“How many of you have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear?” asks stylist Julie Watson. Neatly manicured hands shoot up all across the room. Sipping wine, standing between racks full of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Development and Laila Azhar, a crowd of sixty women nod their heads knowingly, chuckling when Watson says, “it’s time to have a courageous talk with your wardrobe.”
It’s the kick-off of p.45’s new roundtable series, a monthly event that brings fashion lovers together for lively style-related discussions. It’s a natural fit for owner Tricia Tunstall, who counts teacher among her pre-boutique owner occupations. “I’ve always wanted to do something educational with fashion. And I love roundtables wherever they are—with friends, over dinner—discussions are always fun.” While the kick-off drew so many RSVPs that guests stood while listening to Watson’s advice, Tunstall expects that in the future, the event will be slightly more intimate. Tables will be set up in the newly remodeled p.45 space, and participants will be a blend of designers, stylists, industry experts and overall style junkies. Upcoming topics include fall clothing, fall accessories and shopping for the holidays.
But before stocking up on new cool-weather clothing and accessories, you have to make room for them. That’s where Watson comes in with the inaugural discussion, “How to Get Your Closet Ready for Fall.” As the women listen intently, Watson advises the crowd to think of their closet as a boutique. “You want to create a collection for your closet,” she says. She breaks it down into a few easy steps, making the process sound like a breeze. She instructs to create a consistent point-of-view, or style personality, for your wardrobe, and find descriptors that sum it up. Then think about your lifestyle and favored color palate. “If you have a color palate that is all over the place, you won’t be able to create outfits,” she says. At that point it’s time to step into the closet and weed out anything that doesn’t fit into those categories. “You have to let yourself let things go,” Watson says, referring emphatically to the “when I lose ten pounds” pile, and the chunk of clothing you haven’t worn in a year.
It’s a refreshing discussion, focusing more on staying true to your personal style than following the latest wide-belt/skinny-pant/short-skirt trend, which is the philosophy of both p.45 and Watson. “Fashion is for everyone, regardless of size or style,” she says.(Molly Each)
p.45 is located at 1643 North Damen, (773)862-4523, p45.com. Upcoming roundtable discussions will take place on September 10, October 15, November 12 and December 3. Visit Watson’s Web site at juliewatsonstyle.com.