Wardrobe Bliss

By Mary Beth Schwartz

Women of the Lehigh Valley are using style consultants and closet design professionals to organize their wardrobes for special occasions, work, and play

When Big presented the giant closet to Carrie  in the Sex and the City movie, women everywhere gasped. It was a heavenly vision—well lit, classic white, and über organized—a space for everything—clothing, evening wear, handbags, jewelry, accessories, and, of course, shoes. Big had the professionals create this fashion getaway for Carrie. Women of the Lehigh Valley can have it all, too.

According to  Bob Focht, president of Fleetwood-based Closet Factory, having a messy storage space in the home lowers one’s self-esteem and causes stress. A dysfunctional closet wastes time because items cannot be found easily. Making a wardrobe decision results in a headache. A cluttered closet hides items that the owner may never wear, or worse yet, have duplicates of—wasting money.

Closets in disarray are unsightly. Closet Factory’s custom closets are not only beautiful—they hold items and organize them. Lighting is an important aspect. “We have used chandeliers in the centers of closets, LED lighting in individual cabinets. Spots throughout the closet give ambiance or direct task lighting,” Focht says. Closet components make the closet interesting—belt rack, tie rack, sliding shoe shelves, ironing board, valet rods, jewelry drawers, handbag display, even a hidden ladder to use in a tall closet. A dressing room, sitting room, or a small office can be part of a closet. All of Closet Factory’s closets are fully adjustable from floor to ceiling so they can be changed around as clients’ lifestyles change.

One lifestyle change that can affect a woman’s wardrobe and closet needs is having children. Michele Hewlett* was a working mother with twins when she met style consultant Tara Roseme of My Wardrobe Style. “I saw her one day at my son’s school and commented on how nice she looked. I said I wish I could figure out how to pull everything together. Tara came in and went through my wardrobe. She filtered what was workable and what wasn’t. We were in my closet for two hours. She made it a lot of fun. We found an old jean skirt in the back of my closet. Tara said some things are workable, but this you could donate.”

After Roseme purged the closet, she made a list of key items for Michele to have in her wardrobe for work and casual dress. Then the girls went shopping. “Tara had me try on clothes that fit and looked great. She helped me to think outside of the box because I had tunnel vision when it came to my wardrobe. Now I have Tara come in every season. She suggests a couple of items I can add to my wardrobe without going over the top.”

Roseme also has helped Michele with business award dinners, as well as special occasions and travel. “I attended a black tie wedding on New Year’s Eve. Guests at the wedding said I looked great. I told them I had a wardrobe consultant and it has really helped me. They asked for her name and phone number.”

G.C., a stay-at-home mother with two girls, also called upon Roseme for her fashion expertise. “My closet and wardrobe had fallen by the wayside as I kept up with the pace of our hectic life. I had Tara reorganize my closet so that everything was properly sorted and easy to find what I needed in an instant. She made my closet feel like a fabulous dressing room that I love to be in when I get ready. Tara also coordinated outfits with items I already had to increase the number of outfits in my wardrobe. She identified key pieces to add that would balance what I already owned in order to update my wardrobe for the season. Finally, she created a photo “Look Book” of my outfits, coordinated with accessories that I can go to when I am searching for that perfect outfit when I am pressed for time.”

“Some clients have not gone through their closet in 20 years. I had a client who wanted me to come out and go through a closet. When I got there, she had three or four closets. We did it in stages. It is a cathartic experience for a lot of people to purge their closet. My goal is for them to look good and feel great,” Roseme says.

Like Roseme, Ellyn Elstein, founder and president of Creative Closets Ltd., spends hours of her time in closets. (Her nickname is “The Closet Lady.”) Elstein currently is working on a project in a house from the 1700s. “The owner’s contents are spread out all over the house. The sitting room outside the bedroom and bathroom will become a dressing room. She will get dressed in one area and have everything, including jewelry, in one area. This space will be just for the woman of the house. I inventoried all of her clothes, shoes, foldables, purses, belts, etc. Everything will be behind doors. Remember, in the 1700s there were no closets because people were taxed on them as rooms,” Elstein says.

Bedroom walk-in, bedroom reach-in, what have you, Elstein’s customers praise her exceptional work. Take Tara Knicos. Creative Closets worked on her laundry room, office/photography room, and master bedroom closet. “I wanted my walk-in master bedroom closet to be more organized. Ellyn did a wonderful job. She geared all of the hanging space depending on the type of clothes—shirts, pants, skirts, slacks, long dresses. The closet was very personalized for shoes, sweaters, belts, jewelry, ties, etc. She also created a summer side and a winter side, with a window seat in between. The closet has made a huge difference in being organized, and it is easy to update from season to season,” Knicos says.

For those who dare to tackle the closet on their own, HGTV offers a few organizational tips. One, take a closet inventory and divide articles by clothing type and season. Remove pieces to trash or donate. Two, put the items in order, lightest to darkest. Keep room in between each article of clothing to reduce wrinkling. And three, use clear stackable boxes and storage cubes with drawers to take advantage of vertical closet space.

Whether you call upon a closet design professional, style consultant or use good old-fashioned elbow grease, your dream wardrobe is waiting for you beyond those closet doors.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.

Closet Factory
7 Willow Street
Fleetwood, PA 19522

Creative Closets Ltd.
7248 Penn Drive
Allentown, PA

My Wardrobe Style

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