Helping you to be exactly who you are describes my deeper promise of service. It’s not how people envision that I would help them in my role as fashion and personal style strategist. Depth doesn’t typically come to mind for most people focused on improving or enhancing their surfaces. Treating a person’s surface holistically means connecting it to that person’s essence.
The right results do not happen as quickly and as easily as you might think. Many people have visceral responses that can challenge the process and make it more difficult to achieve desired results. In any event, when it finally happens, the feeling for the client is triumphant. That’s why helping you to be exactly who you are is a journey that requires time, patience, listening, and empathy.
I’m going to peel back the curtain and expose you to some interesting challenges that clients face. It is important to destigmatize and not trivialize people’s legitimate issues. Style might be a surface issue, but the issue runs deep to the core.
A newer client who recently completed her color and style profiling exercise found this very personally challenging. She rejected certain colors that I guaranteed as drop dead gorgeous and make her look absolutely radiant. These colors, she says, repel her. She also completed the style profiling exercise twice because the initial results left her unconvinced. When we did it again, it was a week after the first profile. Then, I analyzed the results of both profiles, which were consistent, an indication of a high level of accuracy.
After this, I curated an impressive wardrobe capsule. The day arrived for me to show it to her, and she met the experience with great resistance. She saw some garments in those colors. I also added a garment with polka dots and another with poufy shoulders. Her eyes glazed over and her body tensed up, as the mere sight of these garments triggered something in her. As this happened, it was essentially what I expected.
I am not a personal style masochist who takes pleasure in getting people uncomfortable. Yet, sometimes it is necessary, as in this case. From the beginning, I listened to her every word, while also considering the profiling results. If I am responsible for helping you to be exactly who you are, I must consider all of the data. And sometimes it’s really uncomfortable because people hold onto “stuff” like self-limiting beliefs, judgments, trauma, and memories of negative experiences.
What happened next was pretty amazing. I offered her the opportunity to turn the experience around. I suggested that we see every piece as a chance for both of us to learn more about her. Sometimes people struggle with the right words to describe themselves. The style profile is the crux of the entire process because knowing the person leads to creating the right look. If a person holds doubts about what is true of oneself from the inside, it’s harder to appreciate one’s exterior.
So, by reviewing each garment, we could continue to learn more about her together. Because she presently wrestles with the profiling results, I know that we are still inside the discovery phase. So, in helping you to be exactly who you are, it is my responsibility to work at your pace. I essentially offered her the chance to keep teaching me, and in doing so, she might get clearer, too.
This diffused her stress and her eyes and posture softened again. She agreed enthusiastically to try on anything I suggested, and she did. Occasionally, the moment she tried something on, I wanted it off of her body just as fast as she did. Then we had long discussions about other pieces that flattered her body, worked for her style and that she desired. I began to see a pattern form among the clothing items that were suddenly accumulating in the possibility pile.
Among that highly curated capsule, I managed to assort a key group of winners. The next step I had to take was to analyze what common traits existed among these pieces. This knowledge helps me to know more about her and in a way that she cannot easily articulate.
Again, I’m not out to inflict pain or stress on anyone. What I needed to do was to expose it because it was already there before I came into her life. You see, the visceral responses she has to certain colors and clothing styles are part of exactly who she is. I am not going to even attempt to make her love a polka dotted cashmere sweater. No way, no how. That is not the point. It is also not about someone being right and someone being wrong. The collaborative spirit of this process requires that I identify the edges of her style so that she feels safe. Only then will she exude confidence and ease in her new clothes.
In helping you to be exactly who you are, my job is to listen, be attentive, encourage creativity and experiment. We are taking the time she needs so that she more fully expresses who she is. In the end, she gets to say who she is and to look like who she is without apology.
To learn more about the immersive personal style development experiences I offer, click here.