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.
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With the mission of “reviewing and renewing your wardrobe,” The Closet Curator helps eliminate outdated garments and update wardrobes with selected new pieces.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
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
“I put her in an outfit appropriate for her. She walked out of that store like I had transformed her,” Singer said, with a
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 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.closetcurator.com