thing happened with my shoes. And my clutches... (they're hiding up on the top shelf there, in IKEA magazine holders)

 

mindful closet - closet organizing tips

 

use matching hangers


Find a style of hanger you like and spend a few dollars to fill your closet with them. Some people love the thin felt hangers, but I'm lazy and they are hard to get clothes on and off of! My ideal is all wooden hangers, but until the budget allows, I have the basic white plastic ones. Such a simple thing can make a huge impact.

 

mindful closet - closet organization.JPG

 

hang everything


You can't wear things you don't remember you have. Feel free to differ in opinion on this one, but I hang as much as I can, even t-shirts and some sweaters. Chunky sweaters, workout clothes, pajamas, and jeans are the only things that go in bins or drawers. I often see clients with drawers or stacks full of t-shirts, most of which never get worn. Even a t-shirt is a building block of an outfit and requires consideration. Isn't it easier to flip through hangers to see your options than to dig in a drawer or refold a stack? A note: I only have four pairs of jeans in my closet right now, if you have more options, it probably would be a good idea to hang them so that you can easily see your choices.

 

mindful closet - closet organization tips

 

put your shoes on shelves


After trying every possible shoe tree/rack/hanging pocket system out there over the years, I've come to the conclusion that simple shelves are the best way to go. They're easy to get shoes in and out of, heels sit nicely without getting caught on anything, and they look cute (place all pairs of shoes heel to toe for more room). I use cheap shelves like this tucked under closet rods, but check out this super sweet version by Laura Cattano.

Do you have any other tips to share?

closet case study: heidi

Heidi was someone who I would have never thought needed my help. She's beautiful, successful, fashionable, runs a beauty company, and also happens to be my favorite yoga teacher. As I wrote to her in response to her request for help, I imagined her closet to be a magical place. Appearances can be deceiving, however, and Heidi's closet really did need some help! 

Heidi's closet before

Heidi's closet before

As always, I wanted to chat for a while first about her style and her needs. Heidi loves classic chic looks with personality. Her style icons are Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. She was going through a bit of spring cleaning and wanted to change the energy surrounding her closet. She was also having a hard time getting dressed in the morning. She knew she had some fabulous items but wanted help putting them together. She told me that she felt very comfortable in the uniforms she puts on for work (yoga clothes for teaching yoga, and concert black for this other little job she has ;) Associate Concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony), but it was every day dressing she was having trouble with.

Another before shot

Another before shot

Heidi lives in an awesome 70's modern house nestled into the side of a hill, surrounded by trees. The master bedroom has four small closets and there is a cedar storage closet in the spare bedroom. When we got into her closet, it was clear why things were overwhelming to her. Formal performance gowns and cocktail dresses were side-by-side with jeans and tees. We sorted everything and got rid of a few things she didn't love (Heidi is banned from buying anything from Ann Taylor ever again). To make the morning routine easier, we needed to separate the formal clothes from the everyday clothes. We delegated one closet for evening - only cocktail and formal dresses and shoes. Gowns she wore very infrequently and clothes that she wouldn't wear again but wanted to keep for her daughter went in the cedar storage closet, as did all out of season clothes. Purses and luggage went in what was originally meant to have been a toiletry or linen closet.

Heidi's closet after

Heidi's closet after

Next, we took the pieces she was having a hard time with and styled some more casual outfits with them. As with her dress selection, Heidi had all the evening shoes she'd ever need, but was lacking some basic casual shoes, like ballet flats and casual sandals. After she did some (thoughtful) shopping, here are a few examples of what we came up with.

These were both pieces that Heidi needed help dressing down. How cute are those flats on the left - Target, $12!

This blouse was easy for evening paired with a pencil skirt or black pants, but can work for day as well with denim.

Here's what Heidi had to say:

"Having Dacy's help with my closet was absolutely amazing! I was so impressed by how she helped me to organize and sort through my clothing, and also how great she was at putting new outfits together with the clothing I already own. As a result, I feel like my old clothes are new again! She also gave me a list of 'holes' in my wardrobe, basically a few things to buy so that I can tie together more outfits with what's already in my closet. Dacy was so thoughtful about helping me to decide which clothes to donate, which clothes to put into storage, and which clothes to keep. She has inspired me to organize other spaces in our home, and our home is already looking more beautiful and feeling much more peaceful with less clutter. Thank you so very much, Dacy!"

closet makeover: mr. mindful closet

closet makeover: mr. mindful closet

I guess the effects of all of my recent personal styling, closet making-over, and wardrobe consulting have been felt at home. Recently, my husband got inspired to clean out his own closet.

Dave collage 1.jpg

Clockwise from left: the before - it doesn't look terrible, but there is clothing just piled on shelves and nothing on hangers. During: having a clothing rack available to put everything on during the process is really helpful. You can actually see everything you're dealing with. Also during: note our adorable Yorkie, Bruiser, attempting to take a nap.

