The story of an ADD , body dysmorphic , insecure, shopping addict Personal Stylist : Part 2

CLICK HERE IF YOU MISSED OUT ON PART 1 
If your job is draining you and you are feeling like you are stuck, could it be that you have not evaluated the message your personal style is bringing across ? Do you seriously think the only reason you did not get the pay raise or promotion is because you lack skill? Could it be that you are still dressing like a receptionist rather than the head of your department ?

my style was in fact not my style…


Before I left off previously, I was telling you the story of how I struggled with my own sense of self, despite being a successful model and fashion expert for years. I know it sounds weird and it is hard for me to confess, but here it is: I struggled to find my style identity even though I helped many clients find theirs.
I was still shopping impulsively, wasting money and never feeling like I had my own style. Making excuses for my style …all because I was not confident with my style because, well my style was in fact not my style…
 

my own style journey


Then I sat down and made time for my own style journey. Yes I still get caught up in fashion because that is my first love, but I am much more responsible with my luxury & trend buying than I use to be. Yes I still sometimes fall for fast fashion,but my choices have become considerably more responsible. All because I got to know my style, my body type and how to dress for it. And I also stopped bending and bowing to all the fashion and style rules out there! I worked on my own style and what makes me feel good. I know a circus jacket will actually make me feel good to be honest, but it’s not for everyone and it also depends on the cut ,because not all circus jackets will suit me … I had to figure this out. 
 
These were the subjects I had to work on, research, and comb through, to eventually love my wardrobe and understand my style. It was hard, but I came up with some solutions. I was able to blend these insights with all my previous experience and learnings and I have come up with 9 essential elements needed to create your ultimate style.
 
1. Style obstacles:


Realising why I did not change my style and what was holding me back. Being intimated by all the style rules. Fear of missing out when it comes to fashion. Being scared what others might think of my sudden experimenting. Lack of money (even though I was spending so much on fast fashion) … so many obstacles that I had to really face and work through to get to a point where I could turn down the noise and focus on why I wanted to be stylish and that it was my journey and no one else’s business.
 

2. Goals:

I had so many goals, and because I am ADD I lose focus so quickly when there is no real plan or structure. I get bored and I am out of there. Getting to know my style was interestingly enough a great place to start to keep myself focused. At first it was all over the place, and then I got myself an organised, structured plan designed from my experience in the fashion industry and also with working with my clients. I realised this : once you have a really good idea of what your unique style is and you feel totally comfortable with it you will stay focused to reach those goals and to walk into a room and own it.  

Ps. by comfortable I do not mean comfortable shoes. “Beauty is pain” will always be true… 
 
3. Body type:

Loads of stylists ignore body type. This is a big mistake. You know those pants you loved and had to have, but every time you put them on they look terrible and you don’t understand why ? 99% of the time it is because the certain style does not suit your body type. So establishing the body type you have now and how to dress for it is one of the most important things when it comes to personal style. 
Once you understand that, so much falls into place. For example, I have big breasts now, but I didn’t always have. My body type changed after I had to have an emergency breast enlargement (lol) But I still dressed for the boy body with no curves that I used to have, and it looked terrible. I had such issues with my body, and disliked it to a point where I tried to hide it with layers and baggy clothes. I did idiotic things and followed stupid diets to feel good about my body and to fit into clothes that did not suit me at all. No matter what I did, big breasts or small breasts, toned not toned, thin or not so thin, I never liked my body. No matter what the scale said, when I looked in the mirror I was miserable and could not make peace with my body. I thought it is all me. But wow, once I discovered the theory of dressing for your body type and learned what flatters my body type, something clicked in my head and I love my body now. Flab and all.  I know what looks good for my body and I feel sexy, confident and comfortable. So establishing your body type and learning how to dress for it will change your life.
 
4. My wardrobe:

I was hanging on to all kinds of old rules that did actually not even apply to me. The Cosmo of 1999 fed me this crap advice, and I fell for it because in the 90’s the Cosmo was the bible. The truth is fashion and style have evolved so much since the 90’s. There are certain rules that are simple to understand and important, liked discussed in the body type section. But then there are silly rules like colours. I was nagged not to wear black because it’s blah, but I am so attracted to black and I always feel good in it. Why was this considered taboo? So my wardrobe ended up looking like circus soleil … colours which were so not me, but the fashion magazines and their fashion stylist (not personal stylists, there is a difference)  brain washed me. I decided to evaluate my style and really get down to business. I researched what the essential items to make a capsule wardrobe are, so that I can actually always have something to wear What are the essential items to have a functional wardrobe and what works for me ? I did a brutal wardrobe detox and ended up understanding my style even better. I do this seasonally and this helps to keep me on track because here is news…. my style is changing and evolving all the time and guess what, so is yours.  Jobs change, goals change, lifestyle changes It is impossible to dress like I did in 2004, when my child was a year old and everything was still pointing up. Life has changed and so did my style. Having an organised, merchandised wardrobe changes your style game and is part of the loving your wardrobe process.
 
