Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Business

Dr. of Closetology Jackie Walker kicks off Tampa Bay Fashion Week

TAMPA — Wardrobe consultant Jackie Walker says getting dressed means more than putting on pants and a shirt. It's about wearing a persona that reflects who you are on the inside.

Walker blends fashion and the psychology of clothing to advise clients on how to use their closet to improve their lives — a concept that earned her the title Dr. of Closetology. Over the years, the half Tampa/half Chicago resident has advised thousands of women on how to achieve "closet harmony'' by showing them what to buy, keep and ditch.

Walker was at International Plaza on Friday to kick off Tampa Bay Fashion Week, which runs through Saturday at multiple venues throughout the Tampa Bay area. She led three workshops on how to choose the right clothes for your figure and personality, and how to make your look edgier. She also was promoting her new book for girls, Expressionista: How to Express Your True Self Through (and Despite) Fashion.

In an interview with the Times, Walker talked about why brick-and-mortar stores won't go away, and why most women don't have a thing to wear.

As business attire has evolved, do you think workplaces have become too casual?

I think there has been great relaxation of the dress code corporately. But when it started to relax, men understood it. Men knew that they took off the tie and put on a polo. They took off the suit and put on a blazer with khakis. They got it, because their choices are finite. For women, it was very confusing, and they went all the way to the other end of the spectra, and it became almost a pajama party. I believe that when the workplace becomes business casual or relaxed, it's a slight relaxation of the dress code.

What about wearing flip-flops in the office?

It just depends if you are interfacing with the public. I don't think you're going to see anyone in flip-flops if they are Realtors, but it all depends on what you do for a living. For years, I did training for companies with employees in cubicles. I said to them, "When you are working in a cubicle and have to sell something over the phone, your voice is going to make that sale. How are you going to feel when you are not dressed to be able to do that?'' I've had a home office for a thousand years. I get up in the morning, get totally dressed and I go down to Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Then I come back to my house and walk into my office as if I were walking into a corporation. That's the way I've trained myself to work from home so I have energy in my voice, so I'm sharing the passion of my work. I just feel better. I'm not in a suit, but I'm ready to work.

How has the shopping experience changed in this age of showrooming and mobile shopping?

A woman shops for emotion and a man shops for need. The facts are that a woman wears 20 percent of her closet. A man wears 90. A woman says she has nothing to wear when she stands in her closet but that's because she has nothing that makes her feel good. What happens is when you shop online you can't touch it. You can't be excited about the way the visual departments create a look. I don't think you can ever replace that feeling for a woman.

How is it possible that women only wear 20 percent of their closet?

Because the problem is they buy "someday'' clothes. Someday I will wear this, and they never do. They buy something on sale when they really don't have anything to go with it. They buy for mood. Women wear 20 percent because that's what makes them feel secure. Those are the things that make them happy — the black pants or white blouse. So the rest of their closet is outdated, but they can't bear to throw it away because they spent money on it. Or there are things that don't fit and probably won't ever again. With a man a tie is a tie. With a woman, a skirt is a story.

There's a lot of talk about clothing designers and manufacturers catering more to older women as baby boomers retire. Any thoughts?

I believe if a woman ties her self-esteem to a number, whether it's sewn into the back of her pants or her birthday, she dates herself. The way a woman dresses should not be about her age, it should be age-appropriate. For example, my daughter-in-law will wear stiletto heels, and I will wear a kitten heel. She'll put on a trendy jean and cuff them. I'll wear my jeans plain. She'll wear a leather jacket with studs. I'll wear a simple, elegant leather jacket. We are dressed identically, but we are age-appropriate.

Any areas where you think retailers aren't hitting the mark or need to focus on?

I am huge on customer service. I was taught something by my father, who was in retailing. Never sell, always teach. When you're in sales or retailing, you teach customers the features of that item, that blouse, the skirt, and the benefits it has to her. When a woman learns, it carries with her every morning when she stands in front of her closet.

Susan Thurston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110 or @susan_thurston on Twitter.

Comments
What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

Blame a lack of rail cars in Canada or not enough semi trucks in the United States. Forest fires didnít help. Tariffs played a big role, too.Even the buoyant economy takes part of the rap for frothy lumber prices, which hit all-time highs last month....
Published: 06/20/18
As Tesla races to meet Model 3 deadline, factory pressures and suspicions grow

As Tesla races to meet Model 3 deadline, factory pressures and suspicions grow

Tesla chief Elon Musk said last week that the companyís layoffs of 9 percent of its workforce wouldnít affect production as the all-electric automaker races to build thousands of new Model 3 sedans a week.But documents the company filed days later wi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Among the marching bands and twirlers at Saturdayís St. Pete Pride Parade, one major sponsor, Tech Data, is sending by far a record number of employees ó more than 700 at last count ó to march in Floridaís largest gay pride parade.The parade, which d...
Published: 06/19/18
A valet at this South Tampa Publix will park your car as you shop

A valet at this South Tampa Publix will park your car as you shop

TAMPA ó Publix shoppers in South Tampa who hate circling the lot for parking can now toss their keys to a valet.The Publix at Dale Mabry and Neptune started testing a free valet service last week that could expand to more stores. Spokesman Brian West...
Published: 06/19/18
Sign to report employees not speaking English at doughnut shop creates a stir

Sign to report employees not speaking English at doughnut shop creates a stir

A sign asking customers at a Dunkiní Donuts store in Baltimore to report employees who were heard not speaking English has set off a controversy.The sign, according tothe Baltimore Sun, would offer coupons to customers who reported workers at a dough...
Published: 06/19/18
Florida Bankers Association recognizes Bill Klich with award

Florida Bankers Association recognizes Bill Klich with award

Former Tampa Bay banking executive Bill Klich was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Bankers Association last week at an annual meeting in Palm Coast.Klich, 73, has a strong reputation with more than four decades of commercial ...
Published: 06/19/18
Jeff Vinik-backed construction material firm headed to Port Tampa Bay

Jeff Vinik-backed construction material firm headed to Port Tampa Bay

TAMPA ó With $3 billion in construction on the boards, Water Street Tampa will need a lot of concrete, so a company whose largest investor is Jeff Vinik is moving to Port Tampa Bay to begin importing fly ash, a component of concrete.Spartan Materials...
Published: 06/19/18
Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

CVS Health will make prescription deliveries nationwide to accommodate the heightened expectations of convenience from consumers. The nationís second-largest drugstore chain says it also will make home deliveries of other items, like allergy medicine...
Published: 06/19/18
St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

ST. PETERSBURG ó Residents can expect their water and sanitation bills to increase between $7 and $11 starting in October.That represents an average of a 7-percent increase. Customers who use an average of 4,000 gallons a month, including reclaimed w...
Published: 06/19/18
Spectrumís new service will eventually increase the cost for TV

Spectrumís new service will eventually increase the cost for TV

Spectrumís new all-digital service is set to bring more high definition, faster internet speeds and expanded on-demand offerings ó but it also comes with higher costs for some of its TV customers in Tampa Bay. Each TV that receives service from Spect...
Published: 06/19/18