childhood-style

How early childhood shapes our self-image and style

When Scott* entered my studio for his first consultation, his personal presence was quiet and nearly invisible. In his mid thirties and single, he wore light gray, worn and baggy jeans, an oversized pale blue dress shirt, scuffed and mealy loafers…and had barely combed hair. He wore glasses that were conservative and more of a non-statement than anything else.

This was nothing like the same man I had watched perform a song in front of a large audience with a vibrant and engaging presence. I wondered, where was the disconnect?

He came to me for personal styling and identity work with the goal of improving his personal image and increasing dating prospects.

Before I met with him, I had asked him to bring 5-7 favorite pictures from art, architecture and nature. I call this exercise the Favorites Effect. This simple exercise is remarkably telling. When you describe why you like your favorites you are describing yourself.

Scott’s images were strong and alluring, bold, masculine, exotic. When he began to describe why he liked each image, the words he used were describing the man I had encountered on stage! When I helped Scott to see the connection between these images, his descriptions and his presence during the performance you could feel him begin to integrate. He was connecting with his true identity.

Next, we discovered the design signatures (line, shape, proportion, color…) that Scott shared with his favorite images. This is the second powerful dimension of the Favorites Effect. Looking at the images it was obvious, they were all dramatic, elegant and strong- a significant contrast to what he was wearing and his personal presence in my studio. These images would become design guides to help us create looks that reflected the true essence of Scott!

As we explored the reasons behind this visual disconnect, I found a link between his upbringing and his current style. As a high-energy child who tended toward the dramatic, he quickly recognized that the quiet engineering and math professor parents approved of his quiet studious older brother, and didn’t approve of him. Growing up he instinctively worked at downplaying the drama by becoming invisible. He struggled with feelings of not being OK. We changed all that.

Over the next two months we found clothes that both fit his body and connected to who he was on the inside! We made sure his jackets and shirts were finely tailored, matching Scott’s level of personal vitality and refinement…found new shoes, socks and accessories that added flair and dramatic notes to every look. For the first time, Scott’s style represented his personality and It changed his life! Scott stood up straighter, showed up greater, and within two years found a wife, and his dream job as the head of a university creative department.

Ninety percent (90%!) of my clients have had early childhood environments, relationships, and experiences that have resulted in a self-image that is not necessarily positive, and does not let the world see and experience who they “really” are. This inevitably inhibits them in other ways that they may not even be aware of.

When an individual is not visually appealing… is not well put together… does not dress with a “wow” factor, there is a reason. It could be that being thoughtfully and artfully well dressed was not honored in the family, that he or she has a difficult time finding manufactured clothing, that he or she is not visually sensitive…or it could be that there was an abusive early childhood environment. But there is ALWAYS a reason. This is where we as personal stylists come in.

I often ask the question, “On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being amazingly well affirmed to simply BE…who you were not only what you did…how effective were your primary caregivers in supporting your ‘be’-ing not just your ‘do’-ing as a child?” I have only experienced a handful of people who are above a 7 and most are in the 4 to minus 2 category. If your honest answer is on the lower end of the scale it is now up to you to ‘fill-in’ what you missed out on. I have discovered a wonderful process for guiding clients through this work with truly remarkable results like those that Scott and his new family are enjoying.

I encourage you to reflect on how your early childhood experiences, environment and relationships may have shaped your self-image. There is much to discover, and so much freedom of expression to be enjoyed and cultivated in this life. Consider having a consultation yourself or attending one of my courses to further dive into these discoveries to expand your practice as a personal stylist. So many people are living in limbo, let’s help them make the connection today and start living a fully affirmed and integrated life.

* Name changed for privacy

Katelyns_Story

Living the Dream as a Personal Stylist: My Story

Hello! My name is Katelyn Milley. Thanks to The Style Core, I am living my dream of being a Personal Stylist. This May, I celebrated my business’ three year anniversary!

Here is my story…

In June 2012, I attended The Style Core’s Essential Personal Stylist training class. Having previously taken other styling courses, I wanted to build on my personal styling education. I really enjoyed the class and learned important skills that I use in my business today – most notably color analysis and how to give a fashion consultation. 

After completing the course, I went home and mulled over the information I learned from Carla. After a few months, I began creating my business. Over the next six months, I reserved my website URL, www.katelynmilley.com, selected a website template, and had my logo designed. I carefully constructed my brand. Business cards were printed and I wrote my website’s content. Then came the biggest challenge of writing my Fashion Consultation and Beauty Consultation guides. Finally, on May 14th, 2013, everything was ready to go, and I launched Katelyn Milley, Personal Stylist. 

