Be someone they remember

By Claire Bannister – Image Consultant and Personal Stylist at House of Colour

In my role as a Stylist I have learnt more about how women feel or perceive themselves than I could have ever imagined! To be honest, giving people their confidence back has become one of my life’s blessings.

When I think back to when I was younger, I always felt like look wise I didn’t fit in (and this was back in the day when we didn’t have social media to tell us how bad we looked!) I was a tall girl and therefore stood a foot above everyone in my Year 6 class – I still remember that fear of the school photo, standing there feeling so unnaturally tall (or at least that’s what I thought). 

Senior school was where I grew my curves, a characteristic I now love but at the time I literally felt so fat and unattractive. To curb this, I did what most people do, I covered those curves with a tent like top and baggy trousers or a trapeze style dress to ‘disguise’ them. Knowing what I know now, about dressing body architectures, I have realised that instead of hiding it, I was just accentuating them and making myself look wider than I actually was!

I also wore only black. Top to toe. Why? Well, because that’s what you do right when you want to blend into the background? Plus, it’s ‘slimming’ right? Or at least that’s what I thought. To be honest, I am a larger than life character so I was never going to ‘blend’….I love socialising and I am one of those people who can never creep into a room so blending isn’t really an option but, at the time, I just didn’t want anyone to stare at me.

Society sends us so many messages, every minute on our phone, media, magazines and actually in the way we communicate with each other, and these messages tell us how we ‘should look’, ‘should feel’ and how we ‘should act’. I feel incredibly passionate that we are all wonderful individuals who each have our own body proportions and most importantly our own unique personalities. This individuality needs to be reflected on how we present ourselves to the world. To feel the most authentic you, can be just the most liberating feeling.

So many women dress how their friends dress, they try to emulate their style because they love how it looks on them. However, when they put it on themselves, they never feel ‘right’ or appear to look as good as their friend seem to look – why? Because that style is perfect for their friend and possibly not for them. 

When I think of my 16-year-old daughter, the pressure on her to dress like her friends is immense and I work very hard to help her understand that she doesn’t have to do this. I help her to learn how different people can look amazing in different cuts/shapes/lengths, etc. It certainly isn’t one size fits all – I just wish they would realise that. 

Now, through my work, I help many women understand the right colours and styles of clothes that work for THEM. And more importantly what doesn’t work for them and WHY.

For me, I now understand that I am a larger than life person and that is my superpower. I am probably the most curvy I have ever been, but I have the knowledge to rock my style with confidence and to dress my curves in the best way. I now know how to walk tall, never wishing that I was dressed like my friend.

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