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Wardrobe problem, returning to work mom

Oct 2009

I am returning to more regular work after a hiatus of a few years. My wardrobe consists mostly of sweatpants and tshirts, and my old work clothes don't fit anymore. I am not a good shopper and tend to buy things that seem good at the time but then hang in my closet for years without much use. I'm not good at pulling it all together. I like comfortable, not too fancy/trendy clothes and would enjoy a basic uniform for work. I need suggestions of how to build a wardrobe from the odds and ends in my closet and buying some new stuff. Is it worth it to hire someone? Is there anyone out there who enjoys this kind of stuff and could help me? shopping challenged


You may want to check out Elena Aronson. She is a personal shopper. I have heard great things about her helping out women in transitions. Her # is 773-726-4310 or www.elenararonson.com Good luck Lan
Believe it or not, I actually enjoy this kind of thing and go shopping with my working-mom friend once a year to help update her work wardrobe. I'd be happy to help you out if you live close by - my kids are in school during the a.m. hours. If it's not too strange to have someone you've never met help go through your closets for free, feel free to contact me! katenoz@hotmail.com happy to help
Macy's has a personal shopping service-if you tell them you have XXX amount of money to spend they will try to stick to it. I used it many years ago (corte Madera location) and was very pleased. shopping fiend
I've actually had decent luck at some of the goodwill stores. The stuff is organized by color so it's kind of easy to go through things. The prices sure are right. It's good to get you over the hump. One other thing I like are LL Beans Perfect Fit Pants. They feel like sweats butyou can dress them up. Anon
I am a stay home mother myself right now. And I understand how you feel. I worked in human resources in ''my other life''. I also had a part-time job working at Ann Taylor for few years back. I would be happy to help you if you are interested. Thanks! betty
Limor Inbar is an amazing shopper-helper. She can totally shop on a budget and help you figure out how to look best with versatile items. I highly recommend her! Limor Inbar limorinbar@gmail.com Naama
In your shoes I would pick out a few things I really love and that are easy to mix and match. Get quality and make sure it fits. Grey suit would work with a lot and it looks different if worn with the blazer, or a sweater, or a top or a top with a vest. Ann Taylor loft often has good deals, or you can try Nordstrom Rack, Zara (one of my favs for good pricing). So
A suit
Nice Cardigan
Wool Pencil Skirt
Nice pair of good quality slacks
Comfortable work appropriate dress(nice when you don't feel like
putting together an outfit)
Trench Coat
Mary Janes
Pair of tall boots
A few scarves and you are good to go.... mix and match each week
Myst
I have a solution! Elena Aronson is a personal shopper and she does great work. I too am a working mom and was bored with my wardrobe and thought I was going to have to shell out big money for a wardrobe update. Instead, I called Elena. She came to my home and helped me with a complete overhaul of my closet. She helped me organize my clothes in a way that is both visually pleasing and time efficient. With Elena's help, I got rid of ill-fitting clothes I thought still looked good. She also helped me come up with new wardrobe combinations that I would never have thought of. In addition, she can go shopping with you and teach you about what things will and won't work for your frame, style and budget. I highly recommend her. Shopping Made Simple: www.elenararonson.com or 773-726-4310. Kamila

New job in the public eye - no idea what's appropriate

April 2006

I will be starting a new job that will require me to be in the public eye sometimes and to represent my instituition to donors and the community. Up to this point, my jobs haven't required me to dress any particular way, or I've been in school and home with my daughter. Jeans and a t-shirt are no longer appropriate, but I have no idea what would be appropriate now. My awareness of fashion waned after my 20s, and now I'm not sure how a woman in her mid 30s should dress for this type of position. I like strong colors (I have dark hair and olive skin so I can get away with bright red) and ''funky'' clothing (think Molly B), yet I was also raised very conservative and so I default to classic, albeit boring clothes (think Talbots). Plus, I'm petite (barely 5'2) and my hips and behind have gone through a major expansion since the birth of my daughter. Add to this, I have very little money to devote to building my wardrobe. Are there current books or websites devoted to this? Books I've seen at the library are dated. Are there affordable ''wardrobe consultants'' that I can get help from? Unprepared in Jeans and a T shirt