Today, I offer seven different services to my clients including: Fashion Consultation, Beauty Consultation, Beauty Appointment, Closet Edit, Personal Shopping, Personal Styling, and Photo Styling. I work with my clients one on one in their homes, or as you can imagine, in malls and boutiques. Over the years, my client base has grown to comprise of many women from my area (near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), as well as from Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey.

I have worked with many women I absolutely loved taking on a styling journey. Here are a couple of their stories:

Amy’s Experience

A therapist her early thirties, Amy chose the following services with me to get her best style: Fashion Consultation, Beauty Consultation, Beauty Appointment, Closet Edit, Personal Shopping, Personal Styling and Photo Styling. I loved hearing her feedback about the process, and hope you do too!

Photography by:@bluepearphoto Styling and Make-Up by:@katelynmilley Hair by: @KelseyLamarra at@tribebeauty

K: What were your thoughts going into your styling experience?

“As a very (very) busy Mom of four girls, style had taken a back seat to the craziness of every day life. I love fashion and frequently look at blogs and spring/fall runways, enjoying the gorgeous details, colors, and artistic statements that a great wardrobe brings with it. In my closet, however, was basically a uniform of black shirts, black pants, with occasional grey thrown in. I had a jumble of clothes in piles that were unused but taking up space, and I was frustrated with the fact that I was wearing the same thing every day. I have a vibrant personality and my clothing was anything but a reflection of that. To add insult to injury, I am very petite, so finding well-fitting clothes is difficult. I would find myself frequently in the junior’s department, buying clothing that was far too young for me and still ill-fitting!”

K: Which part of the Fashion Consultation was your favorite?

“Katelyn had me choose a few paintings/photos that were inspiring/beautiful to me. I thought it was an odd exercise for a fashion consultation, but wow was it illuminating! As I described what I liked about each piece, we found that certain words kept coming up over and over again. As I thought through those words, I realized that they were reflections of my personality, and were things that I find beautiful about myself, too. And we were then able to take those words and apply them to a cohesive style sense that I found truly beautiful and reflective of what I wanted to put out into the world.” 

K: What were your thoughts and feelings after the Fashion Consultation?

“After the fashion consultation, I finally had a clear sense of what my style personality is! I was able to picture a cohesive wardrobe, instead of an ecletic mix of styles, many of which don’t work with each other (which results in buying lots of clothes that never get used).” 

K: What was your biggest takeaway from your Beauty Consultation?

“I have always been a minimalist when it comes to makeup. Which is okay, but I often found myself wanting to branch out and try some fun styles (a bold cat eye, for example), but was too afraid to actually rock it. Having Katelyn narrow down a perfect color palette for my skin, and then playing around with those colors, allowed me to branch out into a lot of different looks that I would have been too afraid to try otherwise!” 

K: What was most helpful about the Closet Edit?

“The most helpful thing about the Closet Edit was seeing just how many things in my closet I had overlooked! There were all these great pieces in there that I hadn’t worn in forever, or couldn’t figure out how to incorporate into my wardrobe, and Katelyn was like a magician – turning a piece that I would have given away to Goodwill, to a piece that will become a new staple in my wardrobe. On the other side of that, though, figuring out what isn’t worth holding on to was so helpful as well. I had a lot of pieces I was holding on to for who knows why, and it was time for them to leave my closet.” 

K: What did you like the most about Personal Shopping?

“The personal shopping was perhaps one of my favorite parts of the experience, and something that will forever change the way I dress myself. I was able to see, in person, how to sort through the enormous amount of choices presented by a store, and quickly decipher what will work for me and what won’t. As a woman who is very, very busy, being able to quickly see that the strap on a top will be to clunky for my small frame, or that the rise of a pair of jeans won’t flatter my proportions, will save me huge amounts of time and frustration in dressing room. When I go shopping now, it is such an amazing experience – being able to take all that knowledge that Katelyn imparted and put it to quick use is a life-saver!”

K: What have been your biggest takeaways from your styling experience?

“I think I have two biggest takeaways. The first, is that I have been able to define myself stylistically, and present myself outwardly in a way that matches how I feel inwardly. Expressing to the world who I am through the art of style is an important and wonderful skill to have!

