I was extremely privileged to take part in a fantastic training this weekend with Stacy London of TLC’s What Not To Wear fame. (It was connected to an exciting new venture called Style for Hire — oh, and it took place at the truly gorgeous House of Sweden.) It was a fast-paced two days, and I came away with a ton of new ideas and information. I’m going to share a few of them but first I wanted to answer the questions I know you’ll have.
Yes, Stacy London really is gorgeous in person. She’s also very smart, she’s dynamic, and she’s extremely funny. She’s nice and compassionate and real, and she believes (as I do) that every woman deserves the chance to look her best. She has incredible taste. I came away from the weekend training a huge fan (and may now have to break down and get cable, darn it, instead of getting WNTW from Netflix).
I was so fortunate to get styling tips from the other image consultants and stylists in the room, including one from Stacy herself. (I look best in something structured up top, like a jacket, she told me.)
There was way too much content to put it all into a blog post, of course, but I want to share a few things I was reminded of. One was the importance of a bra that fits well (i.e., that lifts and separates “the girls.”). Here are three others:
Lengthen your body. Focus on creating height. Every decision you make about shoes, jewelry, hemlines and so on should be made with the goal of drawing the eye up and down the body (rather than stopping it short with an ankle strap or choker necklace or any other vertical line which prevents that visual sweep). An important exception is a belt that draws attention to the waist. (This rule can be relaxed for a woman who is quite tall.)
Dress appropriately. What’s that mean? Understand your body type, lifestyle, and age, and then dress in a way that suits them best. To do that, get yourself in front of a mirror — naked. (No, this doesn’t sound like fun to me, either!) See yourself how you really are — the parts of your body you like and don’t like as much. When you get dressed, use colors and textures to flatter the great parts and distract from, camouflage, or balance the less-great parts. (As for age and lifestyle: be realistic about who you are right now and dress to showcase it.)
Avoid “matchy-matchy.” For all those clients who want to pair a black bag with black shoes, Stacy says: “Just don’t.” It’s not the way to look modern and relevant, to use two of her favorite words. Instead, try a shoe or a bag in a beautiful rich color that complements your outfit. (And Stacy is not a huge fan of black, and I couldn’t agree more. Black doesn’t flatter very many skin tones, and as she pointed out, black and white are harsh for many women, especially as we get older.)
With these three principles in mind, you’ll look leaner and more stylish right away!
(Ketura Persellin is an image consultant in Washington, DC, and surrounding suburbs. She helps bring real style to real women. For more info or to schedule a free get-acquainted session, send her an email.)