If the extent of your closet design entails a simple walk-in with mismatched hangars, scuffed walls and a bulb that lights up with the pull of a string, you clearly have not worked with celebrity closet organization expert Melanie Charlton.
Over the years, star clients have turned to the founder of Clos-ette for advice on storing some of the most impressive high-end designer wardrobes in the country. Her dream dressing rooms feature custom furnishings and mood lighting, and as you might imagine, customers have not been shy about making special requests.
Need a closet champagne bar? But of course. Perhaps a winding room for 2,000 watches? No problem. What about an entire room done in rose quartz? A customer’s wish is Melanie's command!
Though not everyone can match the celebrity status, or budget, of some of her clients, who Melanie says have included Jay Z and Beyoncé, Sting and Kate Hudson, a lot of us still dream of big, spacious closets where everything is perfectly organized and at our fingertips. A little luxury would be nice too – beautiful display cases for jewelry, boutique-worthy shelving for shoes.
Regardless of the client, Melanie understands that everyone wants a closet that is not only functional but also reflects the style of the owner. She starts every project by first sorting through all clothes and accessories.
“I begin with an inventory analysis, which allows us to design the interior architecture around the items being stored rather than the other way around,” she says. This helps her find the person’s “closet personality” based on what they store in their closet.
The final results are beautifully crafted closet designs, the kind worthy of magazine spreads. She says the benefit of having a professionally designed closet is that it is customized to fit you and your wardrobe. She uses her background in fashion editorial, merchandising and retail design to give her clients the closets of their dreams, ones that are not only practical but aesthetically pleasing and luxurious. Melanie also has a book with tips to DIY, “Shop Your Closet: The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Closet with Style.”
Because she is such a wiz at organizing challenging closet items, we put her to the test to come up solutions for some common items:
Lots of handbags in different sizes – “Use drawers and shelves for clutches. Utilize closet floor space for totes. Put bucket bags on hooks.”
Shoes (LOTS of shoes!) – “Use space underneath hanging for shoe storage. Store shoes heel to toe rather than side by side so you can see more pairs in the front row.”
Jewelry – “Store in drawers or on shelves. Use jewelry organizers."
Hats –“Use hat boxes or hat stands on high to reach shelving or under beds.”
Special care items such as evening gowns and vintage – “Store in natural fiber garment bags and on coat or suit hangers.”
Expensive designer clothes – “Use hanger covers to help prevent dust. Furs need humidity control and proper cabinetry.”
Melanie also has her own line of closet merchandise that includes hangers and jewelry organizers in a spinoff company, Clos-etteToo. She also said some of her favorite tried-and-true gadgets include label makers, folding boards, acrylic shelf dividers and boot trees.
When asked about the special needs of celebrities, Melanie said their biggest issue is the abundance of ever-changing inventory they need to fit into a closet. “They get clothes gifted to them all the time, especially someone promoting films. I have to work closely with their stylists to manage clothes coming in and going back out.”
We should all be so lucky!