I love clothes. I know it sounds frivolous but I enjoy looking at clothes, choosing outfits, shopping for clothes, talking about clothes, helping friends find clothes. I feel it is a bit of a creative outlet for me. I’ve always loved wearing colour and putting things together. When I started to adapt my lifestyle I felt I needed a bit of help to reassess where my style was. When I was at my heaviest I had been in denial and instead of buying the size that fitted, I would squeeze into clothes that were clearly too small. Absolutely ridiculous as size really doesn’t matter and I think most women don’t have just one size of clothing in their wardrobe due to high street anomalies. I’d got into a style rut but I knew where to go to get help.
I had joined a Facebook group called Styled by Susie. Headed up by Susie Hasler, an amazing stylist for real women, it was full of (extra)ordinary women who supported each other and put body positivity at the fore, It’s a safe space to get opinions on outfits, talk clothes and really champion feeling your best. Susie and her team offer a range of online and in person styling services. I took the plunge and had a gold onlin style analysis where you fill out a questionnaire, send some specified pictures and 10 days later your style analysis lands in your inbox. You find out your colouring (I’m a spring – warm tones) and get given a chart of colours that will best suit you. You find out your shape, I’m an apple which means I don’t have a particularly defined waist and I have big boobs too, and this part gives recommendations for the best way to dress for your shape, for me skater shape dresses, skinny jeans to accentuate my legs and the best necklines to wear. You also get given a style personality, I’m a girl next door, so floral, heart, bird prints all work well for me (Holly Willoughby is also apparently a girl next door to give you an idea). My analysis also came with jeans suggestions and make up suggestions, the lipstick ones I found particularly useful, I would have never have gone so bold before.
As well as all of the above you also get a gorgeous email from the stylist that has analysed you. I know this bit is what really gets a lot of people as the words are so warm and encouraging and really boost the confidence. For me a lot of the analysis helped to confirm I was on the right track in terms of colours I was drawn to wear, but it introduced me to some shades I had just never tried (coral and burgundy and I love them now). It also gave me courage to try some new things. I had got into a bit of a rut post 40 in thinking I perhaps needed to dress more “middle-aged”, Ridiculous, right? the analysis and the group have given me confidence to just say sod it, and now I wear leather look jeggings (I rustle a bit but hey!), love pinafores (which I considered “too young” before) and today I went and had my ears pierced! Some may call this a mid life crisis, I call it living my best life!
The stylists also are great at getting you thinking about all the ways you can wear the clothes you have and not saving things for best. With my new found love of pinafores I have a denim one that has transitioned through 3 seasons and I can wear so many ways.
What prompted this blog was two posts in the Styled By Susie group. I posted yesterday because a lot of people can feel quite overwhelmed when they first get their analysis, it’s a lot of information to take on board. They can be worried about “breaking rules” and getting it wrong. It can also be hard if you have been used to dressing one way to try new things. I shared the pic below in an outfit I probably wouldn’t have considered before analysis. I considered animal print too young, I never wore rose gold jewellery before, this is now my favourite necklace, I never put belts round dresses thinking they accentuated my least favourite bit too much when actually they balance me out, and pleats in my analysis are to be approached with caution for my body type. Pleats don’t always work on me but the analysis is just a guide and should be used to help you explore your style and try new things from a structure of knowing what works.
The second post was one from Susie herself asking how we felt our style had transformed. There was some truly beautiful responses and I shared this pic and the following words
“ First picture was Aug 2018 and second one yesterday. So obviously I have lost weight since then but the big difference is in first pic I had an idea of the colours and styles that suited me but I was in denial. I wouldn’t buy clothes above a certain size and therefore squeezed into stuff that was clearly too small. Now I have clothes that range between 3 different sizes in my wardrobe. All fit and I don’t give a monkeys about what the label says. Before being sbs-Ed I’d had a style consultation with a different non -sbs stylist. Although they gave some good advice on styles and colours to wear the analysis came with suggestions for tummy flattening exercises ( totally unsolicited by me) which set me off with negative connotations about my style. It couldn’t be more different in a styled by Susie consultation, body positivity radiates throughout the stylists and the group. Also past 40 I had started to think I should dress more middle aged, ridiculous right? This group and it’s amazing stylists have given me the confidence to think sod it and wear skinny jeans again, leather look jeggings and today I’m off to get my ears pierced. My analysis was part of bigger lifestyle changes but it helped me to see that style is a state of mind and I love the me it has helped me become.“
If you feel your confidence could do with a boost, you’re in a style rut or like me just love clothes then follow @styledbysusie or any of her stylists on Instagram (@emilyinnesstylist, @hodgins_kim, @sarahlillystylist, @karinas_styling, @mhairimcmillanstyle) or search for the Styled by Susie Facebook group.