cuneiform styling
Fashion

This Is What Happens When You Get a 12-Hour Closet Makeover

There was a lot of wine.

Weston Wells
I know I can’t be the only one who has looked at her closet some mornings and thought, “What am I even doing with my life?” After years of shopping and gathering, everything I owned was a mix of items I love, used to love, just fell in love with, wanted to fall in love with… But so little of it could come together into an outfit that made me think, “I’m the shit.” And I don’t know about you, but if I’m not walking out my front door most mornings feeling like “the shit,” well, like I said: What am I even doing with my life?

This is precisely why I asked the closet makeover team of Cuniform to my apartment in New York. The duo that runs Cuniform—friends Christine Tran and Colton Winger, who met when they used to work at the boutique Totokaelo—travel around the country for private appointments with clients that include execs at Nike, Diane von Furstenberg, and Shiseido. Their process is multifold: 1) purge closets of bad choices and out-of-place items, and oh so kindly haul away the rejects to donate or consign for you; 2) refill your wardrobe with versatile, new and high-end consignment items they handpick for you ahead of time and bring to your appointment, if you so choose; and 3) style you in chic new ensembles of the old and new, creating a “Wardrobe Rolodex” of outfit ideas in a shared cell phone photo album you can then reference for outfit ideas forever. You can understand then, how once they arrived, 12 hours flew by, though a typical appointment is 5 hours long.


“If you think about it, the most successful people wear the same thing almost every day,” said Tran (see: Steve Jobs turtleneck, Carolina Herrera’s white blouse, Michael Kors blazer, Anna Wintour’s tailored dress and jeweled necklaces). “The main goal is to figure out your brand via clothing, so you shouldn’t have things in your closet that aren’t really options—like a dress that never fits the occasion or a pair of pants from when you were skinnier—because it just confuses you when you’re getting dressed.”

And that’s where I needed the most help, really: At this exact point in my life, what is my brand? This is where brutal honesty, as you’ll see below, comes in. On top of all of this, Cuniform is super-focused on social and environmental consciousness. One part is their consignment arm called Cuniform Recycled, which not only finds new homes for the nice but neglected clothes of their clients, but sell on behalf of philanthropic programs like Dress for Success to help increase their revenue. *Amazing.* Plus, Tran and Winger charge their clients with a tiered system based on that client’s income, so their services are accessible. For example, those earning less than 40k a year pay $200 for a five-hour appointment, and those earning more than 100k pay $600, and there’s everything in between. They even take natural fabric scraps from any small alterations they make and give them to an artist for fabric strip art installations. OK, mind officially blown. See below for how the entire step-by-step process went down, and the meaning of the term “GMC.”

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Tran has an MFA and has worked as an educator, editorial stylist, buying assistant, store director, and personal stylist. The thing she said that really stuck with me the most: “When you’re getting dressed to run errands on the weekend and someone from work spots you, they shouldn’t be wondering: Is that really Katie?” As in, this 32-year-old should feel like herself even when she’s hungover in line at Whole Foods on a Sunday afternoon. In fact, in the end, maybe that’s the real definition of style.
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