Cathy Monte began her business by helping a friend “shop her closet,” a phrase she adopted and a ritual she practices daily with her own wardrobe and her business, edit+style. edit+style is all about starting with what you own, finding the gaps and feeling great about getting dressed every day. Her buttoned-up business is going like gangbusters, so she added a partner, Kristen Garnett, and together they are helping women (and men) all over the Eastern seaboard build new wardrobes based on what they already own. Meet Cathy and Kristen, today’s FACES of Charlotte.
Explain the process of working with edit+style.
There are a few simple steps to the process that require very little time on the client’s part. We start with a few forms that allow clients to select the service they are interested in (there are 10 options) and set a date to edit. Next, they fill out a questionnaire to allow for prep, and then it’s on to the edit. When we arrive at the home we have a brief chat then get to work. Typically, we spend three to four hours for a “Closet Overhaul,” two hours for a “Seasonal Edit,” one to two hours for a “Getaway” package and about an hour for a “Fit Lab.” Lastly, we email a customized Look Book within five to seven days that has photos of all the edits we styled from their closet. For the Getaway package, we mail the edit+style Wardrobe Wheel within three to five days.
Tell us about the Look Book. And what is a Wardrobe Wheel?
The Wardrobe Wheel is a handy Polaroid reference of paired outfits assembled for a getaway – all suitcase-ready. The Look Book includes images of each look we’ve styled from the client’s closet, including accessories. Depending on the package, we include a style board if there are gaps that we recommend purchasing that include a link to the item so that they may purchase.
Are there any steadfast rules that apply to building a closet you CAN shop in?
When you’re shopping, always ask yourself how the item will work with your current wardrobe. For instance, do you already own three white button downs? Are you only buying this item because it’s on sale? Does the piece go with at least one item in your closet?
In addition, we tell our clients that they should always ask themselves the “Two Season” question. Which is, are they able to wear the item two different ways, during two seasons? For example, when buying a sleeveless dress, it can be worn during the warmer months as is, but once you pop a sweater overtop, it instantly becomes a cold weather ensemble.
What are the five things every woman should have in her closet?
- A printed or colored shoe. It’s an easy way to add a bit of pop to an otherwise simple outfit.
- Well-fitting jeans in a color other than white or denim. We love grey! It’s seasonless.
- A versatile dress that can be dressed up or down.
- Statement accessory — earring, bracelet, necklace, scarf or clutch.
- An “around town sneaker.” It can be a slip-on style or lace-up, just not a running shoe.
What are you excited about for fall?
The rich color tones, especially red and chocolate brown. Midi skirts. Belted coats. Victorian collars. Florals and plaids — and, no, we are not referring to your grandmother’s curtains and couch. Also, layering.
How do you feel about the cold shoulder trend?
It is just that, a trend. However, each trend is for someone, just not everyone. We encourage our clients to stay true to their own style, and in honoring that advice this particular trend is not found in either of our closets.
What’s your take on trends in general?
While we encourage our clients to step outside of their style comfort zones, we help direct them to the key pieces that are truly fitting for them, not the trend of the moment. We all know trends fade; style and confidence should not.
How do you feel about the one-year rule (if you haven’t worn it, donate or give away)?
There are no rules for the length of time you should hold on to something. We work with our clients on identifying their own personal style, and if an item doesn’t work within that, then it’s okay to let it go. But there are instances where pieces are not ready to be discarded and can be reworked. For example, if a client has a two-piece suit in her closet from when she worked in Corporate America, but her profession now is a lot more casual, we ask ourselves these questions: “Is the style of the garment in line with the client? Is it still comfortable? Could it be broken apart (i.e. wear the jacket with denim and a tee, but not the skirt)?” We may even suggest an edit+style Fit Lab for a client like this so we can guide her on how to alter the piece. If those options have been exhausted, then yes, it is time to let it go.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Cathy: My mom, Joan, always says, “Dress as though you have a purpose to your day.” Even if that purpose is just running to Target or the grocery store. It’s not about what you are wearing, but how you feel in what you have on. Because feeling good is looking good. Not the other way around!
Kristen: A mentor of mine told me to be present in this moment because it is all you really have in life. In the world we live in where multi-tasking could be an Olympic sport, it can be tough not to get distracted and be anywhere but “here.” But I try to remind myself of it daily because it is the only way to truly enjoy family, friends, your profession and life in general.
Aside from faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
Cathy: Coffee, music and my iPad.
Kristen: Travel, sushi and my iPhone camera.
Thank you to Cathy and Kristen. And thanks to Piper Warlick for the fabulous photos of these women.
Meet more amazing Charlotte women we have featured as FACES. Click here.