Most of the time, I have to reach way back into the mental archives to think of a Linda story to share. It’s almost like I didn’t realize that in 10 years I’d have a podcast sharing all these stories. I wish I could go back in time and keep a journal, but luckily I’ve got a good memory, and their stories lived on.
But this week I decided to share a Linda who is still fresh in my mind.
Linda reached out to us a few months ago through email with a style question. More often than not, the questions we get are too in-depth to be able to answer through email, but too specific to one person to turn into a podcast episode. When that happens, we suggest the class or guide that might help most, or a session with me, which is what my lovely assistant did. Some women aren’t ready for that level of problem solving, but this Linda was.
She answered a few questions and sent LOTs of pictures, which is great because it helps me see what’s going on before we meet–that way, we don’t have to spend a lot of time diagnosing the problem, we can spend our time fixing it. So usually, pictures are super helpful, but in this case, they weren’t.
The reason they weren’t helpful was that Linda looked great. She had great style, that I discovered matched her personality perfectly, and her clothes were overall flattering. Were there things I’d tweak? Sure, but I felt like I had to really look to find them, the issues weren’t glaringly obvious–like it was almost nitpicking, which is not something I like to do.
I honestly couldn’t figure out what she was struggling with so much, so we did have to spend some of our time together in the diagnostic phase. Overall, her challenge was that she just didn’t feel like her clothes were working for her. She felt like everything was just a little off, and she couldn’t figure out what to fix. I asked some questions to get insight into her life and lifestyle, then I asked about body changes. This is a really important question for me as a stylist because what I’ve found is that sometimes, as women, we have minor to moderate body changes that cause major shifts in how we feel about ourselves and our perceptions about what we can or can’t, should or shouldn’t wear.
Linda told me that yes, she had a little more fluff in the midsection than she used to, which, yeah, life…it happens. She also told me that she did our Body Shape Masterclass and thought she was a pear, but she had worked with another stylist who told her she was an apple—and she wasn’t quite sure what, or who, to believe. The battle of the experts, If you will. Now, I knew Linda’s body was more of a pear, because she told me she wears a bigger size on bottom than on top, and the body parts she liked and disliked most were consistent with what pears like and dislike. The other reason I knew I was right is that I have eyes. I could see her top half was smaller than her bottom half. I don’t care about anything else, that makes pear advice the best starting point. I asked, “what made her say that?” Linda told me because she has a bit of a tummy, that made her an apple, so she got advice that included lots of flowy tops, and inexplicably, a certain shape of hoop earring No, other stylist, that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works. Immediately, I understood why Linda was struggling. First, she got advice for a body shape that was completely opposite from what she really was, and second, she got conflicting advice from me. I can see where that would leave someone confused!
For the rest of the session, we spent time deconstructing the info she’d gotten before, reframing it, and getting the advice more inline with her actual shape. She had learned a ton from the body shape class, but she wasn’t ready to trust it because it went against what she’d been told. In the end, my advice to her was to take what she’d learned and put it into practice. She ordered a few pieces, and was waiting to see if they worked or not, which they did. She sent more pictures to follow up, and I was thrilled that she still looked like her stylish self, but she’d made those little tweaks from the first round of pictures, like less flowy tops, more emphasis on the shoulders…and she looked absolutely amazing. And you know what? It showed in her confidence. I’m thrilled that Linda found the information she needed to get her wardrobe in alignment with how she felt, because that’s when the magic happens.
There are a few things I’d like you to take away from my time with this Linda
1. If you value feeling good about the way you look, you owe it to yourself to invest in that knowledge of how to get there. One thing that really impressed me about Linda is that she valued it enough to invest in professional advice. And when that help didn’t help, she found another solution. She didn’t give up, because it was important to her to feel good about how she felt in her clothes. So many women SAY it’s important, but they stop short of actually putting in the effort to learn how to do it. Then they continue to b frustrated, and not feel confident instead of just investing in the solution.
