Archives for January 2017


by Traci McBride

“Fashion is made to become unfashionable.” Coco Chanel

Just because retailers sell it and push and tell you “everyone” must have this season’s trend, don’t buy into it. Look at it from an image consultant’s perspective. Having been in women’s closets for a few years now, I tend to see the aftermath of buying into designer and retailer hype.

Yes, I know it’s hard to resist sometimes — it’s cute, you see it everywhere, it’s displayed in clever arrangements at the stores, the style and fashion TV and print media bury you in smart glossy photos and tell you THIS will make you stylish! Heck, even Clinton Kelly (“What Not to Wear”) has admitted that, as an editor for a fashion magazine, he had suggested all women need to wear red lipstick to be sexy! (The lipstick company was a major advertiser.) Now he will tell you that that was a lie — only wear red lipstick if you have a nice mouth and white teeth, as that will be the focus. If red doesn’t enhance your skin and mouth, DON’T wear it!

Figure 1: Much too young to become carbon copies of each other. What sets you apart from the crowd?

A common sight I find in closets is “garment orphans,” which women will admit were attempts to look stylish gone wrong. They end up either not being able to pull a complete outfit together with the item, or each time they put it on they didn’t feel comfortable enough in it to confidently pull it off, so they would take it off, hang it up, and eventually they stopped trying it on all together.

All of this investment in you ends up being wasted. Studies show women have in their closets at any one time $6,000 to $10,000 worth of garments, accessories, shoes, etc, but they only wear $2,000 to $4,000 of it! Now I’m all for investing in yourself — but investing in a wardrobe that flatters your lifestyle, your body shape, your personality, your skin tone and your budget is the key to wise investing and longevity.

The other common situation is playing it safe and ending up with a sea of black garments with pops of color, which often drains your color, imagination, creativity, resulting in your looking older, bored, stuck and exhausted. Many women only own and wear solid blouses, solid pants, solid jackets and solid shoes. Good lord, where is the inspiration? Heck, even bankers deserve to show some personality!

No one I know is born with a style manual — it is a learned talent (thankfully). Let yourself off the hook. You do not have to be great at everything! If I need a landscape design, I hire a designer; when I need to do my taxes, I hire a CPA; when I need an electrician, I hire one! The point is knowing that you need help, a little or a lot. Many times it’s a fresh perspective that is needed: to look at you and your shape and your proportion while listening to your goals and wishes and understanding your day-to-day lifestyle, all the time evaluating with you all the components of your wardrobe. This will establish your Signature Style Recipe and the nuts and bolts of creating it.

So while a Closet Detox is the first step, it certainly isn’t the only step needed. Your personal brand is an ever-changing journey as we elevate, mature, and develop into the next stage of our lives. The best part is that you can begin at any point and any age.

Traci McBride is the wardrobe stylist of TeeMcBee Image Consulting and is a longtime supporter of nonprofit Dress for Success-Cleveland. She encourages readers to subscribe to her timely newsletter, schedule a style strategy call, or request Tee Speaks to infuse your staff or organization with a passionate professional punch of style to elevate and benefit everyone. Visit to connect and be inspired.