Yesterday I tried something new. I met with a fashion consultant.
This has been a dream of mine ever since I realized how transformative fashion can be. It can give confidence and power when done well, and it can leave you with shame or doubt when done poorly. We try to pretend like what we wear doesn’t matter, and deep down it doesn’t. But the image we project is a part of our introduction. It makes a first impression and gives clues to who we are. It is important to dress well.
Step 1: Meeting
I went to a cafe at the mall to meet with a stylist. I had won her services at a charity auction for about 15% of her normal rates. WOW. Talk about a dream come true! I will call her “S”. She was in a really fun but professional outfit: long blush dress with a fun collar, two necklaces, fun boots, and platinum blonde hair framing a pixie face. Quite the striking figure! I was excited but nervous. S put me at ease by offering to get me a drink from the cafe where we participated in some easy banter before delving into fashion.
Step 2: Interview
This is the first time someone has ever asked me so many questions about my clothes. It was really fun and introspective! She asked questions like,
- Who do you dress for? Myself, and for work (I have a dress code).
- How do you want to feel in your clothes? Comfortable! If it’s not comfortable, I won’t wear it.
- What do you want people to know about you by seeing your clothes? It is very important to me that I look approachable. I would also like to look polished.
- Tell me about your favourite clothing item that you own. My favourite item is a new dress that I got for $120. It’s a black Carven dress that was $240 at the consignment shop, but I got it for $120 because they were having a 50% off sale! S told me that this was an incredible deal because those dresses can cost up into the thousands. Yesssss!!!!
- Tell me about a clothing item you own but hate. All of my pants. They’re too long or too short or too tight or too loose. Bad fit.
- How would you describe your style? Audrey Hepburn meets Punk Rock!
I really enjoyed discussing these details and I think it took my fashion education in a totally new direction!
Step 3: Window Shopping
We then ran around the mall for half an hour, looking at things in a variety of stores. S gave me great tips like, “Buy off-season for good deals!”. She pointed out pieces that would suit my body type, and I gave her feedback (as per her instruction) about whether or not I actually liked the garmet she had pointed out. I learned a lot about which clothing might suit me, but we didn’t try anything on. It was just browsing.
Step 4: Wardrobe Audit
Our next step will be to take a look at the clothing I own and to remove the items that don’t work well on me. Then, she will help me identify gaps in my wardrobe so we can round out my daily options. I think she will be quite intrigued by my minimalist selection! I am constantly paring down the items that I own.
All in all it’s off to a great start and I can’t wait to do Step 4 with her! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Would you ever hire a fashion consultant?
When I was twelve, I hated shopping. My grandmother was a real fashionista and she would ask me, WHY do you not like shopping? To her, it was the greatest thing. She really curated her outfits and was always impeccably dressed. I slowly came around to her line of thinking, and when I was in my teens I experimented with a lot of looks. Some days I’d wear punk princess dresses a la Avril Lavigne and then other days I’d wear baggy jeans with an oversized black hoodie. My sense of style was kind of all over the place and not really well-defined.
When I discovered this big minimalism trend, I was THRILLED. I find it very overwhelming to think of putting together many different outfits, but if I can ask myself to cycle through just a few clothing options then I’m ready to breathe a sigh of relief. Whew! I can do that. In addition, if I’m wearing only a few items of clothing, I can invest in those items and feel not-so-guilty if I buy something expensive.
To me, minimalist fashion is all about focus. It’s a delight to be able to hone in on what you truly love, instead of wearing a bunch of clothes you bought for the wrong reasons and you never felt good in. I’m wearing only what I loooooove. It is nice. And my closet is tiny and organized, too.
Are you a fan of minimalist fashion? What do you think?
One of my favourite fashion websites is into-mind.
She has an incredible post about how to find your signature style. I love her writing because she really lays it out for you, step-by-step. Not like the fashion magazines where they say: HEY, THIS LOOKS GREAT. And then I have to sit there wondering why. It is not natural for me to realize why something works well and looks good.
For me, fashion is not intuitive. I need information. Anuschka takes me by the hand and gives me a process to follow. This is why I love her.
Part of the process involves being able to describe your signature style. I made the Pinterest board (as she recommends) and I drew together some common themes. I like a lot of black, and I like leather but also cashmere, soft cozy and warm. I like edgy but still classy. In short, my style is Audrey Hepburn meets Punk Rock. Haha! I like it. It fits me.
What is your signature style?
Inspired by a number of bloggers who have gone down this route (like Ariana at Paris to Go), and being a huge fan of minimalism and anything that saves time, I’ve been really wanting to try the No Shampoo movement.
Right now I’m on Day 3 of No Shampoo. I used to wash my hair every second day with Pantene shampoo and conditioner. The Long Hair Community (and they know their stuff!) will tell you that Pantene uses silicones (or something) and that it’s bad for your hair. All I know is that it made my hair incredibly silky and frizz-free, looking shiny and divine. It gave me the kind of hair that other women are jealous of while they pretend not to mind that all you did was air-dry your hair. Anyway. That hair is gone to me now!
Now I’ve got hair that is frizzy (thanks, no conditioner!) and feels thick (in a bad way) because it’s erm… greasy. I cheated and shampooed my bangs because there is nothing worse than bangs in need of a wash. The good parts are that my hair has intense volume (thanks to frizz?) and I’m seeing a whole lot of wave going on. My hair was pretty straight before but would flip at the ends and hold a curl really well if I ever bothered to style it. I’m hoping that No Shampoo will give me a little more wave and bounce! That’d be great.
And hey, if I could save $20 every four months and 20 minutes every two days, that would make this pathway totally worth it.
This blog was going to be about my quest to learn about fashion. To obtain style. To look good by following rules and wearing what I was supposed to wear. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that is not at all what I want. I want to learn how to dress well, but to be kind to myself while doing so. No longer am I subscribing to the idea that I have to look better, be better! Fashion should be fun. It should celebrate my self, not shove myself into a tight little box that leaves marks on my skin.
This is my journey. I am learning – that much is true. But I am not approaching it with the abusive constraint of an exercise program or new diet; I am learning the same way we learn to love the sound of music. Education in an art allows us to appreciate it in new ways.
So join me as I educate myself and enjoy the clothing I drape upon myself! It is an adventure, as it should be.