I have a sense of style. It is at times misguided (I have several of my grandmother’s prized items in my wardrobe) but it’s there somewhere, cowering under a heap of clothes I own but never wear.
My recent revelation happened one evening at a dinner party when we were talking about things getting mislaid during house moves, whether or not it mattered and whether or not people actually missed what they’d lost.
It may have been the wine, but nine out of ten people announced that they’d quite like the excuse to start again in terms of various household possessions/clothes etc.
I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to wait until we move house, (our rent is quite good value compared to everywhere else…I fear we may never move; besides Jimmy the removal man never seems to loose anything) I was going to instigate a wardrobe dejunk from a standstill.
Whilst I have lots of lovely girlfriends who could have done this with me, (including one who used to be a stylist and who I trust enormously) I really do think this sort of job is made much easier when not done with a friend; to the extent that I actually PAID someone to come over and whip me in to (sartorial) shape.
This is in fact what Julia Blank (below) does for a living.
And it took The. Whole. Day (no girlfriend of mine would have been that patient!).
I met Julia through a friend about a year ago. She’d moved here from New York where, besides dressing models for magazine shoots as a freelance stylist, she owned and ran a flourishing consultancy, styling ‘normal’ people. Delightfully normal herself, well dressed (as you’d hope) and very easy to get on with, she has now set up in Singapore.
What I think I loved about her the most was that she understood me by about the time I’d wrestled on my second dress: she got my style, what I liked, why I liked it.
She was blunt about something if it didn’t work – even if I thought it did – and really helped educate me about why something suited/didn’t suit (damn, my body has changed since having children!).
If anyone is a fan of vintage they will understand that there is – at times – a rather fine line between ‘ming’ and ‘zing’. We’d roar with laughter as I held up all my granny clothes and charity buys from over the years and asked her, “Rocking or rank?” – it really could go either way.
This (above) was awesome salvage: my grandmother’s silk shirt that was hidden at the back of my wardrobe, worn here with AG jeans, red flats (but could just as easily be brown Tod’s loafers) and vintage Gucci bag (also Granny’s) or my favourite envelope clutch – one of my best buys from Charles & Keith at Changi airport.
We saved stuff I would definitely have chucked out if I was being ruthless and left to my own devices. Things I’d had for yonks were miraculously resuscitated, including this grey Banana Republic vest (above) I bought years ago, which was given a new lease of life when paired with my Zara black jacket and AG jeans (yet again; I think they just might be the single most useful thing I own).
And we tossed stuff I wouldn’t have been able to throw without her there – things I felt guilty about as I hadn’t worn them enough (she made me see it was because they were badly cut/didn’t suit me/were the wrong colour/were from the wrong era)…on to The Pile they went:
Julia was also great at helping identify and show me the yawning gaps I had in terms of missing basics and staples – hence the fact I always felt, as most women I know do, that I never had anything to wear.
We also put together a bunch of outfits I can now throw on without even thinking (LOVE it; although H did ask me what I am reserving all this free-thinking brain space for)…
…and that’s only the half of it! More to follow in Part II of The Complete Wardrobe Clearout.
Julia Blank can be contacted on: 9751 1694