I don’t have a favorite client, I have several. I would never allow myself to be forced to choose one from the bunch. It would truly be impossible. Clients with whom I share a longstanding relationship are women I have gotten to know intimately and each relationship is unique and special. Mrs. Refined definitely falls into this category.
Meet Mrs. Refined
I have never blogged about Mrs. Refined (alias created to protect her identity) because she is what I call a hybrid client, meaning I work with her both in-person and virtually. So let me tell you a little about her before I show you some of the outfits we have put together.
I have named this client Mrs. Refined because in all things she is just that, refined. For years, Mrs. Refined worked for the government and lived all over the world. When I have asked her how many languages she speaks she loses count. She has the energy level of hummingbird and gets done in an hour what I get done in a day, and she does that in heels looking stunning. After leaving government work, Mrs. Refined seamlessly moved into the private sector and now works for a well known corporation.
When Mrs. Refined hired me several years ago, she was working on her transition from the public sector to the private and knew she needed a wardrobe upgrade. She had and continues to have a very clear vision for her style which is, no surprise, refined. Even less of a surprise, every season she raises her own bar. She has been inspired by the costuming on The Good Wife and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (who hasn’t?) and was delighted to know that I actually know Dan Lawson, the costume designer of The Good Wife and The Good Fight, quite well, and she has even gone so far as to purchased several pieces from the London based line Number 35, a line Dan has collaborated with as a designer.
Mrs. Refined is also incredibly rigorous with her wardrobe, probably the most rigorous of all my clients. If something doesn’t get worn, it gets donated without even a tinge of regret. She is tremendously discerning when making purchases and, while she has the means to spend on her clothing, she will also shop around and buy things at a discount, often using luxury consignment stores like The RealReal to buy the best. She was one of the clients who inspired my post about the secrets of a well dressed woman.
What makes Mrs. Refined a hybrid client is she travels in from out of town to shop with me and then we work virtually to put looks together. Working from an inventory of photos of her wardrobe and meeting on FaceTime is how we create looks together. For the past few weeks, we have been meeting one hour weekly to work on outfits. With her permission, I am sharing a few of the looks.
Mrs. Refined’s Work Looks
This is a St. John colorblock knit dress that Mrs. Refined purchased this season. St. John isn’t typically a label that most of my clients buy, but this particular dress was so modern that it was worth a try. The dress did come with a matching duster that was very pretty but just didn’t feel like Mrs. Refined’s style. Instead, we put a Derek Lam jacket, that already existed in Mrs. Refined’s closet, with the dress.
Next, using the same Derek Lam jacket, we layered it over a red, black and ivory colorblock dress from Michael Kors that Mrs. Refined had purchased on her own. One of the focuses of this session was to use the Derek Lam jacket more because Mrs. Refined had been struggling with ways to wear it. This is what makes these outfit sessions so valuable.
Next up, the same Michael Kors dress, this time styled with a Max Mara Weekend fringe blazer that Mrs. Refined bought this season. This jacket could definitely be worn with a pair of jeans or basic pair of black pants, but I loved the way the jacket seemed made for this dress already hanging in her closet.
This season was definitely the season of red for Mrs. Refined, which was something completely new for her. She picked up this red short sleeve BOSS Hugo Boss dress that also worked seamlessly under the Max Mara Weekend jacket.
With this new dress in her closet, Mrs. Refined and I layered this BOSS Hugo Boss jacket that she purchased last year over it to create another look.
Moving on to a new dress, we styled Mrs. Refined’s plaid Michael Kors dress a few different ways. The goal when styling these looks is not to go with obvious choices that a client could easily do on her own, this is where we take some risks and come up with unexpected options. This look was definitely a bit of a push. We styled her orange and grey tweed from Number 35 with the dress. The way the plaid and tweed played against each other was fun and the grey found in both pieces tied the look together.
Outfit #7 & #8
Next, we styled the same dress with two different blazers, a pink blazer from Akris Punto that Mrs. Refined had in her closet and a wool double faced red blazer from Max Mara Weekend. What I like most about these looks is the way the shoes add unexpected pops to both looks.
