For 25 years, I worked in the corporate world.
My uniform was simple - suits, pumps, subtle jewelry. I had almost no casual clothing; I couldn't afford it AND the higher end suits and shoes I was buying, so something had to give. I think I had one pair of jeans, an old jacket and some boots. And I was too busy to be inspired or inspiring. (I exaggerate here, but only just).
Don't get me wrong - I wasn't a complete disaster or anything, but I was too busy to think much about fashion beyond throwing myself at my favourite local sales clerk, money in hand, telling her to "pick a bunch of stuff that looked classy and business-like." She dressed me well in Theory, Elie Tahari and Michael Kors.
And then the world changed. I left my job and in a 180 degree turn, found myself neither needing nor wanting the old corporate clothes, but having no idea how to dress for a casual/sometimes dressy life. And I had a whole lot less money to spend on clothes.
And thus began my style odyssey. I hadn't even heard of fashion blogs until three or four years ago, and tripped over a bunch when I followed Michelle Obama to J Crew in 2007.
And while those blogs have been wonderful, they have fed my fashion confusion, as I tried various incarnations to determine what my style would be.
|beautiful blouse - not me....|
|Boho Wendy - not me....|
|Nope - not me....|
|Me - simple, with a wee bit of pearl and sparkle....|
Sometime around February, I was sick of it. I had bought lovely clothing - expensive and less expensive - and too much of it remained unworn, despite my attraction to it when I had bought it. I had less money for clothing and yet I found I was wasting more of it, so uncertain was I of where my sartorial home really was. And I felt an obsession about clothing I had never had before, and I didn't care for it.
Now and then I would discover a "hit", but never know quite why it was a hit. I was frustrated and bored and to be honest, I no longer trusted style opinions, most of all my own.
Enter Jennifer from A Well Styled Life, who took pity on me and shared her considerable experience and expertise as an image and style consultant.
|How Beautiful is Jennifer?|
I'm not going to lie; I had my doubts. But then Jennifer sent me a bunch of questions to consider before we talked. And they were hard questions actually, because they were things I had never thought about before as it related to my wardrobe.
And during our nearly three hour consultation, in which she lovingly advised, tweaked, held herself back from mocking, and helped me understand why I was making the same fashion mistakes over and over again, it was as if a light came on.
Not only did I understand which kind of cuts would be most flattering, from a body perspective and in keeping with my style preferences, she explained why in great detail. She told me what to look for when shopping and what to avoid.
And it has changed my life.
First of all, it gave me permission to let go of things, since I understood that nothing she or I did was ever going to make that thing "right" for me.
Now when I do shop I happily smile at the clothes that mesmerized me in the past, and which still mesmerize me today, but which always end up either consigning or giving away in the future. Instead, I focus on the 5% that will actually suit ME. By separating the sartorial wheat from the chaff, she has saved me money and heartache.
In the last month, I have bought little, but when I did, they adhered to my new "rules" for me:
|J Crew Sparkle Sweater Skirt in gold|
(which is really more of a gold-cognac IRL)
This was a purchase for Paris - the colour seems more September
to me than June and July
|Joe Fresh Silk Tank|
$39 - YES
One piece of advice in particular has stuck with me since our session. "You will think in the beginning you are dressing boring," she said. "but you will look and feel like YOU."
And she was right!
Each morning now I "shop" in my smaller wardrobe, a wardrobe almost devoid of pattern (save the scarves and jewelry). I feel lovely all the time. And while I adore pattern and certain prints and certain cuts, I know they are not for me, and pass them by.
Not everyone needs image or style services. But I did. And Jennifer was able to do what countless books and blogs and articles could not provide - she honed in on me! Too often we admire someone's style and seek to emulate it, not sure what it is about it that is so appealing. Now I understand the appeal and can easily determine what must only be admired from afar.
So if you are thinking you need a little shake-up, or feel you are consigning/giving away too much too often, I highly recommend contacting her and engaging her services!
One of the simple exercises she had me do after our time together was to make a private Pinterest board, where I could collect and collate images that supported my newfound style type. I have found this unusually helpful, especially since it was just for me.
In the future (and most days now), these are the kind of things you will find me in:
I appreciate those of you who have taken this style journey with me. I am sure at times it was as frustrating for you as it was for me! I am no fashionista - I have neither the time, the money, nor the inclination to be one. But now, I can be me, truly me, and that is a wonderful thing to be.
And to Jennifer - thank you! thank you! thank you!