The Hip Mom Gets Styled
My experience working with personal stylist Kelly Mize Holley
Ah, wardrobes. Whether you love clothes or loathe contemplating what to wear every morning, being a mom complicates your relationship with clothing. First, there’s the obvious getting pregnant thing, which wreaks havoc on your ability to get dressed for nine whole months. Then there’s the postpartum blahs where you don’t know what size to wear. And then there’s the whole baby thing! Why wear anything besides your old sorority sweatshirt when you’re just going to get puked on, pooped on and probably aren’t going anywhere fancy anyway? Rinse and repeat this cycle for a few kids, and your wardrobe might be entirely comprised of a few random things thrown in from Target runs, and a dress or two left from your pre-kid period. How in the heck are you supposed to show up somewhere looking civilized?
Of course you can go shopping – but unless you’ve got a sitter or a very patient kid, plus a trusted friend to assess whether those jeans make your bum look good, trying stuff on and actually having the mental capacity to make a decision is virtually impossible. And where do you shop? Saks? Walmart? Who knows!
Online Style Services
Now, there are some great services out there, like Stitch Fix, where a stylist from afar assesses a battery of questions and sends you selections based on your responses. So great in theory – but the offerings I’ve gotten are so inconsistent that I simply gave up after trying to convince myself that that rust-colored gypsy shirt was really cute and trendy. I also tried Rent the Runway, where for a monthly fee you can rent super-expensive designer clothing, then simply return items to be cleaned. I ordered a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress, a super hot (on the model) Italian jumpsuit, and an adorable Trina Turk lace eyelet dress that looked perfect for that summer cocktail party in the Hamptons I will likely never attend. Oh, friends! I can’t even post pictures, because everything looked absolutely ridiculous — like I played dress-up in my rich eccentric aunt’s attic. Perhaps it’s my dwarfish proportions, but everything I try on is simply laughable, and completely inappropriate for my grimy mom life.
So what’s my answer? It’s obvious: I hire a personal stylist! Hahahaha, you’re laughing, I know, because you think that hiring a stylist is only for glamazons like Gwyneth and Kendall, but not suburban hausfraus. But guess what? Here in little old Tulsa there is a little-known treasure by the name of Kelly Mize Holley. You may have been into Kelly’s former store on Peoria, the sartorial paradise “Little Black Dress.” Every time I went into Little Black Dress, I was struck not only by Kelly’s preternatural good taste, but how readily she can size up any woman and instinctively know what looks great on her. Several of the times I went to the store, she chose items I would have passed over — and I ended up wearing them all the time! After many years working retail hours, Kelly made the decision to close her store and focus on her love of helping individuals with their wardrobes and closets. When she asked me to be one of her “guinea pig” clients, I leapt at the chance!
Kelly Mize Holley
I’m a little embarrassed to bring Kelly into my closet, but she’s seen it all. My wardrobe consists of a mishmash of pre- and post-pregnancy clothing, random stuff from Amazon, and the odd expensive dress that I ran out to grab when PVT had a surprise work thing. Kelly sizes up my closet and needs for summer and early fall, we discuss what my price tolerance is for various items of clothing, and then we schedule a follow-up date.
And then lo, a few weeks later, she shows up with a rack brimming with clothes from some of my favorite Tulsa boutiques: On a Whim, Pardon My French, J. Cole, Posh, and Aberson’s, among others — Kelly has cultivated a working relationship with many Tulsa stores. And wow! What a selection! I find several casual dresses perfect for sweaty summers chasing kids, some cute jeans with fringe I can wear to an upcoming concert at the BOK (Kelly astutely realizes these need just the slightest bit of hemming!), some great versatile tops, and some hot pink jeans I never would have been brave enough to try — but they work perfectly! Plus, she finds some espadrilles I live in (she just gets my funky taste in outlandish shoes), some gorgeous red-studded heels for a mere $30, and a cute little crossbody purse for going out.
She also emails me a slew of other suggestions for when my budget allows from online stores like Nordstrom, Revolve, DL 1961 (a new-to-me premium jeans brand) — all things that will work for my crazy carpool of a life. She also suggests some inexpensive lucite earrings and jewelry from BaubleBar, a spunky jewelry website.
Plus, she knows several tricks I don’t: for example, how to pair a top that would otherwise reveal a bit too mucho with a black cami (she picks up one for me at Muse Intimates at Utica Square). And she gets me little tiny doodads which clip together errant bra straps — a genius hack I would never have known.
She also takes a look at what I have currently and pairs outfits in novel combinations — and takes pictures for me so I remember. She also suggests affordable velvet hangers on Amazon that are non-slip and make my closet so easy to organize and visualize. A week later, she returns with a couple exchanges and my hemmed pants — so I have a completely new and invigorated wardrobe with things I love and which fit perfectly — without having left my house!
While my wardrobe issues were more about building up and filling in, Kelley has helped other clients purge: Some people are still holding on to treasured outfits from high school that no longer fit or just aren’t practical. She’ll go through everything and honestly but brutally pare down what needs to go. She also offers services like helping you pack for trips, and is even launching a program where she shops for clients in other cities like Dallas!
Kelly’s rates are on her website, kellymizeholleystyle.com — her rates are really reasonable, given all the one-on-one time she spends. (I continue to get emails and texts from her with darling outfits and suggestions for me!) So now that back to school is finally here, take some time to fix up your wardrobe. If you’re in a fashion rut this fall and you’re craving a bit of SJP-like pixie dust, or your closet looks like Where the Wild Things Are, give Kelly a call! You’ll be amazed at how great you feel when your clothes just work!