Over my nine years as a Personal Style Consultant, I’ve run into a number of times when one of my clients has worked with another consultant in town and wasn’t satisfied for one reason or another. It happens. But what I find interesting is sometimes why they weren’t satisfied. (please note pictures are not that of my client to protect privacy)
Most recently I had a client who called me over because she’d worked with another consultant but felt like she still didn’t have anything to wear. After sitting down and talking to her for a bit I found that she’d been taken to stores she’d never regularly go into, spent an amount of money that she’d never spend and got a bunch of items that she said “Look good on me, yes, but in the end, didn’t feel like me” so she had returned most of them. This upset me because I know she spent a HUGE amount of money on these services and she still wasn’t satisfied. Now what story would her closet tell me?
Looking at her closet I could see that she wasn’t afraid of color..YES! Her strawberry blond hair and hazel eyes need color to bring them to life. Gray’s and blacks would just dull her natural beauty. What I did notice right away was that she had a number of tops with ruffles on them which in the half hour I’d spent with her..didn’t seem like her style. She told me that the other consultant had told her she was a Romantic so she should wear pieces that were florals and she should use flowy fabrics. This woman is a highly respected executive. Not that, that means she couldn’t be a romantic but she WASN’T a romantic. Plus…I never like labeling someone. She did have some leopard print blouses (which felt more like her) but like 3 or 4 of them! Too many to make for a functional wardrobe. And as we got into our session I noticed that she had a number of ‘old lady’ looking items that were not fresh or modern. It was as if she had a corporate wardrobe. This hit a nerve with her because she told me that’s exactly how her closet felt to her. So it got me thinking…being a Personal Style Consultant isn’t about asking a series of scripted questions and coming up with a box or label to throw someone into. Nor is it just playing dress up, it’s just not that easy. It’s SO much more. It’s mathematics, it’s psychology, genetics, formulas, but most importantly…it’s PERSONAL! I like romantic comedies and quiet nights with my hubs playing scrabble but I am NOT a romantic dresser. You have to really look at your client, see how she decorates her house, listen to how she speaks, hear what she does for a living but also what she does in her spare time. All of those factors and much more, will effect what kind of wardrobe will be best for her.
I could take a client out and spend $5000 easily. Get her bags and bags of clothes that she really looks good in but what’s important to me is, is this teaching her anything? Will she be excited to go into her closet and get dressed each day? Does she have a wardrobe that will function in her lifestyle? It’s not about going and blowing a ton of money on the most expensive articles of clothing. It’s about finding clothes and items that your client NEEDS and will wear, WITHIN their budget and WITHIN what they would usually do. Don’t get me wrong. My client could afford the shopping spree she went on but she wouldn’t have done it regardless. It just isn’t her.
The other bone I had to pick was she was told to wear belts AT her waist because she had no waist. This is something I’ve read in books and seen on TV but in my own practice..it doesn’t apply to everyone who has no waist. What it did to her was make her look like she had a short waist and exploited the fact that she had no waist.
She looked MORE boxy. She’d been wearing belts with and over EVERYTHING because she was told to. Belts weren’t a no no, necessarily but she had to learn how to wear them specifically for HER. You have to take into consideration not only your clients shape but her proportions, the rise, limb length, face shape, and other measurements. It’s not so black and white.
I’m not poo pooing all consultants. I know we’re only as good as the communication is between us and our clients. And I’m not perfect myself. I was however really disappointed to see how severely misguided my client had been and wondered how many others were being given cracker jack consultations and weren’t really getting the information that will truly help them achieve their personal style expectations.
We ended up having a fantastic session. My client felt like she’d been put back on a path that felt like her. We put together a plan of action and we’re in the process of rebuilding her wardrobe with items that Fit her, Flatter her, have Function in her lifestyle but most importantly Feel good to her. That is my goal.