Cleansing The Closet: How I Minimized My Wardrobe Through The Advice Of An Expert

IMG_4245I was a bit on-edge the morning before my big closet consultation. I’ve forever had an awkward relationship with clothes, and I know perfectly well there are some (many) garments in my wardrobe that simply don’t belong there. Having paid good money for a number of pieces that turned out to be “not me”, I eventually found myself with an over-stuffed bedroom closet, making it increasingly difficult to choose outfits each morning.

But on this day, it was time to bring in the big-gun. I feel comfortable with my good friend, DRIVEN specialist Dr Keila Tyner, who was going to show me how to improve by allowing myself to be open to constructive wardrobe criticism. Keila is a professor of fashion merchandising who consults the fashion industry on the socio-psychological aspect of dress and appearance through the lens of women’s studies. I had followed Keila’s written directions to prep for the session, which included some rearranging of my hanging items into categories. This exercise allowed me to shift from a feeling of dread to one of excitement as I realized I was about to virtuously and purposefully cleanse my closet of “dead weight”.

Comfort Zone ExpandedIMG_4190

When Keila rang the doorbell, I had the nerves of girl about to meet my blind date. I was, after all, about to show someone an intimate, tucked-away part of my home that was designed and organized for my eyes only. But it was the moment of truth, and I was determined to be present and open-minded. I took a deep breath and told myself I was ready (you’d think I was going in for open heart surgery!). That’s when the energy changed. Keila suggested that I need to “invite” her into my closet. This was sacred space and she couldn’t just mosey on in, unsolicited. Somehow, that made me understand this was a choice, not a chore. I invited her in, and for the next four hours we truly WORKED on addressing my wardrobe.

Should It Stay Or Should It Go?

The first to be assessed was my formal business clothing. We proceeded to lay the various garments onto the bed, and in some cases, I would try one on to give Keila a better perspective. She would then suggest how to build upon it to create an outfit, or that with rolled-up sleeves, for instance, a particular jacket would look much more powerful. She even proved that I could start using a certain belt as a necklace to add in the missing flair to several of my outfits! In other cases, she’d emerge holding an item and say Nancy Red Jacketkindly, “So, tell me about this one”. That question soon became code for “This one’s for the Goodwill pile”. The exercise allowed me to look at my clothing not from my eyes, but from the eyes of the world. It certainly took the sting out of parting with a particular formal garment that someone close to me has disliked from day one (Michael, you’ll be pleased to know that my Nancy Regan jacket’s a goner!).

Suiting-Up Made Simple

As I modeled different outfits with various venue purposes, Keila took photos of me to refer to when I’m in a rush. Whether I’m attending a nighttime networking event, delivering a workshop, meeting with a client, or dining out (which I do QUITE often), the composition of an appropriate outfit will now only take seconds instead of minutes. In addition to the pictures, Keila provided me with a list of items that needed tailoring, and another list of items needed to round out my existing wardrobe (complete with links for where to buy them). Finally, she left me with a handy list of customized tips for building outfits in the future, like to avoid mixing too many textures and to always have a key garment on hand that screams “Deborah” for personal branding purposes. This guidance gives me a purpose, and the confidence to walk into a room IMG_4193or event knowing that what I’m wearing kills!

Ready For Your Closet Cleanse?

If you’re a DRIVEN member, and my positive experience sounds like something you’d like to experience yourself, Dr Keila Tyner offers you her closet services at a 20% discount! A half-day (4-hour) wardrobe audit which includes pre-consultation, follow-up and that nifty shopping list, normally priced at $500, is yours for $400 upon request. Consider it a great gift idea too. For further information or to schedule an audit, contact Keila by email at, or by phone at 214.725.2676. You can also learn more about Keila’s background on her website