The second is learning how to shop for clothes that fit my body. Learning how to scan for proportions on clothing has already saved me literally hours of time in a store, and much frustration. I am able to dress myself confidently in the mornings without fear that the look doesn’t work for me!”

K: Do you feel that you have become more aware of the importance of fashion and personal style in your life? If so, in what ways?

“I have definitely become more aware of the importance of style in my life. As I move forward with my career and with my life, how I present myself will be looked at and evaluated, and those evaluations with form the basis for my success. Using style to further myself and my personal brand now isn’t a huge hurdle to overcome, but a joy and a pleasure, and a tool that I can use skillfully and easily.” 

K: How would you say your styling experience has impacted your life?

“Apart from giving me the ability to confidently and easily dress myself every day, the styling experience gave me the ability to re-examine my own passions and priorities. As I learned more about how I project myself, I felt like I reaffirmed skills and gifts I have had, and uncovered new interests and ideas that had been lurking in the back of my mind, but hadn’t quite come to light. It gave me the time and space to make myself a priority, too, which had fallen by the wayside in my recent busy times. I am incredibly grateful for the experience, because I feel like I uncovered my most authentic self, both inside and out.” 

Andrea’s Experience

A pilates studio owner + instructor in her her early thirties, Andrea received a Fashion Consultation with me. She also gave me feedback about her experience…

Photo by Sarah Rachel Photography www.sarah-rachel.com

Photo by Sarah Rachel Photography www.sarah-rachel.com

K: Why did you decide to hire me as your personal stylist?

“I needed direction for style, shopping and how to dress to highlight my body and express my personal style.”

K: What were your thoughts going into your styling experience?

“This will be fun! Finally, I will be able to shop with confidence.”

K: Which part of the Fashion Consultation was your favorite?

“Choosing the best colors for me.”

K: What was your biggest takeaway from your Fashion Consultation?

“Learning how much science goes into it, much more than I thought!”

K: Do you feel that you have become more aware of the importance of fashion and personal style? If so, in what ways?

“Yes – color, proportion and ways to make myself appear thinner or taller all have been a huge benefit to me.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Being able to work with women like Amy and Andrea is a huge blessing. Thank you, Style Core for helping me be able to style people for a living. It truly is a dream come true!

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Blog feature photo collage (from top, counter clockwise) – # 1 &2 by Blue Pear Photography: www.bluepearphoto.com. #3 by Sarah Rachel Photography: http://www.sarah-rachel.com
Catherine2

A Reawakening: Learning to see myself in color

In the beginning my world was full of color. Fast-forward twenty-five years. Twenty-five years marked by illness, failures in my career, and losing loved ones. My world had turned gray, along with my wardrobe. I opened the door to my closet and was greeted by mourning blacks, confused charcoals, and depressed grays. On the top shelf, there was a colorful note… dark denim. I was wearing my misery. These drab colors kept me hidden in a crowd, unnoticed.

Then I met Carla. I had never even heard of image consulting, but after learning what it entailed from some friends, my curiosity brought me to her door. Carla took me through each step, highlighting how my clothing, hair, and make-up choices affected how others viewed me. She helped me to see the beauty I was hiding, and the potential my future could have, by simply wearing clothing that authentically communicated who I am.

As I started following her advice, I began to see color again, not just in my closet, but also in my life. Gone was the dark cloud of clothing, and in its place were joyful oranges, playful pinks, and refreshing turquoises. The first item I purchased after meeting with Carla was a tangerine colored cardigan. It was the remembrance of my true creativity. It was my first step in pushing away the gray. I went from hiding in a crowd to getting the attention for who I truly am, strong, artistic, and feminine. It is easier to face many different obstacles and trials now that I can look in the mirror and see myself, not just my shadow.

It has been several years since my reawakening. I have been so inspired, in turn I want to follow in Carla’s footsteps and bring image consulting to those who need to see their own true colors. When someone else affirms and reveals the beauty that exists within you, and teaches you how to reveal that beauty to other people, it is priceless. When I look in the mirror, I can see my potential, and in turn, I want to pay it forward. What a world it would be if we all could learn to see ourselves in our true colors?

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The Psychology of Style

Clothes are opportunities. Fashion, getting dressed, gives us a chance to express different dimensions of ourselves. Different looks have different psychological effects. Our life is a kaleidoscope of possibilities — the possibility of meeting that important person who brings life, light, and new vistas.

