Avoid the Wardrobe Malfunction

Using a wardrobe consultant

Top Tips for Stylish Seniors.

For some seniors and boomers, retirement is all about the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, while wearing whatever you want. After years of conforming to the working world – with its stuffy suits and starchy business attire – it can be a welcome relief to pull on a pair of old sweatpants and just hang out.

While it’s true that if you’re just hanging out and relaxing, it doesn’t really matter what you wear, there may be times when you need to wear something a little more formal than your favorite pair of golf shorts. There also may be times when – especially during the downsizing process – that you need to eliminate unneeded or infrequently used items to make room for belongings you will need to take with you to your new home.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Wardrobe Pro

In these and other occasions, a wardrobe consultant can be an invaluable asset. Wardrobe consultants assist their clients with a variety of issues relating to fashion. They can provide clients with suggestions to enhance their appearances and their wardrobes for special events or occasions, or assist clients in improving or downsizing their daily wardrobes.

As with any other consulting service, there are both pros and cons of hiring a wardrobe consultant.

The obvious pros are that you can improve your wardrobe, and rid yourself (and your closet) of items you no longer wear nor compliment the rest of your pieces. Qualified professionals can do so much more than help you select a collection of clothing that works with your budget. They also can provide guidance on where to shop to maximize your options, and provide tips on the best time of the season to find deals.

The cons of working with a wardrobe consultant can be the cost factor. Hourly rates for wardrobe consultants can range between $50 and $500, depending on the area in which you live. Some consultants opt to charge clients a flat fee for their services, which can end up being a better deal. To find a wardrobe consultant that fits into your budget, ask for recommendations from friends and consider checking the Upside of Downsizing’s online Resource Directory, which features businesses and services tailored to the 50-plus age group.

Too Many Clothes, Not Enough Space

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends $1,700 on apparel, footwear and related products and services each year. A separate article in Forbes estimates that the average woman owns at least 30 outfits – one for every day of the week.

However, most women – regardless of their age – only wear approximately 10 percent of the clothing that currently is hanging in their closets on a regular basis. Having that many items that are not being regularly used can cause space to be cluttered, which can turn into a real issue for seniors and boomers who want to downsize.

Wardrobe consultants can be an invaluable asset when downsizing. They can come into your home, examine your closet and drawers and assess the amount of clothing you currently own. Once they have fully scrutinized your wardrobe, they will help you to determine how many of the pieces of clothing you wear regularly, versus which ones are just taking up space.

Wardrobe consultants also can assist in showing you how to pair the number of items you own to maximize your usage of each piece. Some styles work well together, but they are pieces you may never have thought about pairing. A wardrobe consultant can help you determine just how many times you can use that favorite blouse or trousers by mixing it up with another piece you already own to create a unique look each time.

They also can offer advice on which of your items compliment your features and which are best left on the hanger or in a bag of donated items. Most of us have, at one time or another, purchased an item on a whim because we liked the pattern or colors in it; however, once we put it on, we realized it didn’t look as flattering on us as it did on the shelf in the store. Wardrobe consultants will be honest about which pieces are uniquely you, and which are best for the donation or discard piles.

Thinking Outside the Shopping Mall

Wardrobe consultants also can serve as personal shoppers for you, accompanying you to the clothing store to pick out items, or sometimes even doing the shopping for you.

If a consultant will be shopping for you, they likely will make a master list of items, colors and fabrics you prefer and which compliment your features, and then set out to find several pieces that fit the criteria. They will then bring the items to you for inspection and to try on. Anything that is not suitable can easily be returned to the store. This saves you the hassle of heading to the store yourself.

Most qualified wardrobe consultants also will introduce their clients to the world of fashion trucks. This is different than online shopping. Fashion truck shops are becoming more popular. Similar to mobile food carts, they bring the items directly to your doorstep. This can allow those who do not enjoy the traditional shopping scene – or who may have physical limitations that prevent them from comfortably shopping in a store – with options. To determine if there is a fashion truck near you, visit this website and search for your city.

Have you worked with a wardrobe consultant? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section.


Mary Spann

Mary Spann

Mary Spann is the founder and president of Upside of Downsizing®. In addition to her 26 years in construction, interior design, and home staging, Mary also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, making her uniquely qualified to assist with the downsizing process. Mary learned the key components of construction and interior design at an early age. Her father was a prominent custom home builder in Minnesota and Texas, and her mother was a successful interior designer and a real estate broker.
Mary Spann

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