The closet is every woman’s best friend and worst enemy.
How can such a small room filled with things as harmless as shirts, dresses, pants, and shoes cause us so much anxiety? Often, we have to mentally prep ourselves to even open the closet door — not to mention put together a stylish outfit. But the fact is, the clothes we buy and how we wear them say a great deal about our habits, lifestyle, and personality.
Come to think of it, the closet could be the most psychologically laden place in the house. Tricky business, indeed, when it needs to be reorganized.
This is heavy stuff and not to be handled without the help of a professional. And we’re not talking about a shrink. What this task requires is someone like Michelle DeVore, a 10-year retail veteran with a keen eye for organizing and merchandising closets.
DeVore’s brand-new business, Rare Bird Style, is a wardrobe and closet consultation firm for real women (and men, of course) who want to look their best without breaking the bank. We sat down with this Dallas entrepreneur to find out more about her company and how we can end our love/hate relationship with our closets.
DFW Style Daily: What prompted you to start this business?
Michelle DeVore: “I have always loved order and being organized, and I’ve also always had a passion for fashion. I would always go to friends’ houses to overhaul their closets, and to help them shop for events. So, I’ve been doing this job informally for a while. I knew this service was valuable, so I sat down, wrote down all my ideas, and kicked it off from there.”
How does your background in fashion merchandising and marketing apply to Rare Bird Style?
“My passion has always been clothes and fashion. I started in design in college, and then changed direction and went into merchandising. I’ve also worked in a wholesale showroom. So, I have a full-scale view of fashion, and I have had hands-on experience in all areas of this business.
“I think this gives me a unique perspective. My approach with Rare Bird is from a lifestyle perspective, about what women and men need for their everyday lives. I build closets around lifestyles, and merchandise the closet like a store.”
A Rare Bird Style closet project, before and after.
Walk us through a typical client session.
“I start with about 30 minutes to get to know the client, then I bring in the rolling rack, look at the closet, and talk to the client about their needs and wants. [The process] is a mix of organization, audit (getting rid of things), and a discussion about what gaps need to be filled. I need to see and touch everything, so the session usually takes about 3 hours.
“Part of the process is splitting things up into lifestyle shops, and deciding what needs to be purchased, depending on the clients’ activities. Then we spend time putting outfits together based on these activities, such as work, church, lunches, etc.”
How is what you offer different from other businesses out there?
“I believe that my experience in all areas of fashion gives me an informed and unique perspective. I am also a big proponent of taking what you have and making it work for you. I am there to help my clients look and feel their best, and I try to be a neutral advocate. I also offer 30 days of texting for advice on anything closet-related. My clients can text me anytime, so they are not on their own and they have the help they need.”
What are your top organization tips?
“Everyone needs to swap things out seasonally. Get things you don’t use out of sight. This will give you more space to see what you have. Also, sort things in your closet by activity – work clothes with other work clothes, weekend with weekend, etc.
“This takes care of what I call the ‘choice count.’ There is a balance of choices that people need in their closets. If you have too many choices, it gets overwhelming, and if you have too few choices you feel paralyzed and pressured.”
Visit RareBirdStyle.com for more information.