I’m in the business of helping clients see things that are outside your comfort zone. If they’ve come to me for assistance, they’ve most likely been doing what they’ve always done and aren’t happy with the results. They’re ready for a change but they don’t know what that change looks like. Or they’re confused by current fashion and don’t want to navigate that territory without an experienced guide.
I’m happy to work with them and I always guarantee one thing: I can help but they may experience discomfort.
It happens to everyone. It happens to me!
Change is that way. We want it, crave it, long for it but when it comes it may scare us or at least give us anxious butterflies in our stomach. Why? Because we’re in unfamiliar territory.
When I’m styling a new piece of clothing into an outfit a client may say something like, “Is it too much? You think it works? Really?”
That’s especially true of people who are low on the fashion risk-taking scale.
Let’s figure out where you are on the risk taking scale
On the change spectrum, are you timid and cautious or adventurous and daring?
Are you uncomfortable taking risks or are you only happy when you’re taking risks?
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being people who thrive on taking risks, my clients are mostly between 2.5 and 7.5.
I will rarely see a client in the one to two range. I probably wouldn’t be on her radar.
But the 2.5 person may realize she wants help and I’ll get a call. The 7.5 person is already enjoying clothes but perhaps she’s going through some changes. She isn’t afraid to ask for help. Or she’s always loved fashion and has known exactly what to wear to work but now she’s retired and baffled. She wants guidance. Maybe she wants to change up her shopping experience. Or she wants my help to style her clothes into modern, new outfits so she’s maximizing what’s in her closet. I can help with all those things!
Note: There are people who love change. They’re happy to change their hair color every month or experiment with new trends every season. They’ll shop in any store they run into. It’s all fun for them! They’d be close to ten on the risk-taking scale. They’re happy. I won’t hear from them.
Feeling “normal” about feeling comfortable
So why am I bringing this up? I want you to feel “normal” about feeling uncomfortable.
That Etro jacket I bought last year? It was so colorful, so fancy, so wow. I wasn’t sure I had what it took to pull it off, yet I was so attracted to it. I was nervous the first time I wore it. That nervousness wore off after thirty minutes. Then I relaxed into it. Now I’m used to it.
That’s a common pattern. Attracted but nervous, wear in public for thirty minutes, and then over the hurdle and everything is okay. At that moment when you’re one with the piece that was intimidating, you may feel silly or wonder why you made such a fuss about it.
I want you to have compassion! Most of us are bound to feel a bit uncomfortable when we do something we haven’t done before. It’s natural. It’s to be expected.
It’s hard to see ourselves
Sometimes others see you better than you can see yourself. My clients have seen a limited version of themselves for possibly decades. So when we’re in the style interview and I start “seeing” them and connecting the fashion dots as to what will best express who they are, it can be exciting for them. And then I say, “Okay, are you ready to try some clothes on to match your style?” Now we’re getting down to business. They can be startled seeing themselves for the first time in clothes that match their style recipe. It can be confronting! Exciting, but confronting.
That’s when I reassure my client. After we’ve purchased some new things I tell her, “I want you to try these clothes on at home and look in the mirror over and over again. Your eye needs time to accept this new you.”
I also make another suggestion when I’ve styled new items into outfits. I say, “Wear this as soon as you can, preferably within two weeks. Expect to be uncomfortable for 30 minutes. You’ll quickly acclimate. People will probably comment about how great you look and your fear will be in the rearview mirror.”
I’ve personally felt fashion discomfort many times. Let’s say I’m shopping with my image consultant buddies. I’ll try something on that attracts me and makes me feel outside my comfort zone. Their encouragement helps. I know myself; I don’t think I’d be brave enough to purchase these new things on my own. When I say image consultants need image consultants, that’s one reason why!
Items that were outside my comfort zone
You’ve seen me in things that were initially totally scary to me. They don’t look scary to you and they aren’t scary to me anymore but they sure were the first time I wore them.
It happened with bright lipstick. I went for a new lipstick and my beauty stylist, Elena, studied me for a couple of minutes. She walked away and came back with Hot Orange by Bobbi Brown. I practically shrieked. I resisted and resisted and she insisted and insisted. Now bright lipstick is my trademark.
It happened with leopard print. I’d never worn leopard print. I thought it was a bit racy for me. Now I consider it to be one of my best neutrals!
It happened with this white birch coat. Mother was with me at the Norsk Hostfest in Minot, ND when I spotted it. She insisted it was great on me. I was nervous. She was right! This coat gets a lot of attention every time I wear it. I guess that’s what I was afraid of but after thirty minutes I was handling it just fine. Now I look forward to winter because I’m so eager to wear this coat.
It happened again just recently with my red framed glasses. Nancy, the owner of Uber Optics, an eyewear boutique in Petaluma, insisted I needed a pair of red frames in my glasses wardrobe. These frames by Woow were one of three that I showed my image consultant buddies when we were together at the MMB Retreat in Sonoma in February. I was excited to get their opinion. Of the three frames, this one made me feel outside my comfort zone. The other two were easy peasy. I was sure they’d choose a metallic colored frame but they voted for this red one. I think I even groaned. I thought, “Oh no, don’t make me go outside my comfort zone this far!”
What really surprised me is that it didn’t even take thirty minutes for me to accept these. The minute I got them back with my prescription in them, I looked in the mirror at the store in Petaluma and got tears in my eyes. I loved them so much from the very first look.
How does this sit with you all? Do you get those uncomfortable feelings? What have you tried that you were nervous about but it turned out great? Where do you think you are on the risk-taking scale? Do share!