There are a handful of clients who have been with me from the beginning. While this isn't my very first client, Karen can claim a spot in the top three! She's not a stranger to our Alexandria Stylebook community. Ivy Lane Living sings her praises in the outdoor spaces she collaborates on with them. Karen Barnes has been a client of mine since 2013. Her closet has seen the early days of J Brand skinny jeans, the indoctrination of Nili Lotan cargos, and let's not forget the everywoman piece - Autumn Cashmere's Cocoon cardigan.
Sidebar… if you still have one, it may be time to retire this lovely (yes, I may be talking to you ;).
The years we've spent together have included those major life events too. Imagine landing a MOG (mother-of-the-groom) dress on the first try. Karen chose the first dress that I sent her, and it took me less than an hour to comb through the internet and find something that I was confident would work for her and excited to share. I had no idea it would be the one, but the time we had spent together over the years provided me with knowledge no one else could offer her. The ROI is invaluable at moments like weddings, interviews, momentous birthdays. Who knows you better than the person who saw you through your apprehension with jeggings and breaking down the CPW of Golden Goose? Some women have best friends, mothers, sisters, or daughters, but the stylist/client relationship is one built without all the emotions that other connections can encounter. This one is singular to being only about you.
My relationship with Karen has also offered me an incredible sounding board about building my own business. Not everyone can understand the intricacies of multiple moving parts in a styling business. Landscape Design and Wardrobe Styling actually do have similar scheduling issues. I am eternally grateful to Karen for workshopping some of my own sticking points with my business. During our sessions of creating "cute casual" outfits, there's been space for exploring how to build a business where you are in high demand but only have a finite number of hours to offer. Has anyone else used Todoist? Loving this app, thanks to Karen!
This is my third installation of Client Confidential. While it's quite obviously a plug for what women get out of my styling services, I also want to share takeaways we all struggle with that I continually come across since I see so many wardrobes and work with so many unique items. Karen's piece of this puzzle involves footwear - which has been a hurdle for us in the past when she broke her foot before her son's wedding. I've had numerous conversations regarding shoes, boots, and the "what shoe do I wear with…" questions. After our year of isolation and lockdown, our feet aren't necessarily thrilled with getting back in anything with a heel. The body in heels is positioned in a pitch where the chest is pushed forward, and the hips project, leaving a curve in your lower back. It sounds like an excruciating stance, but clothing looks most flattering when all these things are at play. This is where we walk the fine line between comfort/foot health and our vanity.
Below, I'm sharing three outfits I recently put together for Karen surrounding her current lifestyle and the shoes that will finish the looks from The Shoe Hive. On a daily basis, she is in muck boots (or perhaps Blundstones this year!) and landscape-friendly attire. In fact, her audience of contractors keeps her from getting too fancy. Never overdress for a contractor if you want to be respected - no joke! Life does exist beyond job sites, though. We've been creating looks for fall events such as potential book club nights, date nights, and an upcoming IRL board meeting of the Jefferson Scholars board of directors. With a little organization, style can be achieved without anxiety and spending precariously.
Chicken or the Egg? Did you know you needed a stylist and found Alicia, or did you know about Alicia and decided to use a stylist? I honestly was not the type of person who would imagine having a stylist, but I met Alicia when she was working at a boutique, and she always gave me great ideas and put things together so effortlessly. When she started styling as a business, I jumped at the chance to be one of her first clients. If you knew you needed a stylist - what were the determining factors that brought you to the decision? I made poor wardrobe choices and overspent on items I wasn't using. I truly think I have saved so much money by having Alicia's help. My buying is much more targeted, and I am using much more of the things I buy. What are your goals surrounding this type of service? Long term, I've been looking for current yet age-appropriate pieces without neglecting the relevant styles I already own. Short term, I am trying to figure out what to wear to fall events! Any challenges you had that you want to share that others may be struggling with? How to pull the entire look together, including jackets and jewelry and belts and bags. Alicia and I took a deep dive into my bags, and she introduced them into the style library, which will remind me of what I have and how/when to wear. Any "Ah ha" moments? How good it feels to let things go that I am not using. Where have you determined the greatest value exists from using styling services? Focused purchasing with a plan. I'm less likely to be swept up in a purchase that doesn't really have an intentional purpose. Have you identified a difference in your shopping behavior since Alicia's been your Wardrobe Advisor? Yes. I'm not buying the same thing over and over - no more repetition. I joke with Alicia about what my Instagram stylist puts in front of me ;) Her influence has pushed my own style boundaries. Is there anything in particular that Alicia has brought to your attention that has impacted your style or your mindset surrounding your wardrobe? Understanding the importance of adding an element that keeps things fresh and different from the ways I've already worn. This concept alone pushes me toward pieces I wouldn't have tried and expands my wardrobe with interest and not just volume. Alicia suggested I try white mules, and I was resistant. It felt awkward at first, but every time I wore them, I got positive comments and felt current and fun. Sometimes, it is good to be nudged out of my comfort zone/ Any reasons you can share why Alicia has been a good fit for you personally? She makes things fun and is an incredible style inspiration. She listens, synthesizes, and solves problems.
That's another wrap for Client Confidential! Currently taking clients for 2022. Limited availability. Please reach out to discuss whether I may be able to offer you a solution that saves you time, energy, and money in 2022.