Wardrobe & Personal Style Consultants

Parent Q&A

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  • I’m a 36 year old mom of an 8-month old, and my job transitioned to mostly remote during/after Covid. Because of both new motherhood and the fact that I work from home most days, I am finding that none of my clothes really work anymore. I don’t know what exactly a “personal stylist” does (I’ve always thought of this as something that only celebrities have…), but I’m wondering if someone like that may be able to help me refurbish my wardrobe.

    Postpartum, I’m a bigger size that I used to be (used to be a size 6-ish and am now a size 8-10-ish, and my chest is much larger), but also of course my maternity clothes don’t really work. I’m hoping that I’ll eventually return to my previous size, but need clothes to wear and feel good in in the meantime. Not only are most of my clothes too small, they also aren’t conducive to breastfeeding (I prefer button-up tops for that), and I also have a mix of business casual clothes that I rarely need anymore, and then super casual sweats, t shirts, etc. I think I need some more in-between options for working from home.

    I’m wondering if there’s a professional who could help me 1) figure out which of my old clothes to give up on and get rid of, and 2) help me select several new pieces to get me started on a new wardrobe that works for my new size and work life. Is there such a person? Any leads would be appreciated!

    My adult daughter recently had a free appointment at Nordstroms with an employee there who helped her and her friend find clothes to wear to a wedding.The dress she ended up buying was only$69.00.I would think they would be more than happy to help you find lots of clothes.You could see what they are picking out for you and maybe find some of the items cheaper elsewhere.I have a friend that lives a ways away but when she comes over I always ask her to look in my closet with me to help me get rid of things.She sees things I don’t,like a collar is stretched out and tells me what I should get rid of.It is very helpful.

    A personal stylist is exactly what you want. They can come to your home, edit your clothes and help you find new ones. Many new moms seek out this service (I used to be a stylist). Try checking Yelp to find someone. Good luck!

    I’ve been meaning to respond to this post since I read it a week ago because you could not have more accurately described exactly what  dacy Gillespie does with her business Mindful closet.

    Dacy is a stylist out of St. Louis that works mostly with remote clientele. I did personal sessions with her which is costly, she also has a group course that’s happening again soon that achieves the same thing but at a lower price point and I’ve heard the group dynamic is lovely. Dacy helped me to reframe how I approached shopping and clothes. I’ve never liked shopping and in my post-baby body I had no idea how to refresh / rethink my approach to clothes. In the course of our sessions we went through my existing closet, shopped together, and tried on clothes. I totally recommend dacy and her business. 

  • Personal stylist for the postpartum body?

    (5 replies)

    My body shape has changed a lot since giving birth eight months ago and I've found that it's left me a little bewildered when it comes to dressing myself. My size and shape have been pretty consistent throughout my adult life, and I used to feel like I had a clear sense of what styles and shapes would fit me well, feel comfortable and attractive. Since giving birth, my shape and proportions are pretty different than what they used to be. My old go-tos don't work so well but I'm not sure what to go for instead. I actually really love clothes and fashion-- pre-baby, I would have just gone to some department stores, tried on a zillion things and worked out what felt good on my new body. However, since that's not so doable in my present day life between infant care and pandemic precautions, I'm wondering if anyone has worked with a personal stylist for this kind of thing? If so, I would really love a recommendation! My ideal situation would be a body positive person who loves helping women find clothes that fit well and make them feel great, and has a good eye for gauging what cuts/styles/etc. will fit well given one's proportions (for instance, I've got a small-ish waist and a lotta butt/hips and would kill for a well-fitting pair of pants). I'm also open to other resources that could be helpful in the quest of getting more familiar with and clothing one's postpartum body. Thanks in advance!

