Style 101: Secrets from a Stylist

Jen Grano by Ariana Clare _49 Jen Grano by Ariana Clare _45 Ever since I made my launch announcement for the Charlotte Shop Girl styling business, friends and family alike have been curious about my new endeavor. "What does a stylist do?" and  "Can you help me?" were questions I got asked frequently.  Well, those answers are pretty simple. Yes, of course I can help! I offer several types of shopping options to help women find clothing that they not only love but that also fits their budget (read more here). Stylists are experts at sourcing clothing and accessories, spotting trends as well as helping clients find what flatters their body types. I thought in light of those questions, I'd share a few free styling tips that I use for my clients and that you can do on your own. Starting in your own closet!

#1 Assess what you have

This is the hard part. The part where you may have to set a kitchen timer and tackle it in several sessions. To prep for your overhaul, get three bins and label them: Keep, Alter, Donate. You may also need an additional bag or bin for trash (or take items to H&M where they recycle them and you get 15% off!!!) Try on everything in your closet. Yes, everything! Invite a friend over to help if you need someone to help you decide what works and what doesn't. Be realistic with yourself; the typical rule of thumb is if you haven't worn an item in over a year, chances are you won't. But if items have sentimental value, those can be packed away in a treasure chest or a garment bag. If you have items that are still current, but just need slight repairs or alterations, put those in the Alter bin (sometimes it's cheaper to get something like a nice blazer taken in or sleeves shortened than buying a whole new one). Donate items that are still in good condition but that you won't wear.

#2. Build your Basics

I find closet overhauls work best at the start of a new season. And since we're right on the cusp of summer, let's use that for a sample basics list. Summer basics would include: jeans (a trouser jean for casual workdays or meetings, a casual/deconstructed/skinny pair for weekends or playdates and a white pair), shirts/tanks (whatever silhouette works best for you and your lifestyle), shorts (in varying lengths, depending on what works best for you), dresses (a couple easy shifts for work, meeting, church, dates, drinks with friends and a couple casual ones for Saturday errands, lunches or casual meetings and a maxidress or two), a swimsuit and coverup. Once you have the basics covered, you can add to them with trendy pieces for each season. Trends for this summer include: rompers, floral or printed kimonos, shorts with pom-poms or scalloped edges, printed or lace shorts, slides or Birkenstock style shoes.

#3 Plan out your Week

Whether you work a full-time job, are a student or a stay at home mom, it's always good to plan outfits in advance so you aren't doing what I call the "5 minute dance"...that's when you have five minutes left before you need to get out the door and you still need to brush your teeth, find your shoes, accessories and lipgloss. Give yourself time to enjoy that part of getting ready! Prevent being frustrated every morning! I used to plan out my work outfits on Sunday nights so I'd have each one hanging and ready because I'm the WORST at getting up in the morning and am always running late. It's a bad habit I'm really trying to break but we all fall short somewhere, right? I find that by having at least five outfits ready  the "5 Minute Dance" can be avoided. I would recommend trying on shoes and readying your accessories too. I typically did this after dinner and before bedtime so my last outfit could be pj's but choose whatever time works for you. And if you aren't going to the office, but have playdates or meetings or events, pick those out ahead of time too. This will give you time to enjoy the rest of your week. When I do client closet overhauls, I take outfit pictures so they don't even have to think to try and recreate them. You can do this too!