When Jenny Senter, Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce vice president, needed more space to house her wardrobe, she got creative. The ever-stylish Senter transformed a room in her Texas City home into her dream closet, complete with a chandelier. The room serves as headquarters for her wardrobe transitions from office to social engagements and after-hour obligations.
Q: How would you describe your fashion style?
A: I think my fashion style is ever changing, much the same as our personalities grow and change. Right now, I would say that my preference is effortless simplicity. I want to be able to dress comfortably, confidently and with a flair that makes me feel good. When I feel good in what I’m wearing, it affects my entire day.
Q: What are the everyday occasions in your life that bring out the best in your personal fashion?
A: Part of the fun of work is getting dressed! Every day is different at our office, so dressing for work is anything but monotonous. My work wardrobe consists of dresses, suits, jeans and T-shirts. It might be a board meeting or a shrimp boil, so my wardrobe has to fit the occasion. Many of our weekends are spent at Baylor football games and traveling in the car, so comfort is definitely my No. 1 interest. Green and gold are the primary wardrobe colors for these weekends. Nothing is more fun than getting dressed for a black tie event. I had almost as much fun shopping and dressing for last year’s Mardi Gras Ball as I did watching Belinda Carlisle entertain. It must be a carry-over from my younger days of dress-up.
Q: Why did you want to transform an entire room in your house into a custom closet?
A: Necessity! My husband, Bob, and I have individual closets in our bathroom. They are incredibly small and after five years of grumbling about the tight quarters, a light bulb went off and I thought, ‘We have an unused bedroom next door — why not utilize that space?’ It is still an experiment, but the plan is to create a doorway between the bathroom and bedroom eventually. I’m still testing the waters.
Q: How did you go about redesigning a bedroom into a closet. What were some challenges?
A: After removing the furniture and doors from the original closet in the room, the closet was instantly born! The chandelier was my No. 1 priority, but I also wanted to have a small seating area, so I recovered an antique chair and a footstool using fabric from my favorite Junior League Ball gown that I had custom made in New Orleans back in the ’80s. I haven’t been able to part with the dress, and finally decided to keep it around permanently by repurposing it.
Q: What articles in your wardrobe get highest priority and why?
A: I’m always on the lookout for a darling shoe that is comfortable. I’m not sure that is actually possible, but it’s still always on my radar. I’m not always good about shopping in advance and have been known to finally find the right outfit on the day of the event.
Q: What do you have the most of?
A: Accessories and dresses. I am a bracelet fanatic and love my Sandra Ling bling and all things shiny. I rarely leave home without a bracelet or 10 — the more the merrier. I also have many dresses from my daughter’s store called Dress Shop Austin, which only sells dresses.
Q: Do you have standout pieces you’re particularly fond of?
A: I fall in love with memories of clothes — where I wore them, what occasion it was. In some ways when I pull out a certain article, it’s more of a trip down memory lane. I am most in love with whatever is the latest addition. I’m just a pushover for clothes. If I went into Target today, I could come out with something to wear and be in love with it. J. Crew pencil skirts and flats are new additions to my wardrobe, with the opening of Tanger Outlets.
Q: Does your closet have any special features that really appeal to you?
A: I wanted to have a space that felt like I was in a small — yes, very small — boutique. I tried to have the ‘shopping’ experience rather than the ‘I have to dig through my closet for something to wear’ experience. It has taken the term ‘shop from your closet’ to an extreme at my house.
Q: Has the increased space influenced your fashion purchasing habits or day-to-day style choices?
A: More space made me realize that I have more clothes than I thought I had. I still make regular stops to Sydney’s Boutique and Karat Creations, but it also makes me realize that I need to be more selective about purchasing, donating and discarding items. How many pairs of black pants do we really need? Buy quality items and donate pieces that are no longer at the peak of their performance. I am trying to live by the idea that when I purchase something, I have to donate something. Enough is enough!
Q: What’s your holiday style shaping up to be this year?
A: I try to spice up some of the items that I already have with something sparkly. For something new, I’m in the market for red jeans for casual get-togethers, lace anything for dressier times and always that one great pair of precious — but comfortable — shoes!