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Susan O. Singer - Closet Curator
by Holly Hurd - VentureMom.com
September 28, 2016

“We lived in Chicago and my husband was at work all day and my extended family didn’t live nearby. I needed to get out of the house.” So Susan walked into The Gap and said, “Here’s the deal, I can work 4 hours a day.” Her babysitter would be making more than she was but The Gap agreed to her demands. She loved the social interaction and she was a natural at outfitting customers in the clothes. “It wasn’t about the money, it was about having a foot in the professional world.” Read more...

Susan Singer Susan Singer
 




 
 


The Closet Curator: A Kinder, Gentler, Personal - and Local - Version of
'What Not To Wear
'

By Eugenie DiSerio - New Canaan Patch
February 28, 2011

Susan O. Singer says that how a woman presents herself to the world says a lot about how she feels about herself. Singer, founder and CEO of The Closet Curator, has been described as a kinder version of Stacy London, the direct and decisive host of the popular TV show, "What Not to Wear." However, Singer does not throw a client's entire wardrobe into the trash pile. "Reviewing and Renewing your Wardrobe" is the slogan of her business and her services do not require her client to buy a complete closet of new clothes. "I'll help you learn how to use and maximize what you have and fill in the blanks," she told About Town. "In the average woman's closet there are multiple outfits or "looks" she didn't even know she owned."

She said hers is not a frivilous business that targets wealthy women wearing expensive clothes and high style — it's about everyday style for everyday women.

Singer's fees are very realistic and affordable. For a little more than the price of a pair of high end brand jeans, a woman can hire Singer to coordinate her entire closet or shop with her for several hours.

"I love what I do because it's very gratifying to help women and see the change come over them as they learn how to put themselves together," she said.

Singer spent most of her 18 years in retail and styling working for GAP, Inc., including time spent working at Banana Republic, the Gap, and Gap Kids. She has worked in St. Louis and Chicago as well as in Greenwich and Westport, Connecticut. Singer has lived in New Canaan for the past 11 years, where she has checked out her friends' closets, dispensing wardrobe and shopping advice —  "for fun."She was looking to start a business of her own when her daughters both became college students.

Susan Singer

Singer's "lightbulb moment" occurred more than a year ago, when a New Canaan friend complimented her on how put together she always looked.  She created a plan and a protocol that includes her own list of wardrobe essentials, and that considers the client's budget, age and stage of life — is she a working professional or a stay at home mom? Singer assesses where her clients are before she takes them shopping in Manhattan, Soho, Westchester or in New Canaan.

Singer says some women initially feel intimidated when she comes to their home because the process becomes intimate very quickly, with a client dressing and undressing to try on clothes. But she helps clients get comfortable before they get into the closet. She meets and talks with clients first, and she asks them to sort their clothes into three piles before she arrives;  into their "go-to" clothing, their "done with" pile, and the pieces they like but are not sure how to wear.

Before getting into the retail business, Singer did social work as a community organizer and said this allows her to be able  to get a good psychological view on what the client may need and want.

Singer photographs clients as they try on outfits and creates a "Look Book." for them. She provides a personal shopping service for clients, pre-shopping and putting items on hold until a client has time to get to the store. Since she is paid by the hour, this service saves the client time and money.

"We start from where you are, then the shopping happens after we figure out what you already own," Singer said. "Again, we use what you have."

Realtor Ellen McBrearity does a seasonal closet consultation with Singer. "After a consultation, I find dressing is an exhilarating game!" she told Patch. "It gives me confidence knowing that I look put-together in a way that is right for my body, and that expresses my personality.  When the compliments start coming my way, it is just the best feeling."

Singer said husbands give her services as a gift for Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, anniversaries and birthdays. The recipient is sometimes nervous about the process, but soon becomes excited as she gets used to her new  — and not so new — clothes.

"When you look good," Singer says, "you feel good."

 


Local Outfits New Canaanites With Trendy Clothes
By Carry Schmelkin - Reporter, New Canaan Advertiser
February 7, 2010

Despite the abrasive wind and slushy sidewalks, New Canaan’s Susan Singer strolled down Elm Street last Friday clad in a sunshine yellow, cashmere sweater, a brown, tweed skirt and tall, brown boots.

