This past weekend, I styled a client during her outfit session. This session is the 4th step of my very popular Transformation and Image Style Program which helps clients completely revamp and transform their style. During the outfit session, I take all the items in a client’s closet (both new and old) and show them how to maximize their wardrobe by putting mix-and-match pieces together. Prior to this session, the previous steps have included shopping, closet editing and personal style direction. In this fourth session, the outfit session, I photograph the outfits so that the client has them to reference in the future and they don’t have to remember anything.
Generously, this client agreed to let me blog about some of the outfits we put together. For privacy, we have not included a photo of her face and we never share our clients’ names. Therefore, we’ll refer to her in this post as Ms. Chic because she’s definitely a chic woman. Additionally, Ms. Chic is also a successful businesswoman who works in finance and recently called on me because she felt her image and style was not up to snuff with her accomplishments. My goal was to make her look just as successful in her wardrobe as she has become in her career and perssonal life.
Here is some of what created while styling a client:
This outfit may be a bit swank for the office, however, when styling a client, you have to look at all areas of their life. Ms. Chic also goes from desk to dinner quite often. She also has an active social life, both professionally and personally. When we were shopping, we all fell deeply in love with this top by Tahari. When we started her outfit session, she pulled out this gorgeous teal shirred skirt that she already owned, but never wore, and asked to help her finally figure out how to wear it. The Tahari top was a perfect match and we loved how the yellow bracelet (bought at Lord & Taylor) complemented the gorgeous teal shade while picking up the yellow in the top. I paired the outfit with some statement gold earrings and also showed Ms. Chic several shoe options that she could consider depending on where she is going and the mood she is in. The purple pair she already owned, but the others we purchased together at Lord & Taylor.
I then took the same Tahari blouse and made it work friendly. We purchased this to-die-for Boss by Hugo Boss suit at Saks and loved the way the heather gray lightweight wool in the suit picked up the grey tones in the blouse. The yellow in the blouse offered a pop of refreshing color. I then strung a delicate frosty gold necklace around her neck and chose more understated, yet stylish, earrings.
Outfit #3 & #4
Yet, we still weren’t done with this blouse! My goal with clients’ wardrobes is not just to create singular stand-alone outfits but, instead, is to show clients how they can use pieces in different ways. I took off the jacket of the suit in outfit #2 and put this delicious cardigan on by one of my favorite labels Rivamonti, available at Saks. The accessories stayed the same. That is the nice thing about accessories, you can use them over and over in different ways.
Next, I removed the pants and put on a navy skirt (another piece that already existed in Ms. Chic’s wardrobe) and just changed the bracelet color to a teal one. I also suggested a grey pair of shoes in addition to the mushroom pair she has on in outfit #3. If you notice, she has two different pairs of shoes on. That was on purpose for Ms. Chic’s future reference.
Both these pieces existed in Ms. Chic’s closet long before I got there. If you notice, this is the same navy skirt as above in outfit #5. Most people wouldn’t immediately think to put a aqua/teal shirt with navy, but you really can treat navy as a neutral. It is much softer than black and essentially does the same thing. To make the outfit less boring, we chose a translucent coral necklace (a recent buy at Lord & Taylor) and instead of suggesting a black shoe or a navy one I strongly encouraged a tan shoe like the one pictured on her right foot, or the soft pink Tracy Reese suede pumps (her left foot) that softly complement the colors of the outfit. The nice thing about these subtle touches, like the soft pink shoe and coral necklace, is that it takes an extremely basic outfit and adds a little flavor. How many of you would put on black shoes and wear a string of pearls with this outfit instead? Consider a little more interest in your accessories like we did here.
It was important to Ms. Chic to get as much mileage out of the things that had been hanging in her closet like orphans, so we took her purchased-before-me aqua/teal shirt and partnered it with a pair of high-waisted plaid pants she already owned. We then suggested this novely cardigan that we bought with her (I believe from Tahari) and added a novely gold necklace at her neck. Oh, and I do plan on getting Ms. Chic a better belt. It is on our list as a thing to look for during our next shopping trip together. We liked this outfit as her version of a dressed-down look. While she does have the opportunity to dress more casually at work, given her position and career goals, it is still important that she think about how she is pulling herself together even on days that she wants to dress down a bit. This outfit says casually elegant.
When styling a client, I also want to show them how they can dress up what they already own. By removing the cardigan and shirt from outfit #7, we put a basic black tank underneath and added this great summer white jacket that we recently purchased together. The nice thing is that she can put any color tank underneath. A color like red, a bright green, bright pink, for example, would all look smashing as well.
We bought this Boss by Hugo Boss skirt together at Saks along with the great cornflower blue jacket by Tahari. Surprisingly, both pieces worked well together, even though they came from different companies. We wanted to give Ms. Chic options for this fresh spring look. In the photo flanked left, Ms. Chic is holding that frosty gold necklace and in the photo flanked right Ms. Chic is holding gold necklace with bright green accents (which we affectionally call the Kermit Necklace.) This surprising hit of green to the outfit is a nice way to add something unexpected without being too in-your-face. I also wanted to give Ms. Chic a variety of shoe options which you can see pictured.
Next, we took the same skirt and made it a little sportier with this great zipper jacket by Tahari. Again, using a pop of color (this time in with the yellow bracelet) we made the outfit a bit more interesting. Additionally, we added a necklace that complemented this sportier look.
We fell in love with this skirt, (I can’t remember the label but was bought at Saks.) It addresses the nautical look that is popular for summer. I didn’t want to go boring with this shirt by just popping on a white blouse. We chose this red and white striped mock-button down shirt. I call it mock because it doesn’t actually button, it zips down the side. The nice thing about that is you never have to deal with your buttons pulling at your bust line. Additionally, these shirts have an exceptional fit.
Instead of putting a boring strand of pearls around her neck (that knee-jerk reaction for many), we opted for that coral colored necklace again. This added a hint of excitement. We also suggested the more neutral based shoes photographed or that gorgeous pink suede pump. When styling a client it is important to show out-of-the-box options. That’s why I am hired.
I wanted to offer another look for Ms. Chic and this skirt. This time, we took that great cornflower blazer that complements the navy beautifully. Because of such a strong neutral base, I then suggested three necklace options to keep it interesting. The Kermit green, the coral or the the frosty gold which I suggested she wear with these great Kate Spade earrings that we bought at Lord & Taylor. The shoe choices stayed relatively the same.
Keep in mind, this is just a smattering of photos taken from a day-long session of putting outfits together. By the end of the session, we had many more outfits together. By sharing the few above from my day of styling a client, my hope is that you walk away with a few clues to help you revive your won wardrobe while also seeing that, in the end, the use of a professional winds up making your life so much easier.