I’ll admit it. I’m totally not stylish. My basic outfit is a pair of jeans or shorts and a t-shirt. I have always wanted to look better and have a sense of fashion in my wardrobe, but it seems like too much work. It’s easier to grab a pair of pants or a dress at Old Navy while I am shopping for the kids and call it a day. And I will be the first to say I’m lazy when it comes to dressing. I don’t know what looks good on me and I shop the sale racks for convenience and affordability. And besides, I have to shop & dress 3 kids, I don’t have time for myself.
Does this sound familiar?
Well it took a few hours with Shelley Riley a personal stylist here in Austin to make me re-think my whole position on clothing. Shelley owns her own company, Shell Personal Styling & Closet Therapy, and offered to work with me for a few hours last week giving me a little closet therapy.
What exactly is Closet Therapy?
One of my biggest fears is to have a fashionable – and Shelley is so very fashionable – stylist go through my rinky-dink closet. However, the process of having a complete stranger look at every thing hanging in your closet was actually pretty therapeutic. It was as if I needed a complete stranger to make me realize I had been holding on to stuff from the early 2000s that I would never wear again.
Closet Therapy lasted a couple of hours. And Shelley went piece by piece and we talked about what to keep, what to donate & what items I need for a good wardrobe. Based on my closet (remember, I’m a jeans & T-shirts gal), we mostly amassed a BIG pile of clothes to donate. It actually was pretty comical.
This is how our conversation went:
Shelley: So when did you last wear this? (holding up a black & white checkered dress)
Me: Um, when I worked outside the house.
Shelley: And that was how many years ago?
Me: Just put it in the pile.
Shelley: Why would you buy a pair of jeans that are way too big for you?
Me: Because they were $12 – On sale!!
Shelley: That is a waste of your $12 (throws into pile)
Shelley (after going through my collection of 42 t-shirts): You don’t need to be wearing these cartoon shirts anymore. We are going to start dressing your age. (and throws them in the pile)
What I loved most about the experience was that Shelley was brutally honest. She recognizes that clothes hold an emotional attachment and was sensitive to that, however, when it was clearly time to let go of a piece, she told me. And halfway through the session, instead of being offended that she didn’t love my clothes, I really started to have fun. I realized she was here for me, to make me look my personal best.
She also takes the time during Closet Therapy to show you how to wear items in your closet that you love but are unsure of how to wear. She wants to make getting dressed for the day easy, so you’re not standing in your closet bewildered each morning.
Why Would Someone Need Closet Therapy?
Let’s face it. We all have a closet full of clothes that haven’t seen the light of day in years. You know you are holding onto that dress you wore to that wedding 7 years ago just because you may need another purple dress for something. Or that sweater that has a hole in it because you bought it on a trip to New York City. You may wear it sometime. Not. Or how about all those faded jeans that have been washed & dried too much (a BIG no-no according to Shelley). Don’t lie – you’ve got them.
And you need a complete stranger to tell you why you have to let them go. Not your best friend. Not your mom. Someone who styles people for a living. Shelley was a breath of fresh air form my closet and it really felt good going through the process. As nervous as I was to have her come over, it was really fun.
Is it Affordable? Intimidating? Fun?
Yes. All of the above. Shelley charges by the hour to come in and work through your closet and I found it to be very reasonable. As I am not really that into fashion, it was intimidating to have her look at my clothes. I thought she would judge me for what was hanging in my closet. But as she put it, “I know fashion. I’m here to teach you what looks good on you.” By the end we were laughing about some of my poor choices in clothing. So it was absolutely fun and such a good feeling the clean out my closet.
Shelley pairs outfits together for you and creates a list of essential wardrobe pieces you need. She also asks if you have any big events coming up – travel, wedding, photo shoot, etc. – that she can create an outfit for. And then she sends you a comprehensive email with everything we discussed so you have it all written down.
As for me, this is what my closet looks like now. And I am super excited to take the next step with Shelley – SHOPPING. In 2 weeks, we are meeting at Nordstrom’s to spend a few hours shopping. Yes, it will be a chunk of change, but frankly, I’m ready for it. Shelley has motivated me to dress differently. I’m already consciously making an effort to piece together outfits with accessories each time I leave the house – regardless if it’s for a business meeting or just to go to the grocery store. And I think shopping with her will help me learn to better dress myself for the future. I like that I will be shopping with a real person and not just relying on a box that comes in the mail to dress me (ahem……stitch-fix….couldn’t do it).
What Did I Get Out of Closet Therapy?
I realized that my look says something about the person I am – the time & effort I take to present myself.
I realized I am a 40 year old woman and I need to dress like one.
I learned that I need to take the time for myself to look good and stop making the excuse that I “have 3 kids….”
I learned that letting go of clothes is good and healthy.
If you feel stale in your wardrobe or just want a fresh pair of eyes, I can’t recommend this process enough. Shelley is professional, fun, and is adorable. Shelley will help you find the clothes that look best for you, your body, & your career. You can learn more about her at her website.
Disclosure: I was invited to participate in the Closet Therapy session with Shell Personal Styling & Closet Therapy. I was not paid for this post. All opinions – especially when I said it was FUN! – are my own.
Michele Schwartz says
Absolutely! Agree with everything 100%. Shelley has made a huge difference in my confidence which has translated into my business life. Have fun shopping!