What outfit do you put together when you want to express the core of who you are? Look in your closet. Are you excited about what you see hanging there? Is every piece like one of those shimmering, glistening pieces of glass in the kaleidoscope — ready to create a pattern that can support and even change your life? Or are you seeing sameness? Same color, same style, no style really?

Is your closet full of color like your vibrant personality? Or is it smooth and creamy like honey and cream over strawberries? It could be warm and rich like polished antique wood and brass.

What words would you use to describe how you feel and how you want to be perceived? These words can help you create exciting, intriguing, fun, or powerful looks. When you put words to your ‘looks’, you are playing with the Psychology of Style.

What outfit has YOU written all over it? This is often a favorite ‘stand-by’ outfit that you always get both compliments and feels most like yourself when you wear it.

What do you choose to wear when you want to stand out in the crowd? It’s that WOW outfit that turns heads for the best reasons… where you have ‘nailed’ that dramatic look and we still see and experience you not the clothes?

If you’re looking forward to a romantic encounter, what do you have in your closet that says you are a woman and vulnerable, yet strongly yourself?

There are times when you want to be quietly understated and elegant — times when it wouldn’t be appropriate to be in the spotlight. What outfits support this look, yet remain interesting and intriguing rather than dowdy, dreary, or blah?

Thinking conceptually about your wardrobe in this way is the key to using the Psychology of Style to your best advantage. It’s also fun.

What do you wear when you want to play? When its time to let out your wild side?

Like a kaleidoscope, every day the prism turns and new colors and patterns emerge. We all have so many different dimensions to our personality. Clothing is like those little colored pieces of glass. Twist your wardrobe and put new patterns together to express all the colors that are you.

What do you wear when you need to be propped up? — You haven’t had enough sleep because you’ve been working hard or partying; or you are getting over the flu; or are grieving the loss of a loved one. Wearing dull, flowing, clothes that drape can keep you in the pit of depression, while other fabrics and construction details can literally prop you up and keep you going.

dreary vs up2

Take a closer look at your closet. Try on outfits you tend to wear when you are feeling low, or excited, or afraid, or happy and healthy. When you look in the mirror check out whether it is a “you-at-your-best” outfit. Is it a dramatic or romantic outfit, or is it playful, quietly elegant, or an outfit you wear when you want to take charge? If you can’t figure out what the outfit is saying about you then it probably should not be in your closet.

If you can’t figure out what the outfit is saying about you, then it probably should not be in your closet.

The Psychology of Style is a reality we all live with everyday whether we are aware of it or not. The outfit you are wearing right now is saying something about you.

Get up and stand in front a full-length mirror if you have one nearby. This might be a little scary, but it’s important that we start to look objectively at what we are communicating about ourselves through our clothing choices. The reality is, everyone else who encounters you today is looking objectively. They might not be able to articulate what they are seeing, but, believe me, they feel it. This feeling, this sense of who a person is, is something we all do when we come in contact with each other.

Ok, are you in front of the mirror? What are your clothes saying about you? What’s the first impression? Be honest. If it is in line with how you’re feeling right now, with what you want to say about yourself, then bravo! You are using the Psychology of Style to your best advantage. If you’re not sure, or your look is saying something that isn’t in line with how you’re feeling or what needs to be communicated today, then make a few mental notes, take a full-length selfie and email them to yourself. What would you like to be expressing about yourself right now? What’s working, what isn’t?

Turn the prism of your wardrobe and imagine what you could be wearing…let the world know who you are. There’s no one like you. Help us celebrate what makes you special.

 

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The Difference

Erin_2013-circl2“What makes your training courses different than the others?” This is a great question, and one that I hear regularly in my interactions with those who are researching options for training for a career in Personal Styling / Image Consulting.

My first reply is “Great question! Good for you to do the homework. Every training program has different strengths and approaches. It’s important to know which one resonates the most with you.”

Next, I have to say. “Carla Mathis.”

Our courses are based upon a lifetime of experience and practice by this Industry Pioneer. Now in her 70’s, Carla is still a vital force of life, teaching courses in Los Angeles and around the world. Her presence is powerful, she is warm and a gifted teacher — but her knowledge is immense. That’s why we receive numerous requests annually to see if she can come train up experts in this field in their country.

