Think that working with a Stylist is just about clothes? Well, think again! The style and the clothes that we wear affect our mood, health and overall confidence. Its been researched by scientists and its called “enclothed cognition”.
When I tell people what I do, I often get asked who my clients are and the truth is that they are a complete mix of age, careers, marital status and shape and size. But what they do often have in common is that when they look in their wardrobe, they don’t see anything that reflects who they are now! They tell me how they open their wardrobe, flick through all the items in there but don’t see anything that they want to wear. They tell me how they try on different items only to take them off as they don’t feel comfortable, don’t fit or don’t reflect who they are or the image they want to portray that day. They tell me how they leave the house feeling frustrated and disappointed in how they look. They tell me how when they go shopping, they go into the Stores they have always shopped in, but don’t see anything that they like and leave empty handed, frustrated and confused.
OK, I agree, it does sound about clothes so far but it goes further, its about feelings – feeling inspired by our wardrobes so we can easily select an outfit that makes us look – and feel – great! Happy about how we look so that we can leave the house unrushed and can start our day in a positive mood! Its about dressing with authenticity, dressing in a way that makes us feel comfortable and reflects both our personality and the person who we are today. When we feel great we grow in confidence, out self-esteem increases and we feel more inclined to socialise and not decline those invitations that can fill us with the “I don’t have anything to wear” fear, we feel more positive.
It tends to be changes in our lives that bring about our wardrobe crises. Having children, children leaving home, leaving work to start our own business or to commence our retirement, divorce or bereavement. I was at a Coffee Morning recently and spoke to 2 ladies about all of this. They were both struggling with their wardrobes; one who had left work had a wardrobe full of suits or jeans and t-shirts and another who ran her own business and was concerned that her casual dress code was not projecting the right image to the more corporate clients that she was now pitching too. Two completely different scenarios, but both on the same journey to try and understand how to dress for these new chapters in their lives in way that feels authentic, comfortable and appropriate.
So if this is you, how do you move forward? Well, here are my 5 tips…
1) Start collecting images of outfits that you like and that you think you would like emulate. You can use magazines, newspapers, or use online sources such as Pinterest. Is there a celebrity whose style you admire? When you have a collection, take a look and find the similarities; is it pattern, colour – whether bright or neutrals, styles – really casual, smart or classic. Write down what you like about what you have collected and keep it in your purse and bring it out on your next shopping trip and look for items that reflect these words.
2) When you go into the changing room, take something in with you that you would never have normally picked out. Try it on! You might love the colour but hate the style or vica versa. It might be an absolute disaster but it could also be a revelation! It will get you into the habit of going outside your comfort zone and you just might be surprised!
3) Shop somewhere new! If your usual shopping haunts are no longer working for you, its time to try something different. Look online or ask friends for some ideas. Small boutiques can be a source of great inspiration and with staff who are customer focused and are who have spent years dressing women, they can suggest items for you which again you would not have picked out yourself. Go with it and try it on! Whats the worst that can happen? You don’t have to buy it if you don’t like it!
4) Go shopping solo! This is your journey and you need to discover what is right for you. Friends and family will have their own ideas for you but only you know what is right for you. Plus you don’t want the pressure of someone knocking on the changing room door asking to take a look when you are not comfortable in what you have tried on!
5) Do your shopping trip when you have plenty of time and the stores are quiet. Mondays and Tuesdays are great shopping days. The Stores are re-stocking after the weekend and are much quieter. Have time to browse, treat yourself to lunch and may be a small glass of wine and just enjoy discovering the new you! It can be a lot of fun and think how wonderful it will be when you have that wardrobe of clothes that you can’t wait to wear!