I honestly didn't really help much on this one, except for one suggestion. I thought it might make sense to move the shelves from the center of the closet to the outer edges so that the hanging racks would be more accessible. I also helped with a second opinion on the "maybe" pile. Most of the "maybe" items were things that were good quality, but hadn't been worn in years, so out they went.

Dave closet after 2.jpg

Didn't it turn out well?

closet case study: laura

closet case study: laura

Back in March, I helped my good friend Laura with her closet. Laura is literally the sweetest person I know - caring, considerate, and thoughtful. She projects an aura of calm that I aspire to, which is even more amazing when you know that she is the mom of two adorable boys under the age of 3. Sometimes as I'm rushing around in my usual state of frantic activity, I try to channel her. Unfortunately, I wasn't as thorough about documenting the process as I was with Dana, but luckily Laura wrote a lovely description of our day together.

Laura's closet before

Laura's closet before

"I have known Dacy for several years now and have always admired her style.  It is uniquely her own - effortless yet chic, not trendy, but polished and put together.  I have been trying to emulate some of her looks for some time so when she offered to help me clean out my closet and refine my style I was ecstatic!  I was also nervous, I am not a size 2 (or even a size 6) so I was doubtful that her suggestions would work or be flattering for me.  However, Dacy came over and immediately put me at ease.  We started by determining my style and decided that I am a mix of Classic and Gamine.  Then she methodically went through my closet and without judgement or criticism helped me dig through over 15 years of stuff!  It always baffles me that I have a huge closet full of clothes yet nothing to wear.  Dacy pointed out that if I hadn't been able to make it work up until now, why hold onto it?  She was amazed at the amount of cardigans I had (probably 15-20), but never wore.  Dacy pointed out that many of my clothes needed a tank top under and a cardigan over, making them hot, bulky, and uncomfortable.  She also pointed out that I had lots of vibrant color in my closet which did not coincide with any of the styles I liked in our original consultation. It was actually fun and when it was all over I had 4 large trash bags of clothes to donate.  I needed someone to give me permission to get rid of all that stuff.  I am frugal and hate to waste money so it was hard for me to give away items that still had tags on them or had never been worn."

The messy middle part of the process

The messy middle part of the process

"After the massive closet clean out, we began to put together some outfits.  Dacy brought over a couple of pairs of skinny jeans for me to try (which I swore I would never wear).  I was amazed to find that I actually liked them.  They balanced out the chunky sweaters and flowy tops that I like and were much more flattering than the baggy boot cut jeans I typically wear.  She also helped me pick out accessories like scarves and jewelry to add the pops of color and interest that I had previously been trying to accomplish with colorful shirts and bottoms.   She then helped me put together some casual, easy looks that I could wear to the park or to drop off my son at preschool.  I used to just throw on ratty sweatshirts and jeans to do these things but would then feel mortified if I ran into someone I knew.  Now I can still feel comfortable yet look put together."

Laura's closet after

Laura's closet after

"At the end of the day Dacy gave me some rules for shopping.  She suggested that I stick to neutrals and look for things that can be worn independently with no layering.  She warned me to stay away from anything that I thought I could maybe make work and to only buy things I loved.  She forbid me to buy any more cardigans and suggested I look for maxidresses, slim pants, ballet flats, fitted jackets, and timeless pieces instead.  I have been following "the rules" for the last month or so and getting dressed is so much easier.  With two small children I never have more than 30 minutes to get ready in the morning and now it's a breeze.  Most things in my closet will work with a variety of pants or skirts so I have lots of options.  I'm also more comfortable since I don't have to wear 3-4 layers at a time.  My "look" is still a work in progress, but I am so grateful to Dacy for her help!  I'm actually excited to get dressed for the day now.  As a busy mom my life is often messy and chaotic but now I've learned that I can still deal with the chaos while looking and feeling better about myself."

closet case study: dana (final thoughts)

I asked Dana to write a few words about how she felt through this process and was so touched by what she said.

during our styling session - I love how happy she looks!

during our styling session - I love how happy she looks!

"For most of my life I've tried to ignore fashion. I wasn't very confident about my choices and clothes were a source of stress for me. I am generally a very open person, and have a positive body image, but it turns out that opening up the deep dark recesses of my closet to someone was nerve wracking! Dacy's thoughtful, caring, and sensitive approach eased me into the process and I ended up having a great time. She gently listened to everything I had to say and asked thoughtful questions as I dug through years of clothes I'd been hanging onto. Now I open my closet in the morning and it makes me smile because I no longer have to reject half of the things in it, which is awesome because I am not a morning person. I had no idea how much stress all that extra stuff was causing me.

The best part was having Dacy get so excited about me and my wardrobe. She helped me focus my tight budget on the key items that will help pull everything together and guidance on what not to spend my money on. It was a big lesson on keeping it simple and not holding onto things unless you really love them and they work easily for you. It seems so obvious now, but I would've never figured this out without Dacy's help, and the perfect pair of skinny jeans that she found for me! Really, in just 2 weeks, I feel this huge shift in this part of my life. It's awesome. Looking forward to more!"

(See dana's closet case study part 1 and part 2)