I’m going to let my guard down here on a subject that’s been challenging me for several years. I don’t find it difficult to be vulnerable about a lot of things; I can easily share my stories with you about depression, my mom dying, what it was like to have a drug-free childbirth, or a sexual assault. Heavy things. But one thing I’ve had trouble coming to terms with is my style.
Does that sound trite? I’m going to reflect on it anyway.
Three years ago my life changed dramatically. Where I spent my time, what I spent it doing, who I spent it with…it all shifted. I suppose it didn’t happen over night, that transition was a long time coming. My closet downsized significantly when we moved. I put on a few pounds. I stopped going out to clubs and other such places where you might find girls running around in the winter without coats on (YOU’RE GOING TO CATCH A COLD, YOUNG LADY). There were a millions reasons that my wardrobe full of sequined cocktail dresses no longer served me - at least not on a regular basis. I’d been meaning to address it but I thought I’d lose a few pounds first to see if that would help. I thought perhaps I too many choices and on my never-ending quest to become a minimalist, I purged one-third of my closet. Maybe that would help. The next thing I knew, I was pregnant. That definitely didn’t help.
Becoming a mom means a lot of things, one of which is that those sequined cocktail dresses no longer fit, literally and figuratively. I thought I could figure it out on my own though. I spent a few hours a week combing Pinterest for inspiration and bought a handful of cheap shirts to hold me over until I got my pre-baby body back (HAHAHAHA). Yet I had meltdown after meltdown. My closet, which had once been a source of confidence and control, felt totally foreign to me. It had become a source of anxiety.
Some people throw clothes on simply because they can’t just walk around naked. For others, fashion is life. I fall somewhere in between. But having spent part of my career covering the subject for newspapers and magazines, I’d be damned if I was going to “let” someone (let alone pay them) to tell me what to wear. Until I did.
It helped that I’ve known Laura for years. We’ve worked together a few times and I’ve long admired her style. I’ve watched her business, Style Riot, grow into a full-time successful venture. I knew she was someone I could trust not only to understand my tastes but also my challenges without judgement. That second part is not always so easy to find with fashion folk. So I invited her into my closet.
Laura went through my entire wardrobe repurposing pieces I never thought I’d wear again and put together combinations I would have never thought off. It wasn’t the ego blow I was expecting. It was fun. It got my creativity flowing. I felt better about myself than I have in a long time.
After our first visit, Laura created a personalized shopping list for me offering several options and price points for each as well as with notes on what it might be worn with, color recommendations, and other helpful comments. Over the course of several weeks I made it my mission to track down as many as the items as possible, hitting up sales and scouring the internet for coupons. By the end of our second session, following a full closet revamp, she left me with a half-dozen new looks created from my new stuff and pieces I already owned.
At the risk of sounding like a cheeseball, it was a transformative experience. I’ll probably never wear my sky-high heels again and I’m positive there a few mini skirts that will stay in the back of my closet untouched for good ol’ times sake but I don’t feel hopeless every time I get dressed now.
Here are a few of the looks we came up with (don’t mind my wet hair, pasty legs, and “oh my God is that a camera pointed at me” face, I’m doing my best over here).
It turns out my wardrobe wasn’t as sad as I thought it was. Quite the opposite. It just needed a little help from a friend.