You, only better

Finding fashion that works at a new “styling lounge” in Hyde Park Village.

click to enlarge HOT DOG! Don Me Now client Carolyn Bigley looks great at Davis Islands Dog Park. - Shanna Gillette
Shanna Gillette
HOT DOG! Don Me Now client Carolyn Bigley looks great at Davis Islands Dog Park.

There are armies of women out there. Women capable of ambitious things (like leading a crusade to clean up Davis Islands’ dog parks), and yet they approach their closets with trepidation — fearful of piecing an outfit together.

I blame the math. Styling is an equation, one in which body type, skin tone, colors, and lifestyle factors must all add up. Then there are the trends to consider — like mixing patterns.

Enter Danielle M. McFarland, stylist. Actually, enter Don Me Now Styling & Clothing Lounge, Danielle’s new digs in Hyde Park Village.

“Just do it!” loyal customer Carolyn Bigley tells her girlfriends of working with a stylist. “Most of my friends are moms like me that work and have busy schedules. Being stylish doesn’t rank high in our everyday lives. But having someone like Danielle really takes a burden off you.”

A “Closet Vixen” evaluation, from the menu of styling services, is by far the best way to ascertain a client’s taste and leads to establishment of a baseline for her wardrobe. “Start with investment pieces — styling staples,” Danielle says, which include great denim, a black blazer and cardigans.

“Staples can multiply your wardrobe by 60 percent,” she suggests. There’s that pesky math again. But hey, at least it works in your favor. Spending more for staples means they can last season after season, and then you can mix in less expensive, trendier pieces that will have a shorter shelf life in your wardrobe. Don Me Now is filled with styling staples (labeled as such) plus colorful tops, dresses, jewelry and more at affordable prices.

A stylist’s job isn’t to transform you into someone unrecognizable, but to open your eyes to a more stylish version of yourself. Danielle’s clients complete a comprehensive online questionnaire before she begins calculating combinations for them. The goal is to guide the wearer toward fashion that will enable her to feel confident and look fabulous.

“Once Danielle gets an idea of what you like and what makes you comfortable, she is able to help you come up with your own unique style,” Carolyn shares. “She also picked things I would have never thought I’d wear — pulling me out of my comfort zone just enough to see that these clothes actually looked great and fit me perfectly.”

Danielle describes Carolyn as “super-bohemian.” Before she came along, Carolyn’s daily duds consisted of jeans, T-shirts and Birkenstocks — suitable attire for the owner of Davis Islands Pet Care (and co-founder of the non-profit, Friends of Davis Islands Dog Parks).

“Carolyn can be seen daily with up to six leashes in her hand at a time, walking dogs. She and the pups typically spend the day picking up trash to keep Davis Islands’ dog parks looking nice,” Danielle says. “Her love for animals, Mother Nature and her community left her putting herself and her style at the bottom of her list of priorities. When it was time to get ready for a new client appointment or a civic board meeting, Carolyn would wear what she would to walk the dogs. It was time for a change.”

Keys to Carolyn’s newly styled wardrobe:

• Easy, breathable pieces she can slip on without a lot of effort.

• Light fabrics that play up her carefree attitude and allow her to get down with the dogs.

• The “Styling Staple” which saved her life: seamless camisoles in black, white and nude.

“The greatest thing about Danielle is that she showed me many different looks you could get, from casual to classy, with the same dress, just by simply changing a necklace or shoe. My favorite look has been my little blue ’70s-style micro-dress,” Carolyn beams. “I wore it recently for a girls’ night out celebrating my 40th birthday.”

Shoptalk

• Don Me Now has exclusives with James Jeans, Mavi and Camilyn Beth (a Sarasota fashion designer).

• Get tied up in gorgeous scarves by Shawlsmith London (pictured). Danielle can show you myriad ways to wear them.

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