An Interview with Stylist Carly Gatzlaff, owner of A La Mode Wardrobe Consulting

I'm always encouraging my clients and seminar attendees to only keep what they deem to be beautiful and useful. That can certainly be difficult to determine when considering an entire wardrobe.  

I'm thrilled to introduce a new friend of mine to you today that can help!

Carly Gatzlaff, owner and stylist of A La Mode Wardrobe Consulting, had some absolutely fabulous feedback on some of my burning fashion and styling questions:

{H} : I love the series you've been featuring on your blog highlighting dressing for your body type - What are some key areas (on the clothing or our body)that we should focus in on when trying to determine if a garment is a good fit on our individual body type? 

{C} : First and foremost, we need to show a waist, whether we have one or even if we need to fake it.  Finding garments with good structure that have seaming, definition, or a shape that defines the waist (like a faux wrap) are key to every body type.

{H} : What are top colors and styles for fall and winter  this 2012 season?

{C} : In terms of color, rich jewel tones are all the rage.  A dark plumy/maroon is definitely the color of the season, along with rich emerald greens, camels, royal blues, and mustard.  General styles for work are definitely in the skirt/dress realm, while for casual a skinny pant with riding boots and layering tops definitely reigns supreme.  A fun take on this is a shorter bootie, used in place of a riding boot, with an ankle pant or rolled straight leg denim.

{H} : How can we determine what is our personal best color to wear?

{C} : Most of my clients definitely have a good feel of their colors from trying things on, however, when in doubt remember two things.  First, never match your skin tone and second pay attention to what you get compliments on.  I often find most things clients say they get compliments on are garments that are their worst pieces (or craziest that just do not work), however with colors the compliments they receive are always right!

{H} : Who are some of your personal style icons?

{C} : Oye.....that is a tough one, and ironically one of the first questions I ask all of my clients!  Blake Lively, Diane von Furstenburg, Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere, and Miranda Kerr are a few of my favorites. 

{H} : How do you help clients discover their own personal style?

{C} : I start every first meeting talking with my clients for around a half hour, just figuring out their lifestyle, their loves, and what makes them tick.  This is a great start, however the first thing I look at with my clients in their closets are their shoes.  You can tell a LOT about a woman or man from their shoes! From there, it is all about directing them into a style and clothing that fits their personality and most importantly their day to day life!

{H} : Are the latest styles and trends for everyone??  What do you tell a client who's maybe just a bit fearful of pulling off trendy fashions?
I {Heidi} personally would like to feel more 'hip' and on-trend when it comes to fashion - but sometimes I feel like I might not be able to pull off a certain look (for example, the 'skinny jean' - I see them all over, yet every time I try a pair on, I just can't pull the purchase trigger -)   How do you determine what to try and what to leave on the rack when it comes to trendy fashion statements?  Can there be a healthy marriage between the trendy and the basics?? 

{C} : My entire business is about the marriage of classics and trends. 
I am all for trying what is current, however always base appointments around what will stand the test of time.  While shopping with clients, I make everyone try on things they may not be comfortable with, however that I know will be great on their body types.  Some clients are more open than others, however I don't think I have ever finished an appointment where my clients were not super enthused with the new trend. (I get tons of e-mails weeks afterwards of clients loving their skinny pants...Heidi I think you need some!)

 I think a lot of it comes down to being with someone you trust that is not selling you clothes, yet is giving you honest feedback.  When trying something new I always encourage clients to try and incorporate just one new/scary thing into outfits.  Keep the rest of the outfit simple with things that you already feel great in to get used to wearing a new trend.  This is also a great way to blend classics and trends, use one trendy piece in your outfit and keep the rest classic.  You will appear updated, but still refined!  As for the skinny denim, everyone should have a dark wash pair that has a little gapping by the ankle (not skin tight)  I have put every women from a 00 petite to a 24 in them and every body type does great.  The main thing to remember is to vary your proportion, so to use skinnies with something not skin tight on the top.  

{H} : What pieces should every woman have in her wardrobe and why?

{C} : 
-A great flat: comfortable, classic, and uber flattering

-A great dark wash denim: No whiskering or butt spangles! Perfect for day or night
-An almond shaped toe heel or wedge: Dressing anything up in an instant and gives you a great leg line:

 -A basic scoopneck white tee: No one has this, but you need it for layering!
Sounds simple.....but so many closets I am in are lacking in these must haves that are timeless, seasonless, and work great on everyone!


{H} : What are some of your favorite shops and retailers and why? 

{C} : JCrew: Timeless and superb quality, Banana Republic: Fun takes on the classics, Gap: Cannot beat them for basics, Hot Mama: Great denim, Francesca's: The hidden gem for accessories

{H} : What (in your opinion) are a few of the best brands of jeans that offer the most flattering fit at an affordable cost?

{C} : Gap and Banana always have great fit for a more modest budget.  Citizens and Joe's for premium denim.  Denim, shoes, and handbags are the three places I think every person should invest the most their budget can makes a huge difference and is worth it as they are things you use constantly!

{H} : Tell us a little about the services you offer, as well as the individual approach you take as a Wardrobe Consultant:
(Is it at all like Stacy London of TLC's, 'What Not to Wear'??  *smile*)

{C} :I grew up watching What not to wear, and while I think I am nicer than Stacy and Clinton, the process is very similar.  

The two main things I do are closet analysis and personal shopping.  In a closet analysis, I help my clients weed through their wardrobe, get rid of what does not work for their body type and lifestyle, and style outfits with what they already own.  I then follow up by sending them a shopping list with holes I saw in their closet that when purchased, will create the wardrobe and style they were dreaming of.  For shopping, every client is a little different in what they need, but I pre-shop for clients and then take them shopping.  A typical trip is three hours long in which we can accomplish a full seasons wardrobe.  For clients whom hate shopping, are confused about their style, don't have the time to shop, or just need to shake things up, the shopping trip is a game changer. 

 I cannot think of a better feeling in the world than completing a closet analysis and shopping trip with a client who is so down on style and at the end cannot stop smiling or talking about how life changing the process was.  Especially for my female clients, the self confidence gained by many women is absolute bliss for me!

Carly & Clients at Twin Cities Live


 Wasn't that fantastic!!?  

Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and expertise with us, Carly!
Maybe you'll get me into my own pair of skinnies yet, and I'm now dying to know what your first impression of my shoes was! :) 

-Carly Gatzlaff is owner and stylist with À La Mode Wardrobe Consulting.  Working with both males and females in the Twin Cities, she specializes in closet analysis and personal shopping.  Interested in learning more about À La Mode?  Visit the website at and make sure to like À La Mode on facebook, sign up for their newsletter, and  follow the blog for ongoing fashion updates!


  1. Loved the piece. Great questions and answers. I am constantly organizing and purging my own closet. I am one of those whose style is pretty simple. Lands' End or Coldwater Creek and LLBean for me. And that white t-shirt (cover your ears) I have about 8 of them (different sleeve lengths) and about 25 different white shirts (varying sleeve length). I love a white top with jeans! Donna

  2. Excellent post.This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad that I finally came on this website! This for sharing and keep up the good work…


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