Once upon a time I felt frumpy. It felt like nothing in my closet fit or represented who I was as a person. I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of figuring out how to best dress my body and completely at a loss. I wanted to feel good about myself and my self-care was running at a deficit. 

Growing up as a teenager, I had always been someone with a random sense of style. I didn’t fit in and my wardrobe reflected that. I’ve never felt particularly fashion forward, I’ve always just been quirky me. 

Shopping is something I have struggled with because I still have a certain amount of dysmorphia from my eating disorder. I can’t always tell what fits or where things end. When I thought about shopping I would get a lump in my throat. Normally I would find someone at a store who would seem nice and honest who I hoped would give me a fair assessment of things and then order the same thing in different colours online. That’s how I ended up with eleventy billion le chateau shell knit top thingies. Nothing wrong with them particularly but *yawn*. 

Lately I have felt like I’ve faded into the anonymity of yoga pants and tank tops, and had been wearing the same old thing to work for the longest time. I was so bored. I felt like I had lost of my identity in “good enough,” “comfortable,” and “covers the important stuff so I don’t get sent home but really who cares.” I needed to care. 

I didn’t want to be seen. I am quite happy to write because nobody is looking at me or judging my appearance (except for that one dude who wrote crappy things about me overcompensating for my anorexia by getting fat, but he can go fly a kite for all I care.) Put me in front of a crowd and I feel super awkward. I dressed myself in a way that made me feel invisible, like I blended in and didn’t draw attention to myself. It was like suburban mom camouflage and it enabled my desire to hide but was not doing me any favours. 

Fast forward to the day I met the ladies from The Joy of Style. They came to my house and we went through my closet and they helped me discover which colours and shapes flattered me most. We picked through and decided what was not working, what was working and came up with some new ideas to mix and match what I already had. They were gracious, kind and sensitive to my insecurities. I did homework before they arrived to help inform our conversation.

I never realized how many opinions I had about things until I sat down with paper and pen. I forgot I dislike: neon, capelets, things that touch my collar bone, things that itch, things that ride, chevron patterns, toe cleavage. I found a picture of yoga pants that allow for conceal carry because I’m not really gun person either. I’m sure I’m the first and last person who put that on a “never ever” Pinterest board. 

I realized the clothes we choose to wear are so personal and carry so many stories. I think back on why I avoid certain cuts or colours or types of garments and the things people have said about my body when I wore them last or the thoughts I’ve had about myself when I saw my reflection in them. It was pretty emotional because there’s a lot of baggage there, things I didn’t really want to think about. I was embarrassed by my reaction, but Dee and Mara were really aware that this might happen and were very sweet about it. Self-reflection is hard work. Figuring out who you are isn’t for sissies, but it’s also a lot of fun and rewarding. 

Coffee with Joy of Style

They left and came up with a shopping list of what I would need to round out my wardrobe (spoiler: every fricking thing because my closet was so lean.) We set a date to go shopping and the day before they went and pulled options that fit the style goals we set and the colours and cuts we picked and it was so easy. I didn’t have to feel awkward about needing a size up or down because they had me covered. I tried on a million things and we talked about each option, weighing how it contributed to the whole, and how it would work for me on a practical level. It was like shopping with your most stylish girlfriends who know where all the best deals are and just what is going to make you feel good. They are like the friends who come over before you have company and help you clean up and break out the good crystal and kick the stuff you don’t want folks to see under the sofa. 

Dee and I laughing about something at the Bay

That day was an investment in me and I left feeling like a million bucks. They gave me such great advice and I just loved the experience. I felt spoiled and pampered and delighted about the new me I’m shaping. Not really a new me, I guess, but a better way of expressing and communicating who I am already. 

I learned a lot. Now I can look at something and assess how it’s going to work for me and can articulate why it’s not. I spend less time shopping now because it’s easier to narrow down what I need. Dee and Mara are excellent curators of all things me. 

I love love love all things sparkly and they helped me channel that in a way that didn’t make me look twelve. I also love curvy vintage pieces and they helped me rock that in a way that didn’t feel like Hallowe’en. What I noticed most is that after I spent time with them, I’m more intentional about how I present myself. I leave the house a lot less now that I’m a work at home mom, but when I do leave, I think about what I’m going to wear and why. 

The Joy of Style gave me something I needed when I needed it the most. They gave me my fashion confidence back and a better perspective of who I am and how I want to be seen. I could not recommend The Joy of Style highly enough (and I’m considering treating my beloved partner to a day with them to up his style game a little too, he deserves to feel good about himself too.) Thank you, Dee and Mara, for putting the grownup sparkle into Sparkly Shoes and Sweat Drops and light back in my eyes. They are my fairy godsisters and I treasure them so much. Love and light always 🙂 

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  1. Katherine Petrunia

    I LOVED this! I can totally relate to feeling like trying to find your identity after having kids. It took me until last year- when my daughter was just past her 3rd birthday- to finally really feel like ‘me’ again. It was like an ‘aha- I’ve been here all along just waiting to come out’ kind of feeling. You’re beautiful and I’m so excited for you! I love fashion and how we can express ourselves through it, it just sometimes takes a little love and boost from someone to remind us that that fierce lady is still there, we just have to find her again. <3