Jessica Antola Weary of your wardrobe? Join the club. Peering into a closet can make a person feel oddly empty, despite the fact that the closet is (presumably) packed to the gills. Thing is, there are dozens of new looks in there -- you just need to uncover them. Joe Lupo, a fashion consultant and a coauthor of Nothing to Wear? (Plume, $16, www.amazon.com ), and stylist Sarah Davidzuk helped one lucky woman see her same-old stuff in a brand-new light. (See How to Organize Your Closet)
Closet Case Study: Andrea Costa, 41
Problem: "I have a stocked wardrobe but always dress the same way."
Working from her New York City home and taking care of two children, Andrea, a mortgage consultant, tends to keep T-shirts and jeans on heavy rotation -- despite her love of shopping. "I buy pieces that I think are fabulous, but in reality I can't seem to coordinate them with what I already own," she says. So most of her nicer things are collecting dust, including the scarves she can't stop picking up. "They look so cute on other people, but I just can't pull them off myself," she says. Instead of the self-described "kiddie" uniform she relies on, Andrea would like an adult update that can keep up with her as she juggles her busy schedule.
The Experts' Verdict: Use it or lose it.
"Sarah and I created several step-up looks, taking advantage of the amazing pieces that Andrea may not have used for everyday wear and working them into her routine," says fashion consultant Joe Lupo, who encouraged her to ditch less versatile items. They selected a few of her intimidating accessories, like a printed scarf, a rust-colored leather bag, and gold metallic boots, and suggested she use them to play up basic jeans and a simple peacoat for a pulled-together look even when she's on the go. "The more finished my outfit is, the better I feel, so it really is worth the little bit of effort," says Andrea. (See The Elements of Style)
Andrea's Closet Confessions
- Number of pairs of shoes I own: Forty.
- Number of pairs I actually wear: Eight.
- Dress sizes in my closet: I have 2, 4, 6, and maternity -- and I don't plan on having more children.
- Number of items I've never worn: There are currently three or four items with tags still attached hanging in my closet.
- Favorite pair of jeans: My five-year-old 7 for All Mankind jeans. I own about 12 others that don't fit me.
- The one thing I still can't figure out how to wear: A dress that can be worn different ways, because I can't remember any of the ways. I thought I would have it on constantly because it was so versatile.
The Way Things Were: Andrea's closet was filled to the brim with items she barely wore.
Paring Down: Fashion consultant Joe Lupo and stylist Sarah Davidzuk sifted through the contents with her to determine if each item should stay or go by asking, "Do you love it? Is it flattering? Is it you?" If it failed one of those three questions, it was a goner. On the to-go list was a heap of boldly printed and ill-fitting impulse buys. (See 10 Classic Clothing Combinations)
New Looks: "Since Andrea has a hard time getting rid of things, it's important that she learns to incorporate the pieces she owns," says Davidzuk. From her cache of work clothes -- Andrea had a nine-to-five corporate job before she decided to work at home -- they found tailored jackets and pretty shells that easily pair with her trusty jeans for a look that's casual but refined. Bold accessories also help up the ante on the outfit. At last, order is restored.
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