Extreme Makeover: White-Starr's Adventures in Closet Cleaning and Bad Fashion Purging

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"Everyone thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but not everyone can possibly have good taste and a sense of humor." So says Carrie Fisher. And, yes, the same goes for style. Some got it. Some don't. But regardless of the camp you're in, you could probably benefit from a little once-over by Karyn Starr and Andrea Longacre-White, the duo that formed White-Starr Aesthetic Consulting—fancy name for two women who are happy and willing to help you overhaul your closet, your wardrobe, your look and find your inner Jen Brill. We tapped the fashion nip/tuckers down for a little tutorial in getting our closets and wardrobes in order. It is a new year, after all.
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What are some of the biggest mistakes women make when they go shopping?
We find a lot of people go shopping without any focus. It's helpful if you get a good look at your wardrobe before you go and really think, "What am I missing? What have I been wanting lately?" Maybe you're missing a blazer to tie your outfits together, or maybe it's the prefect belt. Also, people often look to trends rather than following their own body and the shapes they feel most comfortable in.
More tips after the jump.
What are the five staples every well-dressed woman should have?
1. Not to sound cliché but every woman should have an outfit that goes day to night and in which, no matter what, she feels beautiful and effortless.
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2. The perfect coat for fall, winter, and spring. Even if the budget is tight having this will make you feel great everyday.
3. The perfect boot for winter: one that is comfortable but also fashion forward and that goes with trousers, denim, and dresses. We have been a big fan of ankle wedge boots for the past season or two, as well as a classic riding boot for everyday.
4. Sunglasses. Ones that fit your face and do not necessarily follow the trend of the moment.
5. A classic bag, one that lasts for more than a season and is not overly embellished or trendy. This will make any and every outfit read up. There is also nothing like a great bag to make you feel absolutely put together and sophisticated. We'd even recommend getting something that you rarely see on anyone else so that it is not recognizable—clean, classic, and functional being key!
What are the most common problems you discover in people's closets?
The most common problem is illogical fits and styles from sample sale frenzy or small trendy boutiques. The things left at a sample sale are usually the least flattering from a collection! Also, clients often buy sizes that don't fit them with plans to tailor them but never do. Another thing we find people hoarding is jeans! Clients will have 10-30 pairs of jeans and maybe wear just one or two. We also find that people need to refresh their T-shirts and basics from season to season. If you wear James Perse T-shirts all the time, get new ones each season! A final common problem is certain cheaper chain stores make clothing that is great for girls in high school or college, but do a disservice to women. With girly patterns, shapes, and ruffles we see women not dressing as sophisticated as they should.
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What are some easy things women can do to streamline her closet or wardrobe?
Actually take an afternoon and try everything on. If you come across lots of pieces that don't easily work together or can be worn only one way, then you don't have a working wardrobe, which is why every time you enter your closet it feels like reinventing the wheel!
Off the bat, what should women always get rid of?
Fussy items with lots of bells and whistles, ties and buttons or bows, as most often they distract from the beauty of the wearer! Get rid of your clothes that don't fit! Donate your used clothes that don't have stains or holes to Housing Works, Sloan Kettering, the Salvation Army, a local church, or any charity of your choice. If you have a lot of old suits and corporate wear donate your items to Dress for Success.
What's something you think every woman should invest in if they can only buy one big-ticket thing this year?
This question is impossible to answer. It gets to why our experience with each client is so different, because everyone's needs are different. If you find yourself in an office, invest in an amazing perfect black blazer that fits like a glove and goes with and over everything. If you are in a creative office and wear jeans everyday, invest in that great fitting/flattering/comfortable perfect pair. On the flip side, the three things that people wear every single day (except during high summer) are a coat, shoes, and a bag. If you don't have one of these three items that you absolutely love and feel like it can make any outfit read up, than that is where to focus.