I hadn’t had as much time the night before as I thought. So I still had to go through my wardrobe and figure out what to bring and even what to wear. I was quickly going through my clothes about an hour before needing to leave. No, I wasn’t packing for a vacation. I was getting clothes together for my image consult with Margaret Batting of Elevé Image Consulting. But I guess you could say I was getting ready to take a vacation (or better yet, a permanent move away) from some of my clothes!
Margaret had suggested bringing some “problem clothes” so we could assess what to do with them. The problem was, in looking at my wardrobe, I had a lot of “problem clothes”. You know that shirt that you love the color but it doesn’t quite fit right? Or that really comfy sweater that makes you look like you gained 10lbs? Or that present someone gave you that’s not your style but you hate to get rid of it? Or that outfit that you bought on sale that looked better in the store? I could go on.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have hanging in my closet a few dresses and shirts that I really like and pants that are flattering. However, I would love to be able to look in my closet and see it filled only with pieces of clothing that make me look and feel good. Wouldn’t you?
What has stopped me from creating that kind of closet? Well, I can say maybe I lack some new ideas in choosing clothing. In this article I’ll be sharing a few tips that Margaret offered me which can help get me closer to that closet. However, what also has been stopping me is “the mommy guilt” that I previously mentioned in my “What is Your Passion?” article. In this case the guilt around doing things for myself hinders both me and my closet! Admittedly, I am more apt to buy clothes for my kids than buy clothes for myself. But as I stated in that article, I’m working on a counter-perspective to challenge this limiting habit that stems from a limiting belief. Basically I need to challenge myself with the question, “What is my guilt and self-depreciation saying to my kids?” Margaret also shared this sentiment in stating to me,
“What are you telling your child? Moms shouldn’t be valued? Wouldn’t you rather set a role model of I value me?”
Now, this doesn’t mean I need to run out and spend a bunch of money on myself to feel valued. But with that perspective I can start to find ways to update my wardrobe and feel good about it. In fact, Margaret shared something that can save me and you a bunch of money.
When I arrived at her house she had me hang up my clothes on a special rack so we could see them all together. When she looked at my clothes she made the comment that my clothes were “eclectic”. Margaret indicated that you can actually save money and time by consciously building a wardrobe instead of just focusing on purchasing individual outfits. That way, when you look in your closet, your articles of clothing can have many combinations rather than just be a part of one outfit. I had some pieces that went together but if I found more combinations or bought a few new pieces I could multiply my wardrobe choices without spending much money. I can also save time by having a multitude of pre-set options of different combinations of clothes to pick from rather than continue to endure my daily hunt for what to wear.
One way Margaret suggested simplifing my wardrobe and expanding my choices was to start with 2 suits, 2 jackets, 4 bottoms, 5 tops. She emphasized that the important thing here is that they ALL can go with one another. Later, you can also add more pattern and colors with such things like scarves and blouses.
Speaking of colors, do you know what colors work for you? When I say “work for you” I mean that in a couple ways.
First, Margaret and I were discussing what colors of clothing would compliment (rather than compete with) my natural coloring. I’m putting it probably too simply here, but usually the colors that go well with our coloring make us look alive and the ones that don’t make us look pasty. I mentioned to Margaret that someone had previously told me I was a “Winter”. She agreed with this assessment. She actually has a color wheel that she puts up next to your skin to confirm what colors look good on you.
I won’t go too much into this concept here. But I do need to clarify that being a “Winter” definitely does not imply that I like winter months (nothing could be further from the truth!). If you’ve never heard of this way of discussing personal colors you might want to check out the book “Color Me Beautiful” by Carole Jackson. The book was published in the 70’s but its concepts are still referred to today. You can check Amazon.com or your local library for this book and other books that refer to it. The book basically delineates the make-up and clothing colors that go with different skin, eye and hair coloring combinations (which are characterized as Winter, Summer, Fall or Spring).
