Why I’m breaking my own style rules

Ever looked in the wardrobe and thought: ‘Do those clothes say anything about me? Or am I just toeing the line, locked in my own style rules?’

Well here’s a thing: You’re not alone, because it happened to me.

Let’s back-track a bit.

Much has changed in the past year. I got rid of 80% of my stuff, re-evaluted my life and came to the realisation that nothing is certain, anything is possible.

Heck, I even look different.

This hit home a few weeks ago when I opened my website for the first time in months. Hell’s bells, the photo (the one on the left) taken a couple of years ago, didn’t look anything like I do now.

And the feel of the website, a riot of colour and pictures, felt wrong for my new edited lifestyle.

It now looks very different, which you can see here.

So, what changed?

First, the hair

I’d been dying it for so long I’d come to believe I really was a redhead.

About a year ago I lost control of my silver parting, so ditched Rich Warm Auburn and decided to go grey. Let me tell you, this is not for the faint-hearted. I’m at the messy ‘halfy-halfy’ growing out stage so I’ve added few silver streaks to a fairly neutral brown. It’s good, I’ve ‘moved on’.

Second, the clothes

Around the time the first photo was taken I looked in the wardrobe and didn’t see myself. There were some nice clothes, but they no longer felt like ‘me’.

I remember choosing the floral dress because it looked ‘friendly and approachable’.

It was the right colours for my warm colouring and ticked all the style boxes for my shape and proportions. It was the sort of dress a friendly and approachable stylist should wear.

But the fabric was restrictive and stiff. I couldn’t wait to get it off and I never wore it again.

In the second photo I’m wearing a dress that’s similar in style (I mainly wear dresses) but I was drawn to it like an Exocet missile. It suits my new cooler hair colour and it’s stretchy, so I can move. I love the fact it looks like someone painted it freehand. When I saw it, it felt like it suited my very essence, rather than being something that was expected of me.

 The third and biggest change was in my head

A couple of years ago, an idea took hold: I was sick of the rules. More specifically, MY OWN STYLE RULES.

This bothersome thought was almost crippling my business. How could I tell clients what to do when I didn’t want to do it myself?

There’s a saying, ‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears’. In my case it was in the shape of Sue Donnelly, Fashion Feng Shui Master, a top UK stylist who teaches all over the world.

I was already into Feng Shui (or what I prefer to call Feng Shway-Hey!) When I tell people this, I see their eyebrow twitch. What? Sensible Sarah? Into superstitious claptrap?

A few years ago I would have said the same.

It’s not quite as Unicorns & Rainbows as it sounds

Since Being Lois (my braver, wider-thinking alter-ego) my take on Feng Shui is that it’s the art of arranging our stuff so it reminds us to live our best possible life. Like tying a knot in your hankie so you don’t forget to do something. Only you can do it in your house, with the sofa.

So why not extend that to our clothes? Fashion Feng Shui uses clothes and accessories to honour your core essence, flatter your silhouette, enhance your colouring and state your intention. It was like learning something I knew already…

Going back to the photos. The first Sarah had lots of clothes in various colours but especially camels, browns and mustard. In Fashion Feng Shui these colours are all about honouring our desire to nurture, and uphold traditional values. (Nothing wrong with that.)

But that wasn’t what I wanted. I look in her eyes and know every bone in her body was screaming: ‘Sod tradition, I want to break free!’

By the time the second photo was taken, I’d done precisely that.

The second Sarah has an entirely different wardrobe. I have very few clothes but I love them all. Everything honours my core essence, which in Feng Shui is ‘Water’ – creative and a bit offbeat. I’ve introduced darker colours, edgier styling, and some cooler elements to compliment my new hair colour. I still wear warm shades, though I’ve stowed (or ditched) the earthier hues. They make me feel ‘planted’ and that’s not where I am right now.

I use clothes to remind me what my intentions are. This might change by the hour, day, month or year. What I wear, what I ‘put out there’ is what I’ll get back. So I dress accordingly.

In the past year I’ve dared to be seen in bright colours  (not my thing, usually) which shouted ‘Hello World, I’m here and expecting fun!’ (It worked).

Right now living a simple, edited lifestyle is important to me so I’m buying less, buying better. I’ve got rid of anything restricting – I want to sprint if I want to.

This new knowledge has enhanced the way I work

Like me, my clients tend to be midlife women who are ripe for reinvention. They’re usually tired of the ‘rules’ too.

I still show them their best colours and how to flatter their shape and proportions.

But I spend as much time finding out about their true passions as I do explaining how to detract from a big bum or wrinkly knees.

If you’re thinking ‘Blimey, Sarah’s lost the plot’, never mind. I know there are many more of you who want to learn how to express your authentic self through your wardrobe.

So if you look in the wardrobe at your perfectly nice clothes, but there’s that niggling feeling that they’re not really ‘you’, there is a different way…

My advice to my clients (and myself) is this: If you feel one way, but your wardrobe says something different, change.

Because if you dress and think like the woman you want to be, pretty soon she’ll be staring you back in the mirror.

Until next time,

Sarah, Being Lois

Want to find YOUR true style essence?

Contact me today. SARAH MORGAN personal stylist, Norfolk UK.

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