Every closet audit is exciting in its own way. And the more a client’s personal characteristics and wardrobe tastes differ from my own, the more of an adventure the process becomes – at least for me. So when Yvonne brought me to her lovely home in Nashville to help refine her extensive collection of artisinal garments and accessories it was certainly an adventure, with ideas we can all learn from.
Yvonne has deep, rich, warm coloring, a lower-body-dominant figure, rather angular features, a big personality and fairly flamboyant style. On the ride from the airport she filled me in about her return to sewing parts of her wardrobe, her extensive travel schedule and her love of bold, attention-getting prints and patterns.
“I used to dress with total confidence, but lately I feel like I’ve lost some of my edge.” she confided. “I’m feeling less secure and default to wearing all my great jackets with just black pants and white shirts. I want to sew pieces to fill in the gaps, but I just don’t know where to start or what flatters me anymore.”
We started by updating her 80s-vintage Four Seasons color information. The original was overly bright and clear, the new version is still warm and rich, but more nuanced.
After weeding out a lot of silver jewelry (she is much more flattered by gold tones) and cool colored clothes (including a lot of bright-white shirts!), we began mixing and matching the “keeper” garments, fabric options from her collection and colorful handmade jewelry. Here are a few of those exciting and versatile combinations, in cell phone pics we snapped on the fly. Pardon the less-than-optimal layouts and the imperfect color reproduction and take our word for the color matches and blends.
Yvonne had just completd this fun plaid coat in black and rusty-red wool. The cream shell wasn’t doing it justice, and was creating too much light/dark contrast. We found these two fabrics to make more exciting under-layers, plus a scarf that pulls all the colors together and adds stripes and circles to the geometric mix.
Yvonne collects feather-weight reversible patchwork jackets by designer Mieko Mintz (check them out at artfulhome.com), and this beauty works well with the same knit pieces and also with a sage green tee in her closet. Can you believe how perfectly the necklace on the left echoes not only the jacket colors, but also the bold circular motifs and the slightly Asian feel? The necklace on the right had similar colors, but with metalic elements in silver – not her best choice. TIP: because the silver is a bit tarnished, it doesn’t create the bright shine that would be so wrong for Yvonne. So if bright silver isn’t flattering for you, try letting it darken a bit instead of polishing it.
Among her wonderful jewelry treasures we found this charm-bracelet style necklace with dangles in nearly all of her best colors – a versatile piece if there ever was one. However, the look was disrupted by these blue beads that were both cooler and brighter than the rest. Although we don’t usually think of altering jewelry, can you see how easily those beads can be removed, leaving the rest of the necklace to coordinate effectively with lots of outfits.
Mieko jackets are typically reversible, so this one provided two color options. One was lighter overall, with the bright orange featured where the collar turned back – neither a good value balance nor a flattering accent for Yvonne. But the side you see here – with the navy for value balance and the sandy tan fold-back collar to break up the strong orange near her face – was a great alternative. Then notice how accessories shift the personality of the jacket. The smaller geometric necklace and a pair of jeans can take the outfit in a sportier direction, while the bolder beads and a classic narrow-leg pant would make a more dramatic combo.
Here are 3 more from the dozens of combos we found:
- Teal/sage green mix vest and necklace w/teal jersey for a tee and sage green pants (to be purchased)
- Rust/brown mix jacket and necklace w/rust jeans (from her closet) and paler rust jersey for a top.
- Sage/camel/brick red mix jacket w/camel sweater (from her closet), brick red necklace and sage pants (TBP)
These combos and more were there all along, but buried amid other pieces that weren’t so flattering, Yvonne just couldn’t see them. Do you have “buried treasure” hiding in your closet too?