Friday, December 12, 2014

Behind the Scenes: My Personal Styling Sessions in Phone Pictures

Behind the Scenes: My Personal Styling Sessions in Phone Pictures

I leave work a little earlier than usual so that traffic doesn't make me late. I'm excited and nervous to meet a new client. I always think the worst (What if we don't connect? What if she finds all of my ideas boring?) mixed with the best (I can't wait to meet this new person! I wonder what kind of fun clothes she'll have?). I'm ramped up, ready to go, and wishing I had more under eye concealer.

I arrive, and we chat. We chat about her life. What do you typically wear, I ask, and would you like to be wearing something different? Something more...what? And are there times you get more dressed up than that? For dates, or church, or holiday parties? And what about on the weekends? What does that look like? Do you have any questions for me?

And then I ask her to put on something she would typically wear. While she changes, I go into her closet. I automatically scan for colors, shapes, style, organization, too. Is this someone who is comfortable with bold colors? Is she repeating a lot of the same shapes? I take a mental note to see how those shapes and those colors work on her body, with her lifestyle.

I start to lay out combinations on her bed, urging her to slowly consider combinations that she might not have before (bolds with black & white, colors from the same color family, or whatever seems like it might spice up her usual look).

One at at time, she picks out outfits from the bed that interest her. She always says things like "I would have NEVER put those things together" and "is it ok to mix Y with X?" We laugh and joke around about her lack of pants or her fear of patterns or whatever it is. Some combinations really look amazing on her, and she loves them. I build more like those, teaching her why I'm putting things together as I go so that she can repeat the steps after I leave, when it's just her and her closet tomorrow.

I take pictures of each outfit, usually from the neck down so that she's not focused on how her face looks. Later, I'll email these to her as a reminder of the many, many looks that we put together for her that she loved.

As we work through her clothing, some of it usually gets put into a donate pile. My little note pad gets a few items added to it that she might want to purchase to help fill in her wardrobe and further define and enhance her style. Later, I'll email her some links that I think will help fill those gaps, a belt here or a necklace there. I don't make any money whether she buys them or not so it makes it easy for me to send things that I really think she'll like.

Sometimes, she's booked me to go shopping with her after, too, and we'll take notes on what she might want to look for. I'll ask her to wear a specific workhorse piece, like a skirt we've re-discovered, when we go so that we can pair tops, belts, and shoes with it.

Then, somehow, three hours have passed. Her room looks like a tornado struck, and half of her closet (or more) is full of beloved outfits. She always says something about feeling like she has a whole new wardrobe, things she never wore that she can't wait to wear now. We joke about how much money we've saved her or how she's discovered that she has a great shape. Sometimes, there are tears.

And I walk out, into the crisp air, and I'm always, always smiling. It's incredible to be welcomed into someone's closet, and I value that trust. I also love knowing that I've made a difference in someone's vision of themselves. I feel on top of the world.


  1. Hi Ella, I haven't forgot about you but we had a family funeral this week and other things AND apparently I deleted your invoice...could you resend it?


  2. I like the hot pink jacket with the striped top.

    1. Thanks! I really love layering a thin sweater under a jacket for winter, and there's no reason to let those brights wait for summer!