Pretty much everyone we know – from our Clos-ette clients to our chicest friends – has borderline addiction to the sample sale site Gilt. And while it’s hard to articulate all the reasons we adore it, we do know just who to thank: that would be the lovely Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Gilt Groupe’s co-founder and Chief Merchandising Officer. Unsurprisingly, the native New Yorker boasts as much style savvy as she does business sense. And just like the site – which has hosted a mega-successful sale for clos-ette too products – she takes a democratic approach to fashion. “My closet is very much a mix of different designers, from the real luxury brands to contemporary fashions,” she tell us. “I like to mix it up.”
Here, she gives us a peak inside her New York closet and the fabulous wares that fill it.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is fairly classic with a touch of spice. I like to have fun with color, patterns, and accessories. I definitely love to play with jewelry, shoes and bags to spice things up.
How do you store all these goodies?
I have a walk-in closet, where I keep most of my everyday items, but that doesn’t fit absolutely everything. I have another closet for my more special items, like black-tie dresses, and my off-season clothing. Twice a year, I’ll kind of change out. In my main closet, I like to divide everything up by products: I have racks for shoes, shelves for handbags, a drawer for my costume jewelry, and areas for tops and dresses. I’m obsessed with skinny flocked hangers because in a New York closet, every inch matters. I just think it makes a world of difference to get that extra space, and they’re great for your clothing too. [Check out clos-ette too’s Signature Hangers for the ultimate space-saving hangers!]
What’s your approach to cleaning out your closet?
I do like to regularly edit my closet. I give away a lot of clothing and accessories to friends and family members, and I certainly give a lot to Goodwill every season. I don’t like to have a closet filled with things that I never wear, because it’s distracting and doesn’t really make you feel so good about getting dressed every day. Fashion should be fun, and you should be literally excited to put things on – and if you have things that don’t make you happy or excited, then they shouldn’t be in your closet.
A favorite piece from Wilson's costume jewelry collection.
What will you never get rid of?
Some vintage pieces from my mother. In particular, I can think of this Givenchy sweater that she gave me – it’s probably something that one could have worn to Studio 54. She used to love it, I love it, and it’s just a really fun, fun piece. I also love fine jewelry, and will certainly keep everything as heirloom, hopefully for future generations! Pretty much all the fine jewelry I have has a story behind it.
Considering the volume of designer clothes you’re exposed to at Gilt, how do you determine what to actually incorporate into your wardrobe?
Well it’s hard – I think there’s a lot of temptation. I’m a ‘buy now, wear now’ shopper for the most part. But right now, the weather just got warm and I’m thinking about some key pieces that I’m missing for the summer, either new trends or pieces I need to replace. I feel like every spring, one should buy a new pair of white pants or white jeans, some new swimwear and cover-ups, and some new sandals. These are all items that can get worn out if you wear them time and time again throughout the summer. But also, if I see something special, I will buy it for the future. So if I see beautiful jacket or black tie dress, even if I don’t have an occasion in mind to wear it, then I will buy it. I always have events popping up out of the blue, so I’d rather be prepared fashion-wise.
Tell us about a recent acquisition you’re particularly loving.
You know, I’m on a Marni kick lately. I just bought two Marni dresses, a handbag, and a pair of shoes, and I’m just loving them. I got them all on Gilt. Any time I’ve carrying or wearing any of these items, I get so many compliments, so I feel very good about these purchases. Marni is kind of high on my radar these days.
Wilson’s recent Marni purchases, which she scored on Gilt
What’s your fashion weakness?
I have an area in my closet just for blazers and jackets. I wear a lot of blazers – that’s probably an item of clothing that I collect. I don’t really do suits, but I will often wear black pants and a colorful jacket, or a black jacket with a rich texture, like velvet or fur or embellishments. I like vintage fabrics and beautiful, heavy fabrics that you can just tell a mile away are of a different quality than you would normally find nowadays on the shop floor. I’m a sucker for great quality fabric, color, texture and design.
As a frequent business traveler, what are your best packing tips?
I have a valet rod that I absolutely love, love, love. It is really helpful when I pack – I’ll hang every outfit that I need, so I can visually what I’m going to wear. And I always travel with a travel steamer. I don’t care how good of a packer you are – inevitably something gets wrinkled in transit. [Our Travel Jewelry Case is another must-have for traveling in style]