Closet Clean Out

Gretta has advice for self-conscious shoppers! What did you think of Angela's overall transformation?

Gretta Monahan: I loved this episode. I love them all, but I really just adored Angela. I loved what happened to her and what she was able to express. It was amazing.

She had trouble finding business appropriate clothes.

Angela came to us with the idea - I think she was completely overwhelmed with the transition between her career as a pianist and her new career as a business owner. She was venturing into an entirely different industry. She knew immediately that she couldn't wear ball gowns to business meetings. But at the same time, there was so much more going on in her life, and there was much more depth to her story. She put herself into a box. She'd be the beauty on stage, and then immediately transform into the duckling when she walked off. She just didn't bring any glamour or style into her off-stage life. And that was previous to us arriving on the scene. She was used to saying, "No, I want to be this completely loose, floppy, undisciplined person when I'm not at work, because work takes everything out of me."

And she was suffering with body issues.

From the very first scene when Tim and I worked with her in her closet, every single thing she tried on she'd reference weight or eating. It was a big theme - a constant statement about how she had to dress in oversized maternity looking outfits because she had to leave room for weight. Tim was hearing that quite literally and I was hearing it as a statement about how uncomfortable she was with showing her body.

Do you have any advice for self-conscious shoppers?

I think it's important to know and to realize and to say, we all see ourselves from a distorted point of view. This episode shows how having an objective opinion, really tapping into people you trust - whether it be friends, the woman in the store, someone you create a relationship with - is really important. Reaching new goals style-wise sometimes requires help from a third party. Tim and I were able to do that, we were able to give Angela a look and help her to see it. And if you don't do that, then you won't be able to change. You'll be continuously limiting yourself - locking yourself down to things that are imaginary. Her body issues were clearly stated in this episode, and I think it's quite common. I own stores and I see it every day.

How do you tell a friend that a particular style or look isn't right for them?

Tim says he's a truth-teller, and for me, it's all about telling the truth. The only thing that has real value is the truth. You're not giving the participant or your friends any help by not being honest. I do, however, think it's equally important to be sensitive. Make sure you're not bombarding someone with statements that are too harsh. Just because you might want to say it all in one dose, it doesn't mean that the dose can be swallowed all at once. You'll notice in this episode in the fitting room, I knew that Tim would tell Angela his honest thoughts. I knew that that the bubble gum dress she was wearing wasn't right, but at the same time, it wasn't important that I knew it, it was more important that she did. So I gave her some encouragement - she did pick the correct silhouette, and she was going in the right direction. But I was also honest, and we discussed how she was staying in her comfort zone, which was juvenile dressing. I think when people are starting to change and transition, it's very common to take three steps forward and two steps back. It's very common to want to gravitate to something that is familiar. Symbolically that crazy color had no room in her new life wardrobe, and there were other better choices, but at that moment in time, it was familiar to her.

How often do you suggest someone take an inventory of their closet, and decided what is and what isn't needed?

I think a seasonal mini-audit to edit things out is great. In other words, take a look back and say, "what haven't I worn at all?" You don't want distraction in your wardrobe. You need to cut through that and you need to edit. We always talk about passing things on. Have a swap party. Do what ever you have to do to move things out that are dead wood and make space for things you need. You can't visually assess what you need - you can't even come to that list strategically - until you come to that edit first. It's crazy to create a list first before you've edited your closet. Do a mini-audit seasonally, and every two years, you need to go through a full audit. You really need to make a commitment - it takes Tim and I a full day to go through a closet. A full day and then some. I would say that for most people, they need a weekend of spring cleaning to get through their closets.

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Ask Gretta: Trenches and Wrap Dresses

Our style savvy source Gretta Monahan answers your fashion inquiries!

I just received a Burberry trench and it makes me look like Inspector Gadget. Do you advise having it altered? And to what length? Thank you for your time. Shazia

Hi Shazia,
I think a trench should be right to the knee. The look of a trench coat is classic, and Burberry is certainly the most classic trench you could own. Perhaps you are not a classic dresser by nature and feel a bit stuffy in a trench? I'm sure with a little tweaking of the proportions, you'll grow to love it and there are certainly ways to personalize the look. You could belt it with a different belt or use fun accessories like a great bag or killer boots to make this classic piece a part of your personal style. Good Luck!
XO, Gretta

Please speak about patterns vs. solids on a dress. I love the DVF wrap dress. What does a pattern convey vs. a solid? Do you have any guidelines for pattern size? Thank you! Hope to hear back. NP

Hi NP!
The wrap dress is an iconic piece of fashion because it's so versatile and can flatter just about any body type. I actually think a patterned DVF is more useful than a solid. I think patterns add more interest to the style and can conceal "problem areas" better than a solid, as often the jersey fabric the dresses are made of can cling — much more noticeable in a solid than a print. In terms of pattern size, a print that's not huge but not really small is ideal. I'd say that the majority of Diane Von Furstenberg prints are created with this in mind; the DVF wrap dress has been a wardrobe go-to for well over twenty years so, really, you could say the art has been perfected. Let your own eye be your guide; you're making the investment so try on what's available and see what looks best! I'm willing to bet one print will be a home run, so hit those fitting rooms!
XO, Gretta

I'm in the market for a mid-size 'investment' watch - I look better in gold but have platinum/diamond wedding bands. Are two-tone watches as classic as all stainless? I don't want to do all gold. Alexa

Hi Alexa!
I think that a two-tone style is actually more classic than all stainless. Even though your wedding bands are platinum, you also wear gold, so having both colors of metal would be more versatile for the different looks you'll want to wear the watch with. To me, it seems useless to invest in something that you won't wear all the time, particularly if it's a splurge that you're treating yourself to, so I think it makes sense to think both in terms of your everyday jewelry (wedding rings) as well as whatever trendier pieces you'll vary from look to look. Plus, mid-range stainless watches are a dime a dozen, so, if you're investing in a high end piece, I think that gold accents will also give the watch a more luxurious look.
XO, Gretta

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