CM_teach_portraitIn addition to teaching, Carla still gets tremendous pleasure from working with clients in her highly successful consultancy. From teaching hundreds at a time, to helping the one soul see him or herself with new eyes… it’s a life-giving process for her; one that she loves to impart to as many students as possible. The recipients are spell bound with the wonder of discovery, and it’s easy to lose track of time when learning from Carla.

I can’t tell you how often I hear from people in all parts of the world that Carla’s groundbreaking book, The Triumph of Individual Style is “their bible” for this field. Her book and training program will live long beyond her, but those who have the opportunity to train with her directly during her lifetime know what an extraordinarily special experience it is.TIS-2012_Cover_v1

Now, more about the approach that sets us apart.

We teach both the deep science of color & style, and the heart +intuition needed to apply the science. We won’t give you simple formula’s that put you in limiting boxes. I can’t tell you how many times we hear from people who experienced a color or image consultation during which they were labeled a certain season, given a formula of colors, and have felt stuck with that ever since. We help them break out of those limiting boxes into a rainbow of freedom with new possibilities. And teach others to do the same.

So what is the Science? Every body has a certain combination of lines, shapes, colors, textures, proportion, scale, and sometimes, distinctive features. Knowing how to analyze then choose styles that flatter each body…that is the science.

But at the core of anyone’s style, must be their own personality. This is the heart of Image and Identity. We teach the process for discovering, drawing this out, and integrating it into an individual’s style. Over and over, you will be challenged to “get out of your head” and “into your heart” as you learn to use intuition and instincts which are key to discovering truth. This ability can be passed on to others you work with as well.

CM_teaching2013You will also receive basic guidance for business building, marketing and the actual process of making this a career. However, this is not the primary focus of our courses.

There is no replacing the presence of Industry pioneer, Carla Mathis and her deep knowledge of the Science and the heart of Personal Image.

That is the difference.

If this resonates with you, come join us today in a Webinar, Distance Learning course or enroll to learn from Carla in-person at one of our upcoming live courses. It would be our privilege to help facilitate your training through our institute. We look forward to meeting you.

recapture

How To Describe This Thing We Do

Calling what we do “styling” misses so much of the point. Style, whether it is strong or hodgepodge, is almost always thought to be about the surface. Tweaking and preening the details to make someone or something look “of the moment” or “better” than they really are. When it works, an essential truth about the person, place or thing is revealed. Style has resonance when it supports the identity of the one being styled. This is NOT what people think of when they think of styling.

Rather than trying to redefine or expand the definition of styling, it might be more meaningful to hear from clients who have experienced the work. This serves two purposes; it toots our horn and personalizes the description.

“My tDavid_faves3ime with Carla was a transformational experience. Through a series of simple exercises, she helped me accurately identify and define my authentic self and gave me the tools to visually project my true self in the world.

I did not realize that things like color, clothing, “the stuff” in my home have such a huge impact on my behavior and how others perceive me. I never would have guessed that being intentional about what I choose to wear and surround myself with would be so empowering. It is.

With this small shift in my thinking, I have experienced profound and positive change in my daily life. Suddenly people know what to expect from me. They have a better understanding of who I am because they see it first. I am more confident, at ease with myself and a more effective communicator.”

- David, Durham, NC

You can see in David’s writing and hear in his voice the newfound clarity and confidence he is talking about. This personal confidence is more important to David than any new look. This begins to touch the essence of the work we do. Yes, its about clothes and the styles of clothes & accessories we wear, but its all in the service of revealing who we are.

“I wanted to thank you for yesterday! It was really eye opening not just for my style, but my heart! It is crazy actually, seeing on paper who I am. I recently have started rebranding my photography studio and was going to make it into this LA hip idea…But in all honesty, that is just not me! I’m a nature, and clean air and waterfalls kinda gal. It made me realize that I was trying to fit in here, but in that, somewhat loosing myself. It opened my eyes to why I shoot photography the way I do. Why when I look at people in LA who are wearing black clothing, why it makes me feel uncomfortable. Seriously, yesterday opened my eyes to so many things!!!! So thank you!!! It was a pivotal point in my life to have this done for me! I never would have seen all of this if it wasn’t for you.”

- Yvonne, Los Angeles, CA

Ok, the integration Yvonne is talking about is why we love doing what we do. She was about to make life decisions that were going to take her farther from her true self. She was rebranding her studio to look like what’s trendy and culturally hip now, at the loss of authenticity. We’ve all been in studios like this, where you can feel that the true identity, the real personality of the person doing the work is submerged. They’re doing what they think will appeal to the largest number of potential clients, rather than seeing the world the way they see it and offering this unique perspective to everybody whose interested.

