The M Dash

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Do Your Home/Work: At-home Personal Styling with MM’s Caroline Brown

May 07, 2016

If the idea of a personal stylist both intrigues and terrifies you, we can relate—and we also have the solution. Home/Work is MM’s new at-home styling service led by Caroline Brown. To be clear: Caroline is not some Voguette who’s going to look down on your closet from her towering Louboutins (please, she knows those things are way too uncomfortable to work in). Rather, she’s a laid-back lady with a corporate background who understands the subtle codes of dressing for office life. Her goal: to breathe new life into your wardrobe by helping you do more with what you already own.

At-home personal styling

See! She’s super nice.

Whether you want to fill in a few holes in your wardrobe or you need a massive closet edit, Caroline will get the job done. She recently paid a visit to customer Darin Kingston, a senior portfolio manager at a Manhattan non-profit that works on development projects like this. Here’s what went down.

The 15-minute Phone Consultation

During a quick phone call, Caroline learned about Darin’s style and her wardrobe challenges. Darin’s work schedule ranges from super-casual days in her NYC office to multi-day trips to Washington, D.C. “At our New York office, I can wear whatever, even jeans. But when I’m in D.C., it’s the opposite end of the spectrum and I need traditional work clothes,” says Darin. Her goal: “To bridge that divide and find a middle ground that feels professional—and is differentiated from what I’d wear on the weekend.”

at-home personal styling

Fancy meeting you here.

The Closet Assessment

When Caroline got to Darin’s apartment, the first step was a ten-minute journey through her closet.

Caroline: Most women only wear 20 percent of their wardrobe. Our job is to figure out why you aren’t wearing that other 80 percent, and then get some of those pieces back into play.

Darin: For some things, I’m just bored of them. I’ve amassed a ton of white shirts and black skirts over the years, but I don’t particularly like any of them. I wish I could say, “Oh, I buy all my work dresses in Papua New Guinea when I’m traveling,” but that’s definitely not true. Most of my work clothes are from J.Crew, Steven Alan, Zara, or Madewell, which is kind of uninspired. And then I have some pieces that I really like, but I don’t quite know how to wear them.

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Darin: I really want to figure out what to do with this blazer, but somehow it’s just not working for me. I like the shape and the color, but it looks very Designing Women, right? And then there’s my Michael Jackson blazer…

at-home personal styling

Caroline assesses Darin’s “Michael Jackson” blazer.

Caroline: We can make this work. The key is to pair it with something neutral, but not too casual. If you’re tired of your white shirts and black skirts, we can fill that hole with pants or a top that is simple but still interesting.

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Caroline: It’s really important to get to the back-back-back of the closet—the place where you haven’t looked since you moved in.

Darin: Yeah, I haven’t worn a lot of these things in six months, or probably longer.

Caroline: It can be scary back there, but this is what Home/Work is all about.

The Try-on Session

Once they took stock of Darin’s current wardrobe, it was time to start styling and discovering new outfits within the depths of her closet. She wanted to fill in some holes in her wardrobe, so Caroline brought over a few MM pieces to mix and match with Darin’s existing work clothes.

at-home personal styling

Aha! Darin’s Designing Women jacket just needed an elegant white shirt and a slim black trouser.

During the session, Caroline snapped iPhone photos of all the looks she created for Darin.

Caroline: Having a second set of eyes on your closet makes a huge difference. It’s nice to bounce ideas off of somebody, and then afterwards, you’ll have a record of all the outfits we made.

at-home personal styling

Darin in the Vreeland top and her own red “sassy” skirt.

Caroline: How do you feel in this? Is it something you’d actually wear to work?

Darin: I would wear this on a day when I have something fun to do after work. I would never have thought to put this top and this skirt together, but it actually looks really cool.

Caroline: Amazing. I always feel like I’ve struck gold when someone says that.

The Recap

at-home personal styling

Darin in the Apfel shirt and Caroline in the Masha dress.

Major success. After they worked their way through Darin’s closet, Caroline and Darin reviewed the outfits they’d created and identified which long-neglected pieces Darin should keep versus donate.

The result: a more streamlined closet and 10 new outfits that Darin didn’t even realize she already owned. The day after the appointment, Caroline sent Darin her digital look book, so she’d know exactly how to put these looks together on her own.

Darin’s Digital Look Book

at-home personal styling

Darin’s favorite black blazer + Davis top (ink drop) + Williamsburg skirt

at-home styling service

Apfel shirt + Darin’s floral skirt

at-home personal styling

Apfel shirt + Darin’s floral skirt + Dietrich jacket

at-home personal styling

Darin’s jean jacket + white shirt + Broadway belt + Greenpoint skirt

at-home personal styling

Darin’s “Designing Women jacket” + Thatcher shirtNakamura trouser

at-home personal styling

Darin’s “Michael Jackson jacket” + Thatcher shirtNakamura trouser

at-home personal styling

Vreeland top + Darin’s red “sassy” skirt

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Sant Ambroeus jardigan + Darin’s striped dress

One hour. 10 outfits. Zero stress. That’s how the Home/Work team rolls.

Live in NYC and want Caroline to whip your wardrobe into shape? We don’t blame you. Book your appointment here.

Photos by Frances F. Denny

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