“Color is the cornerstone of your closet,” says Suzanna Pearson. It’s also the cornerstone of her personal styling business, Wear It Well, where she helps women find their perfect colors and create closets full of items that always work. “Color is the foundation from which everything will mix and match seamlessly,” she adds. “Every time you open your closet, you’ll have something that fits you and looks beautiful.”
Pearson, who is originally from New Zealand, has a long love affair with color, stemming back to watching her mother work as a wardrobe and color consultant. “In one hour, she would show women how to look younger, slimmer, and more vibrant,” Pearson says. “I would see them leave her office clutching these color swaths like the elixir of life and smiling ear to ear, and I knew I had to learn her secret.”
Pearson completed color and wardrobe training in New Zealand in the late 1990s, and also worked in makeup, using her eye for color to bring out clients’ features. One of the highlights of her career in New Zealand was doing the makeup for the presenters of the New Zealand World of WearableArt Award Show.
When Pearson’s husband got a job in Chicago, she began working as a stylist for J. Crew, where she honed her skills by choosing colors and outfits for shoppers. Friends began to turn to Pearson for her great style advice, and soon she was getting referrals and repeat customers. Now, Wear It Well helps women find their own personal style through the colors and fits that work best for their skin tone and body type.
“I like to show women why different shades and hues work on them,” says Pearson. “We can all wear all colors, but it’s the shade and intensity that makes you look fabulous.”
With each new client, Pearson starts off by asking, “What’s the best thing I can do for you today?” Maybe they’re looking for a complete new wardrobe, or maybe they’re looking for advice on what to wear for a specific event. “My clients range from interns in college looking for professional clothes, to mothers in transition, doctors, people appearing on the Today show who need an outfit to wear, clients over 60 years young, a huge range, all with different requirements,” says Pearson.
After determining their needs, she can suggest the colors that work best with their skin tone, as well as the right type of clothes for their body type, from styles to necklines to fabrics. Pearson likes to spend time looking through her clients’ closets with them, as it helps her get a sense of their style and see what’s missing. “People inviting you into their closet is very personal,” she says, so she does everything she can to make clients feel comfortable throughout the process, and to really listen to what they hope to get out of it.
Next, she asks if the client would like her to accompany them on a shopping trip. Here’s where Pearson differs from a typical stylist. “I won’t just take you out shopping and spend a fortune to find out it doesn’t go with anything you have,” she says. Instead, she works within clients’ budgets and with what they already have to craft a closet full of pieces that fit together.
Pearson says she never thinks about what she’s going to wear ahead of time, because her closet is only stocked with items that work well together, and most importantly work well on her. This mentality is something she calls “no stress dress,“ and she says she’s a firm believer in that your closet doesn’t need to be full of a lot of stuff to look good. Feeling great every time you dress is what’s most important,” she says. “You’ll never have to ask anyone how you look again. You’ll always just know you look fabulous,” she says.
This desire to empower women to feel good about themselves shines through as Pearson speaks, and is part of what keeps her clients coming back. It’s clear clients consider Pearson a mentor and friend, not only a stylist. “I do spring and fall closet checks for my existing clients, and I encourage them to keep in touch,” Pearson says. During this interview, a woman texted her asking what to wear to a graduation ceremony, as her existing outfit would no longer work due to a drop in temperature. “Help!” the woman wrote. “What am I supposed to wear now?” Pearson responded immediately with several options and a reassuring note.
She hopes through showing women how to dress for their color and body type, she can help them feel good about themselves every day. “I firmly believe that every woman is beautiful no matter their color, body type, or lifestyle,” she says.