I'm probably the last person to advise on what you need to wear since I'm deep in the tee-shirt and jeans phase of parenting. But how to do this on a budget I can help with. It is really worth while hitting the thrift stores -- Goodwill, Salvation Army, or my own favorite Thrift Town. You can't necessarily plan to find a particular thing. I'm still looking for the perfect size small black dress shirt for my daughter's band performances, but you are always likely to be able to turn up some useful basics. -- I recently got a good black blazer, an off-white cloth jacket and some grey tailored-looking pants, all at around $3.00 each. This would leave you a little more to spend on harder to find specific needs. anon
Well, I managed to find the number of my wardrobe consultant, just for you! Francesca Gentile is a WONDERFUL style consultant, enthusastic, warm, and gifted. She knows the BEST places to get great deals on clothes, and can help you dress for any circumstance/environment/event. She's very good at helping you to choose styles that are appropriate, but also that suit YOU personally. She loves to shop, so if you want some one to actually go with you, she's happy to do so. I cannot recommend her highly enough, she is such fun to work with! The phone number I have for her is: 510-759-3839. Best of luck! Love My Duds
One book that I've found really useful is What Not to Wear by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine (they have a TV show of the same name). It's very up-to-date and gives good advice on what clothes work best for different body types and parts. I think Nordstrom and some other major department stores also have personal shopping services that may be free. (Of course, the clothing will be pricey, though.) You may want to check them out and see what's available. -Kara
You may want to check out www.missussmartypants.com. also wardrobe-challenged

I'm really tired of looking like a schlep!

Oct 2005

Iím really tired of looking like a schlep! Can someone please recommend a good wardrobe/style consultant? I need someone to help me figure out what I need to get rid of; to be honest, someone patient enough to hold my hand while I go through my closet and go shopping. I also have no idea what to buy, what would look good on me (at my age!) or whatís even in style. Someone who will go shopping with me would be great. Sense of humor a must! Help! -Overworked and Out of Fashion.


I know JUST the person you need. Run--don't walk--to your phone and call Francesca Gentile - 510-759-3839. This is a woman with style that won't quit, and she's an *excellent* wardrobe/style consultant. She will work with you-- compassionately and enthusiastically-- to help you figure out what style works for YOU. She loves to shop, so if you need some one to go with you, she is just the person. She knows the best places to go, and her guidance is gentle, intuitive, supportive and FUN!! To top it all off, her rates are really reasonable (too reasonable, probably). You'll be so glad you hired her! Style Challenged No More
Anthea Tolomei works out of the Claremont and has a lot of satisfied clients. Her Web site is www.tolomeiandassociates.com Anon
I highly recommend Tanya Roth to help with your wardrobe needs. I started working with her when I was finishing grad school, on a tight budget, and needing a complete wardrobe overhaul. I have continued to work with her on and off for the past 3 years for both casual and professional advice. She does everything from cleaning out your closet to shopping with you. Tanya has a great eye and has helped me identify my own sense of style. I often get compliments on things we've bought together. Other friends (with different styles) have used her and rave about her abilities as well. Her number is (415)307-7646. gingerc
Micki Turner came to my home a year or so ago and hosted a wardrobing event. She brought clothes to teach us how to mix and match without having TONS of stuff. She will come and edit your closet, show you how to coordinate outfits with what you have or tell you what filler pieces you might need. She is very pleasant and very low key. She will take you shopping or just suggest where you can go to get the pieces you need. Micki can be contacted at 510-287-9110 micki at mickiturner.com Karen
I've used Bonnie Carpenter for years as a tailor/seamstress and she's been great. She recently started doing closet/wardrobe consultation. While I haven't used those services yet, (it's only a matter of time!) I'm sure she'd be great. Here's her contact info:
Bonnie Carpenter-Fine Clothing
(510) 652-6936
4412 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611
Mollie
Kathleen Chenard is the most fun person I know. She's also mature and I trust her guidance. She's practical, grounded, intuitive and thoughtful. She's got a whole room of clothes at her beautiful home for you to try on and figure out what looks good. She used to sell insurance and wear her cowboy boots on the weekends. So she understands work / weekends / and travel. Rebecca

Need help ferreting out my wardrobe

July 2005

I need someone who will help go through my several closets of clothes, and help me decide what I should wear, what I shouldn't wear, and what pieces I need to make other pieces complete - all keeping to my style which ranges the gambit of preppy, sporty, elegant, and classic - and quality. There are personal shoppers, but that is not what I need. There are people trying to jazz me up past what is comfortable, and what is my style, and that is not what I need. I already own a lot of stuff that just doesn't fit my stlye, and I need help ferreting it all out, Once these decisions have been made, I want to organize and list everything that should go together, and how it should go together, and take pictures. Is there such a person? Thanks for your help. Appreciative