Outfit #9 & #10
Every season, Michael Kors sells these shrugs. They’re ridiculously expensive for what they are. However, they are also incredibly useful and flattering. Clients may cringe when they buy them, but also value having them in their closets. Michael Kors often sells their fashion colors on sale at the end of each season and Hobbs makes a pretty comparable knock-off.
In these looks, we styled the Michael Kors shrugs that Mrs. Refined owns with the plaid dress. Again, the shoes add the pop.
Outfit #11 & #12
These next looks are definitely gutsy, but this is why we have outfit sessions. I think they’re fun and bold and unexpected. All of these pieces were already in Mrs. Refined closet, they had just never been mixed and matched this way before. The dress on the left is from Akris Punto and the right is a dress from MM. Lafleur.
Outfit #13, #14 & #15
We then dug into Mrs. Refined’s scarf collection and added a few to these outfits. I have never helped Mrs. Refined buy a scarf. Most have been purchased from all over the world.
Outfit #16 & #17
In these two looks, we styled Mrs. Refined’s orange dress from MM. Lafleur and her new BOSS Hugo Boss dress with a Smythe blazer that Mrs. Refined purchased on her own. Remember, black and white patterns and prints can be used as solids. Don’t be afraid to pair them with color.
Credit goes to Mrs. Refined for this outfit. She put the dress from Max Mara and teal belt together. When I saw it I asked her to try the burgundy Michael Kors shrug with it and, bam, an outfit was created. She then added the two shoe options and it was a winner.
Outfit #19 & #20
These next looks were styled with a navy ruched Max Mara dress, that we purchased several seasons ago, as the base. On the left, we styled the dress with an aqua Max Mara jacket and added teal and blush options for the shoes. On the right, with such a neutral navy and ivory tweed Max Mara jacket, Mrs. Refined had plenty of shoe options to select for a pop.
Outfit #21 & #22
Using the navy Max Mara dress again, in these two looks, I styled the left outfit with a camel Michael Kors shrug and burgundy pumps. On the right, I styled the dress with a floral Lafayette 148 jacket and blue pumps. I am in love with how rich the camel and burgundy look together.
Outfit #23, #24, & #25
Next, we styled this purple dress from Michael Kors a few ways. Having long sleeves, it doesn’t require a layering piece. In one look, we added the Derek Lam jacke and the other two outfits were styled with two scarves in Mrs. Refined’s closet.
Outfit #26 & #27
Peserico isn’t a well known line. It has been one of my favorites for a few seasons. The only place I have seen it sold in the U.S. is at Saks 5th Avenue. Mrs. Refined purchased this dress a few seasons ago. It’s great for winter because it is in a warm tweed fabric and doesn’t require layering pieces to look finished. In these looks, we simply added a few scarf options.
In our most recent outfit session, Mrs. Refined asked if we could style an Armani blouse she recently purchased. Before she bought it she asked for my thoughts. I told her either it would be fabulous or it would look like a dinner napkin tucked under her neck. Thankfully, it looked fabulous, which is good because the original price of this blouse was $2300. I’m not kidding. Who spends $2300 on a blouse? Mrs. Refined put an alert up on The RealReal and scooped it up, tags still on, at a fraction of the price for $250. It was still an investment so we needed to make sure it worked.
First we put it over her belted Max Mara jacket, added a basic navy pencil skirt and these two shoe options.
Next, we layered it over her Smythe blazer and envisioned her wearing it with black pants, a basic black pencil skirt and even her leather pants. She could stick with black pumps or go with a color, like red, for a pop.
We then styled the jacket with a recent Akris Punto acquisition. Like the Smythe blazer, she could style this look similarly.
Next, we layered a red Akris Punto blazer over the blouse. For the look, we would tuck the blouse into black or pants and a skirt.
If you wave anything Etro in front of me it will be hard for me not like it. This Etro duster that Mrs. Refined is so stunning and I was excited to create more looks with it. We styled it with the Armani blouse and a burgundy pencil skirt from J. Crew. She has the option of burgundy or black pumps.
My sincerest thanks to Mrs. Refined for letting me share these photos, for her faith in me as a stylist and for letting me play with her wardrobe and style. I hope these outfits have inspired you to step out with your own wardrobe.