Wondering how to get your working mama wardrobe back on track in the New Year?  Lani Inlander of Real Life Style is back on the Mindful Return blog ​this week with 3 ways to attack the wardrobe problem.  (Also check out her earlier Mindful Return blog posts: To Buy or Not to Buy? What’s a New Mama Between Sizes to Do About Clothes? And Take Control of Your Working Mama Closet.)  Hope you’ll join us for Mindful Return’s Wear Your Power Course, starting January 27, too!  Here’s Lani:


This is the time of year for New Year’s resolutions, or at the very least, consideration of how we would like to improve our lives just a little bit this year. I’ve been getting emails with inquiries like, “I’m a working mom looking to refresh my wardrobe this year,” for the past few weeks…and I’m excited to be able to help.

The three ways I propose to help you get your wardrobe together in 2020 are: 1) hiring a personal stylist; 2) taking our Mindful Return Wear Your Power e-course, or 3) making an appointment with a personal shopper at a department store.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s review them in detail!

Adventure 1: Hire A Personal Stylist

Why should you hire a personal stylist? As I like to say, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If you really want to overhaul your wardrobe and style in a timely, enjoyable fashion, hiring a professional to hold your hand through the process is going to get the fastest, most effective result.

At Real Life Style, for example, our goal is to take the burden off our clients.  We want to enable you to concentrate on what you do best.  Whether that’s taking care of your family, kicking butt at a law firm or company, or both simultaneously.

How long does the process take? About a day and a half total with us. For the average size wardrobe, this gets you from “I have nothing to wear” to a perfectly organized closet full of ready-made outfits that make you feel fabulous.

The advantage of using a Personal Stylist is that the service is 100 percent tailored to you.  Every one of your questions gets answered.  And even the manual labor of taking the clothes away from your house for donation and selling is handled by someone else. RLS even goes to the tailor and shoe repair for you.

The only cons are that you will have to face your closet demons in the presence of others who will (gently) ask you to edit the clothes that don’t belong there.  It’s is the most expensive of the three options. I would argue that the cost is more reasonable than most people think, as one ends up saving the amount of money spent on a stylist by not making purchasing mistakes and by getting more wear out of the clothes they do buy, in just a few shopping trips.

Adventure 2: Take Mindful Return’s Wear Your Power E-Course

In collaboration with Mindful Return, I’ve adapted my popular Wear Your Power style seminar to an online format specifically for mothers looking to refresh their wardrobes. After years of fielding requests from blog readers and others who weren’t quite ready to make the leap of hiring their own personal stylist, I finally developed a program with the advantages of a less-expensive, work-at-your-own-pace option. We are now in our second year of offering the Wear Your Power E-Course, and course participants have loved the program.

In my dream world, I’d be able to help every one of you create your ideal wardrobe in person. I would edit your closet. Take you shopping. And create perfect outfits for you. Of course, I can’t get into each of your closets. However, I’m still here to help you end the madness!

There is a sane, organized way to approach rebuilding your wardrobe that will give you both self-confidence and style. I will lead you step by step through building a new wardrobe for the new you.

“I’m tired, I have no time,” you say.

What if you could have a blueprint to your new wardrobe in one month? What’s four weeks, after all the time you have spent feeling badly about your wardrobe?

During the four-week course, you’ll get two new lessons and prompts each week (plenty of time to do your homework between lessons).  And you’ll receive feedback directly from me, a personal stylist with over 20 years of experience, and from the other mamas in the course. No shame, no blame.

Everyone will be there for the same thing: to get her style straight and her fashion groove back!

During the 4 weeks of lessons (2 new lessons per week), you’ll learn how to:

  • Take stock of your fashion journey
  • Edit your wardrobe
  • Define your style type
  • Find your Power Color
  • Shop for the 5 must-have pieces for your work wardrobe
  • Put it all together with outfit guidelines and styling tips

The next course begins January 27, 2020. Wind up busy then or fall behind? Don’t worry. Once you are registered you will have access to the course lessons even after the live course has ended. I will be with you the whole time, reviewing your style questionnaires, answering your questions, and providing feedback.

ACT FAST BONUS: The first 5 Mamas to sign up for the course will also get a free 30-minute phone consultation with me (a $200 value)!

Adventure 3: Make An Appointment with a Personal Shopper at a Department Store or Boutique

Do you have the discipline to clean out your own closet and the style chops to figure out what your wardrobe is missing? Then a personal shopper at a department store or boutique could be the answer for you.

Do you know that this service is complimentary? The personal shopper earns commission on your purchases. Some of our favorite personal shoppers in the DC area are Lena Burns at Macy’s Tysons Corner. Mary Murdoch at Nordstrom Tysons Corner. And Jan Batch at Neiman Marcus Tysons Galleria. (Feel free to e-mail me at lani@real-life-style.com for their direct contact information.) If you are looking for a boutique experience, Lisa and Emilie at Betsy Fisher in Dupont Circle are fantastic, as is Ella at Tuckernuck in Georgetown.

The advantage of a personal shopper at a store is that they will make the shopping process efficient and much less overwhelming for you.  Also, you only pay the cost of the clothes your purchase. The disadvantages are that they are limited to shopping at the store in which they work, and they usually can’t come into your closet to help you clean it out before you shop.

Which Wardrobe Adventure is Right for You?

Choose Adventure 1: Hire a Personal Stylist if you are overwhelmed by the idea of tackling your closet and wardrobe on your own, are looking for a fresh perspective on your style, regularly hire services such as a personal organizer or interior designer, and have a really tight schedule. You can put it on the calendar and have a personalized, streamlined wardrobe and a major confidence boost in 1-2 days.

Choose Adventure 2: Take the Wear Your Power E-Course, if you would like an exact blueprint for editing your own closet, defining your style type, shopping for the 5 must-haves for your work wardrobe, and putting it all together into a week’s worth of complete work outfits. An added element of fun is that you will be taking the course not just with me, but with a community of women, everyone learning together and cheering each other on. The course starts January 27, 2020 so register soon!

Choose Adventure 3: Make an appointment with a personal shopper at a department store or boutique, if you have the motivation and skill to review your closet on your own, understand your personal style type, and are clear on what you need to purchase. This means clearing out your closet of all that no longer fits or flatters. Figuring out what needs replacing. And contacting a personal shopper at a store that best matches your style and budget. The shopper can take your list, pull together a rack of clothing in your size and style, and have it all waiting for you to try on. No need to take the time browsing racks, finding sizes, or trying to find someone to help you.

Still not sure which adventure is right for you? Email me at lani@real-life-style.com and I will be happy to walk you through the options! Have a fashionable 2020!

Lani Inlander is a personal stylist who has been working with clients who want to feel their best and look put-together every day for over 20 years. You can find her in the Washington, D.C. and New York metropolitan areas. Learn how you can train with Lani to become a personal stylist at The Stylist Studio

You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on FacebookLinkedInTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.


Back to Work After BabyIf you need more help getting your head in a better place to return to work after maternity leave, join us for the next session of Mindful Return.

Want more practical tips on working parenthood?  Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave




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