I met Laura at a meeting of a wine society of which we are both members. We are seated next to each other and having the typical introductory small talk (What’s your name? Is this your first time attending?), and talking about what we like or don’t like about the wines being served that evening. Laura comments on my outfit, but there was no discussion about style.
We meet again a few months later at the wine society meeting. Laura and I speak about her passion for home decorating and her lifestyle newsletter MyLALifestyle. In this conversation, she makes a comment that still stands out to me; she asks if my home décor is similar to my clothing style. I cannot recall my answer, but I think it was an interesting question for someone to ask.
After that second meeting, our mutual friend Stacie texts me, saying that Laura likes my style and wants to know if I’d be willing to help her update her wardrobe. Although initially stunned, I’m very excited. Becoming a personal shopper at Nordstrom was the job I’d identified for my retirement years, and I love helping friends and family put looks together, even when my help is unwanted (here’s looking at you sister). As I think more about the prospect of working with Laura, nervousness set in. It is important to me that Laura develop her own personal style, and not be a clone of me. I want her to feel great about her style at the end of the process, and do want to let her down. This is actually a lot of responsibility!
Although, our journey has been interrupted by the pandemic, we did manage to complete a closet clean out, add some great new items to her wardrobe, and have a couple of styling sessions to put looks together. I recently asked Laura to share her thoughts on the process.
What were you looking to change about your style?
“I wanted to get away from the boring blue/black/grey wardrobe. The tried and true safe bet. I got tired of just fitting in, and admiring those that put together fun, unapologetic, colorful fashion choices and take risks. Those risk takers, in my mind, evoke a sense of confidence that I knew lived in me just waiting to be unleashed. My goal was to infuse color first of all, a European sensibility and polish of course!”
Why did you think I would be able to help you find your new style?
“I remember you entering a party – your attire looked as though you just got back from European fashion excursion. The colorful tailored coat that fit like a glove, the use of different patterns and the shoes…oh the shoes – they looked like they were from another era…vintage done right!”
How did the process compare with your expectations?
“I checked different stylists on the net. Some had put-together websites, but at the end of the day, their fashion sense was ordinary and expected. My husband jumped in one day and said, think back at who you know that dresses like you want to dress. That’s when I thought back at the party where I’d met you. That is the moment I asked my friend for your number and called you.
I think having you come to my house and do a “closet cleanse”, so to speak, helped tremendously. Having me try on pieces and losing those that just didn’t work and keeping those that did. I liked setting up the Pinterest board with you and having you drop in items that would complement or add that pop to my wardrobe. And finally, combining various outfits and photographing them so I have a picture board that I look at any time I get ready. Such a time saver and fun and efficient way of getting ready.”
Have others noticed a change in your style? What have they said?
“Some of my friends have noticed and commented on the use of color. And recently I’ve had a few clients say they liked what I was wearing.”
How do you feel about your style now?
“Great! I treat it more like a creative process, like art! I love looking at how people mix/match and now I find myself checking out what Instagram influencers are wearing; particularly the European models. They are definitely not afraid of color and have knack about how to put them together so they uniquely work and are harmonious.
During these times I keep hearing how people are just wearing sweat pants and not really caring about what they put on. But I feel it’s important for me especially now to exert the effort because I need the extra pick me up. It’s amazing what a little color can do to the emotions. Think of the color “orange” for instance. Just the thought of it makes me smile and makes me think of a happy warm sunny day.”
As for me, it was an incredibly fun and rewarding experience. I especially loved being able to help Laura feel better and more confident about her style. I’m looking forward to getting together with Laura again for more style sessions to help her get the most out of her wardrobe, and helping others do the same.
Photo credits: Shawn Ferjanec