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Personal Style

6 ways to rediscover your identity

By | Latest Articles, Personal Style, Style Tips

Credited Hattie Stewart

Have you lost your sense of identity? Do you know how to find it?

It’s amazing what we put up with. Day after day living a life that only just will do and feeling disconnected from our identity. I see it over and over again, incredible women who allow themselves a second rate life, allow themselves to sit in the shadows and hide away in clothes that are ill fitting, worn out and confirm their feelings of unworthiness.

Recently I was working with a truly beautiful and inspiring women who i’d been coaching for the last few months. She’d come to me at her lowest ebb but she’d been open to finding a new path.

There we were on the Kings Road in Peter Jones, a couple of hours into her session. She was trying on clothes she never thought she could pull off or have the confidence to wear, when she suddenly turned to me and said with a touch of sadness & regret; ‘i’ve just realised I’ve been hiding in the shadows for 20 years’. We paused for a moment both of us with a lump in our throats and as that sunk in her look changed to one of determination and she said ‘no more’.  With that the style lesson stepped up a notch and we really got to work on carving out the confident identity she had been desiring for so long.

It really is possible to see yourself in a new light, one you never thought possible. It may feel overwhelming but it actually just starts with a few small steps:

1. RECOGNISE & ACKNOWLEDGE

Coming out of the shadows begins with an initial moment of recognition that you are not where you want to be. It has to start there, with honesty & vulnerability.

2. INVITE CHANGE

So often we replay the same day over and over but is it actually working for you? Welcome in a new way of living and get some momentum going by starting with a small switch. Put some earrings back into an old piercing, wear an alternative pair of shoes to your normal choice, spritz a different perfume.

3. HAVE AN OOPS MOMENT

An oops is better than a what if. Give it a try and don’t beat yourself up about it. Reconnecting with what makes us feel good means that we have to make some mistakes. It’s not how often you get it right, its how open you are to self discovery.

4. POWER DRESSING

This is not 80’s corporate suiting i’m talking about. Power dressing is the items in your wardrobe that really shape your identity. Put another way they’re the clothes you own that make you want to puff out your chest, hold your head higher and shout ‘this is me’. Connect with them and then ask yourself why? Why do these do this for me and then seek out more of that!

5. PLAY DRESS UP 

Time to have fun with your dressing and pull out pieces that you’ve not worn in a while, match new  colours together, borrow your sisters dress and outfit with your wardrobe. Whatever it is to get your creative juices flowing and champion the power of  ‘I wonder if this might work together’.

6. GO BACK TO SCHOOL

Until you understand yourself & discover more about you, your clothing is redundant. Functional at best. Knowledge is the key. Take on learning about style with an open and forgiving heart. Remove the need to just ‘buy more’ or ‘buy new’ but start learning what suits your figure and your colourings by becoming more aware of when you get compliments or when you feel that power in your clothes.

Mindful dressing is the key and connecting with our own truth is at the centre of that.

If now is the time for self discovery and you are ready to enter down that path, a life out of the shadows with a confident sense of your true identity is a lot easier and a far more fulfilling way to live.

For daily #louloustylelessons come join me on Instagram or drop me an email if you are ready to discover how powerful rediscovering your identity can be.

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My Mumbod reality and the desire to get into my pre-baby jeans

By | Home Page, Personal Style, Style Tips

20 months ago I was overweight, powerless, lost and helpless. A very confused new mum definitely not fitting into her pre-pregnancy jeans, in fact hardly fitting into her maternity jeans. My head was full of depressive, limiting thoughts, my heart felt overwhelmed and my body felt heavy, lethargic and foreign.

My life had turned upside down, everything had changed; I’d moved cities, bought a new house, left my career to start my own business and had my daughter, Lola. I put on 3.5 stone whilst pregnant mainly down to my love of mint magnums and ice cream and following her birth I didn’t recognise my reflection in the mirror. The life changes I had made were meant to enrich me but instead I felt trapped; trapped in my body, my mind and my home. I was suffering with anxiety attacks, a constant ball of worry and full of desperation. I no longer knew who I was and I didn’t recognise my reflection.

