Fall Fashion Forward

Many moons ago, when I left Days of Our lives in 1992, they gave me Kayla’s wardrobe. In the next couple of months, I got pregnant and didn’t wear any of those clothes for the next year and a half … that then quickly turned into two years.

My dear friend, Cynthia, came to town and I told her how my closet was jammed, but I didn’t have anything to wear. She said the first thing we needed to do was edit my closet … scary! We took EVERYTHING out, examined each piece and made some brutal cuts.

Part of the problem was I knew that many pieces were rather expensive, since they came from the show, and I didn’t know how to let them go.  But, most of them were actually too fancy for my more casual lifestyle. We kept the best, and I gave alot to my best friend’s mom, who was about my size and a working woman. Then, we donated some and put the rest in a consignment shop.

Over the years, Cynthia and I have done this several times – and man oh man, what a difference! The cuts only hurt for a minute, but to have space between the items in my closet is the greatest! It seems odd, but I always feel like I have more to wear after a good clean out!  I once heard that a clean, uncluttered closet equals a clean mind, and I do think they go hand in hand!

Give it a shot, and take Cynthia’s other tips (below) to heart … you will not be sorry!

Fall Fashion Forward
by Cynthia Carr Gardner

Cynthia and Mary Beth

I’m fortunate to say that I’ve been Mary Beth’s friend now for 26 years. Our family moved to Pasadena in August of 1990, and through a mutual friend, I was given the gift of a lifetime friendship.  I had to re-establish myself as a stylist in the mecca that is L.A., and who better to be my cheerleader than MB!

Fall was beginning to unfold and she mentioned that her closet was stuffed but then, the common refrain … “I have nothing to wear.”  That launched a whole new phase of my business that hadn’t really been tapped by stylists … the Closet Edit. I went through every hanger in her closet with a keen eye, and together we donated, re-thought and created a whole new direction that gave Mary Beth’s wardrobe a fresh focus.

Mary Beth wins the Emmy, looking fabulous in an outfit Cynthia helped style.
Mary Beth wins the Emmy, looking fabulous in an outfit styled by Cynthia.

I know that she remembers this day as one of great bonding and a lot of fun. Lots of women became recipients of some great wardrobe that our girl was never going to wear again – one girl’s hand me down is another girl’s hand me up!

My return to Boston doesn’t allow for as many ‘adventures with Mary Beth,’ but she does call me when she needs to step out. And when she’d like some fashion input for the blog.

With the end of Summer upon us, the days here on the East Coast are becoming shorter, the light brilliant and crisp … all setting the stage for the beautiful patchwork of leaves that will begin to turn. This is the time of year when I encourage my clients to practice a little ‘tough love’ and dare to open their closets to do a review.

Twice a year, an edit is a not only cathartic, it’s money-saving and affords a window into what you own and what you truly need.  Instead of heading to the stores to do some Fall shopping, turn to your own closet, see what’s of value, what can be elevated or reinvented and only then, wield your credit cards with a sense of direction.  As a seasoned stylist, I can tell you that you probably have more jewels in your own wardrobe than you think.  If you need a trained eye, engage a stylist to come and do the deed with you. You’ll pay for his/her time in what you unearth!

Here are a few tips to inspire you…Happy Fall!

