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Virginia Wells

When Do You Need a Stylist and Not a Declutterer? Styling Part 1

Are you a bit like me? Do you need a stylist and NOT a declutterer?

When I looked into my wardrobe, I saw lots of clothes I could wear, but still felt like I had nothing to wear. I was unsure of what style or colours I should be wearing. What suited me? I lacked the confidence to wear particular pieces in my wardrobe because I wasn’t sure how to wear them right.

You might identify with this and also struggle to match items in your wardrobe together to make an outfit.  You might be sick of spending money on clothes that just don’t get worn “for some reason”.

I hear you. I’m an Organiser. I do regular wardrobe culls and my friends would say I don’t really have that much. I know how to cull items from my wardrobe for the ‘too big’, ‘too small’, ‘don’t like it’, ‘don’t wear it’, ‘sentimental piece’ piles. That doesn’t help me, however, with ‘does this suit me?’ ‘What could I wear this with?’… and all of those great styling types of questions. So I decided to engage a stylist.

Working with a Stylist

If you identify with any of this, then you might be interested in my experience with fantastic Stylist Fiona Keary from Style Liberation.  We’ve been working together for a long period now to bring our followers an ebook on decluttering your wardrobe and how to style yourself (you can download yourself a copy here). During this process, I engaged Fiona to help me get a better handle on my style. I also wanted to feel confident in what I wear. Let’s get this straight. Although we cross over in decluttering our client’s wardrobes, we offer very different skills. I don’t give styling advice to my clients, Fiona does. Fiona won’t go into in-depth conversations about why something is still in your wardrobe and why it’s hard for you to let it go. I do… We have different strengths.

My Styling Session Story – The History

Over the years I have hired stylists to enlighten me on ‘everything styling’ and learnt a few good things. With these experiences, I was advised to buy ‘staple’ pieces to fill out my wardrobe such as “all women need tan shoes and a handbag”. In my younger years, I promptly complied with this advice thinking it would solve all of my issues. Lo and behold I seldom wore the shoes and never used the handbag. I was also left feeling fairly low in confidence after one session following comments about pieces in my wardrobe. I believed that if I got another stylist I’d end up spending lots of money on clothes I wouldn’t wear and I’d still feel low in confidence.

The Style Liberation Difference

In walks stylist Fiona from Style Liberation with her kit. She talked through the process (what? A process for styling?) she followed and what I could expect in the session. She used this process and tools to figure out what shape I am and what colours I should wear. Fiona went beyond telling me I was a ‘winter/summer/autumn/spring’.  This woman is a font of knowledge, happily sharing all she knew. We followed this ‘technical’ part with a review of my wardrobe.

Wardrobe Review

To set the scene, I had 150 items in my cupboard (not including socks, jocks, hosiery or accessories). A lot, you might think. Go count yours, you’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up! 😉

Fiona asked me questions to help me identify why something wasn’t working for me. With all of the knowledge she’d imparted earlier, I was able to say, “oh this colour is too muted for me and makes me looked washed out” or ‘this falls in the wrong place for my body shape which accentuates my hips (which I want to avoid)”. We talked about why items weren’t flattering (or were) and how they would look if they were right.

Had I left the styling session with Fiona there, I know I would have been much better off. I’d culled 58 items from my wardrobe that day, purely based on things that didn’t work for me, colour- or shape-wise. Since then I’ve dropped another 14 items. However, the effects were more far-reaching.

So how did styling change my life?

  1. We created space. My husband and I share a very small wardrobe. We created so much space in my section that I could move my husband’s jackets into my area, giving him more breathing room.
  2. I have more time.  Because I have less to wear, There is less to procrastinate on when getting dressed in the morning. I also have more time because I know what goes with what in my wardrobe, so I don’t need to change my shirt seven times before leaving the house.
  3. I’m happier knowing that what I have in my wardrobe is ‘me’, and looks good.  No more guilty feelings for avoiding those pieces I wasn’t wearing.
  4. I’m more knowledgeable about myself and what works for me, and I have tools to help me.  (ie: swatches, a booklet and an online program that helps me shop on my own).
  5. I’m more confident knowing my outfits are ‘approved’ by someone who knows what they’re talking about, rather than relying on my husband who says ‘mmmm it’s ok I guess’.
  6. I’ve already seen a reduction in my purchases. How? I know what not to buy now, so I’m not bringing in pieces that just don’t work.

There are many benefits in decluttering your wardrobe which I have shared with you before.  Decluttering it from the perspective of style is a different thing altogether. The knowledge a stylist can offer on the fit, style, shape and colour of a piece of clothing is very different and a great way to part with those items you ‘want to wear’… but don’t understand why you’ve never been able to get it to work.

The next step for me was to let Fiona take me shopping! Read about that experience and the benefits of taking a stylist with you to buy clothes in Part 2.

I’d love for us to have a discussion about this. Do come over to Facebook and share what item(s) you have in your wardrobe that you just don’t know how to wear.

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