What a great vacation I've just had. While I missed writing my columns, I also really enjoyed my time away. Thank you Maureen Stoeken of S.O.S. Technical Writing for making sure Advance readers had interesting new material in my absence.

So, you've invested in sneakers for your kids, new computer software for your high school student, and an art history book that hit the $400 mark for your college student ... and as you look at your own work wardrobe, there's no money left!

Putting our kids first can often result in a closet that's challenging, to say the least.

Or, suppose you've found yourself with extra weight, or you've just lost alot of weight and now you look at your clothes and see absolutely nothing to wear.

Or, maybe your closet is full of "bargains" ... you know, those purchases we all make because the price is so good! Somehow we never wear them.

Maybe you're switching jobs, or going back into the work force, or starting your own business.

Well, enter Heather McClellan, Wardrobe Wizard.

In two sessions, Heather will declutter, select, enhance, combine, and chart wardrobe options that expand what you've already got.

It's a case of "can't see the forest for the trees" for most of us. Heather works wardrobe miracles.

With you, she goes to work. She'll help you make several outfits out of two or three pieces. She'll suggest combinations you'd never think of. She'll pull out colours that you┬╣ve run away from; she'll help change the shape of what you wear so it enhances your figure and increases your confidence.

I'll give you an example...

I've long been a fan of the pleated dress pant with side pockets and cuffs. My business cards in the left pocket, receiving business cards in the right. Usually I pair the pants with the same colour jacket AND the same colour sweater.

"You're hiding!" exclaimed Heather, standing in my closet with me. "And those pleated pants that taper to your ankle emphasize your waist and hind quarters (not needing any emphasis, believe me!) and bring all eyes right to your middle."

Anyway, Heather soon transformed the possibilities, showing me what happens when I add bright colours, giving me a few tips for blending, combining, and enhancing my shape rather than fighting with it.

She's got a lot of great tips... and is quick to point out that most of us have a closet full of clothes but feel we have nothing to wear. She also says often we create a business impression that isn't really the one we want.

Heather works with business owners who are "working" people, too. Take Angelique Ewing, for instance. Angelique is a forest expert; she analyses and treats sick trees, she writes forest management plans, she cuts down trees and removes them... she's out there in work boots and coveralls. But she also makes sales calls and has business appointments. Can Heather help Angelique with her wardrobe? She sure can!

And Heather is keen to work within a budget. She's a wizard at picking out those designer gems at Goodwill, The Gingham Door, Back on the Rack, 360 Degrees, Value Village. She knows how to pair pieces for a dynamite result.

Where did this all come from?

Heather started as a young mother doing the "home party business", selling the Weekender clothing line. She likes the clean lines and the mix & matchability. Her training included working with women, colour draping,
cosmetics, clothing artristry. Add that to her career in banking, an interest in personal presentation and the Wardrobe Wizard makes real, practical sense.

She starts with basic pieces and develops a shopping list as she goes along. She bases an entire wardrobe on a single item ... say, jackets ... or maybe skirts ... whatever the client wants to start with. Then she adds and builds, and develops a chart for your use later. "Hmmm," you ponder, what did she say I could wear with this burgundy jacket? Simply look up the chart, and there it is!

Now, if you've just finished taking a few kids for the "back-to-school-shop," looking at your own wardrobe might feel scary. But Heather's sessions cost about the same as one buying mistake, or the price of one really good pair of pants.

Money well spent, in my books.

Thanks, Heather. I needed that!

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