“I loved fashion from an early point,” she told the Advertiser. “I was always interested in it and had an affinity for it.” This passion for apparel led the 10-year resident to launch her own business — The Closet Curator — a few months ago. With the help of Singer, individuals can sift through  their closets to determine which essential items are missing, discuss how to rework old pieces of clothing and figure out where to shop for new looks.

Already having helped several locals, as well as residents from neighboring towns, Singer said she enjoys helping women find looks that they find comfortable and flattering.

“It’s something I naturally enjoy,” she said of her new job. “It’s not something that is a chore or that I have to force myself to do.”

After spending nearly 15 years in retail, working mostly as a stylist with Gap, Inc., Singer was looking for the “next chapter of life,” especially with her 20-year-old daughter already in college and her 17-year-old daughter headed there this fall, she said.

Shopping

Looking for a job that would be both rewarding and flexible, Singer sought a way to turn a life-long interest into a profitable venture.

“For years I had been going into my friends’ closets and shopping with them,” she said, “I thought I could make a business out of this.”

“A lot of people have closets that are jam-packed with things they don’t wear,” she added. “I ask them to go through and find what they are going to get rid of, what they wear constantly and what they have but they don’t know how to use.” 

Singer meets with clients to develop a wardrobe inventory, by sorting clothes in piles and figuring out what items need to be purchased. Individuals wishing to buy new clothes can book Singer. Singer will take clients to a range of shops from mom-and-pop New Canaan stores to the Stamford Town Center to Soho in New York City.

With the mission of “reviewing and renewing your wardrobe,” The Closet Curator helps eliminate outdated garments and update wardrobes with selected new pieces.

“Even though it seems like a frivolous thing, it can be so gratifying because you make people feel great about themselves,” Singer said. “You transform their attitude, their look and their feelings about themselves, and that’s a fantastic feeling.”

Singer said she still recalls several occasions in which she uplifted customers’ attitudes by helping them find more
figure-flattering clothes.

A “heavier” customer came to Banana Republic in Greenwich, where Singer was working at the time, with a “defeatist
feeling,” searching for an outfit for a fund-raising event, Singer said.

The curator dressed the woman from head to toe, finding her a black wrap dress, a textured necklace and high heel
shoes.

“I put her in an outfit appropriate for her. She walked out of that store like I had transformed her,” Singer said, with a
smile.

New Canaan’s Ellen McBrearity said she has also benefited from Singer’s style suggestions.

After spending three hours leafing through her closet with Singer, McBrearity said she was able to determine which clothes to toss aside and which ones to modify to better accommodate her petite frame.

“I was surprised by what she retrieved from my discarded pile that I had,” McBrearity said.

“I learned to pair my current clothes with scarves, belts or pops of color underneath,” she added, noting that she was able to salvage a slightly bigger safari green jacket by tying a saddle brown belt around it.

With help from Singer, McBrearity also realized that she was missing essential items such as thin tank tops to wear under shirts, a brown skirt and sweater-tops. The two took to the streets of Manhattan to find the essential pieces.

“Now dressing is like putting the pieces of the puzzle together and when you get it, it’s so great,” McBrearity said.

Singer said she has helped all types of clients, from middle-aged customers searching for gala event outfits to recent college graduates in search of a job interview look.

Yet with all customers, Singer said she takes the time to ask them what they want out of this process and where they are in their life.

“I’m not going to take a 25 year old shopping at Michael Kors on Madison Avenue,” she said. “I’m going to gear the clothing to where they are style-wise and career-wise.”

As Singer continues to expand her range of clientele, she said she will continue to get the word out about her new business, reminding people that the service does not have to end with an expensive shopping excursion. For three hours spent in the closet, customers can develop 10 new outfits from pairing together clothes and accessories they already have — an amount that people typically spend on a single pair of jeans, she said.

“I just sort of kicked it off,” Singer said of her business, “and I am feeling my way as I go along.” Singer also offers style tips at twitter.com/closet curator.

For more information: (203) 253-2408 / susan@closetcurator.com / www.closetcurator.com