Using Less and Getting More: Behind the Scenes with a Client


getting more using less

I love it when clients allow me to show photos from their outfit sessions.  I know you as readers love it too.  When preparing these posts, I always try to come up with a theme for them despite there being to real theme to these sessions with clients.  Looking at these photos, I realized we used the same accessories, particularly the shoes, over and over again, proving that if you buy the right things, you can do more with less.

Before we get into the outfits, I need to introduce this client as this is the first time I am featuring her.  As usual, to protect the identities of the women I work with, I am giving this client an alias.  I have decided to call her Ms. Effervescent.  I have a feeling that Ms. Effervescent is going to laugh when she finds out her name because I don’t think she has been feeling particularly effervescent lately.  However, I stand by her name because she is the type of person you immediately feel comfortable around.  The first time I spoke with her I had the feeling like I knew her.  She is easily brought to laughter (every time I work with her I am convinced I am funnier than I really am) and is totally open.

Ms. Effervescent is in transition, which is quite common with clients who call me.  This is why I said I thought she would laugh when she finds out the alias I gave her.  Transition isn’t always fun, but it’s my job to see past that.  What I see is a lovely, positive, generous, intelligent and open person who is just going through some temporary stuff.

Using Less and Getting More: Behind the Scenes with a


Here are some of the outfits we put together.  Ms. Effervescent is a new client so this was all achieved after one shopping trip and assimilating it with some of the pieces she already owned.

Outfit #1

getting more using less

Rare is it that I pull jumpsuits for clients, like this one from MICHAEL Michael Kors.  However, knowing this client, her style and her love of maxi dresses, I chose to pull this one as a maxi dress alternative.  Much to my surprise, not only was Ms. Effervescent willing to try it, she really liked it.  It looked amazing.  To give the ability to dress it up and down, I added a pair of navy heels from Michael Kors and flatter nude sandals from Franco Sarto.  Because the jumpsuit is a halter with a tie front, I suggested these earrings as to not compete with the activity around the neck.

Outfit #2

using less and getting morePhotographing this navy dress from Badgley Mischka does not even come close to doing this dress justice.  It’s so incredible.  Imagine something Joan Harris would wear on Mad Men.  Ms. Effervescent loves dresses and this one was a winner.  Using less and getting more, I gave my client several show options to not only give her variety but to show her how this dress could go from work to a night out.   Unfortunately, the cat does not come with the outfit.  As you can see, those navy heels were used again.

Outfit #3

using less and getting moreBeing a maxi dress lover, and a lover of the color red (No seriously.  In 15 years of doing this, no client has loved the color red more that Ms. Effervescent), this maxi dress from Olsen was perfect.  Olsen is a line I have only recently become acquainted.  It’s nice.  Some of the clothes are a little matronly and others are really ageless.  This dress falls into the easy ageless category.  I have her three casual shoe options, a Cole Haan style in silver, a nude sandal from Franco Sarto and taupe sandals from Me Too.  In order to get more with less, when shopping for shoes, selecting neutral colors like these was important.  The look was finished with a denim jacket and navy cardigan that Ms. Effervescent already owned.

Outfit #4

using less and getting more

These pants from Lauren Ralph Lauren became a favorite of mine this season.  When I saw they came in red I knew I had to pull them for my client.  I styled them with a v-neck sleeveless top from Calvin Klein, denim jacket and several jewelry and shoe options.  The base stays the same and the shoe and jewelry options give it more variety.  I used the Cole Haan sandals, a pair of Tahari peep toe sandals,  Me Too sandals, super comfortable snakeskin Rockport flats and cognac Vince mules.

Outfit #5

using less and getting more

In this look, I used the same Lauren Ralph Lauren pants and styled it with a super cute sleeveless top from Theory.  I grabbed the scarf from Ms. Effervescent’s vast collection and I think she was shocked that it worked so well with the red pants.  It can be hard to figure out what colors to wear with red besides black.  Cognac and shades of tan can be wonderful alternatives.  Getting more with less, I used a lot of the same shoes and sandals as options again.

Outfit #6

getting more using less

In this look, I kept the base of the outfit exactly the same and made it look less warm with a black and white scarves, black sandals and silver flat sandals from Cole Haan.

