Before I had my fabulous wardrobe makeover and style consultation, I never thought all that much about how the way we dress reflects our self-image. But really, every time we get dressed, we're saying something about the way we see ourselves. I shudder to think what my slightly-too-big track pants, faded t-shirt and rubber thongs were saying all those times when I ducked out to the shopping centre without bothering to change out of my housework/gardening outfit.
Part of Meaghan's pre-session research involved my completing a questionnaire about my lifestyle and the way I like to dress, among other things. I was a bit stumped when it came to describing my style, or selecting from multiple choice responses regarding my ideal outfit. I even struggled to think of a single celebrity whose fashion style I admired. That was not a question I had ever, EVER pondered. I began to think that I was handing Meaghan an impossible task.
As it turned out, I needn't have worried. Meaghan summed me up perfectly. My style is mainly classic, although I do lean a little towards the Bohemian. That explained the collection of frilled, flounced and full skirts I owned, even though they did nothing to enhance my figure. No matter - I can allow my inner hippie to influence some of my choices of jewellery or handbags or the odd top. But she shall henceforth be gently but firmly restrained.
I've been having a lot of fun shopping over the Easter break, picking up a few classic pieces that my wardrobe was sadly lacking, amongst them a lovely white fitted shirt, a classic black blazer, a pair of burgundy jeans, some gorgeous black pants and a trench coat. And shoes. Lots of shoes. I'm approaching shopping with a whole new outlook now that I have an understanding of what suits my shape and how I want to look. Not only am I considering whether I like a piece of clothing before buying it, but I'm assessing whether it's flattering and also whether it fits my style. No more returning stuff the day after I buy it or having it hang unworn in the wardrobe!
After a big shopping trip on Sunday, I was describing my purchases to Bike Boy, and expressing how ridiculous it seemed that I hadn't previously grasped what suited me and what I felt comfortable in. And he floored me with this comment: Huh. You knew more about your style when you were 18 or 19. I looked at him, puzzled. He smiled, and pointed out that when we first met, I used to wear blazers, nice shirts, boots, shirt dresses, things with fitted waists... He was spot-on. So what happened?
Most women who gain a lot of weight try to hide themselves in loose, flowing clothes and I was no different. I spent years trying to cover up the hated bulges with baggy tops over pants, flowing skirts or in tent-like dresses. Then when I lost the excess weight, I went a bit nuts buying new clothes to fit my much smaller body - hence the previously overflowing wardrobe. But somehow, I'd lost sight of what my style was and ended up with a mish-mash of clothing, a lot of it not particularly flattering. Some of my outfits were winners, sure. But many did nothing at all for me, making me look shapeless, frumpy, or much older than I am.
No more. Having an impartial third party assess you and show you what looks good on you (and why) is something I'd recommend to every woman. It's no good asking your husband, your mum or your best friend - their view is coloured by their relationship with you and they just see you, no matter what you wear. But a fresh pair of eyes can see your great legs, or narrow waist, or whatever other assets you may have. And an expert pair of eyes can show you which clothes will make you look your absolute best all the time, no matter what the occasion.
Because whether you're going to work, shopping, doing the school run, or going out for drinks or dinner, you should always feel fantastic about whatever you're wearing. If you know it's flattering, it feels comfortable and it reflects your authentic self, how can you not feel great?
Whether you've lost weight, are just beginning a weight loss journey, or you're part way there but not yet at the point you'd like to be, making an effort with your appearance can give you a real mental boost. Wearing clothes that you know look good, fit well and project an image you're happy with will give you confidence and put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. And that's attractive. :)
I had planned to take photos of a few outfits for this post, but time got the better of me. So here's just one that I wore to work yesterday, and received a lot of compliments on:
White shirt from Saba, bandage skirt from Katies, cardigan from Target, shoes from Diana Ferrari. A pair of opaque black tights, a wide belt and a few black and silver bracelets completed the look. And because we've had a sudden cold snap, I needed my trench coat from Portmans and a pretty red scarf.
Sorry about the cruddy photos - it was way too late to be mucking around getting them just right. I promise to do better next time.
Are you confident about your personal style? Do you throw together an outfit every day with no dramas at all? Or are you like I was, changing clothes up to five or six times and still not feeling right about what you're wearing? Please, someone tell me I'm not the only one....
If you've made it all the way to the bottom of this post, you deserve a medal. But I have something even better for you. I've teamed up with Meaghan Smith to offer my readers and Facebook fans a discount deal. For one week only, you can book Meaghan for either a style consultation and wardrobe review at a $50 discount off the normal price OR for an online consultation at $20 off the usual price.
You'd be mad to pass this up. If you'd like to take advantage of either of these deals, contact Meaghan via her website or her Facebook page and tell her I sent you. Remember, you only have until next Wednesday, 18th April to take advantage of this offer though, so don't muck around.