Following my recent tidy and downsize, I realised that somewhere along the way to growing such an enormous wardrobe, I lost sight of my own style. When shopping, I was like a bower bird, attracted to anything pretty that caught my eye, not caring whether I already had something similar or that the item wouldn’t go with anything I already owned. This meant I wasted thousands of dollar on unworn clothing or pieces that I wore out of obligation but didn’t even feel amazing in. And yes, it wasn’t until my 29th year that I had my wake-up call. Ouch!
A few weeks ago when I endured 4 loooong days of tidying (as per Marie Kondo’s instructions), I managed to cull about 60-70% of my wardrobe. It was tough. There were tears and a fair bit of nausea when I thought about the wasted money. But I survived and my wardrobe has never looked better! Only I still had the problem of not knowing what to wear. Between my years of weight fluctuation (I own size 6’s up to size 12’s) and multiple careers (marketing, acting, real estate, beauty, fitness), I had no sense of what the “real” Katherine looked like. I needed help.
Sometimes you gotta call on a professional.
So I bit the bullet, Googled “personal stylist Brisbane”, and opened up the first 8 entries to see what was on offer. I culled most of them within a second due to badly built websites or an obvious age/style gap, but as soon as I saw Anna Mabin’s site, I knew she was the stylist for me. Nice simple website, an age and personal style I could relate to, and she appeared to be down to earth despite being amazing at what she does. Our initial phone call confirmed all of the above and that her price point was at happy mid-way point; an investment, but one that I could justify.
Anna had seen my earlier post about my lack of style and was slightly horrified by the state of my wardrobe, but I assured her that after clearing out 30 garbage bags of clothes, she wouldn’t have to deal with such horrors. I explained that between weight gain, some major life changes and a wardrobe too full to deal with, I’d completely lost sight of my personal style and that fashion no longer excited me. I needed her to help uncover my natural style and learn how to put whole outfits together (not just my old pants and top routine) so I could pull off that “smart casual” look rather than my two extremes: ultra casual or corporate.
The big day.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I was excited just to have an adventure. After all, it’s not every day you have a personal stylist over to your house and 4 whole hours dedicated to feeling amazing! We started the session with a 45-minute talk about my lifestyle, likes/dislikes, challenges and goals. She quickly figured out what had gone wrong (well, the list of things!) and was ready to get to work.
Rather than go into the details of how she worked, here’s the nutshell version:
We started with tops and worked on pairing them with matching bottoms and then accessories. There were immediate culls, a “maybe” pile and the ones that were obvious keepers.
When putting on an outfit I had to stand fairly close to the mirror and take an objective look at myself – she would ask where my eyes were drawn. The outfits that didn’t work had me focusing on the negatives or clearly brought attention to the wrong parts of my body. I threw a few items out that I previously thought I loved once I realised they weren’t doing me any favours.
Items that I wanted to keep but that didn’t suit my current lifestyle (i.e. super corporate stuff, special event outfits or stuff that are way out of season) got placed in the spare wardrobe, out of my eye line. This way I wouldn’t have any confusion when getting ready on a normal day and wouldn’t be tempted to go back to my old ways. Seemed fair.
I started to see a pattern in how she’d pull things together – mixing items with “flow” and “structure”, as well as mixing vibes, like a cute 50s inspired dress with a funky denim jacket. It basically allowed me to customise my look so I wasn’t ruled by what the item looked like on the hanger. Every outfit looked like ME!
There wasn’t time to go through everything in my wardrobe, so she dragged all the leftovers to the spare wardrobe and told me that they weren’t to come back unless they earnt their place. I would need to apply the techniques I’d learnt to these pieces to put together full outfits and if I couldn’t make it work, they were gone.
Apparently I still had more clothes than I needed.
In just 3 hours of wardrobe work, I got rid of another garbage bag of clothes. In the week following I got rid of a second. The more space I have in my wardrobe, the more I’m inspired by the items I have left. I see more possibility than ever before and had never realised (’til now) that having a wardrobe overflowing with excess was actually crippling me, making it impossible to find any sense of style!
The more I had, the more I spent because it felt like I had nothing to wear. And yet, now I’m down to about 20% of what I used to, I feel like I have more options than I know what to do with! Everything in my wardrobe represents Kat and makes me feel amazing – despite not yet being at my goal weight (something I always believed to be a condition of feeling good in clothes).
3 Ways Hiring a Stylist Changed My Life:
1. I’m no longer burdened by a wardrobe full of clutter that fills me with guilt (over having too much) and confusion (over what to wear). Every time I open it, I smile.
2. I’m no longer going to waste money on clothes that I like but make no sense in the bigger scheme of things. (No getting distracted by shiny objects!) My purchases will be smart and strategic.
3. I’m excited by fashion again and feeling so much better in myself realising that I don’t have to wait ’til I lose another 5 kilos to look good – I can look good now.
Who should considering hiring a stylist:
Anyone with an abnormally large wardrobe (I was taking up one and half mirrored robes as well as a few suitcases and plastic boxes in storage. Not normal.)
Anyone who gets stressed each morning trying to figure out what to wear
Anyone who struggles to find flattering clothes since a dramatic change in lifestyle or body shape
Anyone who believes they can’t look good at their current weight
Anyone who feels doomed to look frumpy or “mumsy” for the rest of their lives
Anyone who thinks you can’t be comfortable and look good at the same time
Anyone who thinks they can’t afford to look good
Pretty much ANYONE except those who already have a natural sense of style and are currently feeling good in what they wear!
Have you ever hired a stylist or do you think it’s a crazy idea for us “normal” people? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! And if you liked this article, please give it a share. Thanks for reading! x