Outfit #7

getting more using less

A third way I styled the base of this outfit of Lauren Ralph Lauren pants and the Theory top was by using the Nic + Zoe cardigan Ms. Effervescent purchased and the different tan sandal options, the Tahari peep toe sandals, the flat Franco Sarto style and the super casual Me Too styles.  By swapping our the shoes Ms. Effervescent is able to take this outfit different places.

Outfit #8

getting more using less

I love these jeans from Lafayette 148 that Ms. Effervescent bought.  They’re a light ivory which means she’ll be able to wear them well into fall.  For summer, I styled them with a new Nic + Zoe printed top and tank that the cardigan can be layered over.  I used she same shoes, plus a pair of incredibly comfortable wedges from Cole Haan, and jewelry again in these looks.

Outfit #9

getting more using less

I gave Ms. Effervescent two layering options when I styled the jeans from Lafayette 148 with the olive Nic + Zoe tank, the Baltic colored cardigan from Nic + Zoe and a denim jacket.  Another scarf that Ms. Effervescent owned worked beautifully with the colors in this outfit, as did a pendant that she owned.  I have her the Rockport flats, Tahari peep toe sandals and Vince mules as three shoe options.

Outfit #10

getting more using less

Another look using the jeans that I created with Ms. Effervescent’s favorite color was this one.  The top is from Olsen and the accessorizing components include the same shoes previously used, gold necklace and lariat pendant, white scarf and her denim jacket.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at some of the outfits I put together for Ms. Effervescent and that you got some tips on reusing the same pieces to create multiple looks.  Thanks to Ms. Effervescent for letting me share these photos.

  • Amy B.

    Nice work, as usual!

    I do have a question about split-your-wears and buying the right items. The multiple summer shoes/sandals in various nude shades you’ve featured would be split-your-wear items for me (I live in the far northern U.S. where our average summer temps are in the 60’s. Not a lot of opportunity to wear warm-weather clothing.) What unique roles do these play in your client’s wardrobe, i.e., in what settings do you envision them being worn? They seem to overlap/split wears to me. I’m still figuring out shoes… Thanks for ALL you do! I’ve learned so much from you over the years.

    • It all depends on the individual. If you look at the shoes they range from super casual to dressier. So by using different shoes she can take a look from casual to more dressed up. You have to remember that in NYC it’s like a swamp in the summer so variety in summer sandals is more likely more important

    • Heather

      I think you definitely have to consider your lifestyle and climate to decide wardrobe needs. In the chilly north maybe you don’t need sandals at all, or maybe two versatile pairs, one casual and one dressy. In sunny California where I live and where nearly half the year is sandal weather, my 8 pairs are more than I strictly need. But they all get worn and help keep things interesting for the 100 to 150 days of the year that I wear sandals. Bridgette has mentioned several times that she only has one pair of heels because that’s all her lifestyle calls for, but most of the client wardrobes we get to peek into have more because they wear heels more often. Frequency of wear is going to determine what is or isn’t splitting your wears for you personally.

      (As a nosy aside, I’m wondering what happened to those strappy silver shoes Bridgette wore to weddings a couple summer ago. Do they not count as heels or have they been jettisoned? Readers, or at least one of them, want to know. 🙂 )

      • My gosh, you have an incredible memory. God, I hate those heels. They are so uncomfortable and my feet swelled terribly in them. I didn’t even think to count them because, to me, they are formal heels that I would only wear formal events, sort of like fancy dresses that are only for evenings out. I have to replace the pair I have for a pair that is more comfortable. I only need one pair of dressy heels, like like I really only need one pair of daytime ones.

  • Pat

    Perfect, Bridgette! You are so worth your weight in gold for the service you provide. Every dollar spent with you is multiplied in options. As a retiree, I love doing more with less and not having to make major decisions every day about what to wear or how to wear it (still look chic and polished). I’m bookmarking this one for sure!,

    Thanks, Ms. Effervescent for sharing your fabulous scarf collection and great shopping tips with us, and equal fans of Bridgette,

  • Luc

    Love this post! Thanks to both you and Ms Effervescent for sharing 🙂

  • stacie

    Thank you, Ms Effervescent!!! I was able to get so many great ideas….I too am a LOVER of red and 1/3 of my wardrobe is red. So I really enjoyed seeing the different outfits you made…