Style Session: Anna
Working at Retail Therapy, I spend a lot of time one-on-one with clients in order to style functional wardrobes full of comfort, funk, and their personal style. I wanted to extend this service into my own pursuits as well, so that women aren’t just stuck in this conundrum of buying new in order to feel different. It’s of value to realize that the lowest impact clothing is the clothing you already have and wear! I am here to help style your existing wardrobe, cleanse the distracting clutter, and fill in the gaps with ethical choices.
I wanted to practice this service outside of Retail Therapy, so I invited some friends to let me into their closets (a vulnerable position). I wanted to let their style shine through and help them to look and feel their best with the clothes they already have. Anna, who has become one of my great friends since moving back to my home city, was the first person I worked with. Actually, our whole friendship started around clothes. After recently moving here, she stopped in the boutique I work in and we hit it off!
Anna is a minimalist and a thrifter. After a conversation about how our time would best serve her wardrobe, we decided to focus on styling and filling in the gaps. The night before our scheduled appointment she sent me this awesome article by Man Repeller, titled “When Do You “Know” Your Personal Style?” In short, the article said that you know your style when you know yourself. We started there: I had Anna define herself (another vulnerable position) without considering her clothes or style, and then I had her pick out one piece of clothing that is her. I loved her answer and found it inspiring to hear how she saw herself.
Next, we took a look at her lifestyle and where she spent her time. This was great because then we could focus the majority of her outfits around her day-to-day life. She is an artist and professor, but also spends a lot of time with friends, as well as lounging and of course, sleeping.
Now that we had established where to focus our efforts, she took EVERYTHING out of her closet and laid it on her bed. I then asked her a series of questions right off the bat about anything she might need. I also had a list of basics that we went through and I started recording the missing essentials.
Anna spends most of her time teaching and needs a smart casual look. I had her put on a typical work outfit and we talked about improvements, adding structure, and dressing for her body type. The more she tried on, the more apparent it became to both of us that she was trying to desexualize herself in the classroom. Because of this, her outfits became slouchy and maybe even took away from her authority. She even mentioned that she would never wear these outfits in front of her boyfriend, which showed that she wasn’t feeling her best wearing them.
As a side note - I totally get where she is coming from as a young professional woman or any woman for that matter. How do you dress so that your brain, ideas, and intelligent wealth are at the forefront? How do you show your personal power and value your feminine characteristics both internal and external with what you wear? How do you communicate to the world that you’re NOT a sexual object, but that you ARE a sexual being with partners that you choose? This is a sensitive area because clothing communicates. At the same time I think women should be able to wear whatever they want and not have to put up with having their intelligence questioned, being sexually harassed, or publicly criticized. Men have NEVER faced the scrutiny that women have been put through when it comes to how they look.
When looking at Anna’s social wardrobe her clothes shifted into a girlier look, something that she had never noticed before her styling session. We talked about how to bridge the gap, how to find power in looking feminine, and how to use androgyny that isn’t frumpy. We came up with outfits that looked great with her body type that she could rock at work or wear to grab a drink with her boyfriend. We separated less structured tops and bottoms and paired them with tailored alternatives. We pinned, hemmed, slimmed, and repaired clothing in order to elongate and have the best fit. We divided her clothing seasonally and reorganized her closet. We readdressed the questions from the beginning of our time and made a final list of needs, ranging from immediate basics to fun staples that she can slowly add into her closet over time.
We ended the night with a final glass of wine and a debrief where I was up for critique. Anna said she got everything she was hoping for out of it. After mentioning how vulnerable the process was, she told me that I handled the session with kindness, understanding, and empathy. Anna had the final say when it came to how she looked and I was the guide and sounding board with suggestions to help. She also mentioned that her clothes felt more precious to her now; the most beneficial part of her styling session was trying everything on and seeing how she really looked. The process was invaluable to her and produced great results! Now she can be more conscious of her spending habits, all the while being intentional about what she is buying.
I appreciate the fact that we got rid of a few things, altered a number of great pieces, and gave life back to her existing wardrobe! Thank you Anna!!!!