This week, our Lessons with Linda series continues with the story of a Linda who wasn’t sure what she wanted, she only knew it didn’t exist.
Learn how I figured out how to solve Linda’s “4th Dimension of Fashion” requests!
Key Takeaways from this Lesson from Linda
1- There is no “4th dimension of Fashion” and you may have to pick a priority.
2- If you are picky and difficult when it comes to finding styles you like, stock up when you do find pieces you love.
3- Keep at it. You may have to work a little harder and be creative, but you can solve your style challenges!
Links & Resources From the Episode
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Read the Full Transcript Below:
Hey Style Sisters! Welcome back to the Everyday Style School Podcast! We are continuing with our Summer of Lindas this week, sharing the story of one of my more perplexing clients
You know when I do these Lessons From Linda episodes, I never want the actual lindas who have worked with me to feel like I’m calling them out, and that I didn’t love working with them…because I’ll say it again, I have been so lucky to work with amazing women–and I learned so much from them, especially the ones who were challenging, or had unique situations, and I feel like If I can learn about style from them, everyone can. So if you find yourself listening and thinking “is she talking about me”? Chances are no, but if I am, it’s to help women understand how to achieve effortless style, and I get so much feedback from women who identify their challenge because of a Linda story, and I know they’re as grateful as I am to learn from your transformations. So thank you.
Now for this week’s Linda
I always refer to this client as my “4th dimension of fashion” Linda. She called me, as lots of Linda’s do because she was frustrated and stuck–no matter what she bought, she never had anything she wanted to wear. There was nothing really notable about why. She had enough money, so budget wasn’t an issue. Her kids were in older elementary and middle school, so being in the baby years wasn’t the issue. Looking over her questionnaire, it wasn’t obvious what the problem was, so I just figured I’d figure it out when I got there.
I was working with Linda in the summer, and if you know anything about DC summers, you know they can be miserable. Hot yes, but that isn’t the worst part. The humidity can be unbearable. It’s the kind of humidity that makes your eyeliner run and your hair frizz and can make it really miserable to find clothes that feel good. This turned out to be part of Linda’s issue, which, friends, I can fix a lot of things, but the weather isn’t one of them.
I got to Linda’s house, did the little chit-chat that we do, got set up, and got to work. The only thing she was unhappy with was her legs–she didn’t love showing them off. Ok, we can work with that, I thought–but it quickly became apparent that we could not, in fact, work with that. She didn’t want to wear shorts, skirts, or dresses because they showed off her legs. She didn’t like midi dresses and found maxi dresses overwhelming and fussy. She didn’t want to wear pants because it was hot. She didn’t want to wear linen pants because they got wrinkled. She didn’t want crops or capris because they cut her legs off and made her look, in her words, “Stumpy”. So I asked, “what would work for you” and she said, “I don’t know, that’s why you’re here”. Friends, not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good at clothes. I know a little about them. But I don’t know what to put on the lower half of your body that isn’t pants, shorts, skirts, a dress, capris, crops, or culottes. It doesn’t exist–it’s like I said, the 4th dimension of fashion.
She had some neckline issues too, she didn’t want a high neck, but didn’t want to show her chest at all. Even a shallow v-neck felt revealing. But boat necks made her shoulders too broad. Crew necks made her chest too big. I asked her to describe the perfect neckline to me–even if it wasn’t something that we could find in stores if she could make it up, what would it be? She said she had no idea, but again, that’s what I was there for.
And again, I was like–I don’t know what a non-high neckline that didn’t show any skin would be. I can’t invent styles to magically solve all these conflicting problems. It was a fairly frustrating day, and I was frankly dreading our shopping appointment the following week.
Shopping went a little better than I expected. We found the sweet spot on her leg–everyone has one–and discovered that really long Bermuda shorts, bordering on pedal pushers felt ok for her. We found one style of top that was a generous crew neck, not quite a scoop, and bought it in all the colors. I discovered that her main issue with dresses, besides showing her legs, was the summer thigh chafe, and I get it sister, but again, we found dresses that hit in the right spot and got her some slip shorts to mitigate the thigh rub.
For tops, we found that split v-necks solved the high-neck and open neck issues. Those are always hard to find in stores, but luckily the mall we were shopping in had a tailor that I had befriended over the years, so we popped in there to ask him if he could turn a crew or boat neck into a split v-neck if we brought some t-shirts in. He looked at us like we were crazy, and charged her a ridiculous amount, as mall tailors usually do, but she ended up with 5 or 6 tops she felt really good in. She struggled with button-front shirts too, even though she loved the look, because one button was too high, the next down was too low. We had the same tailor put little snaps between the two buttons in a way they couldn’t be seen, and voila, button-front shirts were suddenly an option.
I don’t feel Linda had an amazing transformation, but I do feel she got closer to finding things that met all of her requirements, and that was a success to me.
What You Can Learn from Linda
There are a couple of things to take away from my time with this Linda-
First- there is no 4th dimension of fashion. I often hear from women that they want clothes that highlight their curves, but don’t show their body…those 2 things are kind of opposite and it’s really tricky to get them both. I also hear from women who are losing weight that they want clothes that fit well and don’t look frumpy, but they also don’t want to buy new clothes until they’ve reached their goals. I always joke that the inspector gadget outfits they’re looking for don’t exist. You have to be realistic about what you want your clothes to do, and do for you, and see if your expectations are competing. Often, it’s helpful to write things down. Seeing it on paper, instead of in your own mind, can help you look at the problem more logically, instead of just using feelings about what you want.
The second thing I want you to take away is that when you are difficult and picky–and it’s ok to be difficult and picky–but when you are, and you find something you like, buy it in every dang color. This is usually a strategy I advise against because it’s a really quick path to a style rut, but this Linda was SO difficult to shop for that the chances of finding lots of different styles that worked for her were pretty unlikely. In this case, a style rut was kind of secondary to just getting her dressed each day. I myself am picky and difficult about necklines, so when I find a layering piece with a neckline I like, I do stock up. I want to encourage everyone to be open and try new things, but you first just need to be able to get dressed. Save branching out to new styles for your Glow up 2.0
Finally, there may be no 4th dimension of fashion, but there’s always a 3rd way. It might take more time and effort to find it, and you might have to enlist a tailor to help you perfect what you want, but don’t give up. I always say the best thing about fashion right now is that whatever you need, it’s out there!
That’s all I’ve got for you today, but speaking of tailoring, we’ll be back next week with an episode on sewing your own style with a special guest so many of you asked for. It’s gonna be a good one!