How To Build Your Wardrobe

build wardrobe

Join entrepreneur Ellen Burton as she tackles every aspect of a personal branding makeover with The Image Studios. Today, she talks about the process of building her new wardrobe.

I’ve bought clothes for years based on their beauty and their quality and always with a good deal as my motivation. But unfortunately, I rarely bought clothes thinking about what would best communicate my “me” to the rest of the world. I was taught that as long as I owned a few classic pieces they would wear well and always be “in style.”

What I learned from working with The Image Studios wardrobe stylist, Maegan Zarley, is that I should dress for my energy level and not necessarily my chronological age. Formerly, the clothing I chose was beautiful and well-made but didn’t express who I am. It was shapeless which made me look bigger and most of my clothes were dated. My biggest fear was that with too much makeup, too much perfume and inappropriate clothing I’d look like I was desperately grabbing for my youth. So I chose the other extreme: Minimalist. Conservative. Boring.

My wardrobe experience kicked-off with Maegan visiting my closet. We went through every outfit I owned, including shoes and accessories. I tried on all of my clothing and she let me know which pieces complemented my brand and which did not. Of the pieces I kept, she made notes regarding alterations that would update the piece and/or best accentuate my style and physique.

There are many valuable things that I learned during this process, the most important: how little my weight has to do with being attractive and expressing my personal brand. I’ve learned to view my body the way Maegan does. She’s focuses on ways to accentuate my finer points and down play anything that is distracting. It turns out (with the right bra) I have a cleavage! I don’t plan to use it much, but it sure is nice to find it at 50.

Meagan selected my core wardrobe (about 18 garments, jewelry and shoes) from my existing clothing and items she purchased within my predetermined budget. Everything is beautiful! I now have a very feminine and commanding business look. I even have a sexy, but appropriate, look for play. My image truly reflects who I am and people notice. I find I use fewer words to introduce myself.

In short, it’s working! For the first time in my life I feel beautiful in all of my clothes. I don’t just have that special outfit for that special occasion, all of my outfits are remarkable and I dress as if every occasion was special. Everything I wear is a chance to express who I am. Getting dressed is, well, fun. I actually have some confidence about this now.

To make this even better, Maegan created a “look book” of 30 outfits for me. I know which pieces to wear with what and the best accessories to choose to top it all . I use the lookbook to get ready fast and easy each day. The gallery below includes some of my ensembles. Fun!

My question: “Why didn’t I get to go shopping with Maegan and pick out some of the clothes?”



Shopping with a wardrobe consultant can, and most often is, frustrating, exhausting and discouraging. Choosing the perfect styles for your body type is difficult and because of this consultants do not shop in the leisurely way most consumers are acustomed to. Our mindset is not “Do I like this?” it is, “Does this outfit say healthy, spiritual, intelligent, wise and sensitive for Ellen?” If so, we check the cut, color, construction, fabric and price…If this works, then it’s a go!

If and when you choose to shop on your own utilize your color and body analysis for guidance.

I highly recommend engaging in “Suggested Shopping.’” When you are looking for something in particular, email me and I can give you suggestions via internet links. This will allow you to shop with some very specific direction. Because we have every piece of your wardrobe on file, and in your Lookbook, I will continue recommending styles, cuts and colors that work well with your existing wardrobe. If you get tired or bored with your first 30 looks. Fear not! A Wardrobe Remix allows me to electronically restyle all of your clothing into brand new outfits. This is the beauty of investing in a high-quality, well-fitting wardrobe as you get miles…and miles out of your clothing.



About Kali Patrice

Kali Patrice is the founder of The Image Studios, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in branding and image communication. She blogs through “Successful Expression” to share fresh ways to share insights about image, personal branding and self-expression.