Making Your Closet Healthier: Tips from a Wardrobe Consultant

I am all about health, so why not have a healthy wardrobe to help one feel their best!

I had a closet full of not-so-cute clothes, and actually only wore a handful of those items. Hmmm, I can’t figure out why…

I recently had a session with a wardrobe consultant. We started off with me trying on most of my clothes and placing them in either a keep or give-away pile. Plus, a few items made it into a third pile, the “keep for 3 months to see if I lose weight” pile, on the premise that I would give them away if I didn’t lose the few desired pounds in order to fit into them.

I was shocked to see how many I agreed to give away.  My closet consultant actually took them with her to give away to an organization who would find a good use for them; I wonder if she does that so the client doesn’t take them out of the give-away bag and sneak them back into their closet.  I think I might have done just that (sheepish face) with a few pieces. Why are we sometimes so emotionally attached to things that don’t really serve us well?

However, just so you know…I was not coerced into parting with any article of clothing. My consultant even found ways to make a couple of my loved items work that she had initially suggested that I part with.




Here’s my interview with stylist and wardrobe consultant, Elisa Ellis. Her company is Closet Confidence. I think you will find it very interesting and chock full of helpful information.

Me: What are the 3 biggest mistakes you see women make with their wardrobe?

Elisa: The biggest mistake I see women make is hiding behind their clothes. As we gain weight, which happens often in menopause, we tend to wear clothing that is loose and has no shape, which actually makes us look bigger.

Second mistake…Women don’t feel they’re worth it. We don’t want to spend money on ourselves to purchase what we need. We want to wait until we lose X amount of pounds or can fit into Y outfit.  I try to remind my clients they are beautiful no matter what the size is on the label or the number on the scale. Instead of having our closets filled with clothes we love, we start off the day feeling defeated because our closet is full of clothes that don’t fit.  We tell ourselves why we have to keep the clothes because, 1) Someone gave it to us so we HAVE to keep it, 2) We spent a lot of money on it, and/or 3) We SHOULD fit into it again.
The third mistake is not making time to learn what looks good on us because we are too busy. We need to make time and find out what works and what doesn’t. Simple steps like going to a store to be sized and learning what the right size bra for our body is, making time to take measurements, and learning what body shape you are (oval, pear, rectangle, etc…). Taking those little steps and giving ourselves permission to try on and wear clothes that fit the bodies we have now would make a huge difference. We are worth it.
Me: Have you found after working with clients that they actually follow your recommendations or do people tend to be too stuck in their clothing ruts?
Elisa: During a closet edit session with a client we talk about what’s not working for the client and how small, easy changes can make a big difference. So far, all of my clients follow my recommendations because they feel so much better and some have received unsolicited compliments after our sessions. Some clients have mentioned that people compliment them on losing weight. What actually happened is the client started wearing clothes that fit the body they have now, instead of hiding behind loose-fitting clothes, so they suddenly have shape and appear thinner!  I also receive photos from clients in outfits they have put together because they want to share their success and are excited about their new looks. My clients end our sessions with clothes and outfits that fit the body they have and they feel more confident.

Me: What are a few classic pieces that would be great for any women to have in their wardrobe?

Elisa: Every women’s style is different, but there are classic pieces that I believe can work for everyone and be affordable. You need to find pieces that fit your body, shape and lifestyle. For example, a “mom on the go” might live in a pair of jeans, a businesswoman might love her navy skirt or a pair of slacks, and an entrepreneur might prefer wearing a dress every day so she doesn’t have to think about what to wear.
Having said that, some basics are:
  • A classic button-down top
  • A dress
  • A skirt or pair of slacks
  • A blazer
  • A dark-wash pair of jeans
  • A top with some color or print

Again, these are only suggestions and each individual has to decide what works for their lifestyle.

Me: Do you have any nuggets of wisdom for packing for a long weekend trip?

Elisa: Yes, absolutely!