    So relateable!!! I went through the same thing and so I’m sure have many others. For what it’s worth, my post partum body at 8 months looked VERY different than it did even 6 months later, and very different again in another 6 months. You may find that things continue to change for you and that investing in a whole new wardrobe at this point might still be a bit early. Though it is VERY annoying not to have freaking pants that fit :(  In an attempt to be body positive when my daughter was 14 mo I gave away all my old clothes figuring I was probably done with them for good, but went thru another huge physical change when I stopped breastfeeding. Not sure if this is helpful but just saying while this could totally be the new normal for you…it might not be, your baby is still pretty little!! But yes I think I gave away about 10 pairs of pants over the last year in a bunch of different size and shapes! But like…ya gotta have [email protected]& pants. I haven’t tried the service myself but something like Le Tote or similar clothing rental subscription might be useful so that you can just easily send things back as your body changes. Good luck and I wish for you that the perfect pants find you :)

    You could try something like StitchFix? I like their new process where you get to review the order. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve only found a few pieces (like 1-2 per “fix”) vs entire outfits I like from them though. Like you my body changed and I gave zero time to shop in stores or online even. Good luck!

    Check out Universal Standard…there are two things you might like about them… awesome sizing options as well as high quality… and there’s an option to buy some clothes from a collection in one size and exchange them for another size at a different time and that might be great for you as you adjust to a postpartum body and the changes that will happen in the next year…

    I remember being in your shoes after the birth of my child. Do not waste your money on stitch fix. I tried them but it felt like no one read my profile and they company constantly sent things that were not my style even though I sent Pintrest boards. It was also very hard to cancel my account. Try making an appointment with a personal shopper from Nordstrom. It’s a good way to shop for quality basics and get you on your way to feeling good about yourself. A good PS will also tell you when sales happen and put items aside for you. Good luck!!!

    Following! I am in the same situation. I have 2 pairs of leggings, 2 dresses, and about 3 tops that fit. I also have an almost 8 month old. 

  • Personal Stylist/Shopper for mid-life

    (4 replies)

    Looking to change professional fields requires me to be more visible. My highly-edited east bay wardrobe isn't ready for that and I need some help. I'm looking for someone who can collaborate with me (I already have a strong aesthetic preference) to expand my sartorial palate so I'm not agonizing about what to wear. Any recommendations?

    Hello, congratulations on your new role! I am not sure if it is still offered but Nordstrom in Walnut Creek previously had personal shoppers who were wonderful and helpful and no additional charge.

    Not sure of what your aesthetic and style is but two places I love to shop are Boden and JCrew for our together but age appropriate outfits and have found that they often have similar styles season to season in some staples and I can build upon that. Boden can be a little expensive but they have great sales!

    Best of luck! 

    I suggest Stitch Fix.  It's a light weight version, not as deep as what you describe but it really helped me get past some middle age rut stuff.  They are careful about sending whole outfits if that's what you want and you can try everything on at home.  You can send detailed notes about what you like/don't like and want/don't want.  It's easy.  I found it when I was thinking of maybe getting a personal stylist too but didn't know how to find a good one and how the whole thing would work.

    Can I suggest a capsule wardrobe? Makes life super simple and you really won’t need a stylist!

    I worked with Kat at StyleKouncil (her business): https://www.yelp.com/biz/stylekouncil-san-francisco
    I'd never done anything like this and generally have no style, but she helped me pick out clothes I could use for all my business travel (public speaking, client dinners), and things I'd actually feel good wearing out in "real life." I didn't fully appreciate it until 6mo-1year after when I realized how often I was wearing the pieces she'd helped me pick out. She also made me feel more confident picking items that I could get a lot of use out of, matching shirts and skirts, etc. It's been 4 years since I worked with her and I am STILL wearing some of those pieces! (I may need to have her do a refresh at some point ha!) Good luck and have fun! 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Wardrobe problem, returning to work mom

Oct 2009

I am returning to more regular work after a hiatus of a few years. My wardrobe consists mostly of sweatpants and tshirts, and my old work clothes don't fit anymore. I am not a good shopper and tend to buy things that seem good at the time but then hang in my closet for years without much use. I'm not good at pulling it all together. I like comfortable, not too fancy/trendy clothes and would enjoy a basic uniform for work. I need suggestions of how to build a wardrobe from the odds and ends in my closet and buying some new stuff. Is it worth it to hire someone? Is there anyone out there who enjoys this kind of stuff and could help me? shopping challenged

You may want to check out Elena Aronson. She is a personal shopper. I have heard great things about her helping out women in transitions. Her # is 773-726-4310 or www.elenararonson.com Good luck Lan

