Urban Darling Interview

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Every woman's said it at some point or another: "I have nothing to wear." Enter the geniuses at Urban Darling, a styling company based in California. The team of expert wardrobe stylists is all about putting the "fun" back in your functional closet, eliminating pieces that are no longer relevant to you and helping you build a more useful, flattering wardrobe.

LovetoKnow had the pleasure of speaking with Urban Darling wardrobe stylist Tanya Roth to glean a few valuable tips and tricks for keeping our wardrobes fresh, as well as some inside information on the company and its services.

The Closet Purging Process

LoveToKnow (LTK): How does the process of purging one's closet work?

Urban Darling (UD): We have a process we call "Purge, Merge and Splurge."

  1. The first step is to go through a client's closet evaluating each piece for the keep, tailor, donate or toss piles. Unlike many services, we don't have hard and fast rules, like always tossing a piece that has not been worn in six months. I do like to remind my clients who are reluctant to donate a piece that doesn't suit them that the piece does no good hanging unused in their closet, but it can be of use to others once it is donated to a charity.
  2. Then, they can think about buying a substitute they will really use! We finish with "merchandizing" the closet by grouping like clothes (jeans together, tops together, black tie together), organizing by season and color and making sure accessories are easily accessible.
  3. Once a closet is less cluttered, we help clients make the most of what they already have by suggesting new combinations, mixing and matching accessories and identifying exactly what new pieces will be most useful to purchase.

The final step is, of course, splurge! Since everyone is spending carefully these days, having our help to choose which additions will be most necessary, last the longest, and be truly enjoyable for years to come will actually help women save money, even while shopping for new, beautiful, wonderful things!

Functional Fashion Advice

Knowing When to Keep or Toss Clothing

LTK: What do you say to women who are reluctant to part with some of their more "treasured" items - the jeans they wore to a concert two decades ago, for example, or a handbag that's seen better days?

UD: Unlike our TV counterparts everyone is familiar with, we believe that you should keep the sentimental things you treasure. Now, a too-small pair of acid wash jeans might require some discussion. On the other hand, I had a client who still kept a few skirts from her honeymoon (c. 1996) hanging in her closet. Rather than toss them or allow them to take up valuable hanger space that should go to the cute tops and useful little jackets she reaches for everyday, I suggested she wrap her honeymoon mementos in tissue and store them in an accessible but little used corner shelf. She was delighted with the compromise!

Update Wisely

LTK: Now more than ever, it's important to spend wisely. What advice do you have for women who want to update their wardrobes for summer but don't want to overspend?

UD: Accessories are the easiest way to update a look. The strong heel or gladiator sandal will update a full skirt that might be in your closet from a few seasons back. A pop of neon color in a soft bag or scarf will bring you that hip '80s feeling without forcing you into a legging and shoulder pad combo that might not work (for anyone not an Olsen twin). Finally, I personally am going to do an embellished shoe (I can never pass up a wonderful shoe, Sarah Jessica and I have that in common) with my skinny jeans from last year and my new, longer boyfriend blazer.

Choose Fashions for Your Style

LTK: Women are all different, of course, but what is the one style tip that you find applies to just about everyone?

UD: Dress for yourself, not your man, job or a trend! Take a good look at your body, coloring and life and buy accordingly. If you follow this example (I hate to use the word "rule," I think rules are made to be broken!) you don't even really have to worry about age. Buy what really works on your body and you will stay true to yourself. That's how you find style. Or, as Coco Chanel said, "Fashion changes, style remains."

About Urban Darling

LTK: Urban Darling is such a brilliant concept, and it really seems to fill a void in the fashion world. How did the idea come about?

UD: Our founder and president, the stylish and eternally entrepreneurial Corinne Phipps, founded Urban Darling in 2006. She noticed a need for women to have access to a kind of real life What Not to Wear. Corinne saw that busy doctors, lawyers, CEOs and even stay at home moms here in Silicon Valley needed someone whom they could trust for expert but relevant advice. Urban Darling strives to make clients' daily lives easier and just a little bit nicer by organizing their often overflowing closets and teaching them to express their personalities through their style. Style is an art form that everyone can participate in, everyday.

LTK: Do you offer options for women who may not be local enough to take advantage of your shopping trip service?

UD: We cover most of the San Francisco Bay Area; but we've had clients as far north as Sonoma, and as far south as Los Angeles. If a client is out of our area, we can work out an online consult as we have done for clients as far away as Arizona. It is so important to us that each service we do is personal and tailored specifically help each individual woman. If we can do that remotely, we will.

Urban Darling's unique services have carved them a niche in today's marketplace. To learn more, visit the website at: urbandarling.com.

Urban Darling Interview