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“I had hoped you could assess, dejunk and renew clothes that I have. I will be ready to try them on. If you say-toss, I have plenty of organizations to donate them to. Recommendations for purchases would be appreciated of course. I am an attorney married to a museum curator so I need professional suits and great ‘outfits' for evening events with upscale museum people and low key for bar association events.

Emily is a tall, attractive 40-something-year-old redhead who recently lost 20 pounds and wanted help deciding which of her “fat” clothes should be tailored and which should be given away.

Her closet is highly organized. Everything was easy to see at a glance. It was obvious that she appreciates quality in what she wears.

Her closet was filled predominantly with dark Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart tailored suit jackets with matching skirts, which she wore with oxford button down shirts.

But she “just went out on a limb” and bought two Kay Unger suits: one all-black with a flounce, and the other has a fitted houndstooth jacket that slightly flairs below the waist, a slightly open collar and ¾ length sleeves. She also bought a brown Kay Unger dress with ruching along the bodice, ¾ sleeves and a wide shiny faux alligator belt w/ gold buckle that shows off her trim waist. These new purchases showed me that she wanted to feel more feminine in what she was wore.

I had her try on everything. Her evening dresses were beautiful—lots of Pucci and Lilly for museum events, and St. John for those law related. We made a pile of business suits that needed alteration, and a giveaway pile for tops that didn’t flatter her coloring and pants that were baggy.

But it’s how you put your look together that makes the difference between looking pretty and dowdy.

I strongly suggested that she never wear oxford button down shirts with tailored suits. It’s too masculine.

Soften tailored suits with tops that have ruffles, some sort of soft draping or a simple jewel neck that you can adorn with a necklace or scarf.

Wear heels with suits. Kitten heels are low, comfortable and feminine.

Colors should flatter your face. When they don’t, wear something as a buffer that will. Pearls and white will cast a pretty light to the face, or wear scarves around your neck in colors that flatter your face. This way you won’t have to dejunk some tops that you like.

She looks particularly good in white, gold, leopard print and deep, rich blues

I recommended that she also include the following on her Shop Smart list.

Jewelry—she’s tall so the bolder the better— big cocktail ring; cuffs , chunky necklace or wear several pieces together. Sizeable white faux pearls that sit at the base of the neck should be at the top of her list.

Show off your waist! Wide belts worn over sweaters, dresses and jackets would look (think Michelle Obama). Also wrap dresses are flattering. Stay away from boxy tops.

Boatneck necklines and others that open horizontally—the more shoulder revealed the sexier—are very flattering.

I also suggested she pick up a few sheath dresses for the spring summer—black linen, white, a pretty blue. You can wear them under a jacket or sweater for work if your arms need to be covered, and dress them up at night with a change of jewelry or shoes. They’re Closet Classics so they’re always in style.


She was gravitating toward Kay Unger designs for work. The suits fit her beautifully, and are professional and have feminine styling: ¾ length sleeves, the slightly open neckline, and slightly fitted waist, and the flounce of the black skirt. I suggested she try Kay Unger’s dressier line for evening clothes.

I also encouraged her to try Giorgio Armani suits. They are the perfect combination of professional and feminine, quality and style.

Diane von Furstenberg style wrap dresses in prints would flatter her waist and can be to work on relaxed days and out at night.

Style Mentors:
Now that Emily is having fun discovering new looks she enjoys wearing, she should look to other professional women whose style she admires for inspiration. Nancy Pelosi and Andrea Mitchell dress with authority, but with a feminine edge.

Hi Kim!!
Well your ears should be ringing. I have been talking about you and the great service you performed for me and my closet. I have had a number of compliments on my change in style. THANK YOU!!! And I wanted you to know that in your honor I wore a Brooks Brother suit with a ruffled blouse (Anne Fontaine) when I was installed as President of the local Bar Association. Thanks again for all of your guidance.
Best Regards, Emily, Long Island, New York

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