Believe it or not, I actually enjoy this kind of thing and go shopping with my working-mom friend once a year to help update her work wardrobe. I'd be happy to help you out if you live close by - my kids are in school during the a.m. hours. If it's not too strange to have someone you've never met help go through your closets for free, feel free to contact me! katenoz [at] hotmail.com happy to help

Macy's has a personal shopping service-if you tell them you have XXX amount of money to spend they will try to stick to it. I used it many years ago (corte Madera location) and was very pleased. shopping fiend

I've actually had decent luck at some of the goodwill stores. The stuff is organized by color so it's kind of easy to go through things. The prices sure are right. It's good to get you over the hump. One other thing I like are LL Beans Perfect Fit Pants. They feel like sweats butyou can dress them up. Anon

I am a stay home mother myself right now. And I understand how you feel. I worked in human resources in ''my other life''. I also had a part-time job working at Ann Taylor for few years back. I would be happy to help you if you are interested. Thanks! betty

Limor Inbar is an amazing shopper-helper. She can totally shop on a budget and help you figure out how to look best with versatile items. I highly recommend her! Limor Inbar limorinbar [at] gmail.com Naama

In your shoes I would pick out a few things I really love and that are easy to mix and match. Get quality and make sure it fits. Grey suit would work with a lot and it looks different if worn with the blazer, or a sweater, or a top or a top with a vest. Ann Taylor loft often has good deals, or you can try Nordstrom Rack, Zara (one of my favs for good pricing). So
A suit Nice Cardigan Wool Pencil Skirt Nice pair of good quality slacks Comfortable work appropriate dress(nice when you don't feel like putting together an outfit) Trench Coat Mary Janes Pair of tall boots A few scarves and you are good to go.... mix and match each week

I have a solution! Elena Aronson is a personal shopper and she does great work. I too am a working mom and was bored with my wardrobe and thought I was going to have to shell out big money for a wardrobe update. Instead, I called Elena. She came to my home and helped me with a complete overhaul of my closet. She helped me organize my clothes in a way that is both visually pleasing and time efficient. With Elena's help, I got rid of ill-fitting clothes I thought still looked good. She also helped me come up with new wardrobe combinations that I would never have thought of. In addition, she can go shopping with you and teach you about what things will and won't work for your frame, style and budget. I highly recommend her. Shopping Made Simple: www.elenararonson.com or 773-726-4310. Kamila

New job in the public eye - no idea what's appropriate

April 2006

I will be starting a new job that will require me to be in the public eye sometimes and to represent my instituition to donors and the community. Up to this point, my jobs haven't required me to dress any particular way, or I've been in school and home with my daughter. Jeans and a t-shirt are no longer appropriate, but I have no idea what would be appropriate now. My awareness of fashion waned after my 20s, and now I'm not sure how a woman in her mid 30s should dress for this type of position. I like strong colors (I have dark hair and olive skin so I can get away with bright red) and ''funky'' clothing (think Molly B), yet I was also raised very conservative and so I default to classic, albeit boring clothes (think Talbots). Plus, I'm petite (barely 5'2) and my hips and behind have gone through a major expansion since the birth of my daughter. Add to this, I have very little money to devote to building my wardrobe. Are there current books or websites devoted to this? Books I've seen at the library are dated. Are there affordable ''wardrobe consultants'' that I can get help from? Unprepared in Jeans and a T shirt

I'm probably the last person to advise on what you need to wear since I'm deep in the tee-shirt and jeans phase of parenting. But how to do this on a budget I can help with. It is really worth while hitting the thrift stores -- Goodwill, Salvation Army, or my own favorite Thrift Town. You can't necessarily plan to find a particular thing. I'm still looking for the perfect size small black dress shirt for my daughter's band performances, but you are always likely to be able to turn up some useful basics. -- I recently got a good black blazer, an off-white cloth jacket and some grey tailored-looking pants, all at around $3.00 each. This would leave you a little more to spend on harder to find specific needs. anon

Well, I managed to find the number of my wardrobe consultant, just for you! Francesca Gentile is a WONDERFUL style consultant, enthusastic, warm, and gifted. She knows the BEST places to get great deals on clothes, and can help you dress for any circumstance/environment/event. She's very good at helping you to choose styles that are appropriate, but also that suit YOU personally. She loves to shop, so if you want some one to actually go with you, she's happy to do so. I cannot recommend her highly enough, she is such fun to work with! The phone number I have for her is: 510-759-3839. Best of luck! Love My Duds

One book that I've found really useful is What Not to Wear by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine (they have a TV show of the same name). It's very up-to-date and gives good advice on what clothes work best for different body types and parts. I think Nordstrom and some other major department stores also have personal shopping services that may be free. (Of course, the clothing will be pricey, though.) You may want to check them out and see what's available. -Kara

You may want to check out www.missussmartypants.com. also wardrobe-challenged

I'm really tired of looking like a schlep!

