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A wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear?

Annmarie O’Connor’s heard it all before.

In fact, the freelance fashion editor, stylist and author has launched a new career as a closet therapist.

Her online course, Buy Smarter, Buy Better, helps people create a more wearable wardrobe by fending off fads and tackling trends head on.

If you dread getting dressed, Annmarie’s expert coaching could save you both time and money.

In her own words, this is how she’s WORKING IT…

I’m originally from New York. I moved to Ireland with my family when I was 12. After seven years in London and Italy, I have since settled in Dublin. I became the fashion editor of the Irish Examiner 10 years ago and I am an unofficial naturalised citizen of Cork. Just waiting for my passport to be approved.

The inspiration for by business and best-selling book The Happy Closet came from an intersection of passion meeting problems through which emerged my purpose – helping people transform their wardrobes from the inside out by decluttering the hang-ups and habits that shape our wardrobe wellness.

Here’s the thing: I may be a fashion professional by trade, but I’m also a reformed hoarder by habit. For years, I lived with the irony (and attendant shame) of having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. I was an official card-carrying Impulse Buyer – a need-it-now shopper hooked on the thrill of the moment with little regard for the bigger picture, until it greeted me in the form of a whopping credit-card bill each month. Enter shame’s evil twin – regret.

Every time I opened my closet doors, I got a high-definition snapshot of personal insecurities, from my need for external validation (those ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ don’t come cheap, you know!) to my desire to feel unique. I knew that if I were to create long-term fashion flow (and not an avalanche each time I attempted getting dressed), I had to understand the hang-ups, driving the habits that were shaping my closet unhappiness. As on the outside, so on the inside. The result? This purposeful problem-solving did more than declutter my closet; it inspired me to create a system to help others identify their emotional hang-ups and habits and make more considered shopping choices rather than buying into hidden agendas and misplaced ‘needs’.

I turned my passion into a business, then converted it into a book to inspire readers to create fashion flow in their own time, on their own terms.

I knew there was a market for the business when I tried counting the amount of times I’ve heard the phrase, “I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.” I’m still counting…

A happy customer is someone who can get dressed with minimal stress; someone who can go shopping without getting overwhelmed; and someone who can declutter like a boss.

Starting out is the toughest part; it’s what separates an idea from a reality. Making mistakes comes with the territory and if you’re not making them, you’re not really doing the work. Mistakes, ironically, keep you on track and help you fine tune your product, process and pricing.

The best piece of career advice I’ve ever been given? ‘Just do it.’ – My sister.

My working week is changeable. Some weeks I just write at home alone; other weeks I’m styling shoots, speaking at events and taking meetings. Then there are weeks where things are really quiet (nobody likes to talk about them but they happen). During these periods, I plot and plan. If you don’t diversify and develop, quiet periods can become a heavy silence. No one wants to hear that.

I grew my social media following slowly, organically and consistently. I have relatively small numbers but a high engagement which lends itself to more of a community feel.

I plan my week on a Sunday night, leaving wiggle room for life’s curveballs. I like, where possible, to work with blocks of time. I’ll cordon off a morning for writing but leave meetings to an afternoon; I’ll get admin done in the day but leave my writing to the evening when I have a quiet pocket of time. This week, for example, I’m moving house; I’ve removed the social apps from my phone, so that I’m not tempted to procrastinate or waste time.

Comfort is a high priority for me so I like to wear flats and loose-fitting suits. Brand-wise, I wear a mixture of Arket, COS, Zara, Uterqüe and Theo and George.

I think most people would do things differently if they knew the outcome in that but what’s the point in that? Everything is a gamble. Every choice we make in life has a risk factor. When we play small, we don’t notice the risk but we don’t get very far either.

To switch off I have an irregular yoga and Pilates practice. I meditate as often as I can. I read. I remove the apps from my phone from time to time and just use it to take calls.

I’ve launched Buy Smarter, Buy Better –  a one-to-one closet coaching service that helps you create a more wearable wardrobe. The bespoke session helps you uncover the triggers and hardwired habits that shape the why behind what you buy; find and fill the gaps that are blocking your fashion flow; shop with purpose thanks to a personalised Pinterest board that allows you to click-to-cart.

Bye bye, buyer’s remorse; hello, thoughtful dresser.


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