Becoming integrated is a beautiful thing.

I’ll finish with a Yelp review from a recent client. She’s a graphic designer who lives in Los Angeles. She saw a local review and took a chance.

“Carla has an amazing gift. Her styling sessions/consultations are really a service to empower a person to visually express who they honestly are. The Style Core has connected different disciplines and has developed a way to create an individual style that is truly an extension of who one is.

I had the fortunate experience to give myself a full consultation. Wow! What a great experience! And what an education! The awareness!!!

To start, the office is a peaceful and lovely creative space near Sunset Blvd., in Silver Lake. Carla is very friendly and puts one at ease immediately. It’s a very safe, and oh so creative environment.

We started with a review of the online worksheet I filled out. This included submitting visual images I love, along with answering a few questions.

We went through some exercises where I picked out visuals that spoke to me. From this Carla distilled what it was about the imagery I was attracted to and how to bring those elements into my own wardrobe. And it resonated, because those were the exact elements in my 2 favorite “go to” outfits that NEVER EVER let me down.

Then we chose colors. Mind opening to see the subtle differences between tints, shades and hues of similar colors against my skin. The awareness of what works for me is huge!

And that leads to the next part of our session. Carla analyzed my coloring and the shape & proportion of my body and features. She showed me clothing styles, shapes, lengths, etc. that complimented my body shape. Clothing shapes/drape that helped visually relate my body measurements to body proportions identified in the art world as visually attractive to the human eye.

The exercises, color exploration, and body shape analysis gave me a vocabulary of why I liked somethings and permission to not like others. It gave me an elemental rock to stand on and hold fast to when tempted by magazine articles to try a fashion trend not meant for my coloring/body shape. And it stopped me from blaming my body for not looking good in something. It’s the fashion, or non-fashion that’s to blame!! Everyone’s body is perfect.

What I came away with makes me so happy. The Style Core system is like Human Centered Design, except the product is you. I whole heartedly recommend The Style Core. Their service is very empowering. It makes me so happy just thinking about my consultation and what I’ve discovered from it.”

Ann, Los Angeles, CA

There we go! The joy Ann is feeling, the empowerment, the clarity she now has about herself is what our work is all about.

Styling is about the surface, yes, AND its about what lies beneath the surface. We are integrated beings; body, soul and spirit. Seeing the connections between Who We Are on the inside and How We Look on the outside can be life-changing.

Show your story! Don’t hide it behind clothes that tell the story of some hot brand or ‘of the moment’ look. Integrate. Share who you are with us, we want to celebrate you.

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To learn how to see yourself in this new way. Book your own Complete Consultation.

TIS_Cover2

Recapturing a Childlike Wonder at How We Are Made

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Girl In Front of Mirror, Norman Rockwell, The Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge (detail).

My 6 year old daughter Sierra, comes to my wife and I and presents what she is wearing and how she looks. She wants more than approval, she is seeking validation; for the choices she has made, yes, and she is looking for more, she wants to know that she is ok. The external validation supports and gives shape to how she thinks about herself.

The Triumph of Individual Style is a book that speaks to us in this way. We are able to find ourselves in these pages; the works of art teach our eyes to see and believe that we are beautiful.

Feeling beautiful and being Ok
are often the same thing to a girl.

If we are brought up in a home where this kind of external affirmation is non-existent we become alienated from our own bodies, we become split, our sense of self is diminished. The Triumph of Individual Style reconnects body, soul and spirit. It speaks clearly and directly to us in the loving tones of a parent with a vision for our wholeness.

Starting with the Introduction, Carla Mathis and co-author Helen Villa Connor place before us Norman Rockwell’s, Girl In Front of Mirror. They speak of the beast of self-hatred, that troll at the foot of the bridge that leads to self-acceptance, to a lifetime of being beautiful. It accuses; “I hate your nose. Your eyes are too small. Why does your hair have to be so curly? And my God, your feet are HUGE!”. Mirrors are designed to be our friends. They are often our enemy.

Using artworks from all over the world they present feminine beauty in all her lovely forms. In chapter 2, for example, they show us how to identify our bodies natural silhouette.

Are you a RECTANGLE? rect
(Your shoulders are as wide as your hips/thighs, your waist is relatively the same width)

Mars and Venus United by Love, Paolo Veronese, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1910 (detail).

