I Tried It: Closet Redemption

After years of dressing down, I called up Deena Roemer of Main Line-based Closet Redemption to dress me up. The results? Decide for yourself.

Photo by Joseph Balestra.

Photo by Joseph Balestra.

Deena Roemer’s year-old wardrobe consultation business may be called Closet Redemption, but when she showed up at my house to survey my clothes, it became clear that what my closet needed was more like an intervention.

“Nope,” she said of my $20 Payless wing tips (which were admittedly pretty awful). “They’re not cool enough for you.” “I don’t love it” was her verdict on a black blazer I’d just picked up at a church sale for two bucks. “But for two bucks, we’ll make it work.” And make it work she did. Same with a brown corduroy blazer that had been collecting dust for years.

Personal shoppers and stylists are nothing new. What is new are the types of clients seeking sartorial help—namely, men. Men like me, with closets full of ill-fitting, wrinkled pants and stained, faded polo shirts. Roemer goes through your closet, eliminates the nopes, suggests some pairings you’d never think of (who knew argyle and stripes could work together?), and then comes up with a shopping plan to fill in the holes—which in my case were more like vast chasms.

Working with the maybes (those blazers!) and yeses (my vintage ties, and virtually nothing else), she sent me out to find jeans and a suit and a huge list of other things I have yet to buy.

Fortunately, after Roemer emphasized the importance of a well-fitting pair of jeans, I wound up at Charlie’s Jeans in Old City, where jean designer Sebastian McCall identified the real root of my problem: I was wearing clothes that were cut too big. Once he got me into a properly fitted pair of jeans (who knew I could sport a 34?), everyone said I looked 15 pounds lighter. And after the gents at Rittenhouse’s Suitsupply got a hold of me, sliding me into a gray suit that, again, I would have thought was too small, well, I felt like the proverbial million bucks.

Roemer’s service is probably better for the man who has a couple of decent suits in his closet, not to mention a nice chunk of change to spend on new clothes. If not for her, though, I’d still be 15 pounds heavier.

Grade: B