In Person Styling Session: Melissa
"I feel like me again and most importantly I came away feeling better about myself."
Meet Melissa. She's one of the sweetest, funniest people I've met in a long time. We has such a blast together last week playing dress up and writing shopping lists in our heads. Her uniform tends to be jeans and a long-sleeved shirt in the winter, and she wanted to feel a bit more, well, dressed every day. She also has her husband's Christmas party coming up and wanted to run some ideas for dressing up a bit by me.
Melissa is also a photographer and Interior Design Consultant who works primarily through word-of-mouth based out of Northern Virginia. If you're interested in working with her, you can leave a comment or email me. Having seen her adorable nursery and spend three hours laughing and chatting with her about colors, textures, and life, I highly recommend her! She's going to come along with me and take some photos, too, because my iphone sure isn't cutting it when my clients are so gorgeous!
In her words:
"I have done minimal shopping for myself ever since I had my son and struggled to lose the baby weight. For the last few years I have lived in Tshirts and yoga pants. I have a lot of nice things from before I became a mom, but whenever I put them on I just remembered how they used to look on me and have lost the confidence I use to have. Ella came in with brand new eyes and a fresh perspective. At the end of my closet consult I had a whole new wardrobe. Ella put things together in a whole new way. My clothes no longer remind me of my skinny days because when I put my new outfits on they are entirely different and they look good on me and my post baby body."
Color, Color, Color!Now let's get down to more outfits! Clearly, we loved this wide belt for Melissa. Here's why: the neutral goes with everything, and the belt cinches in her waist, highlighting her feminine shape. Here, I had her put a happy, bright sweater with a crisp white shirt and a basic bottom with a necklace that pulled in the color of the sweater. I love that color up near her face!
This would be fun for a holiday party with sparkly heels or with flats or boots for a play date.
We also played around with winter whites. Melissa had a lot of clothing that she had banned to the back of her closet as "summer only" clothes and colors. It was a lot of fun to pull that out and into the winter! In addition to a slew of outfits we put together with her white jeans, here are a few with winter whites on top.
Here, I had her swap out the belt for a darker one and add on a cream-colored vest. Can she wear the bright white and the cream together? Of course! They're both neutrals. I love how interesting the whites become once there are so many textures at play.
Back to Melissa!
"The first thing Ella had me do was go through her look book and pick out anything I liked so she could figure out my style and how I wanted to look. We talked about my lifestyle and what sort of outfits I needed (everyday, work, date night, church, special events....) She then went through my closet and used my clothes to achieve my look. I also gave her some modesty guidelines, which she had no problem working with.
I learned that I have a waist and how to get that hourglass figure. She taught me how colors go together even when they are not an exact match, you might think they look odd on their own but when the outfit is complete it all works. All of my outfits are comfortable and were styled in a way that stay in place and I don't have to readjust every time I move.
And when I asked where to find the few of the things on my list, she told me Target! Ella understands that the majority of people don't have thousands or even hundreds to spend on a new wardrobe. She works with what you have and expensive designers never even came up in conversation."
Melissa is really smart and has her closet organized by color. This made it very easy for me to pull out a color (like pink!) and play around with how it looked with some of her basics (beige, navy) and also with prints that have that same color. Here, I had her twirl a white scarf up with a floral silk scarf. I love how preppy this looks on her, which really fits her classic look.
Let's Talk About Belts, Baby!Looking at these pictures, you might think that every outfit should have a belt. I don't think that's the case. We looked at many of these outfits without belts, and they looked great. However, adding a belt is a nice way to define your shape and help you feel more polished. Take a look.
I love Melissa's face below; she's giving me that look that says "You really want me to wear all of these shades of pink together?" Yes, really. When I had her look through my inspiration book, she loved the monochromatic looks she saw. It's really easy to pull multiple shades of the same color-try it with a simple white shirt and slouchy brown boots, like she has here.
Contrasting ColorsIt's getting cold here in Northern Virginia! And a cute addition to any monochromatic outfit is a scarf in a contrasting color. Here, I pulled out a shirt and a sweater in the same color family and topped it off with a scarf on the opposite side of the color wheel.
Be sure to pull your sleeves of the shirt through the sweater and roll up the sleeves. It's much more feminine and powerful to show off those wrists and arms. It makes her look ready to go, don't you think? Ready to work.
Black & White, Black &Bright, White & BrightOne easy way to polish up your look is this: pull out every black or white piece of clothing that you own: sweaters, skirts, pants, jackets, blazers, shirts, jeans. Then, start to pull out bright items of clothing and pair them up.
Consider a bright sweater over a black dress. What if you added a black skinny belt? And a bright necklace?
Or white jeans and a white shirt topped with a bright top worn as though it were a sweater? We loved this combination of colors so we tried it with a different bright sweater.
And just because black and white are a classic combination doesn't mean that it's tired. This skirt had a feminine, lacy edge that I loved with the soft sweater and square, wide belt. Don't you?
Let's close with Melissa because what she says here is pretty amazing.
"By the end of the 3 hours I found some confidence and even started to enjoy posing for pictures, because I knew I looked good. In the days since I have gotten dressed first thing in the morning, not just when I have to leave the house. I am no longer hung up on my last 15lbs of baby weight. I feel like me again and most importantly I came away feeling better about myself. I can't wait to have her back for next season!"
I can't wait, either, Melissa!