I have written previously that after 7 years of maternity clothes, breastfeeding and a need for practicality that I feel like I’ve lost my own sense of style. I’ve lost myself in an abyss of black jersey – it’s comfortable, it’s practical and I don’t have to think about it. When did it become ok not to think about what I was wearing? With a lack of funds for experimenting in terms of my clothes any more I tend to be more cautious with my purchases, I need to make sure that what I wear is going to get worn and I find that my purchases have become safe and borderline repetitive – to the point that on several occasions I’ve repurchased the same top in different colours (or even just replace it in the same colour!)
I’ve recently tried to step away from black and am wearing more navy – baby steps and all! My most recent purchases include a navy and green striped dress and a navy shirt dress (both from Warehouse). And whilst I suppose this has felt a little braver, I still feel quite lost. I no longer know what suits me. After carrying three children my body shape has no doubt changed and this has limited what I can wear – at present things with a waistband rarely fit properly and are also very uncomfortable, I feel that I no longer know what flatters my shape. I struggle to dress in a way which is practical for my lifestyle (which means I’m at home with the kids 5 days a week) yet still feels stylish. Buying dresses is all well and good but I wouldn’t generally put these on for days at home with the kids. I will always revert back to the safety and comfort of my black leggings.
With all that mind you can imagine how excited I was at the prospect of a colour and styling session with the lovely Anna Mewes, a Leeds based Stylist and Fashion Blogger.
After chatting to Anna via email about my needs she put together a bit of a taster session for me running through both a Mini Colour Consultation and Style Consultation. She asked me to bring along a selection of tops / scarves that I wear regularly, my most favourite outfit – something which I always felt fabulous in, and anything which I’ve bought and never worn or only worn once. This in itself sent me into a bit of a panic as I don’t have an awful lot of clothes in the first place.
I pulled out a navy & red stripe dress from GAP which I bought and wore once. Every time I’ve put it on since it hasn’t felt right and I’ve taken it off again. A black and cream pencil skirt I bought from M&S earlier this year which I love but have yet to find a top to wear with it. A navy, green and cream stripe dress bought from Warehouse just before our holidays and also a navy shirt dress from Warehouse which I’ve not had chance to wear yet. Along with that a much loved and very tired leopard print scarf from Accessorize many years ago and a couple of navy print scarves (yes I have at least three).
We started our session talking a little about what I wear on a day to day basis and how I’m stuck in a black jersey rut. Anna asked lots of questions to tease out any specific areas of concern and then showed me a range of mood boards which explained the different colours and identified that I’m a “Clear” dominant pallet which means with my dark hair, fair skin and contrasting bright eyes I get to wear all the bright and bold colours.
When Anna got out the selection of colours my ideal colours and I can’t say there was anything I was really shocked by. They were all colours I loved and also colours which I am drawn to. Although my wardrobe is predominantly black and navy, my “Wardrobe Lust” pinterest shows a definite leaning towards the colours on my scheme.
Once we had chatted a bit about my “colours” we moved on to completing a style questionnaire – this reminded me a little of the sort of questionnaires you’d have done in Cosmo magazine in your teens. It was designed to define my style by asking questions such as “What kind of shopper are you?” or “How would you describe your overall look?”
My overall style came out as “Natural” which Anna explained most woman of my age with young children would be as it tends to focus on the comfortable practical side of things. She also explained that people who fall into this style category will often say they feel scruffy. Hitting the nail on the head there Anna! I also showed elements of “Romantic” and “Classic” styles. The “Romantic” element surprised me – I don’t seem myself as being flowery / delicate / frilly or any of the other words that “Romantic” instantly conjured up however when Anna and I looked at my Pinterest I could see there were things on there which definitely showed this side of me, things which I’d pinned but knew I couldn’t wear as they didn’t suit my figure mainly. It’s something which I like the idea of in theory but don’t really know how to make it work for me without just looking frumpy. One of the things Anna suggested here was that perhaps this would come through in more delicate stacked accessories. The “Classic” style however felt very much “me” – this is the girl that likes things to be coordinated, to match.
Alongside the style questionnaire Anna also asked me to give her three words which defined my style – at present I feel scruffy, frumpy and boring but in reality want to be tidy, put together and stylish. Anna explained that from now on I should have that mantra in my head when shopping – if it doesn’t feel tidy, put together and stylish; don’t buy it. Don’t buy clothes you don’t love and feel fabulous in, you won’t wear them. We also discussed that accessories are the key to looking “done” – particularly when you live in leggings and more practical clothing like I do.
After we’d finished chatting we moved to looking at how the different colours worked together – which combinations we liked best, particularly focusing on a base of navy as that’s where my wardrobe stands just now. We picked out three favourites – a red, a green and a teal. Anna challenged me to make my next three purchases in these colours.
We also worked through the items I’d brought with me – talking about which ones were the right colours (pretty much all of them) and how best to wear them to suit my hourglass figure. We also talked about patterns and how for the most part anything outside of my beloved stripes tends to make me feel frumpy. I pick beautifully patterned items up and put them on and something goes horribly wrong. Anna pointed out that it’s ok to admire some things on other people and just realise that you don’t really suit them yourself – which seems so obvious but I felt it sort of gave me permission to give up on trying to wear patterns!
If you’re interested in getting in touch with Anna yourself, she offers colour and style advice, full image makeovers, wardrobe detoxes, personal shopping and online style consultations / personal style advice. She will tailor packages to suit your individual needs (much as she did for me) to ensure you get personalised advice to suit your colouring, style, body, shape, budget and lifestyle.
For more information about her personal styling services check our her websites: www.imagebyannaelizabeth.com, or for style inspiration her blog: www.glamupnorth.co.uk (I’m a particular fan of Anna’s blog as I think she writes about really accessible fashion, she’s a real woman with a family, writtig about style in a genuine way – you’re not going to find beautiful but unrealistic images of skinny twenty-somethings here – this is all about real life style.) You can also catch her on twitter and instagram.
I plan to write another post in the near future to share with you some of my recent purchases and how my style / shopping attitude has changed since my session with Anna so keep your eyes peeled!
*Disclaimer – Anna invited me to visit her for a style and colour consultation free of charge for the purposes of writing this post however all thoughts and opinions remain my own*