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the limited

how my scheduling will save you money

how my scheduling will save you money

Working for yourself is awesome, no doubt. It’s awesome to be able to take a sick day when you need one, work on the projects you love, and have the ability to set your own schedule. One of the harder things about working for yourself is the unpredictability. I really (really) like planning and stability and knowing what my schedule's going to look like, but that’s not always possible.

Now that my son is in preschool, I finally have the ability to consciously set a schedule instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I’ve discovered that I can do a max of four or five clients a week and know that they’ll get my full attention and energy. With that type of schedule, I’ll have time to respond to emails in a timely manner, write a blog post here and there, and take care of my accounting.

mindful closet st louis personal stylist

However, personal styling is a seasonal business and not one that runs on a regular schedule. There are times when no one wants to think about clothes: July, when it’s too hot to move, and January, when you’ve spent all your money at the holidays. There are also times when everyone is thinking about clothes: the first brisk fall morning and the first no-coat-required day of the year.

What ends up happening is that at those times of year, I’ll have the max number of clients set and then the weather will change and three new people will want to book appointments the same week. Since I have a hard time saying no to anyone, I’ll say, “sure!” and then I’ll end up stressed and crazy. I'm committing to being better about that and just telling people when I’m truly available.

I’ve come up with a way to make this better for all of us. If you book during those times when no one is thinking about clothes (i.e. now), I’ll give you a discount. You’ll save money, I’ll have my schedule set further in advance, we’ll all be happy. Also, booking in advance gives both of us time to be mindful about what your needs are.

I’m also switching from a per hour rate to a package rate. I haven’t liked the feeling of being on the clock and having to charge people for things I’d like to do for them anyway (sending recommendations, suggesting outfits, notifying them that a sale is happening at their favorite store), so now it’s all wrapped up in one package: the Stylist on Call. Basically, it is what it sounds like: three separate styling sessions, any recommendations and feedback you could need, and an online lookbook with outfits created by me from your closet. I’m available to you for any last minute outfit questions: before work, before a date, before an event. If you just need a closet cleanse or a shopping trip, there are smaller packages for those things too. The digital lookbook is included in the Stylist on Call package, but you can add it to any of the other options as well.

This is not an impulse buy. This is for someone who’s thought about getting help for wardrobe frustration for a long time and is ready to do it. If you know anyone who’s thought about it, share this with them. If they (or you) book before September 1 (instead of waiting until October when the weather changes!), they’ll save on one of my new packages. All the details are here.

If we haven’t met (or if we have!) and you want to hang out a bit before booking a session, come to The Limited at the Galleria on August 25 at 6pm for my “Shop with a Stylist” party. Have a glass of wine, try on some clothes, and get started on your fall wardrobe. Put it in the calendar!


replacing a wardrobe staple

replacing a wardrobe staple

Last summer, this top bit the dust. It was a bummer, because I didn't feel like I'd worn it for as many years as I would like. Since a relaxed white top is a pretty important component of my summer uniform, I set out to search for a replacement.

mindful closet: st. louis men's and women's personal stylist

I tried all of these tops (above) and ended up with the cheapest version, simply because it fit best. The length wasn't too cropped, the sleeves hit in a good place and it also has the added benefit of being machine washable.

st louis men and women personal stylist

I don't normally advocate buying multiples, but because this one hit so many of my criteria and because it's so integral to my wardrobe, I bought two. Yes, both in white.
Currently on sale at The Limited for $25 ;)

P.S. Keep your eyes out for a special event I'll be hosting at The Limited in August!


i'm a fraud

i'm a fraud

So, here I am, my big thing is buying quality things that you wear over and over, right? And, when I got married, instead of buying a dress that only had one use, I bought a white cocktail dress that I could wear again and again. And I love this dress. I want to wear it all the time. But when I put it on, like I did this year for our fifth anniversary dinner, it feels like too much. Too dressy or too conspicuous, or too bridal. Even though it's not. I just don't feel right in it, not like I did the day I wore it to get married in. Is it because I have it tied to a certain type of event in my mind? Is it really just too dressy for the average nice St. Louis restaurant? Not sure, but I do know that I wouldn't advise anyone else to wear something they didn't feel good in. So this year, like several other times, I've changed out of the dress and into something I felt better in. So maybe I didn't achieve the impossible, a wedding dress that can be reworn. Or maybe it just hasn't been the right time. Either way, best to go with your gut.

mindful closet rewearing your wedding dress

This is what I wore instead, almost all second hand, so at least these items are getting second lives! Dress: InWear via Crossroads Trading Company, The Limited belt (similar), Loeffler Randall bag via Scholar Shop, Nine West shoes via Buffalo Exchange (similar). Much happier. ;)

Have you ever tried to rewear something that just wouldn't work?

my cool girl outfit

my cool girl outfit

Have you ever put on something that felt like the best representation of yourself? That's how I feel when I wear this dress. To be perfectly honest, I probably didn't need it when I bought it, but I knew that it would be something that I reached for over and over. 

mindful closet saint louis personal stylist

I feel cool in it, and I honestly don't care whether anyone else agrees! It's from Banana Republic, but no longer available in stores - here's a link to the dress in white on eBay. 

Earlier this summer, after a client bought these shoes, I'd started looking for a similar style. I pinned a bunch of examples to my summer sandal search Pinterest board. 

saint louis personal stylist

(top row of Pinterest images: Nine West Breezie here, Jeffrey Campbell Lorah here, Vince Addie here, Lauren Conrad from Kohl's peep toe booties here.)

Having the style I wanted clearly defined made it easy to pull the trigger when I saw the ones I'm wearing at a great price (sorry can't find the exact style online!). 

