The Power of the Way We Dress 

04 Sep 2023

A local stylist is on a mission to help others feel more confident and comfortable at every stage in life

By Danielle Harris  »  Photos by Carin Hall

Have you ever walked into your closet and thought to yourself “I have so many clothes, but nothing to wear?” If the answer is yes, you're hardly alone. Over time it can be easy to accumulate a wardrobe full of jeans that we hope to fit into again one day, outdated business attire from a past job or garments that have been purchased for a single event and never worn again. As a professional wardrobe stylist here in Wilmington, most of my clients reach out in need of help because they have a closet full of clothes that no longer resonate with them. 

The way we dress impacts the way we feel, how we’re perceived by others and even the opportunities that come our way. When we feel unaligned with our personal style it can significantly compromise our identity and confidence. 

Post-Pandemic Style

During the pandemic, most people (me included) resorted to leisurewear, but when the world began to “open up” again, the idea of style and fashion had completely changed. Embracing our new normal, getting dressed became either the least of our worries or—in the case of my clients’—the biggest. For some, weight had fluctuated, face masks were turned into fashion accessories and social media influencers were suggesting that our beloved high-waisted skinny jeans were out of style. “Normal” clothes were no longer comfortable to our liking and somehow, we became older in the blink of an eye without a clue how to dress the part. The concept of putting together every day outfits became anxiety-inducing. Others said they would rather stay home than have to figure out what to wear to an event. But curating outfits from your wardrobe should feel like an opportunity to have fun and express who you are rather than a reason to avoid what you enjoy doing.

The accumulation of unused, dated and overly worn clothing in our wardrobes can often act as a representation of stages in our lives. Through one-on-one personal styling I have learned that many individuals have experienced a significant life change during the last few years. Whether starting a new job, moving across the country, having a baby, retiring, dating or grieving the loss of loved ones, life transitions have encouraged clients to seek out styling services in an effort to elevate the way they present themselves. 

With a series of sessions including closet detoxing, personal shopping and event styling, I help my clients level up their wardrobe and confidence to accommodate their new lifestyle needs. This process typically starts with a closet detox—the oftentimes daunting task of eliminating clothing that no longer serves the person at this point in their life. 

Closet Detoxing Made Easy

  • Have a plan and know your objective- doing a closet detox on a whim, without a clear goal can easily get overwhelming. 
  • Make 3 piles: one for keeping, one for donating, one for altering. 
  • First, inspect your garments for stains, holes, pilling, fading and poorly constructed seams—these belong in your donate pile (yes, even if you love it). 
  • Consider the way each garment makes you feel—do you shy away from it because the fabric makes you feel restricted or frumpy? Donate! Or do you love the garment on your body, but avoid wearing it because you don’t know how to style it? Call me!
  • Only alter things that are still in good condition, modern in style and just a size or two too large—one can only alter so much without compromising the integrity of the fabric. 
  • As you go through the rest of your wardrobe, curate a list of needs to fill in the gaps that will allow you to curate cohesive outfits. 
  •  Put your garments back in your wardrobe all facing in the same direction. As you wear them and put them back on the hanger, place it facing in the opposite direction. In 6 to 12 months, identify what you haven’t worn and consider donating. 

Next comes the fun part—shopping! Many people dislike shopping because they don’t feel good in their own skin. It’s a difficult experience to be in a store dressing room trying on a garment you thought you loved, only for it to highlight every detail it shouldn’t. To alleviate these stressors, I pre-select clothing complimentary to my clients’ body types, color analysis and style preferences. I work hands-on, helping them to understand why a garment works for their shape and proportions or why it doesn’t. My goal is to make the personal shopping experience easier and more fun than ever! 

What Our Style Says About Who We Are

Everyone has heard the phrase “first impressions last” at some point in their life. For centuries, fashion has played a large role in the way we perceive others. Clothing and the way it’s styled helps us identify occupations, influences our perception of social status and allows us to express who we are without having to say anything at all. The expression of personal style can also provide a sense of belonging to a community, or it can be used to convey individuality. That’s the thing about having a personal style—you get to make the decision of how you want the world to see you! 

There are limitless reasons why someone may be apprehensive when it comes to exploring a new style. Never-ending changes in trends, the thought of being a different size and simply not knowing where to begin are common fears when it comes to shopping for new clothes. That’s why I designed The Modified Style to help clients define their style in a way that feels effortless. I love watching the transformation of confidence in my clients. Seeing an individual blossom from being frustrated with their everyday wardrobe to representing who they truly are through their personal style is an experience everyone deserves. While trends are always changing, what remains the same is that the way we dress has the ability to persuade the way others feel about us and the way we feel about ourselves. The truth is, the clothes in our wardrobes can say a lot about who we are, how we feel and where we’ve been/are going in our lives. They tell our story. So, what is your outfit telling the world?

Follow The Modified Style on Instagram (@themodifiedstyle) or reach out for a consultation online at themodifiedstyle.com. 

Danielle Harris, owner of The Modified Style, is a wardrobe stylist local to the Wilmington area. After completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Business Administration at UNCW, she obtained a Personal Styling Certification from New York Institute of Art and Design. She launched her brand, The Modified Style, in November 2021 and has been working one-on-one with clients, helping them feel more confident through the expression of personal style! 

Prev Post FALLing in Love with Wilmington 
Next Post So Much More Than a Garden Center
Divas Las Vegas
Best Of 2024 L