5. Posture:


Many of us had that aunt or mother or grandma that told you to stand up straight and pull in your stomach. I am glad that I had that. I have great posture, but at times I can find myself slouching. I feel like I want to hide or that I don’t know how to stand or smile or whatever. Your posture, and working on it constantly, is such an important part of looking and feeling stylish. As a model I got so disillusioned at times because I was told how to stand and how to smile, even when I couldn’t smile anymore. My mouth would get so dry from trying 10 000 different ways to smile …face yoga anyone? But till this day I sit up straight, I am constantly aware of my posture, and I realised working in this industry so long that your clothes look better when you make sure that your posture is good. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with personal style but it does. Posture has a great influence on your attitude, your style, your appearance, and how others perceive you. I am not fond of exercise and that is bad. But I do practice good posture, and there are some great, easy top tips on working on your posture. 
 

6. Shopping :

Shopping . . . oh this is my hobby! And I get to do it for my clients!! How lucky am I ? But I was a bad, bad, irresponsible shopper. There is a quote by Dave Ramsey that was my truth for a very long time…
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” My shopping habits were out of control and irresponsible. I wasted so much money and had items in my closet that still had tags on them. I made so many bad decisions when it came to shopping because I simply had to have those shoes or that blazer, and thought that it would change my life. I shopped incorrectly because I had no understanding of my style or my body type, and I fell right into all the pit falls of shopping. I then went out and studied visual merchandising, and I learned what these genius visual merchandisers do to make us believe in fairytales. And boy are they good. They are very talented and the science behind it is so clever. Once I realised what was going on behind the curtain it made shopping easier. I regained control over my shopping addiction, saved a ton of money, and ending up with stuff in my wardrobe that I actually love and wear. 
 
7. Lifestyle:

I am so for the theory of “fake it till you make it”. I truly believe in this and have practiced it in so many areas of my life. And the theory of “dress who you want to be and not who you are also makes complete sense. Tony Robbins says the first step to being successful is to start with the first step… makes sense ! Getting dressed for gym even though you don’t go gets your mindset into that until eventually you become a gym person and you go still working on that btw. But it is all important that you align your personal style with your goals. That said, you need to factor in your lifestyle. If you are a stay at home mom planning to conquer the business world after you have stopped breastfeeding, it does not mean you have to run around in stilettos while you are changing nappies. Your current lifestyle must make a big part of your wardrobe. You have to also be realistic. Wearing a hawaiian shirt because your goal is to win the incentive trip to hawaii is okay, you can do it at home, but wearing it to your business meeting is going to make an impression for sure, but not exactly the impression you are looking to make.

 8. Planning :

I am not great at planning. In fact planning is probably one of my worst qualities. I am a late night, last minute kind of person. But at the same time I am also freaked out by chaos. How does this make sense ? I don’t know… I was built like this. There are many things we cannot plan for, but when it comes to your wardrobe, that you can plan. Having a plan for your seasonal wardrobe makes your life in all areas so much less complicated. This is why I am so fond of seasonal capsule wardrobe guides, and I guess this is also why it is my best selling service.  It is easy to do when you understand your style and all the other factors. This becomes your handbook for being well organised and ready. 
 
9. What about YOUR colours:
Ah I hate this. I am suppose to be a stylist, right ? I am supposed factor colours that suit my clients into their wardrobes? Well here is my thinking… most of my clients already know what colours suit them, and which colours they hate, and me trying to convince them that mustard yellow suits them, when they hate the colour, is just wrong. Working out what colours  and patterns you are attracted to is part of your personal style journey, and a stylist can convince you to buy that grey sweater, but you have to be comfortable with the colour otherwise you will avoid it and it is money in the bin. Many fashion stylist insisted on dressing me in a lighter grey, and I totally knew it is not my colour. It suited my skin tone, yes, but I hated it, and it appeared in all the campaigns I was in, and I had to wear it. I looked freakishly uncomfortable selling sportswear that was suppose to convince consumers that this is THE sportswear they needed. Now darker grey, that was more me, and I knew it. Most of my clients understand their attraction to certain colours. I find it sad when they have previously worked with another stylist, and the stylist chose the colours according to their colour chart, and the client hates the colour but trusts the stylist, and alas they end up with expensive clothes they don’t ever wear because they hate the colour. Being true to the colours you are attracted to is being true to your unique style.

 
 
These topics are critical to consider when it comes to discovering your personal style. These are the steps I had to work through personally, to discover and establish and update my style. I now use this method with my clients with great success. Everything in life that is worthwhile takes guided effort, and mastering your own style is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. It is a amazing how much your personal style can influence all other areas of your life. 
 
 
I understand that not everyone can hire a stylist season after season.
Do you want to know how we can discover your unique style  ?  My goal is to unlock your true style and show you how you can stay updated whenever you need it.
 

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Wardrobe images curtesy of Rachel Parcell