Mars and Venus United by Love, Paolo Veronese, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1910 (detail).

Are you an OVAL? oval

(Your shoulders are narrower or as wide as your hips/thighs, your waist is wider)

Girl in Red, Edgar Degas, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester

Girl in Red, Edgar Degas, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester

Are you a FIGURE-EIGHT? figure8

(Your shoulders are curved and as wide as your hips/thighs, your waist is narrower)

Parvati, standing, Islamic, Sculpture, South Indian, Chola Dynasty, ca. 900, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Cora Tinken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Tinken Burnett, 1956 (detail).

Parvati, standing, Islamic, Sculpture, South Indian, Chola Dynasty, ca. 900, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Cora Tinken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Tinken Burnett, 1956 (detail).

Are you an HOURGLASS? hourglass

(Your shoulders are square and as wide as your hips/thighs, your waist is narrower)

Madame X (Mme Gautreau), John Singer Sargent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Arthur H. Hearn Fund, 1916 (detail).

Madame X (Mme Gautreau), John Singer Sargent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Arthur H. Hearn Fund, 1916 (detail).

Are you a TRIANGLE? tri

(Your shoulders and waist are narrower than your hips/thighs)

Bather Arranging Her Hair, Auguste Renoir, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester Dale Collection (detail).

Bather Arranging Her Hair, Auguste Renoir, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester Dale Collection (detail).

Are you an INVERTED TRIANGLE? inv_tri

(Your shoulders are wider than your waist and hips/thighs)

Nude, Roger de La Fresnaye, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester Dale Collection (detail).

Nude, Roger de La Fresnaye, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester Dale Collection (detail).

In each of these beautiful paintings the artist has celebrated these women and their bodies AS THEY ARE. There are no value judgements! We look at these paintings and marvel at their beauty. The Triumph of Individual Style teaches us to look at our body’s with the eye of an artist.

You are a work of art.

To be painted by an artist is to see yourself in a new way. To see what she or he sees; an extraordinary creature with a form unlike any other!

This book elevates self-perception to an art form. It guides us step-by-step through every feature and facet of our bodies on a journey of self discovery, a journey of self-acceptance at a level that is at once new and as old as art itself. We have forgotten how to perceive ourselves aright. We have forgotten how beautiful we are.

work_of_ArtThis book will help you recapture a childlike wonder at how you are made. It will change how you approach getting dressed in the morning. It will transform what for many of us has been a painful reminder of our own failings (Putting on clothes and still not looking as good as we had hoped) into an opportunity to express what is unique about us, to affirm what we now know to be true; we are beautiful and worthy of recognition.

We know how to admire paintings. Let’s learn how to admire ourselves.

In each chapter you will learn how to make the connection between an element of art and your body (In the example above, you learn how to identify the SHAPE of your body’s natural silhouette). You then learn how that art element translates into selecting clothing and accessories that are in harmony and balance with your body. You become a living work of art.

art-to-body

There has never been a book like this one that not only helps us to see ourselves as works of art, but also teaches us step-by-step how to create a beautiful and artful composition every day.

As a father, I am in awe of my daughter. As a son, I am in awe of my mother. She has created something (So beautifully expressed with co-author Helen Villa Connor) that teaches us all how to see ourselves in a new way. I use this language with my daughter all the time. It has helped me see myself in a new light as I look in the mirror every morning and throughout the day. I look at myself with affirmation now. The negative, critical thoughts have been replaced with a new language, the language of art and affirmation.

Thank you mom for a new vision. It is now up to us to open our eyes and hearts to this new way of seeing ourselves and other people. Together, let’s make the world a more beautiful place.

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TIS_Webinar_SeriesWant to learn more? Join a live, interactive chapter-by-chapter walkthrough of “The Triumph of Individual Style” with co-author Carla Mathis being held July & August 2015. Participants can send photos for personalized advice related to each topic. Following the live sessions each webinar will be available as a recorded session. Sign up here…

Get the Book here

Tess_Cover

Style Lessons From The World’s First Size 22 Supermodel

Bravo, Tess! Congrats on your cover for People Magazine last month, “The World’s First Size 22 Supermodel!” You are an inspiration. Finally, all of our bodies are being celebrated in print. Tess made her dream of being a model happen. What an encouragement for women the world over…of all sizes and shapes to go after our dreams…to embrace our beauty.

