Diabolina and I share a mutual friend, WeezerMonkey. When Diabolina first started this blog, WeeMo asked some of us bloggers to go over and give her some comment love. I did as requested and found myself really intrigued by the idea behind the blog. This girl was going to take pictures of her outfits every day and then grade herself? Well, it was definitely innovative! And since I'm a sucker for fashion, I stuck around and made her a regular part of my blog reading.
As time went on, I became more and more impressed with her blog. Here was a smart, funny, beautiful woman having fun with fashion in a very public way. She would wear things that I could never dream of pulling off - interesting colors, trendy shapes - and yet she looked great in it. I loved that she took her hits and misses in stride and I found myself looking forward to her commentary about not only her outfits, but also about fashion trends in general. She made high fashion and trends seem accessible to the masses, more so than any fashion magazine I'd ever read. I then started to look at my own wardrobe a bit differently.
While my love of clothes and shoes started way back when I was a kid (I'd spend hours dressing up my Barbie dolls in a multitude of crazy outfits), when I looked at my own closet, my clothes were conservative. I did little to no accessorizing. Frankly, my looks were a bit boring.
I liked bold prints, jewelry, scarves, etc. in principle, but I couldn't quite figure out how to work them into my wardrobe. And yet, I couldn't help but admit that when I compared what I was wearing to what Miss D pulled off on a daily basis, my outfits were lacking and really could stand to be kicked up a notch. I was starting to bore myself.
I was in need of some new work and play clothes anyways and I tried to start branching out on my own with a modicum of success. However, it was around this time that Diabolina put out the word that she going to start providing fashion consultations. I jumped at the chance to actually have Diabolina herself help me broaden my fashion horizon. I figured a fresh pair of seasoned eyes tackling my closet could only be a good thing. In reality, it was one of the best decisions I could have made!
After emailing back and forth about what I was looking for, we set up a time for her to come over so she could see my closet in person. We spent the afternoon discussing what I liked and didn't like, my fashion comfort zone, favorite stores, problem areas when shopping for clothing, and why she could count the number of printed items on only one hand. ;)
She had me try on new combinations of clothes that I already had in my closet to demonstrate how things could be worn in different ways to create completely new looks. We also played around with the proportion and shape of my clothes. Some things were fine. But some needed help.
Throughout the entire meeting she was taking pictures of things and jotting down notes of what we discussed. Unfortunately, she declared that while I had a great group of separates in neutrals and colors, I needed some fun prints, more color and accessories to make my outfits more interesting and polished
Oh, and she also wanted to see me in more open necklines. (See, told you I was conservative!) When we finished the consultation, she said she'd be in touch soon with a personalized lookbook.
The Lookbook! OMG! Like Modern Type said, I'm not sure how many websites she scoured or how many places she visited, but that lookbook is gold! Close to 200 pictures of things that she thought would be good additions to what I already had in my closet or things that were out of my comfort zone, but I should try out anyways. It was obvious that she had really listened during our initial consultation - she had a good sense of what I was looking for and didn't try to push things on me that were so obviously not my scene.
Every picture had a comment from her so it really felt like I was having a personal conversation with her through the Flickr picture set. I was happy to see that the items were within my budget and were mostly from stores and designers with which I was already comfortable. Big shocker, but there was plenty of interesting clothes at the stores I was already shopping, I just neglected to try them on in favor of yet another boring t-shirt or pair of black pants.
The next week I was off and running! I had a random day off and I spent the entire day shopping. I kept hearing Diabolina's voice in my ear when I was shopping, reminding me my new style "rules"; fun prints, bright colors and open necklines. Even better if the item met all three! After a full day of shopping I came home with a bag of goodies that easily worked with what I already had in my closet, but still felt interesting and fresh.
I stocked up on accessories from the notoriously inexpensive Forever 21 and found some great sale pieces from Banana Republic.
I bought new scarves and belts from the Gap and J.Crew.
I bought tank tops and cardigans in bright colors to liven up all those black and brown pants and skirts that were sulking in my closet. Since that initial spree, I'm still adding pieces (a great bracelet here, a new scarf there) as I find them. In addition, I picked up some great jewelry and clothing during my downtown recessionista tour with Diabolina.
The thing that stands out the most to me is that I'm looking at clothes and putting together outfits completely differently than I did even a month ago. Some of the things that have changed since my fashion consultation with Diabolina:
* I'm addicted to orange. It's my new favorite color, which is hilarious seeing as how I hadn't owned any orange as of a month ago. Diabolina had suggested the color in the lookbook and while I initially raised and eyebrow, it works so well as an accent color with all of the pinks, blues and browns that were already living in my closet.
I've got a whole little pile of orange accessories that are in heavy rotation and have livened up many an outfit since I purchased them. It makes them feel completely fresh and current- amazing how one little color can do that.
* I'm tucking in my tops more and embracing the "high-waist" look. I was so against this because I had convinced myself that it would just make me look lumpy, but Diabolina quickly talked me out of that. It's become one of my new favorite looks and I'm able to use skirts that I already own, but they are just styled completely differently. They feel brand new!
* I'm wearing belts. No, not every day, but I didn't own a single belt before this and now I own three (one is even orange)! For some reason, I had convinced myself that a belt wouldn't flatter my shape. I was completely wrong. They're another great way to add a little interest to an outfit.
* I'm not afraid of accessorizing. Bold necklaces and bracelets are my new best friends. It's really amazing how a boring white t-shirt comes alive with a bright necklace and complimentary bracelet and wrap sweater. Diabolina had suggested a slew of bold jewelry in the lookbook and I think I've done a great job of adding quite a few interesting pieces to my rotation. And thanks to places like Forever 21, H&M, some great sales at my favorite Banana Republic and the downtown fashion district, it's not a budget breaker.
Most of my clothing is being worn in completely different ways and I love it. I feel like I have so many more options with my clothes, which makes getting dressed in the morning really fun. And I can't tell you how many compliments I've gotten on the changes. But, aside from what everyone else thinks, I feel great about my new looks. It feels like me, only better.
Diabolina was an absolute pleasure to work with and was so encouraging when I showed her the initial pictures during our downtown fashion tour. She is a warm, empathetic person and I've had a great time getting to know through all this fashion fun. She'd be the first person I'd recommend to a friend that needed a little fashion help of their own. Really guys and girls, contact her for a fashion consultation before it's too late!