At a time that I thought I would feel more connected to myself, my femininity, my future, I felt disgusted by myself. I was stiff, heavy and exploding with rashes and spots. My stretch marks on my stomach were enflamed and on fire, my thighs rubbed and my stomach was a soft empty sack that hung over my caesarean scar. I stupidly thought my body would just pop back but the obsession with those mint magnums and ice creams were clinging to me for dear life!

I was in shock and I was very frightened that I would be stuck in this strangers body forever. I felt low and at a loss and disconnected from myself and my daughter. I tried eating well but nothing seemed to change. I kept hearing that if you breast fed the weight would fall off. I struggled with breast feeding, managing 10 weeks and in fact my weight kept going up.

I went to the doctors for help, perhaps it was my thyroid to blame, perhaps there was another reason but I was told that ‘it sometimes happens when you get older, you know when you look at photos of old school friends and they are just bigger, it happens’.

I felt very despondent, He’d given up on me, I had nearly too. Feeling very low, very emotional but still with a touch of resilience I refused to back down.

So I started searching for HOPE to find the old me. I started with my mindset rather than my body. I couldn’t cope with feeling like a martyr and depressed, this wasn’t me. I started reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic.

This quote in the book stuck with me:

“And when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt – this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty to find something beautiful within life no matter how slight.”

I stopped watching the news, i couldn’t cope with that negativity. I then started looking after the inside, committing to eating one healthy meal a day and said no to cake where I could. I realised i was doing ALOT of self soothing with sugar and booze, more than I wanted to admit and so I cut back. Social media makes ‘wine a clock’ and ‘cake time” the mothers accepted nemesis but it wasn’t working for me.

Then I moved onto my body, I started getting my heart rate up, not just walking but introducing a 7min app workout in the house. I decided to show up for me. Small steps each day, which didn’t feel like much but it was all I could commit to with a new baby and I started to see some small progress.

My weight started to drop, very very slowly at first and then I found that my anxiety started to lessen, my hormones start to balance again, I started to feel a little lighter about the future. Positivity was creeping back in.

So where am I now?

Lola is about to turn 2. The benchmark of trying to get to my pre-baby weight and back into those pre-pregnancy jeans has happened in fact I am now stronger & healthier in mind and body than I was pre-Lola. I’ve lost 46lbs in total and I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been. The biggest change? I’ve learnt how to be consistent for the first time in my life, I am committed to me. I love doing Crossfit, although only go twice a week as that’s all I can commit to but that consistency makes a difference. Better than 4 times one week, none the next (the old me!). Creating these positive new habits have helped to built my new normal, to be a strong role-model for Lola but perhaps most importantly to be a strong role model for myself. This experience as hard as it was has created a more resilient me.

I’ve come to realise that its not about getting back to the old you but in fact its about creating the new you. The new improved, upgraded version. Life is about experiences, good and bad and how you bounce back from them. Motherhood is not easy but my goodness it has made me.

My name is Loulou Storey and I’m a style and confidence coach. I help women take control of their lives by feeling confident with their style and help them rewrite their own narratives and I have recently rewritten my own. I invite you to do the same.

Check out the original post here at The Huffington Post

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The 5 Reasons why changing your wardrobe will help you change your life

By | Personal Style, Style Tips, Wardrobe Detox

Change happens; We wish change would happen to us, we wish change hadn’t happened to us, we are finding change hard to deal with. Whatever your status at the moment, the chances are life is occurring and you need to be prepared to take it on.

That is often easier said than done but I believe by reinventing what you wear and how you wear it, that change in your appearance will help you to make the shift to be truly prepared to take on the life that you are going through. Just like when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, you’ve got to be dressed with your wings on ready so that you can soar high.

If you are not convinced then read on, here are my 5 reasons WHY you should change your wardrobe when you change your life:

1. Welcome the New You.
Your wardrobe is full of old clothes, old memories and old associations. It it important for you to start to realise that the person that used to wear those has evolved, moved on and an updated more fabulous person exists in her place.