Oct 2005

I\x92m really tired of looking like a schlep! Can someone please recommend a good wardrobe/style consultant? I need someone to help me figure out what I need to get rid of; to be honest, someone patient enough to hold my hand while I go through my closet and go shopping. I also have no idea what to buy, what would look good on me (at my age!) or what\x92s even in style. Someone who will go shopping with me would be great. Sense of humor a must! Help! -Overworked and Out of Fashion.

I know JUST the person you need. Run--don't walk--to your phone and call Francesca Gentile - 510-759-3839. This is a woman with style that won't quit, and she's an *excellent* wardrobe/style consultant. She will work with you-- compassionately and enthusiastically-- to help you figure out what style works for YOU. She loves to shop, so if you need some one to go with you, she is just the person. She knows the best places to go, and her guidance is gentle, intuitive, supportive and FUN!! To top it all off, her rates are really reasonable (too reasonable, probably). You'll be so glad you hired her! Style Challenged No More

Anthea Tolomei works out of the Claremont and has a lot of satisfied clients. Her Web site is www.tolomeiandassociates.com Anon

I highly recommend Tanya Roth to help with your wardrobe needs. I started working with her when I was finishing grad school, on a tight budget, and needing a complete wardrobe overhaul. I have continued to work with her on and off for the past 3 years for both casual and professional advice. She does everything from cleaning out your closet to shopping with you. Tanya has a great eye and has helped me identify my own sense of style. I often get compliments on things we've bought together. Other friends (with different styles) have used her and rave about her abilities as well. Her number is (415)307-7646. gingerc

Micki Turner came to my home a year or so ago and hosted a wardrobing event. She brought clothes to teach us how to mix and match without having TONS of stuff. She will come and edit your closet, show you how to coordinate outfits with what you have or tell you what filler pieces you might need. She is very pleasant and very low key. She will take you shopping or just suggest where you can go to get the pieces you need. Micki can be contacted at 510-287-9110 micki at mickiturner.com Karen

I've used Bonnie Carpenter for years as a tailor/seamstress and she's been great. She recently started doing closet/wardrobe consultation. While I haven't used those services yet, (it's only a matter of time!) I'm sure she'd be great. Here's her contact info:
Bonnie Carpenter-Fine Clothing (510) 652-6936 4412 Piedmont Ave Oakland, CA 94611

Kathleen Chenard is the most fun person I know. She's also mature and I trust her guidance. She's practical, grounded, intuitive and thoughtful. She's got a whole room of clothes at her beautiful home for you to try on and figure out what looks good. She used to sell insurance and wear her cowboy boots on the weekends. So she understands work / weekends / and travel. Rebecca

Need help ferreting out my wardrobe

July 2005

I need someone who will help go through my several closets of clothes, and help me decide what I should wear, what I shouldn't wear, and what pieces I need to make other pieces complete - all keeping to my style which ranges the gambit of preppy, sporty, elegant, and classic - and quality. There are personal shoppers, but that is not what I need. There are people trying to jazz me up past what is comfortable, and what is my style, and that is not what I need. I already own a lot of stuff that just doesn't fit my stlye, and I need help ferreting it all out, Once these decisions have been made, I want to organize and list everything that should go together, and how it should go together, and take pictures. Is there such a person? Thanks for your help. Appreciative

There is such a person! Francesca Gentile (pronounced jhen-tee-lay) is a wonderful wardrobe coach. She possesses amazing style and creativity, but is also extremely intuitive and sensitive to what works for YOU. She may give suggestions, but these will be based on *your* personal style, not just her own. You can reach her at (510) 759-3839. She is WONDERFUL to work with, and has been very helpful and inspiring to me, personally! Unrepentant Clothes Horse

