How does a former geologist become a personal stylist?
I definitely did not think this would be my calling…
Let me tell you a bit of the backstory…
I haven't always been in fashion, and I didn't even get my start there. But I have been developing my own style, creating outfits for others (including my cat!) and learning all along the way! It's because I have not always been in this field that makes me able to meet you where you are at in this journey. Sometimes the words “fashion” or “stylist” can be intimidating. I don’t make you spend thousands of dollars on new clothes, stuff your closet with designer labels and do not make you throw away your clothes only to buy more.
My clothing never seemed quite 'right' growing up, and I didn't have the clothes that everyone around me was wearing (and this started in elementary school!). I have felt the pain of not fitting in. I know how frustrating it can be when you know what you wear is missing the mark. When you show up and you know that what you are wearing isn’t right for the situation. The wrong outfit is distracting, makes us feel self-conscious and pretty much can ruin an entire day. That feeling of having "nothing to wear" even though you are standing at a closet full of clothes is soul crushing.
My personal journey to becoming a personal stylist started with shopping at thrift stores and consignment stores.
I used to work in an area that had a lot of big box stores that were convenient to run to over lunch or after work. I kept returning to these stores due to their proximity to my workplace and price point. Nothing in these stores was inspiring, but it was easy. I was in a style and shopping rut.
During this time, I wandered into Goodwill. This started innocently enough as affordable and guilt-free retail therapy and became more of a mission. I realized that the clothing available at these stores was current, some new with tags, and could form a professional wardrobe. The thrift stores included the typical labels you are used to seeing in traditional retail stores. These clothes were for sale at a fraction of the price. What was even better were the consignment stores- locally owned establishments with even higher quality selections.
Over time secondhand clothing formed an entirely new professional wardrobe for me. After a few years of casually shopping secondhand, it became apparent the huge amount of surplus clothes and accessories that are available. It finally occurred to me that I needed to shop retail again. I also noticed that my style started to evolve and improve, as I wore the secondhand items to experiment and upgrade my look. The ah-ha moment came when I started to receive compliments on my outfits from strangers. The best part? Most of these clothes were from thrift stores. Yep, that entire outfit I'm wearing in the photo is from Goodwill!
You may be shocked that that I’m admitting to shopping at a thrift store. When I shop for my clients it’s always at consignment stores (and not thrift stores). But here’s the deal, secondhand stores have better variety that isn’t trend focused, a better mix of brands, much better price points, and more size options than most if not all department stores. This is particularly helpful if you are petite or plus size or just have problems finding clothes that fit.
A bonus of shopping secondhand is it’s one of the best things you can do for the planet when it comes to your wardrobe. I would argue it’s also one of the best things you can do for your personal style because you aren’t limited to a specific trend of the moment, color or styles. Bonus – when you support a locally owned consignment store or charity thrift store – you are supporting your local city’s economy and/or a charity!
Creating a connection between sustainability and style
Fast forward to 2015…I began looking for a career with meaning, and I needed to combine my environmental and sustainability background (yes, I am a geologist and that’s me) with my passion for clothing and helping people. I realized as a personal stylist I could use many of my talents and interests.
It became a moral imperative for me to show others what I discovered shopping secondhand and help people who want to be stylish, comfortable and confident and do it while being conscious of their choices. The movie The True Cost was released, and it validated what I had started to realize years ago - that fashion has a negative impact on this planet and on the people who make our clothes. Most clothing available to the average consumer is in effect trash (it's made to be disposable) and it's time we break this cycle together. Read this article for More about the negative impacts on the environment and people from the fashion industry.
My mission is to change how and where we shop for our clothes.
Core Tenets of Sustainable Style
This might sound a bit radical but… We need to start owning our clothing rather than consuming our clothing. That means treating our clothes as investments and buying clothes that are meant to last. This means not treating our clothes as trash and throwing them away after six wears. This mean buying the highest quality you can afford.
Buying more clothes to create style does not solve the problem.
Where we spend our money matters and supporting local businesses is crucial to a sustainable economy.
We need to change the way we think about our clothes, where we buy them, and make more conscious shopping decisions.
Why does this matter? Read more about Sustainable Style.
More about me
What do I do when I am not styling? I am a cat lover, wine drinker, avid reader, and traveler!! Some of my favorite places are Italy, New York City, Mexico, Santa Barbara and Paris. My other favorite place is hanging out in my pool with a good book. I love to collect postcards and my favorite music is jazz. Originally from Pennsylvania, I now live in the valley of the sun with my husband and two cats.