Lastly, are you for or against expensive sunglasses? I know from first hand experience that I will inevitably dive into a lake with them on, leave them in the driver's seat and sit on them, or just plain lose any nice pair of sunglasses, so it's one thing I don't invest much in. I really like these from The Limited, and I've actually made it through the whole summer with them intact.

(this post contains affiliate links)

closet case study: colleen

closet case study: colleen

It's been a while since we had a case study, and Colleen was the perfect candidate for one. She contacted me because she was getting frustrated getting dressed every morning. Before we met for a consultation, I sent Colleen a questionnaire I send to all my clients (you can see it here). During our meeting, we discussed her answers on the questionnaire and clarified her needs. We diagnosed her style by looking at images from the Lucky Guide - definitely American Classic. Then we moved on to her closet. Colleen's wardrobe issues did not result from too many clothes, in fact, she's a great purger and her closet was very small and tidy.

colleen closet.jpg

Isn't it awesome?! We started to go through piece by piece to figure out why she was having so much trouble getting dressed. A lot of her shirts were boxy and ill-fitting and many of them looked well-worn. Both of these problems stemmed from the fact that they were not great quality in addition to overzealous washing, resulting in pieces that were only a few months old but were already faded and pilling. Feel free to disagree, but I believe that unless you've worked out in it or exerted yourself, most things don't need to be washed after one wear. It varies for each person and each type of garment.

Even with those problem children, Colleen still had plenty of great basics and cute pieces, but she felt like she didn't have any options because she was very unsure of how to put them together. Her workplace is pretty casual and she didn't want to appear too dressed up. She also had a fear of wearing the same thing too often. Of course, I quickly reminded her that's not usually a real issue (outside of your own thoughts) since most people are too self-absorbed to pay much attention to anyone else.

Because Colleen's wardrobe was so small, I was able to photograph the majority of it. To help her see the options she actually already had, I made a series of photo collages showing outfits she could make from her closet. I added in a few things that we already knew she was going to add to her wardrobe - a white tee, brown boots and the two necklaces.  This gave us a total of 12 tops, 8 bottoms, 1 dress, 2 necklaces, 1 scarf, and 4 pairs of shoes. She had a bit more than that, but that's what I ended up using in these images. I very quickly came up with more than 30 outfits (a month's worth!) and could have kept going indefinitely had I had more time. Here are 27 looks (27 only because it make 3 neat squares of 9 looks each!) Again, keep in mind this is only with what she already owned.

If some outfits look similar, it's because they are. Sometimes all you need to do is change the accessories from brown to black, or change a necklace for a scarf for a whole new look. If some of the outfits look simple, it's because they are. You don't always need a million complicated pieces.

After we went through everything in Colleen's closet, I came up with a list of pieces she could add to maximize her options and refresh her wardrobe. We decided her neutral would be brown to make sure that everything went together and so that she didn't need different accessories or shoes for each outfit. Here's her shopping list by priority:

First priority:
-lightweight jacket for layering in a neutral color
-white boatneck or long sleeve tee for layering
-dressier, classic brown knee high boots

Second priority:
-one more pair of work pants, in camel/tan
-1-2 fun printed blouse, other than button down, in a silkier fabric, flowier shape
-1-2 fun statement necklaces
-1-2 accent scarves
-long cardigan in a neutral

Third priority:
-(replace) brown flats
-bright or leopard flats
-(replace) dark skinny jeans

At this point, some clients like to just take the list and run with it, sometimes checking in to ask my opinion on various options. Others prefer to have me do the shopping for them. Colleen had always been overwhelmed by shopping and wanted to get a little better at it, so we planned an afternoon of shopping together.

We started at Nordstrom Rack, which can definitely be overwhelming with its racks of seemingly unorganized clothing. I asked Colleen to focus on finding one thing at a time. For instance, instead of attempting to find all the items on her list at once, we started by just searching out lightweight jackets. Next, we focused on printed blouses - easy to pick out of the crowded racks. I encouraged her to grab anything that remotely looked like a possibility.

When shopping, it was easy to show Colleen the difference between the quality of a few different pieces in the same store. She was drawn to a Vince henley style silk top, but it was about $120. For a more affordable option, we pulled a similar style from a cheaper brand, about $30. When Colleen tried it on, she could tell that the cheaper top was made of polyester and had a bulky fit. When she put on the Vince top, she sighed audibly. It was soft and draped in all the right places. We didn't end up getting that piece (or the cheaper version), but it was a great experience to have. Colleen did choose to spend a little more on a different quality silk top, from the brand Joie. Of course, being at Nordstrom Rack, it was still a great deal. She absolutely loved it and will wear it for a long time.

We moved on to the Galleria and quickly picked up a few additional items at H&M and the Limited. Colleen also picked up a few pieces on her own. Between her work and our shopping trip, she ended up with almost everything else on her list (all the pieces in italics above were purchased).

With the new pieces and the basics she already had, she'll be able to make dozens of new combinations. 

Here's a little of what Colleen had to say:

"I really appreciated your calm, cool demeanor and kind way of handling the clothes I had and the issues I had with them. I never once felt embarrassed or uncomfortable. You are great at putting someone at ease in what is obviously a really personal situation. I also liked how customized your service really is - you seem to value the fact that everyone is going to have unique issues and so there's not a perfect formula for how you interact, you can just go with the flow and tailor it to what they need most.

I learned how to tackle the Nordstrom Rack craziness and how to speed through the mall staples. I also learned you should take half days off work to go shopping so you don't have to torture yourself on the weekend!

I seriously feel so much better. I wore the jacket yesterday and just smiled whenever I caught my reflection - I felt pulled together, just like I wanted! Thank you so much. I feel a million times more confident."