Let Your Style Tell Your Story

Dress—and Live—Like the Amazing, Only-You Person You Are

Dress—and Live—Like the Amazing, Only-You Person You Are

Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.

—Coco Chanel


Your style is how you dress and so much more. It’s everything you are—where you’ve been, where you’re going, how you handle a crisis, how you order dessert. We dress to introduce ourselves… sometimes we dress to say goodbye. We dress for the parts we have to play in life… and the ones we hope to play. Sometimes those roles can be restrictive—but even within the narrow dress codes we follow at work, we can still find ways to express our unique identity. How you dress is an expression of who you ARE and choose to BECOME.

 A Tale of Two Cardigans

I know two women who have a great deal in common. Both live in New York City, both are high powered business women. One is an old friend, the other is a more recent friend and longtime client. They are about the same age. Both (like me) originally from the South. But if you put them next to each other in a room, you can instantly tell the difference in their personalities, just by seeing the colors and styles they choose for their wardrobe. Sometimes the differences are very subtle: they might both wear a black cardigan, but for one of them it’s going to be just a little more proper and classic, while the other one is guaranteed to have some flair—a bit of lace, an accent of color. The same basic item with two completely different effects, each unique in their own right.

They wear their clothes differently because they are different. Each of them chooses the colors that go well with their skin tones and hair color. But even if I told each of my friends that they could handle the same color palette, I know from experience that one of them would go for bold colors every time… because that’s how she lives. Her choices are bold. Her attitude is live-out-loud. The other friend is a little more to herself, a little quieter in her interactions. It would be wrong to say that my conservative-dressing friend is saying less about herself by choosing a quieter look for herself. She’s simply choosing to say something different.

My two friends are uniquely different, but they have something very important in common: they’re both using their style to tell their story.

 Dress For the Only-You

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
Audrey Hepburn

Because I have been a personal wardrobe stylist for over a decade, many people assume that I’m only speaking of fashion when I talk about style. But that’s not JUST it. Style is SO more than just the way we dress. It’s the intention and expression we bring to every thought and action. The way you enter a room is your style. So is the way you deal with an annoying situation like running over a rock and getting a flat tire (yes, that happened to me recently).

When I say HEALING with STYLE, I am not simply referring to the ways in which people find their style through fashion. I’m also talking about the confidence you discover in yourself, and the healing path that follows—mental, spiritual, and physical.

Now. Think of the most larger-than-life, truly interesting person you know. Think of that person entering a room and saying hello to a group of strangers. Isn’t it amazing how these people just seem to create the space around them? Ask yourself how they work their magic. Is there something they wear that only they would think to wear—or do they wear it in a way that seems entirely and uniquely them? How would that person handle a flat tire? I truly believe you know EXACTLY how that person would, even if you’ve never seen them do it. You know this because they do things in a way that only they would think to do it… and they always do it so naturally. This is their only-them quality.

Here’s a little secret: you also have an only-you inside of you.

I know this without ever having met you. There are things that are simply and uniquely YOU. If you’re not seeing it, look closer. This is YOUR STYLE. My job as a style-IST is to find that style and help you bring it out for the world to embrace.

We all carry our personal histories within us—and more often than we realize, we wear our stories on our sleeves (and every other part of our outfit). Whether you mean to or not, you are constantly introducing yourself… telling people how to look at you. You may try to be understated, but don’t think you’ve avoided making a statement. You’re simply introducing yourself as the only you you really are!

Life is too short to be overlooked. There are too many people and situations that will seek to define you against your will. If your style is your statement, at least be sure it’s the one YOU want to make. THAT style. THOSE choices. They DO tell OUR story. Whether it’s one moment in your life or one piece in your closet, everything you choose to keep becomes an expression of your unique personal narrative.

Dress for the only-you. Your clothes. Your accessories. Your all-about-you. Always.

 Create Your Personal Lookbook

My style has always told the story of who I was in that time and place. Ever since I was little, I’ve been interested in theatre… and have always dressed on the dramatic side of things. As I’ve gotten older, my style has become slightly more refined—but I still love mixing and matching. It’s fun for me. It’s an art form. But it’s also how I choose to live my life. I’ve always dealt with life situations in a bold and dramatic way.

As I’ve lived in different cities and lived different adventures, I’ve added to my story… and I’ve added to my style. In New York, I dressed for the high-energy sophistication that the city is famous for. When I moved to Los Angeles, I came to delight in the casual, colorful spirit of the West Coast. Still, my own unique sense of style prevailed—even MS couldn’t take that away. Once I learned to embrace that new part of my story, my MS actually became a source of strength.

When I work with clients, I’ll usually create a lookbook for them—a selection of pieces that go well together, old and new. The lookbook serves many functions. It defines a color palette. It finds outfits for many occasions—work to leisure, sporty to formal to fun. Each lookbook is unique to its owner. Like all books, it’s designed to tell a story.

You have it within you to create your own lookbook. Go to your closet and take inventory of your favorite pieces—the can’t-live-without-its, the emotional-emergency impulse buys, the clothes you bought for a new life, the beloved heirlooms. What story do they tell? How would you like to change that story? And what do you want people to KNOW about your story from the instant they meet you?

All of this will tell you something important about what to keep… what to give to Goodwill… and what to invite into your closet.

These are the pieces you never let go of:

The ones that make you feel most like yourself.

The ones that tell people who you are.

The ones that help you become the YOU that you have chosen to be.

My style IS MY story. YOURS is your very own. We have to learn to CELEBRATE our personal style. It’s how we live. It’s how we keep the story growing.