SHOP TALK: Canadian fashion scene rising star Erica Wark runs a closet-cleaning session
Shop Talk

SHOP TALK: Canadian fashion scene rising star Erica Wark runs a closet-cleaning session

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

Before Erica Wark came over for our much-anticipated closet-cleaning session, I did a little pre-cleaning. I tossed out most of my maternity clothes and I hung garments by category. I thought I was pretty thorough. I was wrong.

Like most mothers who return to work after maternity leave, I’m scared stiff of leaving my daughter in the care of someone else. But I love my job at Ottawa Mag, and part of me misses getting dressed for the office everyday. Not the part between my belly button and my knees; that part would love to stay wrapped in tights and long tanks. But alas, it doesn’t work that way, and if I am going back with a slightly different bod, I am going back in style!

This meant my wardrobe needed a makeover, which meant calling on my buddy — and rising star of the Canadian fashion scene — Erica Wark

The clothes I kept, organized by colour and sleeve length, so that I see more — and more easily put together outfits.

After a requisite glass of wine, we turned our attention to the task at hand. With Sarah Fischer perched on the bed, poised to take notes, Erica promptly took everything out again. The hangers (the wrong ones, apparently!) were hung willy-nilly and, besides, that to-the-curb pile was about to get much bigger…

As part of her job as a freelance fashion consultant, Erica is available for private wardrobe consultations. Usually, it’s a three-step process: the in-house visit, which looks a lot like the session we had but is more complete (“I actually clean the closet”); the shopping trip, which pays off in spades because of Erica’s wealth of knowledge when it comes to local markets; and the last ‘wardrobing’ visit, during which she helps her clients put it all together.

She is firm but kind, resolute but considerate. White clothing doesn’t stay white for long, she explains. “I don’t care what kind of deodorant you use.” One time she asks me to try something on, but most of the time we nodded in agreement: no, I haven’t worn that in years. Yes, I can do better.

Erica also knows clothing holds memories, but talked me out of holding onto items (well, most items) simply for their nostalgic appeal.

We developed a list: a leather belt; an LBD (to replace a threadbare fave); an oversize jacket; cardigans; black skinny pants; fashion jewellery; and a lot of tops and blouses (Fischer votes for prints and brights).

I am new to Pinterest! Please help me in my quest for back-to-work style via Pinterest.

By the time Erica leaves, I’m even more excited about returning to work. Life has changed a lot in the past year — and so has my body. I celebrate my little girl everyday, and maybe it’s time to mark this special time with an updated style.

HELP! We’ve made a special board on our Pinterest page for this ongoing wardrobe mission. Check it out, we’d love to hear your feedback! In the spring (hopefully after a nice tax refund), we’ll meet up with Erica again for a shopping trip to mark my girl’s first birthday 😉