FASHION IS JUST A REMIX AWAY
The house looks like someone is getting ready for a trip. Shoes line the living room wall—polka-dot wellies, turquoise peep toes, burnt-orange stilettos. Bags, belts and hats sit atop a love seat. A few jackets hang on the closet door. In the bedroom, outfits lie crisply across a white sheet of the bed. But Jenny Kincaid isn’t packing away her clothes. She’s gearing up for the fall season. And she has lined up a wardrobe stylist to help. Jennifer Niehouse, 41, combs through Jenny’s collections. Her grandmother’s vintage cardigan sweater? Make it new by adding a belt and a plaid scarf, Jennifer suggests. Wardrobe remix under way.
Scarves, colorful shoes, bright leggings can add funky surprises to favorites Jenny wears over and over, Jennifer says. Out of a rack, she picks a light brown skirt and a pale pink baby-doll top. She pairs it with a cropped lacy jacket, chunky pearls and the turquoise shoes to make a chic look, both fun and professional. Jenny smiles. She has already discovered three “new” outfits in her closet. And she has saved time and money in the process. “I hate getting ready in the morning,” says Jenny, 30, who heard about Jennifer through a mutual friend. “When you have a lot of stuff, it’s looking at a puzzle for a long time and you can’t see the pieces that fit together. This helps to maximize my wardrobe instead of buying new clothes.”
Jennifer doesn’t just pick the outfits out and leave. She takes pictures of each one, downloads them to her laptop and makes an online scrapbook for her clients. They can print them out, post them on their closet or just refer to the page. She also includes options and shopping tips. The price tag: $85 an hour. Fashion seems to come naturally to her. For as long as she can remember, she has helped other people. As a kid, she picked out her mother’s clothes. And as she got older, her friends came to her for fashion advice. She studied fashion design at the University of Missouri but ended up working as a lettering designer at Hallmark. A year ago, after 18 years at Hallmark, friends and family encouraged her to take the entrepreneurial leap and follow her fashion-filled heart. She joined the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac program, sacrificed her 401(k) and other benefits, and is now a full-time wardrobe stylist and fashion consultant (find her at www.itssouwardrobe.com).
“I believe it really makes people feel better about themselves when they realize they have nice things in their closet they don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money,” she says. “I see the beauty within and help bring it out. And seeing them feel good, it just makes me feel good. Fashion isn’t just about glamour. It’s about how it makes people feel in their day-to-day lives.”
Jenee Osterheldt’s column runs in FYI on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. To reach her, call 816-234-4380.