For Becky Williams of Gloucester, a closetful of beautiful outfits was hiding in plain sight. She just needed a little bit of help finding them, and for that, she turned to Beverly-based stylist Lisa Ann Schraffa Santin.
“She was offering a service called ‘closet crash,’ and I was really intrigued because my wardrobe has always been challenging to me, and I tend to buy things on impulse,” Williams says. “I had too many clothes in my closet, and I tended to buy things piecemeal.”
Shopping this way left Williams with many items that she didn’t know how to put together. But with Schraffa Santin’s help, Williams realized that she actually did have a wardrobe that worked for her: It just took a little editing, a fresh eye, and an expert who understands how to teach women to build a great wardrobe that works for their lifestyle and budget. Williams says. “I had wonderful outfits I didn’t even know I had.”
Schraffa Santin is a fashion industry veteran who for 15 years worked for the upscale women’s clothing brand Eileen Fisher, which emphasizes sustainability and simplicity along with great style. Along the way, Schraffa Santin says she learned how to style women of every age and body type. Now, she’s bringing that expertise directly into women’s closets by “getting women to look at what they own and use it in a more put together way.”
“I help my clients save time and money getting dressed,” Schraffa Santin says. The “closet crash” or “closet edit” is one of the first steps in that process.
First, Schraffa Santin meets with clients over coffee and asks them to create a Pinterest board or inspiration board that exemplifies their ideal style. By doing so, “they’re really participating in the process and creating their authentic look. I’m not here to change anyone,” she says. “We’re crafting the wardrobe that works for them and their lifestyle.”
Then, she pulls everything out of her clients’ closets and gets rid of things that are ripped or stained, and, after a heartfelt chat, items that look dated or no longer fit.
“You go through this whole process when you discuss each piece,” she says. “I do hear a lot of stories about things.” Even though those stories are sometimes emotional, sometimes you have to let go of things, or at least put them away in storage. “You can’t have a bridesmaid dress in your closet,” Schraffa Santin says. “It’s in the way.”
Once the closet is cleared of things that can be discarded, sold, given to charity, and stored elsewhere (hello, bridesmaid dresses), Schraffa Santin begins the process of wardrobe building, starting with items that are already in her clients’ closets. Even those who have closets full of clothing, though, are usually missing some core pieces that make up the base of a solid wardrobe, and when that’s the case, Schraffa Santin suggests strategic shopping to fill in those gaps.
She also adds that she wants her clients to “think like French women” by having six to eight core pieces in their base wardrobe. They can add personality by layering with accessories that round out a look. For instance, Schraffa Santin works with the India Hicks brand, which offers high-quality accessories, bags, and statement necklaces.
But when talking with Schraffa Santin, it quickly becomes obvious that her passion is as much about making her clients feel good about themselves as it is about style.
“I listen and try to create a solution that fits the woman,” she says. “I’m about getting a woman to be her authentic self.”
Lisa Ann Schraffa Santin