Perhaps you have a new job, or you’ve taken the plunge to start your on business? Perhaps you are a new mum? Perhaps you have recently got divorced or your kids have left home and you are now a free spirit. Whatever your challenge. Work out who are you? What do you want the world to see? Your wardrobe should evolve with you, come along for the ride and show off who you truly are.

2. Shake off the old.
That dress you love to wear that reminds you of THAT holiday, that night, that boy (who then met that other girl) is a beautiful thing. Those memories are dear but those memories aren’t going anywhere and come on be honest with yourself, there is small tinge of pain that exists there. “Oh I was young then, oh I was beautiful then, Oh I was happy then.” Well goddamit you are vital, gorgeous and resilient and the new you is going to be even happier. Stop dragging yourself down with the memories of the old and start dressing to create the dreams of the future.

3. Fake it until you make it.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Have you heard the saying “if you walk like a General and you talk like a General, then you are a General”. Well I want to add to that “dress like a General”. Use your clothes as a way of realising that you can handle the change that is coming your way. Even if you are quivering at the knees inside with the right uniform you will be ready for the change in your life.

4. Take Action.
Get inspired, plan, organise and then SHOP.
Regardless if you are causing change in your life or change is happening to you by taking some action you can see that you are in control of the situation but I warn you don’t just go in to the shops and hope you’ll find the new you. I can assure you she won’t just be sat in the window. So have a look around, get on Pinterest, follow me on Instagram @thestylingstorey and get inspired. Plan who you want to be, clean out your wardrobe (do you even know what’s in there?) and then you can shop and hey Presto NEW YOU.

5. Live the dream.
The final reason to change your wardrobe when you change your life is that you are worthy of your dream. Dreams and desires matter, they shape our perception, they shape why we get up in the morning, they shape what keeps us awake at night. So when you dress yourself everyday if you feel that your clothes do not match the change you wish to see in your life then I believe its time to change your wardrobe.
You are worthy of all the happiness you desire and I believe its time to start looking after you.

My name is Loulou Storey, I’m a Style and Confidence Coach and if any of this rings true for you, then get in contact loulou@thestylingstorey.co.uk and I can help you transform. Buying new clothes can often feel overwhelming but I can help you reduce the overwhelm with my personal shopping services.

Do also see my article The 5 shopping fears, which one do you have? for extra help.

Are you following me on Instagram for daily advice, you’d be crazy to miss out!

Photo Credit: @laurentfranks

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How to spring clean your style when you have a life

By | Personal Style, Style Tips, Wardrobe Detox

You’re busy, life is full to the brim and you don’t have hours to dedicate to weekly decluttering and alphabetising your wardrobe by brand, I get it.

You would however like to have a little more control over your style, gain a bit more clarity with what’s in your wardrobe and move on from the clothes that no longer showcase you.

So, here are the quickest, most impactful and unexpected ways to help you get organised. Spend 5 minutes a day tackling one of these and in no time you will feel great in your clothes and feeling back in control.

Step 1. Tidy your knicker drawer
Start small. Organise the drawer you use most frequently; your knicker, lingerie, sock, undergarment drawer, whatever you choose to call it, get it looking pretty. To do that, say goodbye to those holey socks, that sexy thong you’ve not worn in the last 15 years and the crazy pattern tights that you just aren’t you.

Marie Kondo’s vertical folding is the best underwear organisation. Check out this video on how to do it.
Then move on to shoes, accessories and bags at which point you’ll be emboldened and ready to make the leap to your clothes.

Step 2. Wear something old.
When you struggle to find the time to do a full wardrobe detox then do it one piece at a time by wearing your forgotten pieces, pair them up with something new and see how you feel in that item during your day.

If it turns your day into a joyful one then say hello to a new staple but if you are reminded of why its been hiding for so long then don’t put it back in the wardrobe, say thank you and goodbye.

Step 3. 3 things a day
If you find yourself being indecisive with what to keep and what to get rid of then put the pressure on by setting a goal of getting rid of 3 things a day. A manageable deadline will keep momentum happening without overwhelming you. Just make sure you stick to it and remember if it’s not helping you to thrive then it may help someone else.
Some great selling sites to be aware of: Ebay, vestaire collective (for designer), smart works charity (old suiting and work clothes), debop (trend and high street).

