Editor’s note: I was completely blown away by the passion of the beautiful women not only coming to my blog for the Unlock Your Style series in January but with the way they embraced the challenges and made changes to their life because of it. One such reader was Michelle Stedman. I’m thrilled that Michelle is here today sharing her journey. If you’d like to share your story in a guest post, pop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I had always just winged it when it came to fashion; buying on impulse and filling my cupboards with random bits and pieces.
When Nikki announced the Unlock Your Style Styling You Style Holiday Camp on New Year’s Day, I had no idea how it would change my wardrobe. I had no idea how it would change my perception of
“style”, and I certainly didn’t expect it to change how I felt as a mother.
The Style Holiday Camp dared to ask me where I was at with my style and how I would describe it. “Ummm … I wear runners with jeans…” was the first thought that came to mind as I hung my head. Five months on from baby number two I found myself surrounded by breast pads, patches of baby spew, half-eaten sandwiches and “matergatory” clothes – what you wear in that purgatory between your pregnancy and pre-baby body.
Staring blankly at my wardrobe, it was haphazard and ill-fitting. My shoes were frightfully uncoordinated. My accessories were buried at the bottom of a bathroom drawer. My conservatism hit me in the face, and I let it… For too long I’d let my neglected wardrobe wear me and I didn’t realise how dejected that made me feel.
I decided I was what Nikki called a “work-in-progress”.
What did I want my style to be? What did I even like? Enter Pinterest. The board I’d been pinning too for months brimmed with ruffles, stripes, blazers, dresses, navy, orange, green and crisp whites. “Why aren’t these in my wardrobe?!” I screamed. My inside voice *hmmmd* at me in a nonplussed tone.
And so the great cull began. I literally off-loaded two-thirds of my wardrobe and to my horror I discovered I had next-to-no basics. How did I have eight formal dresses and not one plain tee?! No wonder I always had nothing to wear.
As the Style Holiday Camp rolled on, everything started falling into place. A list was written and guidelines set – I was to build up my basics and gradually pepper in some show-ponies from the style I dreamed of. It was shopping time.
I have always been pretty good at shopping. But Nikki’s challenge called for mindful shopping – shopping for what you need in your wardrobe rather than anything that takes your fancy – and in the past I’ve been no good at that. I’ve also taken too long to realise that you need to ignore the numbers on your clothes and remember if it looks good and you feel fabulous, buy it. I’m guilty of purchasing the smallest size I could squeeze into, rather than the size that truly fitted.
With list in hand I’ve already started adding to my improved wardrobe: basics, colour, accessories, and a show-pony or two.
But probably the most confronting piece of the Styling You Holiday Camp for me was to delve into the world of lipstick. I’ve never been a heavy user of makeup. Then I had kids and my complexion went out the window. And still I only really use BB cream and some mascara, so lippy is a big step for me. Alas, on a recent trip to Melbourne, in the heady goodness of Myer’s beauty department, I submitted myself to a makeup counter.
The lady at Chanel was very sweet and as we picked our way through a few colours, she pointed out Mademoiselle, mentioning it was their best seller. As soon as the colour touched my lips, with a glance in the mirror I was addicted. I have never seen how lipstick could complete a face, until that moment. I wore it proudly out of the store like a new pair of shoes and found myself giddy with excitement upon closer inspection of my new purchase. Nothing like a chiselled Chanel to make a girl feel special.
Reflecting back on my style journey, I think I’ve turned a corner. No longer do I spend fruitless hours looking into my wardrobe for things to wear or change five times before walking out the door. I’ve learnt that I make the rules and that a scarf can hide many child-induced clothing emergencies. I now shop with purpose, feel more confident in my fashion choices and have a new-found clarity and positivity about my self-image.
Yes, I’m a mum and I deal with breastfeeding, baby spew, vegemite hands and finger-paint splatter on a daily basis. At least now I look and feel good doing it. Thanks so much Nikki.
How did the Unlock Your Style holiday camp affect you? What changes have you made to your wardrobe life since the beginning of the year?
Michelle is a blogger from rural Victoria playing mum to two little boys and wife to a bigger boy. Her blog, Raising Will , follows Michelle’s chocolate eating, rose smelling, parenting adventures. When she’s not blogging or glued to Twitter, Michelle enjoys writing lists, taking photos, drinking wine with friends and generally being creative. Feel free to drop in and say Hi to Michelle on Twitter or Facebook. All cheesecake donations will be accepted graciously …