You’ll need to be sat down for this one. Last week I did a wardrobe weed-out! I know, I swore blind I’d never do one ever again but this was for my most excellent friend of over 40 years, Kafburga. She was petrified that I would stand in front of her wardrobe and shout out in abject horror, “Where is all the colour?” and that I would end up taking away virtually everything in black bin liners.
So we went for lunch first at a local pub. If she intended this to soften me up, she was very much mistaken. I was a woman on a mission! And it gave me the perfect opportunity to put the client first and ask her the questions I would spend at least 20 – 40 minutes asking any other client before we went anywhere near the wardrobe door:
- How do you feel about the clothes in your wardrobe?
- What do you want to achieve today?
- Describe what you wear to work?
- How would you dress to go shopping?
- Tell me how you spend your free time. What sort of clothes do you need?
- Do you change into different clothes when you get home from work? Why, or why not?
- Do you have a particular event coming up that you need an outfit for?
- And a whole host of others…
I have never seen so many clothes shoved into one single wardrobe! On average, there were about 3 tops or trousers to any one hanger! The poor little things were groaning under the weight and so that was one of my main goals – to get everything onto its own hanger.
Three hours later, both of us huffing and puffing in the mid-afternoon sun, we’d turfed out most of the unwanted, too-small, too-large, and ‘totally no flippin’ idea why I bought that in the first place’ stuff. We filled three large black bin liners and several smaller ones with general bric-a-brac that we found lurking in the back and the bottom of Kafburga’s wardrobe. God alone knows how long some of it had been there.
As we worked through all the dresses, skirts, trousers, tops and jumpers, it became really obvious to me that Kafburga’s original concerns had been spot on.
Where was all the colour?
Let’s take a moment here to build a profile of my adorable friend so you can get an idea of the colours I had been hoping to find in her vast collection of clothes.
- Kafburga is a Cool Summer, Blue psychology, Natural Romantic with a Straight body shape
- She’s suffering from menopausal hot flushes and has not been at her fighting weight since her husband died unexpectedly a few years ago
- She works in an office three days, helps to look after her toddler granddaughter, works behind the bar in a local pub most evenings, rides motorbikes, likes jazz clubs and real ale, and goes out walking whenever and wherever
Dark and forbidding
Her wardrobe was full of black, dark green, one or three hideous (on her) mustard and gold creations, navy, and grey. It wasn’t all dark and forbidding though. There were one or two hints of pink and baby blue here and there, plus a couple of recent purchases for a holiday in Madeira in October; two multi-coloured long cotton dresses which could be worn during the day or in the evening.
Something to think about – Why do people only think they’re worth wearing colour on their holidays? We really need to help our clients think more of themselves, so they’ll look and feel good on the other 50 weeks of the year.
My advice to Kafburga?
You might think that a wardrobe weed-out is all about shape and style and creating a capsule wardrobe from the outset but that just doesn’t work in my experience. I always, always start with colour as it’s the easiest aspect for a client to grasp, and to change easily.
So I showed Kafburga how to pop all her black, grey and green camis underneath all her pretty, floral, feminine tops to underline her Romantic side, and also under her three hundred and one jumpers which she wears instead of jackets and coats in cooler weather – so typical of a Natural.
Menopausal women like layers that they can take off and put back on again!
More by accident than design, we came across one dusky pink cami in a drawer. Having shown her how this could add a touch of femininity to virtually all her outfits, I suggested she treat herself to two new ones – one in a light summer blue-green and and the other in a delicate rose pink for when she wanted to feel more like an attractive woman.
The only other item I suggested she look for is a black, ankle-length, straight skirt. Kafburga could wear that with any of the pretty tops plus a cardigan or shrug as a simple alternative to always wearing black trousers to any dress-up or evening events.
I’ll be back!
Kafburga doesn’t know it but I’ll be going back to sort out the sixty-three thousand pairs of trousers, but for now, at least they’re all on separate hangers but even though 7 pairs are already on their way to the hospice shop, I shall be taking away at least another dozen before I’m done! But that’s for next time.
Did we achieve what Kafburga wanted?
I congratulated Kafburga on making some tough decisions in getting rid of three huge bin liners’ worth of clothes. She said,
I couldn’t have done this on my own. It brought back too many memories but now I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’d forgotten what I’d got and now I can actually see everything. I’m definitely going to look for the light green and rose pink camis and the long black skirt. I’m also going to get some replacement hangers for my trousers.
The moral of the story
1. Rebuilding your client’s confidence is paramount. Taking someone’s wardrobe to pieces can provoke an emotional response so give the process and each individual client the respect they deserve
- Most Yellows and a large proportion of Greens will be happy to do the whole decluttering thing in one fell swoop
- Blues and Reds will probably need more time
As a typical Blue, Kafburga absolutely needs to mull things over. Blues will not be rushed so don’t push it! Red image consultants, like me, who can see immediately what needs to go and can be blunt enough to say so, need to learn to back off and let other types be who they are.
2. Always start with colour. Adding (even just one) colour is the easiest, most gentle way of improving anyone’s wardrobe. Your client will see immediate results with a colour upgrade. She will learn to trust your advice and judgement and will then be more open to listening to your advice about shape, scale and details at a future session.
If you would like to learn colour analysis from the comfort of your own home, check out these training programs ‘Colour Analysis Training in a Box’ and the Special Edition ‘Fabulous Colour Analysis’. Read the colour analysis training comparison for these two programs to help you figure out what’s what.
Waste not, want not!
Back home, I collapsed into a chair while Neil poured me an extremely large gin and tonic. I was well and truly knackered and needed a lie-down in a darkened room to recover from the exertions of the day!
The next day we packed the car on a trip north to donate the unwanted clothes to a jolly good cause. Neil’s Mum volunteers in a hospice shop and the proceeds pay for someone with cancer to spend a week in the hospice and for their carer to have a well-earned holiday.
I think we had over-estimated just how much stuff we’d collected from Kafburga and from my miserable efforts at decluttering my own wardrobe. It took bloomin’ ages to get everything packed, probably because we were laughing so much!