10 Tips for Best Dressing 
  1. Edit your closet twice yearly. Hire a professional if you need a little tough love and can’t detach. Donate or consign. One girl’s hand-me-down is another’s hand-me-up.
  2. Make a List: Determine what you need to update favorites, replace the forlorn or to add seasonal currency. Have a focus when you shop so you’re not tempted and your budget will thank you.
  3. Buy once and buy well. Shop with a purpose and think about quality vs. quantity and timeless vs trendy. Fabric and fit are everything, so buy the best you can afford and make sure to tailor even lesser pieces so that they fit perfectly. The nominal cost will elevate the look. The key to chic is in the mix so don’t hesitate to pair Valentino with Vince or Gap with Gucci.
  4. Dress the part! Find your look and build on it. Consider what silhouettes enhance your figure and focus on your best asset…great legs, narrow waist, slim hips. Flaunt it with looks that are current and age appropriate. Colors can bring life to your look so find a new hue this season.
  5. Foundations are key! They don’t call them ‘foundations’ for nothing. They are the building blocks of every look. Own a wardrobe of bras that have different purposes; plunging, balconette, strapless, etc and camisoles and body shapers to enhance every curve.
  6. Put your best foot forward. The simplest outfit will sing when paired with a fabulous shoe. Your LBD with red patent pumps, all white with metallic or a sedate suit with an elegant suede. Flats, booties, kitten heels or the newest block heel … there’s something for everyone this season.
  7. Carry on! Handbags, totes and clutches add the perfect polish. Whether you’re armed with the latest cross-body bag, toting just the right clutch or shouldering a beautiful and practical tote … find your ‘IT’ bag this Fall.
  8. Accessories: From the simple to the sublime. Do you love chains or are you a pearl girl? Amp up your outfit with a necklace, wrist wear or ear candy. Experiment with embellishment but know when less is more. Signature jewelry is always in style so dig into grandmother’s trunk or know that your diamond studs are just ‘you’.
  9. TLC: Ask about maintaining your finery when you purchase a piece. Own a steamer to save on dry cleaning wear and tear. Know when to wash vs dry clean. Be kind to your boots and shoes in New England weather and hand them over to Gepetto on a regular basis to give them some spit and polish!
  10. Dress with Confidence!
 To download a copy of these 2016 Fall Fashion Tips, click here.


  1. Thanks for this post! I sure could use a dresser, closet & clothes stacked on couch clean out! My dresser is full, my closet is jam packed & the stack of clothes on the couch is over three feet tall! I’m sure I don’t need all of those clothes. I have over 200 band/concert shirts & zippies that I could never get rid of but could start having quilts made out of the ones I wear least! I have so many clothes that it takes me forever to decide what to wear each day & on trips. haha I’m sure it would be a lot easier if I had less to choose from!

    And Mary Beth, when you are looking to get rid of the four dresses you wore in NYC recently, I call first dibs! 😉 I absolutely LOVED them all! 🙂

  2. Marnessa

    Mary Beth,
    Thank you for sharing this! My closet is so packed & I just went shopping. I hope this will help me to organize my wardrobe. I went through it last yr & tried on everything & I actually fit in it all do to the weight I’ve lost! But the thing is I haven’t worn even half of it in a yr & have a hard time letting them go thinking maybe this yr I’ll wear them. Anyway Thanks again & I am definitely going to try this.

  3. This is just what I need in my overcrowded closet. I love clothes and fashion and pride myself on the variety in my wardrobe, but I hang on to things waaay too long. I had a pair of shoes I loved, but they killed my feet each time I wore them. I kept them for a few years, always thinking, “But I love them!” Finally, one day, I said to myself, “Yes, but they don’t love me back.” When I started using that as my rule, I found it much easier to let things go!

  4. Dear Mary Beth! I cannot thank you and your friends and family, who also contribute and compliment with much passionate expertise as you so generously do. I have not only learned so much from you, but I also have been greatly gifted with your loving heart and kindness for others. I love your blog, and would like to say from my heart that you have the best blog ever!!! Thank you so much! I can’t wait for the next! Much love and appreciation for the wonderful actress you are… And beautiful and loving person that you are! XO

  5. Mary Beth..thank you and Cynthia for your words of wisdom and reminding me of what I have been putting off for a while..the dreaded closet clean-out. Every time I look at my closet I think I really need to ‘edit’ my clothes; but my next thought is, yes..later.
    I really loved the back story on your friendship too. I am always fascinated on what brings people together as friends or how they met.
    Thank you both again for sharing your ideas and stories.

  6. Julie McCray

    Guess it’s time for me to purge the closet! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Susan Nolen (Suzzy1969)

    Great blog Mary Beth!… Lovin all the tips from Cynthia!…As always thanks for sharing with us fans!

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