I used to think I was stylish. I liked to go with the fashionable trends…..at least the conservative ones. However, I am very frugal, like head-to-the-sale-rack-first frugal, which tends to limit my ability to be completely stylish. And as I have gotten older, I have cared less & less about what I wear. Shopping had become no fun for me – maybe it’s because I shop for three little minions first and have no energy to shop for myself. Or maybe it’s because I really don’t know how to shop.
I end up relying on jeans and a t-shirt because I’m either too cheap or too overwhelmed to shop. Which lead me to the closet filled with 42 t-shirts and jeans that didn’t fit, remember?
Last month, I underwent Closet Therapy with Shelley Riley, a personal stylist here in Austin who owns her own company, Shell Personal Styling & Closet Therapy. She gave me a BIG reality check, combing through my closet and whittling it down to the pieces that actually fit me and look my age. Read all about that story here. And being that my closet shrunk to a quarter of it’s size, she promised to take me shopping on a Personal Styling session with her.
What is Personal Styling with Shell?
My Personal Styling with Shelly began with her pre-shopping items specifically for me at Nordstrom. Once I arrived to the dressing room it was all set-up with clothes, shoes, and even accessories. Can I tell you how special you feel arriving to a dressing room all set up for YOU?
We spent the next 4 hours trying on clothes & shoes and pairing them with accessories. We tried on a gazillion pair of jeans, finding the right pair that fit my body type. She put together whole outfits – from head to toe – and they looked great. I was absolutely amazed at how well Shelley pulled these outfits together, and they all looked fantastic.
Shelley will also come to your home with outfits for those that would rather not spend the time at the store. But I personally liked having the ability to change sizes and styles easily. We worked with a Nordstrom stylist that would pick different pieces up and bring them to us, without us even asking. She & Shelley had a fantastic working relationship and complemented each other well.
We spent about 4 hours shopping, which may sound like a lot, but honestly, the time flew by – it was so much fun y’all.
Why Do I Need Personal Styling with Shell?
I went into this thinking I did not need a personal stylist. Seriously, I was fine with my t-shirts and jeans. But after spending the time with Shelley, she made me care about my appearance and clothing again. She made it fun to dress up and look good. And she taught me how to easily achieve this.
Because Shelley understood my role as a Mom and a Travel Writer, she was able to find pieces that are classic, will withstand the suitcase, and last for years. No longer am I grabbing cheap, one-season items off the rack at Old Navy. I have pieces that will last for years now.
Most do not think they need a stylist or they think it is a luxury they can not afford. I get it. I felt the same way. But deep inside me, there was always this desire to look “put-together” but I just couldn’t achieve it and needed someone to get me there, to teach & motivate me. Shelley was that person.
So let’s talk affordability. Is it worth the initial investment to shop with Shelley? Shelley did not try to talk me into things she knew I wouldn’t wear or didn’t need. While we did shop at Nordstrom, and things were pricey, she was always conscious of my budget. Her honest opinion was key – she prevented me from spending money on unnecessary items. She didn’t benefit from me spending more money.
What I Learned from a Day of Personal Styling with Shell
Shopping with Shelley was fun, but I walked away learning so much more from her that you can’t really put a price tag on:
Just because you would never pick it doesn’t mean it won’t look amazing on you! The items hanging in the dressing room that I never would have grabbed looked the best on me. This was one of the biggest steps out of my comfort zone. I wear solids and Shelley had picked out some colorful prints, and they looked great!!
Throw your modesty out the window. At one point, we had 4 people in the room while I was trying to find a pair of jeans that fit. Between Shelley, the Nordstrom stylist, and alterations, we were determined to find jeans that didn’t fall down the heiney. And thankfully, we did. But you can’t be modest when shopping, it’s just easier to strip & change. No one cares. After birthing 3 babies, I certainly didn’t.
Good quality clothing may cost more, but will look better & last longer. On average, t-shirts in my closet cost about $10. Shelley, knowing my love of comfortable t-shirts, picked out a few quality shirts that would be perfect for the outfits she grabbed for me. Just slipping them over my head I could feel the softness of them and as long as I launder them properly, they will not pill or fade like all my other shirts. Totally worth the $40 price tag.
Accessories really make the outfit. All these years, I made the excuse that I wasn’t a jewelry person. When really, I just didn’t put any effort into accessorizing. After spend the day with Shelley, she showed me just how easy it is to complete an outfit with a necklace or scarf. It was amazing how a great necklace can take an outfit to the next level – drab to fab!
Accessories don’t have to be expensive and Shelley was able to find several versatile pieces that were very affordable at Nordstrom. And now I find myself making sure I have “completed” my outfit with a great accessory before leaving the closet.
Jackets can not be an afterthought. I never put much effort into my jackets. Most of the time, I grabbed a sweatshirt on the way out the door. Shelley picked out some great jackets that would travel well or really jazz up an outfit. I tried on this black leather jacket and immediately fell in love with it. I never realized my desire to own a black leather jacket until I looked at myself in the mirror with it on. Yep, I had to have it.
Good shoes are an investment and worth the comfort to pay more. Shelley had picked out a few great shoes that were perfect for the spring & summer season. I tried them on without looking at the price and immediately fell in love. I even bought them before realizing how expensive they were. But these are an amazing quality pair of shoes – so comfortable – that I plan on having for years. Which totally justifies my buying the same shoe season after season. Bonus? I get compliments on them everywhere I go – they are that great of a shoe!
Putting time & effort into dressing smartly gives you an amazing amount of confidence. Yes, I know it sounds a little superficial, but stick with me. I’m a smart, confident person to begin with. However, knowing that I am completely put together from head-to-toe took my confidence to a new level. We all have out little insecurities from time to time about the way we look. Having spent the time with Shelley, picking out clothing that looked good on my body just boosted my confidence.
And I have a new found confidence to shop for myself. She made it fun to pair everything together and I was (still am) motivated to buy more. I now find myself excited to figure out what to wear each day and that hasn’t happened for years. But the best part of it all? Shelley has made it easy to go to my closet and know exactly what looks good together. Gone are the days of trying on 6 outfits, only to go back to the one that I started with (and still didn’t really like).
And the biggest question I have been asked: Was it Expensive? That’s such a subjective question. What’s expensive to you and what are you willing to spend on clothes? I can’t say it was “expensive” for me, as I saved up to buy a new wardrobe. I’m not going to tell you how much I spent as I am pretty darn happy with everything I have bought and feel the investment in myself was worth every dime.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely. Everyone should take the time to spend a few hours of Personal Styling with Shelley. Even if you feel pretty confident in your style, she may open your eyes to a new look. Maybe you really love to shop? Let Shelley show you some of the latest trends – especially if you want to be on the cutting edge. Or maybe you have a big wedding or event (high school reunion anyone?) coming up you want to look fab for. Don’t muddle though the shopping alone – let Shelley help you find the perfect outfit. She is here to help us ladies, let her work her magic.
As for me? I have a new closet full of fun clothes that I can’t wait to wear with confidence each and everyday. And I know that taking these new principles I learned from my time with Shelley, I will have this confidence for years to come.
Disclosure: I was invited to participate in the Personal Styling session with Shell Personal Styling & Closet Therapy. I was not paid for this post. All opinions – especially when I said it was FUN! – are my own.