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Real People Navigating a Year in Fashion and Style

Real Life post on BrendaKinsel.com

Using the Wardrobe Binder to plan for a great day in the world, in clothes!


Because I work with women and their clothes all year, I get to watch the evolution of their style and their changing wardrobe needs up close. Some people are shifting jobs (the old work clothes don’t work for the new job). There have been moves, relationship changes, expansions in families, and some subtractions too. It’s all very tender and poignant to help dress people for what comes up in life.

Every client is unique so as you’d imagine, there are lots of variables to consider when matching a person to a perfectly functioning wardrobe. Here are some examples.

1. One person will need lots of variety. She loves it all—prints, solids, skirts, dresses, pants—and wears it all well. She’s not going to be living out of a tiny closet in a San Francisco Victorian flat. She’ll convert a room into a closet if she needs to.
2. Another client is happiest wearing the same outfit three times in a week. She wants to keep it simple.
3. One has big social commitments here at home but also throughout the country and even internationally. She’s constantly on the go.
4. Others lead pretty local lives centered around casual dinners out, movie dates and classes at the local college.
5. Another is a super busy mom with four little kids.
6. Yet another will be a super busy grandma with two little grandkids.


Can you imagine how much fun I have coming up with the perfect solutions for each client and her activities in life? I’ve yet to bring up the variations women have regarding personal style, coloring, and fit. It’s a whole other layer or two or three. It becomes a lovely puzzle to put all the factors together into outfits that serve them on a daily basis.

Here’s a sampling of some of the things real women like you navigated though fashion and style this year as witnessed from inside a client’s closet or in the privacy of a dressing room:

1. A navy lace skirt I helped a client buy seven years ago was perfect this year in every way: style, fit, and function. With the clothes in her current closet, I made several new outfits with that skirt as the key piece. It was like it was brand new! She said, “This skirt is a find—and it was here all along! It even fits better this year.”


When we first purchased it, it seemed so special and she wore it for special occasions only. But now, that newness has worn off and suddenly it seems suitable for all kinds of occasions. It’s as cute with a jean jacket and sneakers as it was with a silk jacket and heels.

One of the variables I’m always working with is the constant change in fashion. Designers are offering up oodles of new things several times a year. While fashion marches along, I’ve got my eye out for my clients. Will something new be perfect for them this year? Can I tempt them with a silhouette they wore already but looks different in the latest rendition? After all, at one time we’d have never separated a matching skirt and a jacket (okay, maybe this was before your time) but now mixing something precious with something less precious is totally modern and fresh.


Did you mix things up this year?

2. I watched another client make a big shift in her jewelry collection. Her new pieces are perfect for her current style formula. When we started working together some years ago she was wearing a lot of jewelry from Yurman, Tiffany or Chanel. Nothing wrong with it, it was just more expected than I liked. She’s a charming, exciting woman, one of a kind, and I felt she could benefit from other looks.


I introduced her to the work of artists who don’t show their pieces in many places at all. Now she’s wearing one-of-a-kind rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. She has a deep appreciation for craftsmanship so it gives her intense pleasure to wear the pieces and study them.


Shouldn’t jewelry be that satisfying and entertaining to those of us who wear it?

I call her new collection her signature jewelry. The pieces make her feel good and they make her outfits look great, finished and polished with just the right amount of ease and effortlessness. She can wear them daily with jeans and a sweater to the movies or in a dressy outfit later that night for a special party.

She enjoys the fact that they come from a specific designer who is working in his or her studio in California versus a factory in some country far away. Some people like to buy veggies that are grown within a 100-mile radius from them. This is sort of like that. It’s fun to witness the smile on her face when she handles these special pieces. She’s definitely “owning” them!


3. Another client is committed to looking as great at Starbuck’s while working on her computer as she does on a work day when she’s visiting customers or going into meetings at company headquarters. She no longer sees a reason to play down her looks or her style. She said, “Since working with you, I want to be stylish even on days when I’m doing nothing.”


Makes sense to me!


So her wardrobe binder is filled with outfit ideas for every day so she feels great from the moment she walks out of her flat.

Tomorrow I’ll continue this wrap up of this year’s fashion evolution with real people. You’ll meet five other women and I’ll share with you what they were up to this year. You may get some ideas to take with you into the New Year!

Ciao Bellas!


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