Beverley takes us Inside Kelli’s Closet

Kelli’s Closet

Everything about Beverley Perkin’s life has led her to this moment. Born and raised in South Africa, Beverley was surrounded by educated and cultured women who had impeccable taste. Her interest and background in Art History and English led to a successful career as a graphic designer. She was well on her to way to becoming an art director in her own right, having worked as a designer for Tina Brown’s The New Yorker  as well as Sports Illustrated and School of Visual Arts – when she took stock of her life and realized that she wanted to have a family and be a mother. But her creative vision never left her, and with the recent closet cleanse of her friend and colleague, Kelli, she is on her way to taking her passion to the next level and a new career. Here is Beverley …

MKG: What is the role of fashion?

Beverley:  I am a visual person. I think fashion incorporates everything – it’s the way you present yourself, the way the world sees you, the way you can disguise yourself and the way you package yourself. Fashion has tremendous power. Fashion is reflective of your mood. Personally, it depends on how I wish to represent myself in a particular environment and particular place. Sometimes I don’t want to have an impact when I enter a room, but sometimes I do.

MKG: How would you describe your personal style? 

Beverley: Classical and timeless. I like the classics. I appreciate trends, but I am not interested in buying something that is trendy. I am a minimalist; I generally believe that less is more and I believe in quality over quantity. I don’t particularly like logos, and items that have bold, glaring labels – I think it is much more classy and sophisticated to have something subtle and obscure.

MKG: How did you curate and edit your own things, your own life?

Beverley:  I have moved 10 times, including 2 international moves, in the last 17 years. Each time I have moved I’ve realized how much we have that we don’t need. Too much excess traps you, and holds you back from setting you free. As a result, I am very mindful and selective of my purchases that I add to my possessions. I’m also constantly editing down whatever is redundant and no longer has its use for me. There is a lot of hard work behind simplicity.

MKG: How did you turn your personal style and minimalist approach into a closet cleanse for your friend Kelli?

Beverley: My friend, Kelli, wanted to edit her clothes and was looking to rid herself of things that no longer gave her joy. I also helped Kelli beautify and edit her home and fill it with only the things that she loves. Kelli appreciated my style and visual eye so she asked me to help her. I first spent time watching and observing how Kelli dressed (you have to get to know a person’s body first; find out what she likes, what is her style, who are her favorite designers and why). Then, I shopped her closet to see what she had. What I found was that Kelli had pieces that were dated and no longer suited her. She was very excited to declutter and keep only the essential, timeless classics. We created three piles of her clothes: 1 to donate, 1 to consign, and 1 to keep. We kept only the most beautiful pieces in Kelli’s wardrobe and created looks for work and looks for casual. We created a uniform that is easy to put on, when Kelli is not working and wants ease with style. I also care very much about creating beautiful spaces blending functionality with a design aesthetic. I strongly believe that form follows function.  Kelli told me that she loves Christian Dior and the display at Christian Dior. So I visited Christian Dior for inspiration and bought some pieces to create Kelli’s very own boutique in her own home!
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Shoes for the Party in my Future!

melissashoes-7At the start of the New Year, as I cleaned out my closet, I was left with a dilemma: what to do with my fancy, Dolce & Gabbana party shoes? The truth is that I don’t wear the shoes often. I have worn them but I don’t have much occasion to wear fancy silver shoes. But the reason I bought them is the same reason that I have kept them: for the party in my future. What is that saying: dress for the job you want? I am a dreamer for sure and I often find myself thinking of dressing for the life I want! And in my dreams is an elegant party where I will dress to the nines in my fancy art deco D&G shoes. That is why they are still in my closet and will remain there – even after my closet cleanse and after the purge. Because there is a voice inside me telling me to be ready … for the party in my future.

Photos by Lauren Hagerstrommelissashoes-5

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Why I Celebrate the New Year with a Closet Cleanse

A few years ago I revamped my closet

A few years ago I revamped my closet

The New Year is a time to regroup and give yourself a break with a clean slate. When I looked at my closet a week ago I knew a clean slate for me would start with a clean closet. What a mess! I could no longer see my wardrobe pieces clearly and that was when I knew: you can’t style what you can’t see. I also knew that I had forgotten what my dear friend Kim taught me just a few years ago – I was holding on to things that were no longer right for me. How had I let this happen in such a short time?

Two years ago I met my beloved and talented friend, style editor, Kim Naci, who had come to my house for a closet audit and frankly, a bit of an emotional ‘what for?” She took a brutal look at my clothes – what I should keep and what I should let go. And her message? Love everything you own, and if you don’t – then remove it – immediately! Because you are worth it and you deserve to wear only the right clothes. Kim’s words about a somewhat threadbare black handbag that I had been clinging to still haunt me when she said: “Melissa, you’re better than that!” We are all better than that. The truth is that we all accumulate too much, hang on too much and wear too much that does’t work and that we just don’t love. Most of the time we don’t even know we are doing it or why. But as we continue this pattern we are not caring for ourselves and we certainly aren’t making room for the clothes and accessories we should be wearing. They simply get lost in the overflow. You can find yourself reaching for the same (wrong) pieces and creating the same outfits over again without hitting your true potential.

A closet cleanse is an organizational and emotional breakthrough. Weeding out the wrong and keeping the right makes you feel better about yourself. And creating a beautiful space for your wardrobe is just as important (even down to using proper hangers and storage organizers). They all create a feeling of self-worth and love – just in time for the New Year.

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