Micki Turner came to my home a year or so ago and hosted a wardrobing event. She brought clothes to teach us how to mix and match without having TONS of stuff. She will come and edit your closet, show you how to coordinate outfits with what you have or tell you what filler pieces you might need. She is very pleasant and very low key. She will take you shopping or just suggest where you can go to get the pieces you need. Micki can be contacted at 510-287-9110 micki at mickiturner.com Karen

You just described EXACTLY my friend's business! She was the personal shopper at Macy's in Corte Madera for years and now has her own consulting business doing closet grooming. Here is the process in her own words: ''First, we empty the closet entirely. Next, I meet her ''friends'': pieces of clothing or accessories that are NOT to be discarded under any circumstance (i.e., the dress she wore when proposed to, never to fit into or wear again). Then we go through each item remaining and try bunches on, creating massive piles: alterations and dry cleaning, donations and/or resale potential, keepers, etc. We talk about lifestyle, needs, social events and so on. Then I organize and put everything back, creating a new wardrobe, wearable, affordable and accessible. I take photographs and will make lists and suggest outfits (things the person hiring me never would have thought of themselves). Everyone I have ever done this for says it's fun, painless and ultimately saves them money. I charge a fee of $100 an hour, portal to portal. As you know, I love helping people get the most out of what they have and building on that.'' Contact Marsha Silberstein of 'Style Smart Fashion Services''

I need What Not To Wear'' help

Feb. 2004

Have you seen that TV show on BBC America called ''What Not To Wear''? The episodes I've watched involved style consultants helping a tired mom re-vamp her wardrobe and her whole sense of style. I need this. Do you know of anyone in the Bay Area that does this? I know Nordstrom has a personal shopper - but I need more help than that. I need someone to come to my house, look at me in my clothes and tell me what to toss and what to buy next time. Thanks in advance. Tired Mom

I know a great Personal Shopper. She does just what you asked for and has a wonderful website which describes her services and provides contact information. Her name is Micki Turner and her website is: http://www.mickiturner.com

Hi, I have a friend who has been doing fashion consulting for her friends for awhile and is now branching out to other clients. I asked her about your post, and she said she would love to help. Her name is Lisa Lamoureaux and her e-mail is: Lisalamoureux at earthlink.net Good luck, Michelle

I can't recommend my friend, Tracy Miller, highly enough. She is incredibly gifted at helping people find new clothes that fit their own style at their own budget - and she's great at going through people's closets to help them find new ways of using their existing wardrobe. As she puts it, you'd be surpised by your own treasures. She's helped me (so I can speak from experience) as well as countless other women. You'll be sooo happy after working with her - she's a great wardrobe consultant/buyer and she's also fun, funny and nice to boot! Feel free to e-mail me for more information - or just e-mail her directly. Tracy Miller - tlmiller00 at yahoo.com How fun for you - I'm jealous...

More Recommendations

Oct. 1999

You can meet with a personal shopper for free at the big dep't stores (I liked the one at Nordstrom's--no sales pressure) and while they won't look through your closets :) you can get ideas on what looks good and if you bring in items that you want to find something to go with, they can help with that. Deborah

I have used Brenda Kinsel for style consultation, closet cleanout, and clothing purchase. She is based in Marin but makes housecalls to the East Bay. She's very warm and friendly to work with and has a sharp eye that helped a great deal when I was trying to hone my clothing style. She charges by the hour and, though it does add up, my experience has been that it's well worth it, especially when cleaning the closet out for the first time in many years. Her number is (415) 456-3332. April

I have spoken with a friend of mine about your request, and I gave her your e-mail address. But I know her e-mail connection can be tentative at times, so I thought I'd give you her info as well. Her name is Francesca Gentille, and she's a very good personal style and wardrobe consultant. I owe a lot of my own style to her coaching many years ago. And she's very good at style on a budget as well, so you needn't worry about her recommending that you start over and buy only things from Gumps, for instance! She has built her own excellent wardrobe with very little cash outlay, usually purchasing things on sale and at Thrift stores and the like. Additionally, she's fun and personable, and I think you'll find her easy to work with. Her phone number is 465-2320, and her e-mail (though less reliable) is mfgds at yahoo.com.

Hope this is helpful! Dawn