When packing for any trip, think of your daily outfits as separates (a top, bottom, and/or dress) that can be easily mixed and matched.
Put out what you plan to wear each day (including accessories and shoes) and make sure that you can mix and match all the pieces. For example, all or most of the tops you pack should go with all the bottoms and vice versa.
I also suggest packing a cardigan or blazer that can be mixed and matched with the outfits so that you can change up the look of one of the outfits depending on where you go.
For example, if you packed a dress you could easily pair it with a cardigan, sweater, or blazer and re-wear for a second look if needed.
When all is said and done, you can add one extra separate, that pairs back to the original pieces. This way if your plans change and/or life happens and you spill or get something dirty you have an extra outfit. Don’t take more than you need. It’s no fun carrying a heavy bag around and then not wearing half of what you packed. (Me: Has she seen me travel?)
To pack all the pieces, I lay a sheet of the plastic from the dry cleaners out, put an item of clothing on it, lay a piece of tissue paper on it, then add another piece of clothing, roll them together and then fold and place in luggage. This helps cut down on wrinkles and saves space.
Me: I feel like I tend towards a boho style, and I know there is something called a classic style. What some other main styles women have or could have?
Elisa: It used to be women had to fit into certain roles and needed to dress for those roles, but as time has passed our lifestyles have changed. Women often choose their style depending on the day and what’s on the calendar.  There is a boho style, classic style, business casual, professional, casual style, trendy, and all of the above and more. I try and encourage women to wear what they love and feel confident in so long as they are not hiding. When you have confidence you will shine. No matter what your style.
My style tends to be jeans and barefeet most of the time! Or scrubs.
Me: We talked some about body image. How prevalent is this problem, and can you comment on it?

Elisa: Over the years I have found that women of all sizes have body image issues.

Some women hide their arms because they are flabby, some their legs because they are short, not tan enough, or have freckles. Maybe they feel that their bust is too small or too big. Most women hide their stomachs because they are not flat (even my size 4 clients!).
I remind all my clients to love their strong bodies that have gotten them this far. Our arms hold our loved ones, our legs carry us every day, and stomachs nourish us and our children.
When you walk into a room people are looking at and are focused on our beautiful faces and smiles. For some reason, women think everyone is looking directly at “x” body part they don’t like. It’s not true.

Elisa: I fell into it actually. I was in corporate for 20+ years and we moved to Westlake Village for my husband’s job. We knew absolutely no one and I quickly realized I could no longer do my corporate job which had me traveling 1 week out of every month. I quit and started as a stylist with Stella & Dot which is a jewelry and accessory company. Some of my clients were life coaches and speakers and they wanted to know how to wear their statement necklaces and other jewelry with more than just their stage outfits. So I started going to their homes and helped them mix and match outfits with jewels. Over time, I also had friends who were going through divorces and had to go back to work but didn’t know what business causal or professional looked like, so I would help them put together outfits affordably. After a few years, I decided I should probably monetize it and turn it into a business because I was doing it for free. Voíla! Closet Confidence was born.

A couple of takeaways that I implemented soon after or plan to do soon:

  • Purchase a belt. (I was advised to tuck shirts in more; something I NEVER do.) Well, I purchased the belt, but I am still working on tucking shirts in.
  • Buy a dark blue cropped cardigan. I couldn’t find a dark blue one in my quick shopping trip, so I settled for a white one, then ordered a dark blue online.
  • Buy a pair of white or khaki pants to fill out wardrobe. Check.
  • Stop wearing shapeless clothing to hide behind.
  • Stop wearing shirts that are too long for my petite body.
  • Buy a blazer.
Here’s to maximizing what is in your closet and feeling beautiful!
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One thought on “Making Your Closet Healthier: Tips from a Wardrobe Consultant

  1. Great article Vanessa! I don’t wear the majority of clothes in my closet and need to go through it like your article suggested. Also, I love how personable your articles are and need to use them as a guide to start my blogs again.❤️

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