There is such a person! Francesca Gentile (pronounced jhen-tee-lay) is a wonderful wardrobe coach. She possesses amazing style and creativity, but is also extremely intuitive and sensitive to what works for YOU. She may give suggestions, but these will be based on *your* personal style, not just her own. You can reach her at (510) 759-3839. She is WONDERFUL to work with, and has been very helpful and inspiring to me, personally! Unrepentant Clothes Horse
Micki Turner came to my home a year or so ago and hosted a wardrobing event. She brought clothes to teach us how to mix and match without having TONS of stuff. She will come and edit your closet, show you how to coordinate outfits with what you have or tell you what filler pieces you might need. She is very pleasant and very low key. She will take you shopping or just suggest where you can go to get the pieces you need. Micki can be contacted at 510-287-9110 micki at mickiturner.com Karen
You just described EXACTLY my friend's business! She was the personal shopper at Macy's in Corte Madera for years and now has her own consulting business doing closet grooming. Here is the process in her own words: ''First, we empty the closet entirely. Next, I meet her ''friends'': pieces of clothing or accessories that are NOT to be discarded under any circumstance (i.e., the dress she wore when proposed to, never to fit into or wear again). Then we go through each item remaining and try bunches on, creating massive piles: alterations and dry cleaning, donations and/or resale potential, keepers, etc. We talk about lifestyle, needs, social events and so on. Then I organize and put everything back, creating a new wardrobe, wearable, affordable and accessible. I take photographs and will make lists and suggest outfits (things the person hiring me never would have thought of themselves). Everyone I have ever done this for says it's fun, painless and ultimately saves them money. I charge a fee of $100 an hour, portal to portal. As you know, I love helping people get the most out of what they have and building on that.'' Contact Marsha Silberstein of 'Style Smart Fashion Services''

I need "What Not To Wear'' help

Feb. 2004

Have you seen that TV show on BBC America called ''What Not To Wear''? The episodes I've watched involved style consultants helping a tired mom re-vamp her wardrobe and her whole sense of style. I need this. Do you know of anyone in the Bay Area that does this? I know Nordstrom has a personal shopper - but I need more help than that. I need someone to come to my house, look at me in my clothes and tell me what to toss and what to buy next time. Thanks in advance. Tired Mom


I know a great Personal Shopper. She does just what you asked for and has a wonderful website which describes her services and provides contact information. Her name is Micki Turner and her website is: http://www.mickiturner.com
Sandra
Hi, I have a friend who has been doing fashion consulting for her friends for awhile and is now branching out to other clients. I asked her about your post, and she said she would love to help. Her name is Lisa Lamoureaux and her e-mail is: Lisalamoureux at earthlink.net Good luck, Michelle
I can't recommend my friend, Tracy Miller, highly enough. She is incredibly gifted at helping people find new clothes that fit their own style at their own budget - and she's great at going through people's closets to help them find new ways of using their existing wardrobe. As she puts it, you'd be surpised by your own treasures. She's helped me (so I can speak from experience) as well as countless other women. You'll be sooo happy after working with her - she's a great wardrobe consultant/buyer and she's also fun, funny and nice to boot! Feel free to e-mail me for more information - or just e-mail her directly. Tracy Miller - tlmiller00 at yahoo.com How fun for you - I'm jealous...

More Recommendations

Oct. 1999

You can meet with a personal shopper for free at the big dep't stores (I liked the one at Nordstrom's--no sales pressure) and while they won't look through your closets :) you can get ideas on what looks good and if you bring in items that you want to find something to go with, they can help with that. Deborah


I have used Brenda Kinsel for style consultation, closet cleanout, and clothing purchase. She is based in Marin but makes housecalls to the East Bay. She's very warm and friendly to work with and has a sharp eye that helped a great deal when I was trying to hone my clothing style. She charges by the hour and, though it does add up, my experience has been that it's well worth it, especially when cleaning the closet out for the first time in many years. Her number is (415) 456-3332. April
I have spoken with a friend of mine about your request, and I gave her your e-mail address. But I know her e-mail connection can be tentative at times, so I thought I'd give you her info as well. Her name is Francesca Gentille, and she's a very good personal style and wardrobe consultant. I owe a lot of my own style to her coaching many years ago. And she's very good at style on a budget as well, so you needn't worry about her recommending that you start over and buy only things from Gumps, for instance! She has built her own excellent wardrobe with very little cash outlay, usually purchasing things on sale and at Thrift stores and the like. Additionally, she's fun and personable, and I think you'll find her easy to work with. Her phone number is 465-2320, and her e-mail (though less reliable) is mfgds at yahoo.com.

Hope this is helpful! Dawn


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