With the obvious changing of the seasons (finally) upon us, I thought this would be the perfect time to write about my recent experience with the fabulous Deborah Sheridan-Taylor refreshing, redoing and rebooting my wardrobe. There has been a lot of interest since I commented about it on our Marylebone Mums Facebook page so I hope you find my post here interesting!
When we moved into our place 3 years ago, I had the opportunity to carve out a small space in one of the rooms (my little one's bedroom) as a walk-in closet. It had always been my dream to have a single space to store all my clothes (all being the key word here, but we will get to that later), rather than some in a drawer, some on a shelf, some in a cupboard. Though the space I ended up with is nothing like the Pinterest closets I swoon over and would never be able to achieve (or maintain), it is a great little space. However in my strange brain, space needs to be filled. Which has partly led me to where I was before Deborah's visit...
Pre baby/husband, back in my single years, I was a size 00. Yes, a US 0/UK 8 used to be too big for me. I now wear a UK10/12 and US 8. As you can imagine, my wardrobe therefore consisted of pretty much every size between then and now, and a mix of City appropriate work wear, casuals, basics.
Then my dirty secret and the habit I am now breaking - laundry. My husband does his own laundry and I am very particular about doing my little one's washing. However I have always been very lazy when it comes to mine. While I was working, and when my little one was younger, I would rather just go to Primark/H&M/M&S etc and buy new basics than go through the drudgery of wash, fold, put away. Thankfully I have now turned over a new leaf and laundry is my friend but...
The result of all of this is enough clothes to fill a small shop: basics, designer and work clothes, just clothes. Lots and lots of clothes.
This is where Deborah steps in. She is a personal and interior stylist, with a great eye. You can find out more about her and her style on her website here as well as read about her home which featured on Grand Designs! http://www.deborahsheridantaylordesigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/JUNE_At-Home-With-DST.pdf
Deborah works, has 2 young daughters and lives locally, so she understands what we need in a functional wardrobe. She is warm and chatty, not a scary super-trendy type which is not what most of us are looking for at this stage of our lives!
After a chat, getting to know me, my lifestyle and my needs we entered the cave of clothes. I am too embarrassed to post of picture of the before. It was horrendous. Deborah offers various packages and levels of service. You can read about them HERE but the broad way to think about the services are either a quick sort through of your stuff or a full sort through, then some ideas and help in styling looks using pieces you already have in your closet (so much fun!). After that she can advise on gaps in your closet - pieces that would help bring your clothes together better - and she can also help you shop for these. The best part is that she understands that we might not want to buy designer items and is happy to shop anywhere. My little one treats me like a walking napkin so as much as I would like to wear certain fabrics, I am not willing to single handedly keep the dry cleaner in business!
Deborah and I tackled each type of clothing - trousers, skirts, tops, jeans, jumpers, dresses.... The keepers get placed on "The Rail", the others get charity shopped or sent for sale at a consignment shops, or even just made into dusters (my favourite t-shirt from a market stall in Bangkok is now my dressing table duster - at least I can keep the memory that way!). Deborah advised on what cuts are classic versus easily dated - if I do go back to work, I have a few pieces now that will look fine, rather than turning up wearing a jacket that screams 2010 at you. She let me keep a few scruffy clothes for cleaning/cooking as she understands that I need a few items like that. She also understands that there may be some items you have an attachment too.
We worked out a few looks, she gave me some pointers and before we knew it, time was over, everything had been sorted through and we were left with a rail of clothes which she organised and placed back in my closet for me. Deborah doesn't believe in keeping clothes for "best". Wear them and enjoy them. I have definitely embraced this - I am wearing my clothes and enjoying them. I have some great stuff in my closet and now I can actually see what I have and "shop my closet" every morning to decide what to wear.
And now the scary part....
I charity shopped 11 bags and consignment stored 2. Plus 2 coats. And some shoes.
My session with Deborah has reminded me what clothes I had in my closet. Clothes I liked wearing but that I haven't worn as I would just turn to the same old scruffy pieces every day that were easy to grab. Now everything is easy to grab. I also understand what I have too much of and too little of, as as I replace clothes (not add to them), I will bear that in mind. It feels good to know I am wearing clothes that have passed the eye of a talented stylist too.
Who would I say this service is for? Firstly as a stay-at-home mum, anyone who is in a rut or just struggling with their clothes after the change in body shape and lifestyle that comes with having a baby. Or, anyone who is going back to work after time out who want to look current. If you're heading back to work, having a closet of clothes and easy to put together outfits means one less thing to have to think about in the busy morning.
You can contact Deborah through her website http://www.deborahsheridantaylordesigns.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org and do tell her you heard about her through Marylebone Mums.
NEW OFFER! If you mention Marylebone Mums, DSTD will give you a discount of 20%!
Deborah's rates are very reasonable. A shop with with her can become cost neutral as she stops you buying unnecessary items, just what you need and she thinks you'll wear. Whether you go to the private shopping area at Harvey Nichols and sip Champagne, or just keep it local on Marylebone High street with a Pret coffee, I can promise it'll be worth it. If you have any designer items in your wardrobe, or have time to Ebay items you decide you no longer need, you can make back what you spend on her services through selling off pieces. Additionally, if you donate items to a charity shop you may be able to claim back some money against your taxes if you are eligible for Gift Aid and in a certain tax bracket.
It sounds strange, but the whole process of clearing out clothes I was hanging on to for years, things I sometimes didn't even like any more, plus understanding where I have been going wrong in my buying, has been so valuable. I now have the confidence to put on clothes knowing they look good. Deborah's service is a great investment in yourself!