Laura, from Cheshire is mummy to 1 year old Grace and wife to Scott. Laura works full-time in an office environment and contacted My Style Companion saying:-“Basically I'm in need of help! I’ve lost all confidence in shopping and what clothes to wear. I find myself wearing the same old things I've had for years. I'm completely stuck in a rut, and anything I do buy myself is usually 2nd hand from eBay most of my time, and money seems to go on dressing my little one. I find I love styles on other people but I can never find things to suit of flatter me, and when I do I walk out of the shop without buying as I almost can't justify spending the money. Can you help me?”
The answer was of course “yes we can help!”
Before the Style Makeover and .... After the Style Makeover
All women always think that their body shape is more difficult to dress than other womens. We often here I’m too tall / short / wide / slight / bust is too big / small etc. You get the picture. However we have never yet to this day (touch wood) had a woman who we could not help, no matter what her proportions were. Laura was of course, no different!
Laura has a very petite frame at 5’1 wearing a size 8 – 10, but with a large bust for her frame of 30FF – something that often high-street brands don’t take in to account. But we do! READ MORE ABOUT WHAT WE BOUGHT AND WHERE IT WAS FROM ON THE BLOG
Laura is what a Colour Consultant would call a 'Light and Cool' colouring and would advise her NOT to wear black. As you can see, she looks incredible in black!
This is why My Style Companion don't do colours. We do take in to account that of course, certain colours suit certain people better than others BUT we like to think there is ALWAYS a solution to wear modern, stylish colours that are on-trend.
BEFORE - Laura mainly shopped in Next, River Island and online, but often didn’t end up with the look she was after. After Grace came along, shopping was restricted to grabbing something for herself on her lunch break and even then, the clothes she was buying she didn’t really like all that much. Laura found herself also feeling guilty for spending money on herself, rather than on her little girl – something that many mums go through – however this was meaning that she was losing her style and confidence.
We have seen many a time how leaving this sort of issue for a number of years can negatively impact on a woman’s self-esteem. To be able to give your child the best, sometimes you have to put yourself first once in a while. It’s like a car – it performs better when you fill it up, as opposed to running on empty. Laura needed a bit of topping up the fuel tank to get her back on track!!
We started with a wardrobe consultation at Laura’s house, where we discovered that about 60% of Laura’s clothes didn’t actually fit her anymore because she has changed shape since the birth of her daughter, and many of the clothes were stretched after she’d wore them throughout her pregnancy. The remaining 40% fit Laura, but she didn’t really like any of them – none of them were inspiring her to wear them. This often happens when women ‘make do’ with their clothes, buying things because they are cheap or in the sale, something that Laura admitted to doing for at least the last 2 years.
The clothes that didn’t fit were cleared out and each piece was tried on to see whether it could be updated with some new garments, or whether over time it needed to be weeded out / replaces / renewed. During the wardrobe consultation we found some little gems that had been forgotten about, which we re-introduced, and we began to make a list of what Laura needed for a stylish year ahead.
After - Casual FridaysSome clothes that I’d bought for summer last year went into the ‘try on pile’ and when I tried them on they were all too big and some of the trousers literally fell down when I walked. This was a massive confidence boost as I’d not realised how much weight I’d lost since last September. This also meant that I could fit into some of my jeans that I’d not worn for 2 years. After my wardrobe got drastically smaller Nicola left me with some clothes to keep me going but we had a clear goal of what clothes I needed to buy and which clothes I needed to replace e.g. I had a black blazer from River Island that I liked to wear if I went out to smarten my outfit, however the fit was all wrong and didn’t flatter my shape at all.
When we met for the Personal Shopping trip at Trafford Centre, Laura admitted that she felt apprehensive and a bit nervous – very common for clients having a personal shop for the first time. Laura was worried that she may end up going home empty handed after having so many fruitless shopping trips over the last few years, knowing how being petite can be challenging when it comes to fit.
After trying a few brands on to see how things fit Laura, we headed off to Miss Selfridge to begin with as this is a great shop for petite frames and proportions – even their ‘regular’ range is small, but they also have a good petite section. A good personal shopper should have this knowledge – know which shops and brands will be the best for your proportions and size. Laura couldn’t believe how many great pieces she was trying on in Miss Selfridge having never shopped in there herself despite admitting that she had often admired their window displays. “It always looked really pretty and feminine, but I just assumed everything was really dressy and glamorous and not suitable for my lifestyle as a working mum”.
Learn how to layer stylish outfits
In Miss Selfridge, we bought a leather-look jacket, jersey blazer, midi bandage dress, maxi dress for her holidays, a midi tube skirt, a couple of mix and match tops, denim shirt and some statement accessories and capsule shoes. So in the first shop we had nailed a lot of the key pieces Laura needed to put together lots of outfits. We also smashed a lot of the preconceived ideas Laura had had for a long time such as petite women shouldn’t wear maxi or midi dresses / skirts and that stripes make you look wider! None of this is true! A good start!
Then we moved on to Dorothy Perkins Petite section with a view to looking for a taupe / cream coloured cardigan to layer over her new dresses and would also look good with jeans. We also wanted a couple of shorter tunics that could work in either spring (with sandals and a light jacket or cardi) and winter (with thick tights, boots and her leather jacket) to create the most trans-seasonal wardrobe possible. We ticked off those items too. Then on to Oasis and another few shops to get some lovely skinny jeans and some pretty, patterned tops that she could wear with blue jeans, coloured jeans and chinos and that would work with the jackets / cardigans we bought. We got a wide range of patterns and colours, but everything went with everything to ensure the most outfits possible.
Identify Capsule Pieces to Achieve a Number of LooksAs I’m short, with a full bust but generally size 8/10 I thought Nicola would have a challenge on her hands. Once I’d tried on the clothes Nicola knew exactly which shops to take me in. First Miss Selfridge, which I admit I was very surprised about as I’d not shopped in there since I was a teenager and always believed the style was too young.
Stripes do NOT make you look wide!My confidence grew the more I tried clothes on as they all seemed to be working. We then headed off to other shops to try on more clothes, an important tip Nicola taught me was when I was taking clothes into the changing room I had to keep in mind how to make an outfit out of what I was trying on. Either with clothes I’d bought that day or clothes I had at home.