“meh” to spring shopping right now? do what these friends did instead

Clothing stores, even new-to-you consignment venues, are making the big switch to spring stock. It’s February. In Minnesota. We will not be wearing spring clothing for at least three more months!

Some folks are inspired by shopping for spring clothes now – it’s the carrot that leads them through the last cold months. Others can’t even fathom it. Here’s another option.

Prepare your closet for the spring season. Then, when you can imagine wearing spring clothes – say in April – you and your closet will be ready! That’s what this group of friends did.

Jill, Jessica, Meredith, and Amy – each expressing her individual personal style after their Wardrobe Consults

Meredith has been a client since 2013. She first hired me for a True To You Voila Service Package (a Wardrobe Consult + two 3-hour personal shopping sessions), and then for other personal shopping sessions since. This time we did a Wardrobe Revisit, where we went back to her closet to do another round of purging and to integrate more recently purchased new-to-you items into her wardrobe. In essence, making her wardrobe fully functional and fun.

Amy, Jessica, and Jill are friends of Meredith’s and wanted to get in on the fun as well! Each of these fabulous women has her own individual style and desires for her wardrobe. We worked together (each on her own with me) to set goals for their personal styles and for making their wardrobes work better for them.

what does that look like?

The Wardrobe Consult is different for every person, depending on her goals (or his goals – I will use “her” in this post, since we’re talking about these specific women). Sometimes it’s doing a big purge of outdated or ill-fitting items. Sometimes it’s purging very little. In both contexts, I show a client how to pair items in new ways to best match her personal style and to make her wardrobe more functional.

During the Wardrobe Consult, we put together a “look book” of photos of new outfits (from clothes already in the closet) and ways to wear items so the client can remember them all. The photos illustrate many things: color pairings like Meredith’s teal cowl sweater with a fun pop of orange peeking out; the statement belt with the sweater partially tucked for definition; and skinny jeans worn with tall boots.

We also talk a lot about proper fit and cuts that are best suited for her body. I show my client the difference between something that fits well and something that doesn’t and explain “the why” behind it, so that she’s able to apply that knowledge later. When something fits well and is the best cut for your body, visual balance is created, which looks great. I help my clients literally see that with clothes in their own closets.

Accessories are an important part of an outfit – they add polish and personal style. A graphically-simple, chunky metallic bracelet goes well with this bold print tee and white pants for spring and summer.

Putting together color, patterns, and textures as well as accessorizing outfits are other big topics in the Wardrobe Consult. We use favorite accessories and incorporate others that have been sitting in drawers and closets unworn.

wardrobe consult - shoes and skirt pairing

As I tell all my clients, “Shoes can make or break an outfit.” These metallic ballet flats are perfect for creating balanced lines and adding polished fun to a knee-length skirt.

After the Wardrobe Consult, I put together a set of personal Style Guidelines and a shopping list for my client. With these tools, she can move forward with expressing her personal style and finding clothes that will fit well and be highly functional in her wardrobe.

let’s hear it from the girls

Here are some reflections from Meredith and Jill in their own words about their experiences in working with me.

Meredith

As an environmentalist, I’ve always valued “new to you,” so working with Nancy was a natural fit. Nancy embraces the “true to you” piece with her holistic approach – she is equal parts therapist and fashionista, both conservation-minded and fashion conscious.

“I was stuck in a bit of a rut after my daughter was born, clinging to all my pre-pregnancy clothing and feeling like I ‘should’ make them work for me again. But ‘true to you’ is not just about who we have been. It is also a window into who we are becoming.”

– Meredith

Working with Nancy has helped me get to know myself better, assess my goals, and focus on what’s most important. Feeling comfortable, purposeful, and confident in my own skin is not about having a jam-packed closet, but about having a few well-made, timeless pieces that help express what I bring to my professional and personal life on any given day.

Jill

My wardrobe, while clothing me fairly appropriately for work and fun, was dated and lacking in creativity and freshness. Nancy helped me purge my dated clothing while educating me on the subtleties of great fit.  She was discerning without being judgmental.  I really enjoyed our morning together — Nancy brought lots of curiosity and inspiration to our session.

Following our session, I have gaps in my wardrobe – but I’m excited by that because I’m armed with the specifics of what to look for (item, style, color, fit), and I will steadily refill my closet with functional clothing that is a joy to wear.

“At Starbucks this morning the barista took one look at me at and said ‘Wow!  Look at you.  You did great getting dressed this morning!’  When I looked at him with a quizzical smile, he said, ‘You look like a classy assassin.’

Maybe so…. and that makes Nancy Dilts my secret weapon.”

