Nothing to Wear? Audit Your Closet

Celebs aren't the only ones who use professional stylists. Closet auditors can revamp your wardrobe while keeping you under budget

By Corinne Phipps
|  Monday, Aug 31, 2009  |  Updated 12:15 PM PDT
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Nothing to Wear? Audit Your Closet

Urban Darling

Corinne (r) helped Kate (l) create over 30 different outfits from her existing wardrobe.

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Corinne Phipps is the creator of Urban Darling, a wardrobe styling and closet auditing company, as well as a fashion correspondent for NBC Bay Area. We asked her to give us a peek into the world of fashion consulting with a profile of one of her recent projects.

If you can't or don't want to hire a personal shopper but are dying to get some professional help with your wardrobe, a closet audit may be the answer.

During a closet audit, a professional stylist like myself goes through all of the client's clothes and helps them decide what works and what doesn't. Then we create dozens of outfits for them that help the client make the most of their existing pieces.

Take Kate Watson, a fabulous photographer and a transplant to Silicon Valley. Being in a new state, with new clientele and a new way of life, she was in need of a renewed image. A pretty straightforward project, until we learned that Kate was heading to Ghana to volunteer with Women in Progress and that she also needed clothes that were appropriate for her trip.

First we needed to assess the clothes and lifestyle of our client. Kate is a naturally conservative dresser and California is rather relaxed. Her idea was to look approachable and professional and still be able to chase around toddlers with a camera slung over her shoulders.

When we began to get into it, I discovered that her closet broken up into two sections: black and everything else. While the black is necessary for her wedding photography shoots, the amount of black in her closet was overkill. Plus, everything was mixed together: winter with summer, pants with tank tops…the insanity!

After the assessment we begin to purge. We started the weeding with the obvious clothing that was outdated and worn. Kate had also lost nearly 25 pounds so there was a good amount of clothing that didn’t fit. Those pieces were donated. 

We got rid of pinstriped shirts (too conservative for her profession), tan color suit jackets (not right for her skin tone), jeans (needed a serious update), tops (most of them were worn with pilling) and shoes (note: when there is a layer of dust on your shoes, they can probably go). A few of her designer labels made the cut.

One tip: spend the money to have quality pieces altered to fit you better. It's a great way to save money and have clothes that always look great on you. 

The next step was to merge the existing clothing into cohesive outfits. Kate had a number of pieces that she liked but no idea how to pair them. I found a beautiful chocolate sateen skirt that she had never worn! I paired it with a black tank top, grey cardigan wrap and long vintage black beads. Voila! Gorgeous outfit hiding in her own closet.

I also found a lot of items that were appropriate for her Ghana adventure. Sweet Pea mesh tops, crinkle cotton fabrics and bohemian maxi dresses.  We ended up pairing over 30 outfits.

Kate had more in her closet than she realized. Often times it takes another set of eyes, not your BFF, to give you an honest look at what is going on.

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