Clothes can also “work for you” in another way. Margaret indicated that sometimes we grab clothes according to how we feel that day. She suggested instead choosing clothes in connection with how you’d like to feel. For example, if you want to feel more empowered and energetic, a shade of red can give you that kick. However, make sure it’s the right shade of red. I have red in my closet but she pointed out that because I’m a winter some shades of red don’t work for me. She suggested a “bluer” red rather than a bright “yellowish” red.
Another tip Margaret had was to clarify the different parts of my life and what kind of clothing I need for each. As an Expressive Therapist I need to look professional but I also deal with art materials. So I need something easy to wash and wear. For some of the Women’s Club SWANS events I like to dress up. There are also more casual occasions with girl time, date time and kid time. Taking into consideration the type of clothing you need can save you time and money when clothes shopping.
Margaret also helped to define my style. The clothes that you wear can be more than just something to keep you warm and covered. They can also send a message to others about who you are. What message are you sending?
I didn’t have all of my clothes with me for our session, but at a quick glance Margaret defined my style as a mix of romantic, artistic and traditional. In talking to me she was able to see that I am creative but I don’t necessarily show that in my wardrobe. This year as I’m trying to connect back to my creativity, I hope to also reflect that conection in my wardrobe.
Here are some other quick tips that she shared:
- You can mix pattens and textures. However be careful not to mix patterns of the same size.
- You should use different pants with different shoes. The hem line is different with a heel than with flats.
- Go to a tailor. We looked at some outfits that would work better for me if I just got them fitted a little better (It also helps to have a good bra and have it cinched correctly).
- She also talked about being aware of break lines. If your pants are too short they create a “break line” which is where the eye is drawn to (rather than outfit flowing together). You don’t want people’s eyes to get “stuck” in one area. Rather you want their eyes to move up to your face.
Yes, I am a fashion novice. So there might be some basic tips here that you already knew. I’m sure Margaret can tailor her suggestions according to your own fashion I.Q (pun intended 😉 ).
So now thanks to Margaret I have some tips to start making my closet work for me instead of against me. She even helped me to start to figure out new combinations of clothes as well as some things I should get rid of. Many of those “problem clothes” I mentioned previously are in a donation bag. It will be fun to replace them now that I have some new ideas to inspire me.
Another step I need to take is to go through the rest of my closet. Margaret actually has several things that she can do to help her clients. A complete package would entail her assessing your style, coming to your house and sorting through clothes to find new combinations and also clarifing what you should get rid of. Once you figure out what you need, she then can also go with you to the clothing store to help pick out clothes that would go with and help expand your wardrobe. You can also just do each service separately.
I had worn the green sweater to a wonderful event called Getting Gorgeous with several of the lovely ladies of Amomknowbest. In getting the info about the event I read somewhere that it was casual dress. So I grabbed a sweater and pants and was ready to go. But when I arrived I felt, well, frumpy. Most of the members of Amomknowbest.com were very fashionably dressed. So I asked Margaret for a suggestion on what else I could have worn to have felt more comfortable.
Margaret has a plethora of info to share. I obviously couldn’t get it all down here in this article. You can hire her for a personal consult to assess your needs, read her articles on GoLocalProv.com, and connect with her on Facebook. You can also participate in our Feel Like a Queen Spa Makeover Give- Away this month. In addition to other prizes, you could receive a free consult with Margaret! A winner will be randomly selected on June 1st. So don’t forget to add your name to the list before then (and “like” her Facebook page for an additional chance to win)!
What’s unique about Margaret Batting is she is not trying to fit you into a mold of the regular expected business attire. Similar to The Revelation Project, she is trying to bring out and enhance whats already there. While we are calling our special give-away this month a “make-over,” it’s really a “reveal”….a way of revealing to the world your own unique style and beauty.
Photo Credits: Time for change credit to Salvatore Vuono ,Woman in clothing store credit to Ambro, 2 faces credit to Luigi Diamante , Fashion credit to Salvatore Vuono, , out/in credit to Danilo Rizzuti, Margaret Batting credit to Margaret Batting.