By Traci McBride
Nothing explains who we are and what we’re all about better than style and fashion. Style matters. Fashion is important. You know it when you see it — someone enters a room, and you say to yourself, “He has style” or “That is someone I want to meet.” It’s an energy that is undeniable, a confidence you can feel.
Not everyone has “it.” Not everyone does “it” authentically. As an example: When buying an outfit off a mannequin, you don’t need to wonder if the pieces go together because someone in the store already put it together — it’s easy. You might find the outfit appealing, but that doesn’t mean it represents the true you. If you are not the same shape or size as the mannequin, it doesn’t fit you the same.
I find many people dress blandly. Men do this often — a polo and khakis with boat shoes, for instance. Bland, typical, doesn’t say much about them. The “safe” dressing for women that I see most often is the all-black default. For example, in the last month I’ve been the guest in several new closets with all black shoes. Black sandals, athletic shoes, pumps, wedges, etc. — all black. Not very interesting, just safe.
Most people play it safe when shopping; they try to work themselves out of that safe, bland box, but without individual guidance and advice specific to their body and lifestyle, they fall short and flat. Many times I can show them how to create a more interesting image without shopping. It all begins in how items are paired or layered.
Just yesterday I worked with a plus-size 60-year-old businesswoman. Using items she already owned, some clothes pins, a belt I had in my tote bag, and a necklace she had shoved away in a drawer and had never worn, I made her look interesting. I focused on teaching her proportion for her 5-foot-3 frame, I created a waist that wasn’t previously visible, I pushed up her sleeves, and I visually sliced her in half with a pop of colorful print worn in just the right place. She looked ageless, modern, approachable, and professional. How perfect — these were the very style words she had written down before I even arrived.
I showed the client why the neckline she had invested heavily into wasn’t flattering in any way. I demonstrated how fabulous her legs were and why she needs to wear more skirts and hem them to her “sweet spot.” Oh, my, we had some “ah-ha” moments. Now she can’t wait to shop with me so we can flesh out her new fresh look.
Each day you choose what you are communicating about yourself. You decide whether you’re bland and playing it safe or confident and interesting. I’m here to advise and support you with your personal image investment. Save being frustrated, save your time, and save your money by engaging with professional support — sooner rather than later!
Traci McBride is the wardrobe stylist of TeeMcBee Image Consulting and is a longtime supporter of nonprofit Dress for Success-Cleveland.
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