Step 4. Rainbowfy your wardrobe
To feel like you own lots of new clothes the best thing you can do without spending is to move them around. For the ultimate breath of fresh air to your wardrobe then organise your wardrobe into colour order. When your clothes are in rainbow order (remember ROYGBIV) you can see exactly what you own, a great visual cleanse. Not only does it make you aware of which colours you keep buying but it also encourages you to keep your wardrobe looking pretty, which in turn is a far easier way to make you feel pretty!

Step 5. Spring clean social
If none of this sounds fun then its time to throw a party. It will turn getting rid of your clothes from what may be a stressful event to a fun night out with your friends. Having fresh eyes look over what you own can often shed new light on old clothes and you never know your cast offs may help a friend feel special with a new piece of clothing.

Lastly once all that is done enjoy your wardrobe, enjoy your clothes and enjoy the control being firmly back in your hands as you will now be able to start truly wearing it like you.

Photo credit: Who What Wear

The secrets you need to know to feel contemporary everyday

By | Personal Style, Style Tips, Wardrobe Detox

We live in a world where we have to be prepared for everything and anything, everyday. Our clothes have to take us from school run to commute, to Skype conference call to a meal out. Our wardrobes have to work hard for us and on top of that we want to feel good, feel authentic, feel appropriate all whilst feeling contemporary in our clothes. Sounds like a big ask but the secret to feeling cool and edgier in a practical way is simpler that you may think.

The secret is mastering the art of smart casual dressing.

This is where most people struggle; its the middle ground of dressing that is becoming a bigger part of our lives. With many of us working in increasingly more casual environments we no longer need to be in suits but that can often mean we go too far the other way and we live in the ‘old favourite’ jeans and jumpers with very little variety. It’s no wonder that so many feel disconnected from their style, craving to feel ‘put together’, dreaming of discovering and communicating their contemporary, edgy side.

If this sounds like you then take note:

Secret 1: Opposites attract

Probably the most important element when creating a smart casual look is to put opposites together. This is the tip that all stylists work by. Do as it says; match smart & casual. Dressy skirt with a casual t-shirt and trainers or jeans with a blouse and blazer.

Think about pairing feminine and masculine together, its also important to include a moment of calm with your outfitting. A tailored navy trousers & brogues (masculine) with a white t-shirt (moment of calm), pink coat and a silk neckerchief (feminine) would be a great everyday look.

Secret 2: Everyday luxuries

The better the quality of your clothes, the simpler you can keep it. This will ensure that minimum effort gives you maximum appeal. If you also focus on adding a touch of decadence into your everyday wardrobe you will even make a Monday feel special. This does not mean you have to spend a fortune on cashmere, you can add small touches such as a lace trim or a flash of velvet and you will elevate and feminise your clothing.

Secret 3: Dress to impress yourself

So often our attire shifts and changes depending on who we are meeting up with. We are more concerned about what the other person might think of us rather than what we think of ourselves. Start dressing to impress you, wow yourself and stop getting in the way of feeling gorgeous everyday by putting on the same old clothes.

Secret 4: Dress smarter than you want to feel

Don’t save it for best, wear it now. Make today special and live in your best clothes. If you live in jeans and t-shirts then you can quickly lift your outfitting to the next level by adding in some tailoring. A knee length blazer and a wide leg pair of trousers would be a great addition to every wardrobe.

Secret 5: Do something different

If you want to feel differently in your clothes, wear something different. You can help yourself by moving things around in your wardrobe, see what new combinations you could wear tomorrow and notice how you feel in them.

There you go. Good luck and remember that once smart casual has been mastered you will be amazed at how your wardrobe will open up with so many more options. You’ll be prepared for everything and anything AND you’ll be shimmying down the street with effortless style.

And if you are ever in doubt, just ask ‘what would Garance wear?’ (see photo)

Photo Credit: Garance Dore