2. The second thing I want you to take away from this Lesson from Linda is the idea that your body shape is not one measurement. Women often say something like “my hips are big”, and I’ll say “big compared to what?” Your 15 year old daughter? Your best friend? Or your bust? Your bust is the only thing that tells me, as a person who wants to dress you well, if you have big hips or not, because we’re comparing them to the rest of your body. That’s what a body shape is–proportions. The first stylist Linda worked with looked at one measurement and decided that was all she needed to know to make her recommendations–and it led to more confusion because she didn’t have the full picture. You have to understand your body shape, without giving it a label, to be able to dress it best. That’s what we teach in Dress Your Bodyshape Like a Pro–how to look at your unique body and understand your unique proportions and from there, where to put lines, color, volume or pattern to create or maintain balance, and create, maintain, or enhance curves. There’s a lot more that goes in to it than “you’ve got a bigger midsection than you like, therefore you’re an apple”. The simplicity and flat out wrongness in that thinking really irritates me, if you can’t tell.
3. Which brings me to my next takeaway–The quality of service or advice you get from ANYONE is only as good as the giver’s wisdom. Let me give you an example. Once I had my makeup done for a photo shoot, and the makeup artist kept going on about my blue eye and cool skin tones. That’s great, except I don’t have blue eyes OR cool skin. My eyes are green and my skin is warm–which makes a big difference in choosing makeup colors. I kept calling her out on it, and she kept telling me I was wrong–it was the only contentious makeup application I’ve ever had! When I look at those photos, I hate them. I don’t look like me, everything is a little off–I can’t stand using them. Now, I’m not saying that color blind people shouldn’t be makeup artists, but also, maybe colorblind people shouldn’t be makeup artists. But also, I learned to do a little check before paying makeup artists. I ask–what colors do you think would look best on me? I also ask about training and experience–not that everyone who has training or experience is good..but it helps. So ask questions. If you’re getting styling or body shape advice, ask questions like “what features on my body would you highlight” and if they respond with your favorite features, they’re on the right track, or–what necklines do you think would be best. If they answer with the neckline you tend to buy over and over–you’re on the same page.
4. Here’s why that works, and it’s my fourth takeaway from Linda– Learn to trust your gut. It’s been my experience that 99% of women can tell when something looks good on them. There’s a look they get when they face the mirror– their posture improves, they light up a little, and maybe even smile. Knowing if something looks good on you isn’t what most women are struggling with–it’s knowing how to get there consistently and easily. Linda is the perfect example of this. She had an expert tell her how to dress her best, but her gut was telling her something wasn’t right. She wasn’t getting all the “heck yeah” feels when she looked in the mirror, so she knew there was a disconnect somewhere. It even showed in her pictures–so many of the photos she sent were on point because she was able to buy clothes, and keep the ones that she felt good in–the right ones..but where she was struggling was how to get there.
5. My last takeaway from this Linda is that you have to take the knowledge you learn and put it into practice, or it’s worthless. I was listening to a podcast last week, it was on mindset, and the host said, stop what you’re doing and think about what changes you want to make based on what you learned today. We have SO much information coming at us from all sides about every area of life, that it’s really easy to just take it in, think “wow, that’s life changing” and then do absolutely nothing with it. I’m guilty of that–are you? What I told Linda is that she had to take her Body Shape class knowledge out for a walk. I say that to a lot of clients who tell me all the things they know, but aren’t doing. I say, Take it out for a walk–meaning, DO something with it. Put it into practice. Don’t just leave it in your head where it doesn’t help you. So now I’m going to give YOU that opportunity….take a few seconds and ask yourself what you’re going to do differently based on the information you heard today. What are you going to take out for a walk? If you got nothing new today, that’s ok. What’s something you’ve heard from me that has stuck in your head, but you haven’t put into practice? Take that concept out for a walk today.
That’s all I’ve got for you today, but I want to thank this Linda one more time, and let her know that SHE is the reason I rekindled plans for The Everyday Style Network–our stylist training and certification program. I want women to get good advice, and to be served by women who understand the whole picture…so we’re going to create a whole army of em. If you are interested in joining the training program starting this fall see the link below to get on our waiting list
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