Despite the 4 feet of snow outside my window here in Alaska, it really is spring. I know this time of year, many of us are going through our closets and doing a little spring cleaning around the house. I was thinking this is the perfect time to share my professional closet cleanout experience with stylist Tess Weaver!
It can be hard for me to let go of things. How about you – I’m curious if you struggle to make decisions while trying to figure out what to keep or purge from your closet?
Is this still in style? Maybe this will fit again later? This sweater is pretty worn out but it’s my absolute favorite and I don’t want to let go!
Those are just the basics though. I get stuck trying to decide what to do with all kinds of random items I rarely or never wear, but can’t seem to part with. Corporate shirts or jackets I only wear once every few years. Halloween costumes. Formal dresses from high school (Annabelle may wear one some day?!). My one golf outfit LOL. And of course, military uniforms!
This was my second professional closet clean out. The first one I did was in 2011 or 2012, after reading an article in the Anchorage Daily News about Kim Jones who was doing closet clean outs here in Anchorage! That effort was a major overhaul – at that time, my closet and drawers were ridiculously overflowing and I had tons of clothes in other closets! Eek. I think Kim and I spent around 4 hours going through my wardrobe.
Kim did an amazing job and I’ve been able to maintain what we accomplished back then for the most part. But now that a decade has passed (wow...), my closet was starting to get a bit tight again.
When I saw Tess was offering closet clean outs and style sessions, I knew this was perfect timing for another clean sweep. I should pause here to formally introduce you to Tess!
Every day, Tess sets out to truly uplift others and remind them why they are special, why they are beautiful and what makes them unique. She has spent more than 15 years educating and immersing herself in all things fashion, style, wardrobe, costume, makeup and personal care. She even has a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) – aka - the Ivy League of fashion schools.
But the best thing about Tess is she is like a ray of sunshine who brings joy to everyone around her - she’s one of those people you just want to be around all the time! Tess was on tour as Wardrobe Supervisor for the Broadway show, My Fair Lady, prior to the pandemic and is currently offering closet clean out and styling services only for a limited time while she off tour in Anchorage.
Let me tell you how thrilled I was to book an appointment! Not only was I due for the closet reset, I needed some help putting together outfits as we emerge from lockdown and start seeing each other again - and not just from the shoulders up on Zoom!
Tess really knows how to roll out the red carpet treatment - she turned this normally painful chore into a fun VIP experience! Before we even started, the day before the session Tess texted me the cutest graphics with our schedule for the day, details on what to expect and COVID-safety instructions. The next day, she rolled up to my house with HOT Starbucks, buttery croissants and good vibes.
We dove right into my wardrobe and started making decisions. There is something about having Tess lead the process that helped me manage my desire to hold on to so many things. At a certain point it begins to be really freeing and almost like a weight coming off my shoulders as I can see the clutter reducing and a neatly hung, well-organized wardrobe in my future.
Anything we purged, we organized into donate or consign piles. I love being able to do both - giving to others through donations, while also consigning some pieces and using those funds for new clothes. For donations, I usually give to Clare House or Salvation Army. I like to consign at the Consign49 sale - which is actually this week at the Alaska State Fairgrounds!
One of the things Tess solved was organization for the items I mentioned above that I don't want to get rid of but rarely wear. She introduced me to the concept of an archive! I was able to use a section of our office/guest room closet for the archive. Now those military uniforms and corporate shirts are not jamming up my main closet and distracting me as I'm trying to get dressed for the day.
As we were sorting through the articles of clothing, Tess was like a fairy godmother. She would waive her magic wand and put together outfits that seemed so effortless, yet I had never paired the items together!
Although we're emerging back to the office again, I don't think Zoom-life is going anywhere anytime soon. So Tess also put together some looks that would look great for the next teleconference, too.
I added on some extra time for the obnoxious amount of scarves and jewelry I've held onto that I rarely wear anymore but can't seem to part with. I also had a whole box of older jewelry from my Grandma Rosie that Tess went through with me. It's been sitting in my closet for years and the thought of trying to figure out what to keep or let go of was totally overwhelming. Tess did such a great job and I felt good about keeping some really unique pieces I think are from the 1960s though the 80s, and letting go of others.
Another add-on for my session was a make-up tutorial with Tess! She even let me record it on my phone since I wasn't confident I would remember how to do everything. This lighting at my house doesn't do it justice but I loved this easy, everyday look she guided me through using Beauty Counter products! Tess offers makeup tutorials independent from closet clean outs as well, if you're looking for some help with a makeup refresh.
Last, we ventured to downtown Anchorage for a little shopping! We timed this perfectly with the weekend one of our favorite shops, Circular Boutique, was having a sale. We found some great investment pieces to add to my wardrobe.
I told Tess I had some some upcoming meetings that called for a new casual-Friday type look: polished yet approachable. I asked her to keep an eye out for a new blazer to add to my wardrobe as well. Here is the result of those requests. I think she nailed it! (and she even got me out of my comfort zone of all-black-everything!)
By this time, I was pretty exhausted but felt like we accomplished so much in just a few hours! Tess knows how to work quickly and keep things moving - I can easily let time get away from me so it was really helpful that she set the pace and watched the clock.
By the end of the session I had a:
- nicely hung wardrobe in my closet
- neatly organized archive
- capsule of accessories and jewelry I was no longer drowning in
- go-to makeup look I could do myself
- multiple outfit ideas ready for the office or Zoom
If you are thinking about a closet clean out for yourself, I definitely recommend booking one now while Tess is available! More details are available here and Tess is always happy to answer questions.