A professional stylist showed us how to reinvent our spring workwear wardrobe, no shopping required

It happens every season: You wake up one morning, the weather has completely changed over night, and suddenly you have no idea how to dress yourself. Now that spring has sprung, and we’re all trying to move seamlessly from cozy sweaters and jeans to something a little, well, springier, I decided I needed some help. That’s why I asked the pro stylists at StyleLab to help me reinvent my spring workwear wardrobe — without buying anything new.

StyleLab is a Los Angeles-based personal styling business co-founded by Ali Macer and Brittney Ben Moshe that offers one-on-one personal shopping, closet purging, and outfit planning services. For a flat fee of $75 an hour, a stylist — like Ashley Catuzzi, the fashion genius who helped me become a chicer version of myself — will come to your home (or meet you at a store, if you want help shopping) and go through your closet to put together fresh outfits, or tell you what to keep and what to toss.

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For me, as a full-time freelancer, I spend 90% of my time at home wearing yoga pants and sweatshirts. When I do leave my house to meet friends or attend events — I swear it happens! — I get dressed in ~real~ clothes. But if I have a business meeting or want to pop into the HelloGiggles office? I’m freaking out about what to wear to look “professional” — especially if it’s a new season and I haven’t had time to plot out my outfits in advance.

For my styling session, Catuzzi and Macer came to my home on a Monday afternoon — with a rolling rack in tow — and proceeded to dig through my closet and pull out items that fit the “spring workwear” bill.

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Ladies and gentleman, the (partial) contents of my closet.

While I chatted with Macer, Catuzzi was behind the scenes pulling together outfits and getting to know my personal style (which I described as “vintage by day, rap video by night,” so, uh, good luck, Ashley). Ultimately, she styled me in seven outfits I’d be thrilled to wear to any work-related function.

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During the styling session, I had a chance to pick Macer’s and Catuzzi’s brains about how women can rethink their wardrobes on their own, especially if they don’t have access to a service like StyleLab. Aside from talking to friends or family members who know your taste, Macer told me that the best way to rediscover old gems in your closet is simply to get rid of things you don’t love.

“You know what you’re attracted to, and what you’re not,” she says. “If you go through your closet and you’re like, ‘Ugh, I hate this, I can never wear it,’ just get rid of it. Half the battle is seeing what you have.”
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As for changing up your work wardrobe for spring, Macer says it’s important to know your personal style — “What do you want to project?” — and know what your go-tos are, such as dresses or denim and sweatshirts.

Also, she says, investing in good basics can totally change your style game. “You can always feel good in a white tee or black tee and jeans.”

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If you’re in a work environment where you have to wear a uniform or adhere to a dress code, Macer recommends wearing accessories that nod to your personal style, while keeping your clothes professional. “[Accessories] are a great way to add flare or personality to an outfit,” she says.

And if you have clothes you love to wear on the weekend, but don’t necessarily think you could pull off at the office, spend some time thinking about how you can style them differently.

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“I think it’s great to put…boyfriend jeans with a pair of heels and a cool blouse,” says Macer. “And then having transitional pieces that really work, [such as] black trousers. You may wear them with flats or gladiator sandals on the weekend, and then dress them up for work.”

Catuzzi said she likes to pair “evening” clothes — like my sparkly skirt, below — with basics, such as a T-shirt or plain button-down shirt, to balance out the glitz factor.

“I hate these rules,” she says. “Why can’t we wear sparkly things during the day?”

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Amen, girl!

As for spring trends, Macer says ruffles are a fun detail that can be worn to work, out to brunch on the weekend, or even to a mid-week happy hour. “You can wear them super fancy, or you can wear them casual with denim,” she says.

Bright florals are another trend Macer wishes more women would wear to work. “I think with the right outfit, they’re awesome. They just have so much personality.”

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Overall, the women of StyleLab really helped me to rethink my clothes. I haven’t shopped in quite a long time, so I’m sick of pretty much everything I own at this point, but this styling session reignited my desire to be creative with my clothes again and reconnect with my personal style.

I also found the session to be 100% free of judgment — no eyebrows were raised at my denim jacket from Old Navy, or my many, many worn-to-threads T-shirts — so I felt completely at ease having strangers go through my wardrobe.

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Catuzzi was also responsive to my needs and questions. I asked, for example, if she could style me in at least one outfit that covered all of my tattoos (just in case I’m in that kind of professional setting). Instead of just throwing me in a long-sleeve T-shirt and pants, she layered a black bodysuit under a jumpsuit, and came up with the adorable outfit below.

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After this experience, I would recommend an in-home styling session to everyone I know; it reinvigorated me and made me love my clothes again. Most of all, though, it equipped me with seven solid outfits I can happily wear to work, and still feel like myself.

But if a session like this is outside of your budget, or you just don’t have access to a styling service, pick up a cheap rolling rack, invite your friends over, pour some wine, and pull out those items you haven’t seen in two years. Who knows? They may inspire you.

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