– Jill     

Ready to dive in to your closet? Contact me today to schedule your Wardrobe Consult.

3 easy ways to fight winter doldrums

Is it just me, or have the winter doldrums mounded up like those massive piles left by snow plows for you too? If you live in Minnesota, you know exactly what I’m talking about – 15+ feet high mountains of dirty snow that will be here…forever. At least until May. May!

This time is always difficult for me. It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s gray. I feel like the character Sadness from the movie Inside Out (If you haven’t, SEE IT).

19-inside-out-cry.sadness

Image: Pixar

Self-care is essential right about now. And what you are wearing is part of that self-care. How you look affects how you feel. Feeling good about how you look boosts mood, confidence, and how you interact with the world.

When temps dip below zero regularly, sweaters aren’t optional, nor are big, puffy coats. It’s easy to end up wearing the same things day after day.

It’s so easy for me to throw in the towel when it’s cold. I put on my boots and big mitts, pull up my hood, and do the ice shuffle.

the Minnesota Uniform:

  1. Down coat – I call mine my sleeping bag coat because it goes down to my knees
  2. Bulky sweater – often ends up being shapeless in addition to being bulky
  3. Winter boots

Again, these things aren’t really optional, unless you don’t mind hypothermia. Folks who love winter sports relish the snow and cold. I used to be one of them, but 23 years in to living in Minnesota, not so much anymore. Sports – yay! Cold – meh. It can be a struggle. Here are three easy ways to mix it up a little to fight off the winter doldrums. And I mean easy.

get outside

Every. Day. No, walking to the car doesn’t count!

I take walks with our dog, even when it’s really cold. Well, if it’s really, really cold, I sometimes wimp out, and my husband gets the honors. I try to walk in the daylight – to pretend I’m getting just a smidge of Vitamin D – to get fresh air and to help fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder. Getting light from the sun, however weak, helps.

To add interest to your winter armor, I mean ensemble, change out your scarf and hat. I know, duh. But it’s so easy to fall into a rut with the same scarf for outerwear everyday, when you have many beautiful scarves languishing in your closet.

A big, cozy scarf (or two) like the popular blanket scarf is warm AND adds a pop of color that can feel cheerful. A shawl-style scarf works well too.

Drape the blanket scarf loosely around your neck on the outside of your coat on its own or wear it long with a contrasting scarf around your neck for double warmth.

 

Kerchief-tie a lighter-weight print scarf you may typically wear as part of your outfit – they are surprisingly warm!

be a style star: Change up the coat too. Most of us have more than one (it’s darn cold here!), but it’s easy to grab the same coat every time. A new-to-you statement coat in a bright color or print is a great way to fight off winter blahs. Being intentional in our choices shows, and it exudes confidence and personal style.

get crafty

The pull to put on your biggest, bulkiest sweater, plop on the couch, wrap up with your fleece blanket (mine has owls on it) and binge-watch Netflix is strong. This I know. The Great British Baking Show, anyone?

Following the inspiration of those British bakers, fire up your own oven. I’ve had a tab open on my browser for this recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for days. Time to give it a try. (Update: I did this weekend – SO TASTY.)

Knit or crochet something (added bonus: the result is something WARM). Boot cuffs are a simple, fast project – perfect for beginners – and spice up the ubiquitous winter boots. Wear them tucked in or over tall boots with skinny jeans. Peeking out of furry-rimmed boots is fun too.

My daughter and I have been teaching ourselves how to sew. So far she has whipped up a couple of colorful pillows and a case for her iPod.

Whatever gets your groove on, embrace your creativity! Draw a picture, make a collage with found items, take photographs on your walks. It doesn’t have to be fancy, complicated, or perfect – just fun.

style star: Scarves and hats make excellent first projects too! There are hundreds of free patterns online.

get together

Be deliberate about seeing friends. It’s easy to just stay in (the fleecy owl blanket is beckoning), but spending time with your people can be the difference between feeling right with the world and abject misery. And since you have plans, forgo the biggest, bulkiest sweater and dress up a bit. It does a body – and mind – good.

style star: A client recently purchased a lovely new-to-you sweater during a personal shopping session that is embellished with a whimsical feather neckline. It’s perfect paired with dark wash or white jeans and heeled boots to funk it up for a winter night out or dinner party. Be bold – and feel beautiful!

See – super easy. Being intentional with self-care makes all the difference. Comment below with your ways of staying sane in the winter months!

You likely noticed I tried something new in this post by including photos of yours truly demonstrating style fun. What do you think? More photos like this? Feature other real folks, rather than professional model pics? Comments (constructive, please) and ideas welcome. This blog is for you, after all. What would you like to see?