2 In Getting Dressed

The Accessory Genius: Wowing Clients at Every Turn

I love performing fashion miracles when I’m with my client in her closet.

Of course, they aren’t miracles at all. They are just minor adjustments to items they own but aren’t using. The result can seem huge to someone who hasn’t played around with jewelry or designed clothing. Simple minor skills can come in handy. With a pair of scissors and five minutes I can turn a problem into a non-problem. It’s fun for me and my client thinks I’m a genius!

I’ve had the reverse experience…many times! Like when I can’t seem to download an app to my phone so I hand it over to my daughter Caitlin. She fiddles with it for sixty seconds and makes it work. She’s clearly a genius!

I’ll never wow you with my techie abilities but I can share three genius moves I made to help make accessories work for three different clients.


Accessory Genius Move #1

jewelry repair

Decluttering a necklace made it more useful


This Carlisle necklace (above left) worked really well with a Carlisle brown dress that I picked out for a client one season. But after a season or two, it wasn’t getting much play in her wardrobe.

One day I created a new outfit for her and was looking for the right necklace to go with it. I lamented, “Gosh, I wish I had a black leather cord with a little something on it. That would be perfect!” As I was going through her necklaces I picked up this one and coveted the leather cord. I had to have it, I had to have it now! When I looked closer I realized all those wooden and resin pieces would slide right off the cord and I could rearrange them any way I wanted to. I asked my client’s permission to redesign it and she said go for it!

I fiddled with it for a bit until I narrowed it down to just those three rings on the cord (above right) which turned out to be just right. Now she had a simple necklace that could add interest to lots of outfits. We kept the other pieces in case we ever wanted to put it back the way it was. But we never have. It’s such a great piece for summer outfits. I can’t wait to use it more this coming season.


Accessory Genius Move #2

Then there was the fringed bag that was just way too rock and roll for a client of mine. She needed a smaller shoulder bag to wear on date night and it needed to be in gray tones. I looked high and low until I found this one for her at TJ Maxx. The only issue was that the fringe was about 18 inches too long for this mother of four. I wasn’t worried about the fringe. I knew I could transform it. I asked her if it would be okay with her if I trimmed it. “Really?” she said. “You could do that?”

She’s a doctor and has cut many things before but cutting parts off of this handbag made her nervous. I was eager to show her that the funny little fringy bag could be perfect for her in just a few minutes.

I spent a lot of years sewing so having scissors in my hand feels like meditation to me. It puts me in the zone.

I pulled out scissors from my closet kit and performed the necessary surgery. With a fresh cut it was perfect for her! So every time we use it in an outfit and I write out the details on her Wardrobe Chart, we always call it the Haircut Bag and have a chuckle.

A short surgical procedure on the fringe made the bag wearable.

A short surgical procedure on the fringe made the bag wearable.


Accessory Genius Move #3

A client had purchased a scarf on a trip because she was so attracted to the gorgeous lipstick red print. But she wasn’t wearing it. I understood why when she put it on. She’s quite petite with fine bone structure and the long fringe on the scarf was just overwhelming. When she put it around her neck, she was swimming in fringe. She was bummed. It was like falling in love with a perfect guy but finding out he had issues. The scarf had what she wanted–the color–but it came with baggage–too much fringe.

“I can fix this,” I said. “Really?” she said. She assumed this was a project that I’d have to take home with me and return to her at a later date. No, no, no I said. She’d actually have been happy if there was no fringe at all. I wasn’t going to do that but I knew I could make it seem like it was nearly gone. A few minutes later I draped it around her shoulders and she swooned. “That’s amazing!” she said.

Accessory adjustments

Getting rid of the fringe baggage made this scarf a perfect fit for my client.


Do you have some stories to share about accessories that you’ve redesigned? I’d love to hear about your genius moves. Please share!

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  • Reply
    May 21, 2015 at 4:38 am

    What a great idea! I bought a kimono that is very pretty but has long fringe that I’ve only worn once. Maybe it’s because the fringe is too long. I might send you a snapshot and see what your opinion is before I whack it off! I enjoy your posts.

    • Reply
      May 21, 2015 at 10:55 am

      Well, you know me! I’d say go for it! If you’ve sewn clothes or I guess if you’ve been a hair stylist you know to just lift it to different heights and see what it looks like. I’d think in a kimono that the added long fringe would really pull it down (pull the energy down too). I always want clothes to be moving the eye up toward the face (better energy pattern–no special expertise, just common sense). If the eye is hanging around at your knee caps, it’s not moving too fast to the face! In my humble opinion!

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