Last time, in Episode 114,  I shared one of my first clients, but Today’s Linda came to me right before I left Virginia in 2018, making her one of my last in-person Lindas.

Once I knew my family was relocating, and I would be wrapping up the one-on-one in-person part of my business, I sent out emails saying, “Hey, if you’ve wanted to work together, now’s the time,” and in those last couple of months, I was crazy busy, working with my long-term clients, getting them in good shape, and all of the clients who had my services on their someday, wish list, and realized that the window was closing. 

Linda was in that second group. She emailed me asking for spots, saying she’d wanted to work together since she saw me at an event I did in February of 2013, and now she realized she was running out of time.  And she wasn’t kidding. I had ONE time slot left, so I asked her if she’d rather do a closet edit or a shopping trip–I didn’t have time for both–I had to get those boxes packed before the movers came!

We talked a little bit, and she told me that body wise and lifestyle wise, things hadn’t changed much recently–she just felt like she had a lot of stuff, but nothing to wear.  Given that background, I told her I recommended a closet edit, but she chose the shopping trip. Ok, Linda’s the client, we will shop. 

I know I’ve shared before that when I would shop with someone whose closet I hadn’t been in, I depended on them to tell me what they needed. I sent them a form to fill out to kind of do a closet inventory, and to prioritize what we should spend our time, and her money on. So I sent that to Linda, and we made plans to meet at the mall.

We met up, and did our pre-shop chat, and I said “did you have a chance to fill out your shopping list?” and she said she didn’t.  Ok, no problem we’ll figure it out. 

In her pre-service questionnaire, Linda shared that she worked in a dressy business casual office 5 days a week, and on the weekends, she spent time with her family and friends. She wasn’t struggling to get dressed for activities that were outside of her regular routine, and she wasn’t struggling to get dressed for activities that were part of her regular routine. Nothing out of the ordinary, no glaring issues to fix there.

So I asked her about some key pieces that I know, from experience, are critical in wardrobes, thinking maybe we could start there. So I asked, “do you have really good jeans?” And she said “I think my jeans are pretty good”.

Normally, I had my clients wear their BEST jeans to our appointment so I could assess their denim, but this was summer in Virginia, so I had to take her word for it. 

So I asked, “how about bottoms for work?” She said she was good on that front. Ok, “how about these other basics?”

She said she had all of them. I asked her what SHE wanted to focus on, and she said “Well, I just really wanted to work with you before you left”

One question clients used to ask me ALL the time, especially when they knew they were the second or sometimes third shopping client of the day, was “don’t you get bored of shopping at the same stores, all day”, and my answer was always, “No, because every client is unique, the bodies are different, the budgets are different, the styles are different”  For me, every client is like a puzzle, and it’s a fun challenge to make all those pieces fit, to solve the problem.

But with this Linda, I couldn’t see the picture on the puzzle box, if you know what I’m saying. I couldn’t figure out what I was solving.  I’ve never been one of those stylists who just like to help people buy cute stuff. I want to help my Lindas buy cute stuff that they needed. Stuff that makes getting dressed easier, or hones their personal style. I’ve said before…I don’t love clothes, I love what clothes do for women

I loved how women could use my services to solve these wardrobe issues that really solved bigger issues in their lives, like confidence, or regaining a sense of self. That’s what lights me up about clothes.

However, given that Linda didn’t seem to have any wardrobe issues other than the fact that I was moving, I figured we were just going to shop for fun stuff and hope for the best. 

So we went to the first store, and said, “okay, show me some things you like” this helps me understand their style, especially if I haven’t been in their closet, and she said, “why don’t you show me some things you think would be good?” 

I pulled a few things, and I heard a lot of “I have something like that at home” or “I don’t really need that” and “I don’t have anything to wear with that” 

I kept asking questions trying to figure out what she needed or wanted, but Linda and I just couldn’t find our groove. 

She did say, in a moment of frustration with me, I thought working with you would be a lot different, and I felt terrible–like she’s wanted to do this for 5 years, and now it’s not meeting her expectations. But on the other hand, I wanted to say, yeah, usually it is different..when I know why I’m here! 

There was no big breakthrough, no deeper meaning–we spent our time together, and she went home with some cute things.  I hate that one of my last in-person clients walked away with the feeling like I wasn’t worth the hype, but, you can’t win them all, friends.

But, as always there are things you can take away from my time with Linda! Today I’ve got just two for you, but they’re a big two that will absolutely change your wardrobe.

You need a plan.

I couldn’t give Linda what she wanted because SHE didn’t know what she wanted. And not everyone came to me with a PROBLEM to solve sometimes, it was just buying cute things. But it was usually like, I want a few fun date night things, or I’d like to look a little more polished at work. It wasn’t like those women didn’t have clothes, they weren’t dire shopping emergencies, but at least they had some kind of plan for our time together. You should never be without a shopping plan. It doesn’t have to be a detailed list, but you should always know what you need or want. I have a list in the notes on my phone. If I notice something is missing from my wardrobe–like dressy tops or workout bottoms, I put it on my list. That way, when I’m in the mood to browse, even at Target, I stay on track, and my wardrobe is well-rounded.

When you have general wardrobe boredom, do not shop.

Do not pass go, do not collect $200 for my monopoly fans out there. When you don’t know quite what’s wrong with your wardrobe, putting more in it won’t help. More stuff makes it worse. Please hear me on this. You need to edit your wardrobe first. I get that it’s not as sexy or fun as adding new things, but it fixes the problem. When you really, thoroughly edit your wardrobe, you know what you have, and what you need, and you also have a better idea of what pieces will work into your wardrobe,

Also, I’m guessing Linda’s jeans weren’t really that great. I’m guessing that her wardrobe was a mishmash of styles, and she probably didn’t have her basics nailed quite like she thought she did. How do I know? I don’t, I’m just guessing based on what 90% of my clients’ closets looked like. This is why I suggested the closet edit in the first place. I feel like if I had been able to go into her closet and make sense of it, she would have had a totally different experience with me, and she would have been set up for shopping success with a list of things she needed. 

You’ve got to do the right things first, not just the fun things

I promise you, if you edit your closet well, and then shop with a plan, getting dressed will be easier, your style will be better, and you’ll save a ton of time and money. 

Speaking of a shopping plan–have you downloaded our 100 Wardrobe Essentials Checklist yet? Trust me, you won’t need all 100, but it will help you think through what you may be missing.

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