Loads of clothes but nothing to wear?
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You know that ‘I have loads of clothes but nothing to wear’ feeling? Yup, me too.
That said, I’m not much one for clothes shopping – mostly because I don’t have the best sense of what suits me. And then since the children turned up, it’s been more about things that wash easily – and cover up those hard-to-shift wobbly bits that I’d like to blame on having kids but are probably more to do with having the odd glass of red once they’re tucked up in bed. But it was when I realised that my new coat looked like the old lady in the park’s dog-walking coat that I realised something needed to be done.
Lucky for me, Alice Barnes, the brains behind Tring-based ABC Image Consulting, can roll out all the right credentials as well as some very impressive experience. Her background combines psychology and sales, and she’s now a certified Image Consultant, working privately and for some large companies, as well as running sessions up at Champneys Tring. She’s also very easy to talk to – so I figured confessing my fashion shortcomings to her wouldn’t be too hard.
So Alice has just been through my wardrobe – well, the bits I’d let her see – and now I have fewer clothes and a much better idea of what to wear (basically, stick to straight lines and avoid anything floaty like the plague). I also know that I’m cool and bright (well, thank you) and a classic straight. Oh, and at the risk of tooting my own horn, I’m almost perfectly proportioned height-wise. Width-wise not so much, mind you, but I’m choosing not to dwell on that.
First off, Alice helped me figure out my colours. I’ve always ended up wearing quite dark, warm colours – and, of course, black – so I nearly fell off my chair when it was the cool and bright ones that ended up taking years off me, and the dark and warm ones that had me looking exactly like my mother. I was just the teensiest bit sceptical before we started, but oh man, then she got going and now I’m a total convert.
True, I’ve had to consign my fave brown cardigan to the charity shop (sniff), but the gorgeous bright green one that I’ve dug out from the bottom drawer instead definitely does a lot more for me. And that hot red dress will be coming out a lot more often.
Colours done, Alice moved on to sorting out my style. Or lack of it. Bless her, she’s the perfect person for this job – she’ll tell it like it is, and she absolutely told it like it was with me, but I spent most of the session laughing out loud rather than snivelling into my sleeve.
Turns out, I’m a ‘natural’ with some ‘romantic’ tendencies when it comes to my ‘wardrobe personality’ – which sounds all very well, but actually means I’m more interested in being comfortable in my clothes than I am about causing a fashion sensation. Not sure how I feel about that one, although it’s probably about right. What Alice’s collages of the different ‘personalities’ — lots of pictures of different outfits, grouped into various styles – did do was help me explain to her more easily what I liked and what I didn’t, which then helped Alice suggest what might be stylish (and comfortable!) choices with which is re-fill my rapidly emptying wardrobe.
Of course, I can’t guarantee I’m going to become a glamorous, perfectly-styled hotty overnight — despite my perfect proportions – but I’m a flippin’ sight closer to it than I was before spending a day with Alice. There’s something about having a completely objective pair of eyes cast over your outfits – rather than the best friend who always says you’re looking fab – and a good image consultant will make you see your own shape (me? classic straight – which is a polite way of saying ‘no curves at all’) and understand not just which clothes will suit you but why.
I get the sense that shopping is about to become a whole lot easier now I have a much better idea of what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t for me. And if I need the extra help, Alice does personal shopping sessions too — which I think would be the best fun. I’m going to be at my gorgeous best (so I’m told) when I’m showing off my legs and not drawing any attention at all to what passes for my waist.
Did I mention, I have perfect proportions?