New Year, New Wardrobe? Not So Fast.

I recently worked with Houston-based stylist Emily Elliott to spruce up my work wardrobe in time for the new year. Emily is the picture of fashion at it’s best whether it’s professional, casual, or special events. Her Facebook page exudes confidence, radiance, and of course, style. She works with some seriously cool people in Houston, and I was about to let her see the (wo)man behind the curtain. To say that this experience would be intimidating is an understatement. My challenge for her was to work with what I had, not shop for a new wardrobe. While I thought this might be challenging, Emily is clearly a pro. In less than 2 hours, I felt like I had a whole new work wardrobe, and a new appreciation for the future of my personal fashion.

Disclaimers:

I did not purchase anything new for this experience. I am also not a model. Fair warning. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. Ask for a free consultation. Stylists specialize in various areas of wardrobe and fashion. Make sure they can work with your gender, goals, budget, and timing before investing.

  2. A good stylist will not push you to buy his/her idea of fashion. They will work with your style. I shop at a lot of national retailers that carry petites, as I’m small, and I’m too impatient for tailoring. She said I could continue to shop at those stores, and didn’t make me feel like I needed to hop on the next flight to New York to get with it.

  3. You don’t need to buy an entire new wardrobe to work with a stylist. She worked with what I have to create new outfits that work for my professional settings. She did give me a list of 5 staples to purchase that I’m missing: a solid black top; black flats; 2 belts; and black pants. I can handle that.

  4. Make sure all of your clothes are available. I made two mistakes: 1. I had an entire winter wardrobe in another closet that I forgot to show her. We’re headed into what Houston considers “winter”, which is another way of saying “not summer.” I should have incorporated those clothes. 2. I also had a nice batch of favorites at the dry cleaners. SMH.

  5. Be open to new ideas. I would have never put together some of the combos Emily created for me, yet they were perfect. I also learned a thing or two about my rigid view of fashion, and the way it looks on my body. Fashion is actually more flexible and forgiving than regular folk like me might imagine.

Here are some select looks from our experience.

My mother-in-law bought me this blouse, and I didn’t like the way the way the sleeves hit my shoulders. Emily made me see this fear was all in my head. Here, she appealed to my desire to cover them up, and paired it with slacks and a jacket.

My mother-in-law bought me this blouse, and I didn’t like the way the way the sleeves hit my shoulders. Emily made me see this fear was all in my head. Here, she appealed to my desire to cover them up, and paired it with slacks and a jacket.

Same blouse, over my fear! Also, never would have put it with this skirt and belt. Point for Emily.

Same blouse, over my fear! Also, never would have put it with this skirt and belt. Point for Emily.

This suit is OLD... I believe I bought it right before I moved to London, circa 2007. Emily's response? Don't get rid of it. Tailor the skirt to mimic the contemporary pencil skirts in fashion now. Also pair this crazy blouse with it. I never would have put a blouse with such bright colors with this neutral skirt, and I LOVE it.

This suit is OLD... I believe I bought it right before I moved to London, circa 2007. Emily's response? Don't get rid of it. Tailor the skirt to mimic the contemporary pencil skirts in fashion now. Also pair this crazy blouse with it. I never would have put a blouse with such bright colors with this neutral skirt, and I LOVE it.

Polka dots with polka dots? Mind blown. Another combo I would not have put together, Also, cardigans are cute and professional; why am I not wearing them?!

Polka dots with polka dots? Mind blown. Another combo I would not have put together, Also, cardigans are cute and professional; why am I not wearing them?!

Polka dots with pinstripes? Now we're really getting crazy! I was not pairing this blouse with skirts; only pants. Another win for Emily.

Polka dots with pinstripes? Now we're really getting crazy! I was not pairing this blouse with skirts; only pants. Another win for Emily.

Same top, with pants, tucked in. I never tuck in shirts with pants. Clearly a mistake, as it doesn't look bad the way it did in my head.

Same top, with pants, tucked in. I never tuck in shirts with pants. Clearly a mistake, as it doesn't look bad the way it did in my head.

My next step is to hire Emily to go shopping with me. I’d love to know how I’m limiting myself in the decision making process at the store, before I’m stuck with it forever. In general, my wardrobe probably needs a stylist every couple of years, unless I experience major changes like weight gain/loss, move to a different climate, etc.

How do you makeover your look? Let us know! We’d love to hear your suggestions.

Posted on December 5, 2016 .