So how did I go from being a Director of Professional Development to becoming a Stylist?
I would describe myself as someone who is confident, with a strong sense of my own personal style. But it hasn’t always been that way: I have been on my own style journey too. My style has definitely evolved over time, and I was actually pretty self-assured as a teenager, throughout my twenties, and early thirties too. I knew what I liked, and I had an instinct for what suited me. However, I was pregnant for the first time at 39, and that calls for a very different wardrobe, especially as I was the size of a house!
I did gain quite a lot of weight in pregnancy, and though I lost some of it, I never lost it all, and it was at this time that my style confidence took a real wobble. I went through a phase where I was wearing stretchy, easy clean clothes; totally baby-focussed and not getting dressed until lunchtime.
Everything was about my role as a new mother. A new mother, who was not exactly happy with what she saw in the mirror. I never seemed to have any time to myself, especially as I was breastfeeding for the first 10 months. And I thought that all my baby weight would just fall off, because I was breastfeeding. But that just didn’t happen.
I had stopped feeling like me. I was loving being a mother, but I also wanted to feel like my old self again too. I decided that I can either grump about it, give up wine and cake, or I can learn to dress better for the figure I have. I chose the latter. I don’t believe in waiting for a slimmer figure to start making the most of myself. I prefer to make the most of what I have today. No more missing out on feeling great, just because I am a little heavier than I used to be.
So this is where my new style journey really began. I know that when I look good, it makes me feel good. I certainly won’t get any younger, and I may not get any thinner, so I was determined to make the best of myself, as I am today, and every day, even if it is only me working at home.
I decided to take my style power back, and undertook formal style training, squeezing in courses and books, and videos between feeding, washing, and ironing jobs. A few extra pounds were not going to defeat me, and stop me feeling good about myself again. I felt stylish before I was pregnant, so I was perfectly capable of doing it again. But this time, I wanted to go a step further. I wanted to rely on more than my instincts and the things I learned from my mother, and all the other stylish men and women in my family. I wanted the underpinning knowledge to be certain of why something looked good, what suited me, and why.
I am not known for doing things by half. I was excited to learn more, to add professional training to my previous knowledge, and to get my journey started. This was going to be fun, and something I was enjoying so much. Which is a good job because I found myself pregnant again just after Scarlet’s first birthday, and I had 9 months until our next baby was due to arrive! Fitting it all in, with a baby and a toddler to look after, has its challenges, but when you love something, have the enthusiasm and excitement for doing something well, somehow you find the time and do it!
Slowly I started to become me again. I re-read all my old style books, bought loads of new ones, and caught up with all the TV style programmes. I did my homework, and started to put my knowledge back into practice. I was educated in Colour Analysis so I could hone my skills, and train my eyes to better see nuances of different colours, and the impact that colour has on how well someone looks. Soon I was sharing these new, and even better styling skills with friends and family. I read more books, took extra training, and soon I was combining my style knowledge, with my years of lecturing and teaching skills. Before you know it, I was juggling two small children and running my own successful style business!
More and more women were coming to me for advice. I started writing style columns for two glossy magazines and I was off, and have never looked back. I love my job! How fantastic is it to help thousands of women look and feel amazing? To teach them the skills so they can do this for themselves? The growth in confidence you get to witness is brilliant, and so rewarding.
I have seen so many happy tears where women have had that eureka moment and realised they too can look, and feel fabulous. They just need someone to hold their hand and show them not just how, but much more importantly, why? Knowing and understanding why is key to learning to be stylish for yourself.
Because this way you can repeat the results, over and over again. If you don’t understand why, then it may just be a lucky accident: you have a great outfit, but you might not be able to recreate your success. I teach style skills step-by-step until you have a deeper understanding, and more style knowledge than most image consultants ever have.
I know I am really lucky I get to share my skills with so many fantastic women. And many of them have become my friends too.
This is how I went back to being the sort of woman who always sprays on a little perfume even if I am doing DIY, wears my pearls to sail, go grocery shopping, and I even give birth to the girls wearing them. That is just who I am. It has been wonderful to find me once again.
Life is short and I want to live mine to the fullest I can. I don’t believe in saving anything for best. If I love it, I wear it. Every day is special and I am dressed and ready for it!
I am not here to turn you into a Hollywood superstar. There are stylists who only work on Red Carpet events and are better at that part of my profession. My field is different. My area of expertise is helping women like me; those who don’t have a perfect figure, that lead busy, and sometimes complex lives, but also know that the time has come when you want to make the best of yourself, and want some kind and supportive guidance on how to do that. This is my forte.
I am an excellent cheerleader; I am in your corner. I can teach you exactly how to be the stylish person, you want to be.
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