So, how does Tess do it? What tips can we pick-up to make our plus size and full figured bodies work for us at play, at work and on camera?

First, Tess intuitively chooses clothes that work for her Figure-eight silhouette.

Tess_Cover-other

Tip 1: Discovering your Body’s Silhouette is the first step to creating looks that flatter your body from every angle.

Tess’s shoulders and hips are relatively the same width, while her waist is smaller, creating a classic figure-eight.

Let’s look at how Tess accentuates her small waist. She has a high hip with a shelf right below her waistline. She places her hands on that shelf, drawing attention to her small waist. Voila, a great pose for her and anyone with a figure-eight!

Tip 2: Tess takes advantage of her beautiful skin and balances her body’s width proportions with those deep wide necklines.

Her shoulders are proportionally wide for the width of her face. Showing all that skin focuses attention on her face and allows us to enjoy her gorgeous complexion.

Her long full hair balances her shoulders, and also balances her long torso.

Tip 3: Tess wears high heels to elongate her short legs relative to her long torso.

Her high heels draw a long line up her leg so we don’t notice that her legs are relatively short. She’s also showing skin below her ankle teasing our eye to travel quickly up from her feet to her beautiful face.

Ok, so what about the rest of us? How can we make ourselves look this good?

Let’s start with Tip 1: Discovering your Body’s Silhouette.

Are you a Rectangle?

rectangle

If so, don’t even think about highlighting your waist! Instead find a garment with a deep and dramatic neckline that highlights your beautiful upper chest…. Then have the garment drop tunic length and wear slightly narrower skirt or leggings. Choose sassy shoes, and no one will notice that your waist has gone into hiding!

Are you an Oval?

oval

You’re wider thorough the tummy and chest area but narrower through the thigh and hip. Highlight your shoulders with an interesting neckline or collar and have what you’re wearing on top slip right on by your not really there waist. Bring attention to your relatively narrow hip with a sash or scarf. Show off your curvy legs with a pencil skirt that peeks below that hip band, and va va voom— you’re looking gorgeous!

Are you a Triangle?

tiangle 

Your thighs are wider than your hip and shoulder. That pencil skirt is not for you, my dear. Worse, a pair of white jeans that shout, “Look down here at my behind and not at my face!”. Your deliciously sensual and curvy body is asking for a lighter color on top and a nice flared skirt (Gently flaring from your thighs) or a flared trouser. Flare is your friend. Leggings and pencil skirts—the enemy!

Are you an Inverted Triangle?

inverted_tri

Your shoulders and chest are wider than your hips. Now, you have the body that IS asking for leggings and pencil skirts! Accentuating your slim legs and feet is dreamy. Flared skirts on you “box” out your natural V silhouette. Draw attention to the slim end of your triangle. The eye will then dance back up to your face for balance.

Remember the great Diana Vreeland’s maxim, “The eye has to travel.” She ruled the fashion world as editor of Vogue for all those years for good reason.

 Alright, Tip 2: Proportion.

Example1No matter what your size, if you dress for your height and width proportions, you will look terrific. It is all about your face. Balancing the width and length of your head and face to the rest of your body is a secret used by all the top fashion stylists and photographers.

  • Is your torso long or short relative to your head and face?
  • Are your legs long or short relative to your head, face and body?
  • Is your face wide or narrow relative to your shoulders and hips?

For example, this beautiful woman on the right has picked a perfect dress for her body. She has wide shoulders and upper arms relative to the width of her face.

By opening the neckline to her shoulder, our eye rests on her face and then jumps down to her curvy leg revealed by the medium length slit. Brilliant. Do we care that she has a tummy?! Do we even notice, she’s gorgeous!

latifaQueen Latifah got it right! The lighter color draped blouse shows off her beautiful neckline as well as diminishes her tummy. The loose deeper-colored jacket slides right by her waist… We don’t care if she has one or not…. We only look at her beautiful smile and presence.

Discovering your body’s silhouette along with your width and length proportions are only two of the many features we analyze to reveal your unique VIDA Signature. Visual IDentity Analysis (VIDA) is a new way of looking at your body and your self. Seeing yourself in a new way and learning techniques to make who you are beautiful every day is what we do at The Style Core.

Tess, you inspire us! Let’s celebrate our beauty and make tomorrow the day we too become memorable, more ourselves, more at home in our own skin.

 

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Want more tips and tricks to help you look your best? Find options here.