I have a client who has a closet full of clothes (sound familiar?) and although she desires a cleared out closet, she hardly knows where to begin. I hardly know where to begin!
We’ve worked together for years and recently she made a commitment to try and clean out her closet…with our help of course. But the last time we were in her closet I suggested a slight detour first. I said, “Linda, I’d like to meet you at J.Jill and help you shop for a few items that will work for your current lifestyle. I feel confident that we can find the look you’re wanting and once we do, it’ll be so much easier to know what to let go of.”
She was intrigued but not as confident as I was.
“We’ll meet you there and shop for an hour or hour and a half,” I said. She agreed and got out her calendar. We made the date.
Finding ways to share the vision of great fashion for right now
What I do know about her wardrobe from working with her as long as I have is that she doesn’t need or use 80% of what’s in there. I know she’s determined this time but to slog through it all one piece by one piece would be painful for all involved. I was confident that she needed the vision of what works first and then the decluttering would go fast. I always say the way to have a wardrobe that works 100%, 100% of the time is to have a blueprint of where we’re headed. Getting her into current clothes that flattered her figure and her coloring would be a strong motivator for getting the work done in her closet, later, on another date.
Linda hadn’t been in J.Jill for years. But I was there two weeks ago! I knew the styles would suit her shape. She’s not in plus sizes but she needs more room around the tummy area and many of J.Jill’s clothes provide that.
She also has a big hole in her closet where jackets should live. Although she lives in San Francisco where jackets of different weights are essential, she’d been making due in limited, outdated outerwear.
The shopping day
Was I ecstatic when Linda tried on the pieces I’d selected for her and she was absolutely delighted? Oh yes! She has such an active lifestyle and she still sees clients in her therapy practice. This is a woman who really needs clothes. The price points at J.Jill are easy to work with. Although I’ve been trying to break her of the habit of not having everything match (and she loves the look when I do!) there were a few pieces at J.Jill that worked great as sets. That made her so happy!
While we were in the dressing room we helped her map out how she’d start wearing things immediately. She was visiting her grandson who’s in college in Southern California for the weekend. Erin and I told her just what she could wear for the plane ride and the weekend’s festivities. We got her an outfit for Thanksgiving. She needed outfits for parties coming up. Some will be hosted by others and some of them she’ll be hosting. Check, check, check.
She confessed at the end of our 90-minute shopping trip that she’d had her doubts (I always have a giggle at that!) but she loved how easy dressing for all these upcoming events would be.
So let’s get back to that closet
We won’t be seeing her until after Thanksgiving which is fantastic. She will have had a few short weeks to wear everything and feel what it feels like to be dressed for her lifestyle activities. She’ll have enjoyed SUCCESS for days in a row. I can tell you with certainty that her life will feel different when we see each other.
All those decisions that will be made at our closet visit will require far less mental activity than if we’d just rolled up our sleeves and spent five hours weeding through her stuff and not gone shopping.
When you think about it, going through a closet requires lots of decisions, endless decisions.
Does it fit?
Does it work for her current lifestyle?
Should it stay?
Should it go?
Where should it go?
Would it work if we did …. to it?
I’d be curious how many decisions would be made in a day in a walk-in closet with additional built in drawers. 200? 400? 500? 750?
Think about it! Shoes, tops, bottoms, jackets, skirts, dresses, sweaters, T-shirts.
I look forward to our upcoming meeting at her house. I’m grinning already! I know the work we did at J.Jill is going to pay off big time.
Although it sounds counterintuitive to go shopping first in order to have a successful closet edit, I know this will work. I’ve done it before with other clients. Have you worked with your clients this way? If not, can you see it working for you? I wish I could bring you with me next month when we actually do the edit. I may have to come back and tell you how it went!
I’d love to hear about your experiences in the closet. Do share!