Personal Presence, Wardrobe Development

Closet Talk: New Clothes for A New Lifestyle

This week I have had the pleasure spending a full day with a client, mostly in her closet.  To many, being in the closet all day long is an exercise in claustrophobia.  But, for me, it’s an exercise in finding freedom for my client, who is newly retired.  New clothes for a new lifestyle may be just what she has in mind.  But, before getting to the point where I can show her any new looks, she and I needed to have the first of what will be two sessions in her closet.

This first session was pretty intense, but in a good way.  She’s got a lot of energy, and is also quite enthusiastic about our project.  That’s why we worked together from 10:30 AM until 7:00 PM, breaking for a brief lunch break together.  The day began outside the closet, reviewing two summary reports that I prepared expressly for her that explained the results of her color and style profiles.  Together, these create the blueprint from which we will create a wardrobe of new clothes for a new lifestyle.

The summary session was really so much fun because the color profile results helped her to see how much of her personality is integral to her whole self, and not just applicable to her career.  Upon separating one’s life from work, it can be a huge challenge to transition into a more leisurely lifestyle, even if it is punctuated with consulting, volunteerism, and philanthropy.  It’s just not the same as logging hours at the office or on airplanes doing “road shows” for IPO’s. 

Once we reviewed these profile summaries, and we entered the closet, it was clear that change was about to come.  The first part of the wardrobe that we got to excavate was a lot of her work clothes.  Now that she is basically retired, it was time to see about how to retire a lot of this level of clothes.  It went well, with very little resistance to my suggestions.

The thing that struck me the most about this day was that her store bought clothes were so tame and devoid of her authentic nature.  Then, it came time to look at her collection of scarves, shawls, and pashminas.  Most of the pieces in her collection came with stories from globetrotting the world.  The pieces and the stories, painted a lush landscape about her that I could never have seen by evaluating the more basic elements to her work attire.

I could see that it was time to make fuller use of this collection, and an inspiration was born.  One Hermes scarf, totally out of sync with her personal coloring, I suggested would make a gorgeous wall hanging in a picture frame.  Off to her new East Coast residence it goes.

Another stunning shawl – not yet worn and enjoyed – sat in the closet just waiting to be adorned.  It is so gorgeous, and she told me how she’s spent a lot of money on it during one of her big trips.  Immediately, I told her to place it in her office so that she could drape it over herself every single day at her desk.  She should put that energy around her and be reminded every single day of what it’s like to travel, to escape, to think big, and to bring it all home to the place where she still manages the business of her life.  Excitedly, she placed it in her office.

What a thrill it is to begin to see how the wardrobe going forward will take shape.  Instead of me trying to make safer choices to honor the mindset and style from which she is emerging, I promised that, after seeing this lovely collection of lovingly collected accessories, I’d not hold back.  Selecting new clothes for a new lifestyle is so much richer of an experience when you understand the parts of you that you wish to carry forward – both in personality and in style.

Joseph Rosenfeld helps successful Silicon Valley technology entrepreneurs and executives discover their personal brands and design their personal styles.  Get Joseph’s free report that helps you know “6 Secrets to Success in Silicon Valley.” Get details about Joseph’s proven program that transforms your life through personal brand and style development.

My role, as a personal brand and style strategist, is that of a storyteller. I learn about a person’s personality and strengths, translate that into an appropriate personal style aesthetic, and help each client to visually and non-verbally tell her or his story with ease and authenticity.