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Monday, September 12, 2011

Another day in my life as a stylist.....still having too much fun....

So, I have one client that I have worked with for so long that the way we banter back and forth it’s like we’re siblings. I really get a kick out of her and we laugh about some of the random things that often come up in our everyday lives. She is quite petite and very physically fit. When she tries on clothes and comments on her fat, sagging skin (there is absolutely none) or aging face, I usually roll my eyes and answer with a smart comment. I mean, really! Over the years she has gone from business suits and dresses, to very business casual, to jeans and boots.

The best thing about having a client for years is that you know their inner sense of style, and can not only stroll down memory lane with them, but you can adjust to the changes in lifestyle that cause changes in the way your client dresses without struggling to figure out what the style should be. I remember the days of purchasing killer high heel shoes and structured suits for her. From there we have moved into dresses, mainly cotton, a few lower heels, and a slew of boots, from Western to dress. We also went through a belt and scarf phase and some great costume jewelry.

Regardless of how she has evolved with her wardrobe and the changing roles in her career, we have always had fun doing it. Today’s adventure was no different. Her new dog Molly greets me at the door and proceeded to lick every inch of my legs! Ugh! My old dog Skip to My Loo (yes, that really is her name) is always looking at me strangely when I return home from a day’s work, eyeing me as if I am a traitor and sniffing around me. After 13 years Skip still thinks it is necessary to throw guilt my way.....

One thing I have learned at client’s homes is to ask after meeting their pets for the first time, where the dog treats are. I'm no fool, and if I can race to a client’s kitchen and snatch a treat to feed to the pet, I will save myself and my legs from getting an additional bath from a tongue that has been g-d only knows where. Yuck.

After the brief closet consult (my client cleans out mostly on her own now), I rummage through the pile and take what she isn't going to wear to bring to consignment. There are usually a few items with price tags in the pile, so I try to encourage her to keep the item and wear it. We now catalog items in a few categories:

•    BS (before Suzanne)
•    PBS (picked by Suzanne) and lastly,
•    PBC (picked by client).

I tend to argue when items are consigned and discarded with tags that clearly have been labeled by PBS! Not on my watch, and why aren't you wearing that? Because we know one another so well, we tend not to discuss it for too long. She may give in but then I may find it next season still with its’ tags on it.

So the point of all this is.....buy only what you will wear and never, and I mean never, buy out of guilt or thinking that maybe someday you will wear it and warm up to it. You just won’t.

As I mentioned earlier, my client wanted just a few things to spruce up her wardrobe for the upcoming season (fall/holiday/winter/whatever). It usually starts with dresses. So we traveled to Stephanie's in Rocky Mount. For many of you scratching your head, yes, I did say Rocky Mount, despite the wonderful shopping in the Triangle. Rocky Mount is the hidden little treasure that has some great, well priced lines, in a store called Stephanie’s.

Starting from Wake Forest and using my GPS was something else, though. We were guided on every back road possible before finally connecting with 64 West. Not only did we see where most farmers in Franklin County are selling their fruits and vegetables this season, but also I now fully understand Dollar General’s target market. After 29 miles of driving, we decided we were in dire need of a Starbucks. The GPS was at it again, but this time we realized it was probably located in the local Target. It was a small town, and, ok, so what if I was getting quite a few stares from the locals. Not good stares, either. Here I am in my heels towering over 5'10 maybe ‘11 in a slightly, and I mean ever so slightly, trendy outfit (this outfit probably wouldn't get a designer to even look up) and my petite, maybe 5' client in her t-shirt, torn jeans and flip flops. Talk about not judging a book by its’ cover.

The Starbucks employee didn't seem to like my fully doctored coffee order or perky tone, either. I think she was having a Monday, and wishing it was Friday - we’ve all had those days, right? On we went to Stephanie's. Did I mention that I was in a loaner car and that the empty gas light was illuminated? First gas station I pulled into obviously had pumps. I didn't see a charge card space so I trotted into the shop with my $10 to put in the tank. The man came around from the back office and I said I will take $10 on pump one. He said " Lady, I haven't had gas here since 2009." Was I in a time warp or did this station actually have pumps but no gas? A gas station, I guess not, but what then? We still had no gas. My client laughed so hard, I thought she was going to spit up her frozen Starbucks concoction. Rest assured, we did find a gas station with pumps and actual gas.

Perfect Jacket for any
Country-Western singer.

Finally arriving at Stephanie's we find a few great tops, a pair of jeans and yes......drum roll, please. Sweater jackets appropriate for the dozen dresses she has in her closet to help her transition her clothes from summer to fall. I have been on the search for just this thing for years! Feeling triumphant, we drive back to Raleigh, avoiding the back roads from our earlier ride. From Zebulon to Knightdale we see the skies darken and in a distance, torrential rain ahead. What we were about to drive into was gonna be ugly. Ugly it was, and yes, I worried about being in a loaner car that I was concerned didn't handle as well as my own. We did make it back safely, if more slowly than the trip out.

Great Lemon Bomber Jacket.
So, all is well that ends well. Best part of my day was two-fold. Finding the unexpected surprise of sweater jackets that we having been hunting for years and my old dog Skip didn't catch on to that Molly had been licking me legs! Whew, now that’s what I'm talking about!

Stay tuned to for updates on my redesigned website...coming soon to wardrobeconsulting.biz!

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