Amy Hairston of Wilmette knew she needed help when it came to the contents of her closet, and nominated herself for our fashion makeover.
Between taking care of her kids and getting back to work, she didn’t have a lot of time for shopping. She honestly would rather be doing something outdoors with her family than spending the day at the mall. But as she eases back into the workforce as an independent contractor in the medical field, she realized her wardrobe needed an update.
Enter, Mollie Milano, cofounder of Style Spies, who met Hairston at her North Shore house to first clean out her closet. Milano flipped through the hangers, deleting anything worn out, outdated, or ill fitting. She also kept in mind Hairston’s request to mix and match old pieces with new, pulling out blouses, tanks, and bottoms to incorporate into their afternoon shopping trip. After taking inventory of the apparel, she moved onto Hairston’s summer shoe collection, purging anything over-worn and making note of what shoe basics would need to be to purchased.
Once the mix-and-match items were bagged, they constructed their plan of attack for Westfield’s Old Orchard Mall—Nordstrom for shoes, J.Crew and Banana Republic for clothing and accessories. The objective was to find items that would be both appropriate for Hairston’s visits to hospitals around the country, and for spending time with her family. “We picked stores that aren’t crazy expensive, but sell contemporary and classic pieces,” explains Milano. “We’re looking for quality and versatility.”
After hours of shopping, Hairston’s wardrobe was replenished with fresh denim, shoes, jewelry and work wear basics. With items like a poppy-colored blazer and blouse and emerald suede flats, Milano ensured this new wardrobe installment had plenty pops of color. But she also counterbalanced these vibrant colors with neutral items like nude sandals and a navy jacket.
Equipped with numerous shopping bags and a new boost of confidence, Hairston was very excited about her new purchases. “I feel prepared for work now,” Hairston rejoiced. “I’m looking forward to my next work trip, so I can wear all my new clothes.”
5 Must-Have Pieces for Every Wardrobe
|1. Colored or metallic flats A pair of these can make it easy to dress up a basic outfit and look chic in a flash|
2. A pair of dark skinny jean These are the base of any great outfit. Keeping them dark and skinny keeps the look classic and easy to dress up or down
3. Statement necklaces As with metallic or colored flats, one of these can take an otherwise ho-hum outfit to the next level. Also statement necklaces can really show your personality!
4. Black, white or navy blazer Blazers top off any outfit and classically dress them up. You can put a blazer with jeans, dresses, maxi skirts, pencil skirts, shorts—the list goes on! And the right one can be super slimming.
5. Long boyfriend cardigan Throw one of these on year round to look both cozy and chic at the same time. Try one in a pop color to brighten up your black cardi routine.
Meet the Expert
Milano’s resume is anchored by two of the Midwest’s most renowned fashion resources: Mark Shale and Shopbop.com. As her family grew (she is the proud mom of Griffin, 4, and Gemma, 2) and resituated in Deerfield, she took a step back from the daily grind of being a buyer and started Style Spies where she serves as both a personal shopper and closet consultant.
Biggest Fashion Faux Pas on the North Shore: It’s a toss-up between moms wearing their teenage daughters’ clothes (just because you can fit into it, doesn’t mean you should wear it) and jeans with too much bling. That trend has passed. Believe me, you won’t see it in NY or LA.
Fashion Trend Women 40+ Should Embrace: Skinny jeans. You don’t have to be a toothpick to wear them! They’re so versatile—rolled up in the summer with flats, and then in the fall/winter they slide into boots for a sleek look.