Julie Kaufman: How to clothe yourself in confidence

by Linda Hubbard on November 15, 2011

Some years ago, a friend elicited Julie Kaufman’s help in selecting a dress for a special occasion. The experience was good: The friend got a dress well-suited for her body type and coloring — and Julie enjoyed the process.

“I’d been doing qualitative market research for 25 years but was starting to have some hearing difficulties,” she recalls. “I didn’t think I was doing as good a job for my clients as I could.”

After the shopping outing with her friend, the idea of doing wardrobe and color consulting began to intrigue her. She discovered that there was a trade association, took classes, and became certified.

“I found out that there was some science behind my instincts, and the training reinforced that my ideas were largely correct,” she says.

For the past seven years, the core of Julie’s client base has been people who work in an environment where “casual Friday” is every day of the week but who want to look professional. “The goal is for people to dress appropriately for their environment but also to look as good at 4:00 pm as when they left the house,” she says.

Julie, who moved to Menlo Park in 1980 and now lives in Atherton, admits that today’s popular styles can be a challenge, particularly for women who gaze at a sea of sleeveless tops and dresses when they shop.

“When you’re in a business situation, business should be the focus,” she says. “If you make yourself the focus — by showing a lot of skin or wearing big dangling earrings — you are taking the viewers’ attention away from what you are saying. You don’t want people looking at some other part of you when you are talking about something important.”

She offered some other tips, more of which can be found on her website:

  • If you can change only one thing about your wardrobe, wear the right colors.
  • Go through your closet once a year and discard what you haven’t worn, what doesn’t fit right, and what’s really out of style.
  • You will save money if you learn how to use your old things mixed with new things.

“You clothes should be in harmony with you, the person,” she says. “Think about all three elements — colors, the silhouette of the clothes, and the amount of contrast — and keep in mind that the eye is drawn to the area of the highest contrast.”

In addition to providing individual color and closet consultations and offering personalized shopping, Julie also gives group presentations in the workplace or to groups.

Photo by Scott R. Kline (taken in a very tidy closet!)

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