No idea it could be this good - success with finding pieces she truly feels amazing in
Time savings - being able to narrow down options in a massive store
Money savings - leaving things behind she would have previously bought, but not loved or worn
Finding freedom in boundaries
S: What are the top two to three outcomes from working with me?
J: Yes, these unanticipated benefits. All these things I get really excited about and text you, because if I had foreseen the level and the tangibility and the impact I wouldn't be as excited about it. I'd be 'well yeah, this is what I hired Shelby for and this is the result. Delivered as expected.' However, I had no idea it could be this good. It's exciting as I didn't even know. Then you think back to the opportunity costs because of all the years of frustration.
For instance, my little experiment where I started building my summer wardrobe last year kind of felt like a boulder rolling. At first it's that experience where I brought so many garments into the change room and one of them was amazing. Okay, now I'm motivated. I would get better and better about finding things that worked. It finally gave me permission to, even though my wardrobe was really small, let go of those final pieces not in the palette - see you later!
This first day I walked home with one piece, then it was three pieces, and then, I tend to do things really intensely and I become obsessed, for about two weeks I was shopping frequently, which is not normal, and every time bring tons of bags home. Then try it all, mix & match and suddenly I had this actual complete wardrobe.
We went to Barcelona for a week and, for the first time in years, I had an entirely new traveling wardrobe. Oh my photos are so nice from that trip, I looked so good.
S: I love it!
J: That was really fun. It becomes easier and when you see your photos look really good, or you see that physical transformation, it is that extra reinforcement to say I'm going to keep doing this. As a result, astoundingly, all these intense times of going shopping (because that's how I deal with things, I shop once and by 10 things in one go, rather than one here and there). Since I had been building my wardrobe from scratch, my shopping occasions had increased greatly because I'm having success when I'm going shopping and this actually makes me want to go. I'm liking my clothes now. I like having choice. I want to keep going versus it being an activity that I absolutely loath doing because it would result in frustration and disappointment.
On those trips, it became incredible how many things I was leaving behind. I would mentally calculate and say to myself ‘thank you very much for saving me that money there’. Obviously every time anyone goes shopping there's a whole bunch of stuff they don't take, but the items I was leaving behind I know that in the pre-Shelby life, they would have been on that, ‘okay, well, this will do or everyone says this color looks so good on me or this is like really similar to that other thing I really liked.’ I bought them and had that not quite happy feeling with them and ended up giving them away. All that is money in my pocket that can, of course, go towards the things that were fantastic.
Then the second thing that blows my mind and I keep texting you about is how I have my life back in terms of time. I can go in to a massive store and literally within 15 minutes walk out with multiple garments that I know are for me. I shop by color, the fabric I want, shape and size.
S: That's amazing - saving money, saving time. Even saving time getting dressed in the morning. You were saying earlier that you were frustrated with getting dressed in the morning. When you have clothes that you feel amazing in it saves time because suddenly everything feels great.
J: Yeah, even pre-Shelby, I've always felt that way. When you have items in your closet that you really like and express who you are, you just mix and match them and make something. If you have something that is not who you want to be, get it out, it’s serving no purpose. It's so easy now when I have an event I need to go to or an important job function, I can put those things together and look really good because the look is 100% right for me [said as she chuckles].
In terms of savings of stuff I hadn't bought that would be garbage or given away soon and the speed is amazing, what I've also experienced with going shopping there are certain shades that are really hard to nail down in terms of warm version of the colour. In particular, there was this beautiful cashmere sweater at a really good price, and I’m always looking for cashmere sweaters. I bought it because I was pretty sure it was, but of course when you get home the lighting is different and all that stuff. Then I realize I don't think it's quite in my palette, but it was a really good price and it's a beautiful sweater. I'll only wear it around the house on chilly days because I believe in having wonderful fabrics at all times even when you're just around the house. My family were like ‘it looks good’. Finally, I decide nope, I can't do it. I'd rather take that really good price ($60 or $70) and put it towards a sweater that made me look amazing.
S: You're allowed to look amazing when you're around house.
J: Yes, exactly! Even around the house because once you get that standard and you see that change. If it doesn't outwardly light me up, inwardly it doesn't light me up, so I returned it. Oh, guess what, they had another cardigan and I wear all the time!
It gets really fun because now I feel like, oh I got the secret thing, the secret challenge and now I really enjoy shopping. I love cracking things and getting good at systems. Blues I found are difficult, and going down the racks thinking is this blue? is this blue? I still struggle with it. Then I saw it. Boom my hand went on it and I instantly knew that warm pale turquoise, it was so evident. You know you have these inner check marks, you feel yes, I nailed it, I'm getting so good. Or the strangers I've texted you about ‘I'm looking at this man, and he doesn't realize, but his skin looks really ashy because he's wearing all the wrong color groups.’
S: It's amazing when you start seeing it.
J: Yes, because he was dapper. His outfit was on pointe, the colour did nothing for his skin tone, unfortunately. It was very evident that he was warm from a distance.
The other fun is now I'm excited about clothes again. By nature I'm not a big fan of being bound in, but now I've accepted the system because of the results that I've already explained. How can I make this fun and enjoyable, so finding ways to express myself through these rules is so gratifying.
S: That's amazing. That was actually my next question, what has the experience of having new rules and restrictions around your wardrobe been like for you?
J: It's like a game. I needed to find a way to be. I still have what I'm attracted to, my style personality and all that stuff. That's not going to change. I need to figure out how I make rust [the colour] suit that style personality.
What's also interesting, especially with shopping and maybe one of the reasons why I've kind of upped my shopping frequency, is when I see something that's in my palette, and fits and flattering and all that business, I grab it because I might not get that opportunity again. Then the wardrobe builds with all these pieces that suit who are and you feel confident that you look good.
Another thing, after we did our shopping thing, went through the summer and okay now it's fall again and I'm rebuilding my fall wardrobe, it went faster and wow it was really gratifying. Then I thought, what will be so interesting is, every year of my life since I was 15, come January/February I am desperate to try to like what I see in the mirror. Everything from what makeup can I use, what color is my hair, can I use false tanner, glycolic peels, what can I do to bring some life to what I see in the mirror. I thought that was an inevitability for everyone in February, because, of course, we haven't been in sun, but I don't even go in the sun. This was the first winter that January and February passed by and I didn’t end up buying a $300 sweater because it's a beautiful shade of pink and I just need some color in my life. A sweater that I have never worn no matter how much I tried to.
I went through the whole season without ever feeling that desperation and frustration and looking for what blush can possibly bring me to life.
And now that brain energy, what else is it being directed towards?
All those little things that initial investment gives. It frees up time, it's the opportunity cost, you're not throwing away your clothes that don't work, you're not wasting time. You can get the job done and go be productive in ways you want to be productive.
That game side of it is so much fun. Again in the wintertime I went to a work function and wore my grown up professional pants, which are that super dark peacock, which is my new neutral. Then my sweater, which is super dark peacock. Old Jenn (or multitudes of other people) would have won the black version of that because that's the professional outfit. Even though I was wearing this very conservative outfit, which is just this boat neck sweater and these Banana Republic slacks (how much more basic professional non expressive can you get). Oh, mine are in shades of peacock. That's my twist, that's me. I felt so proud of that moment and felt great.
S: That's why it's not only about color, it's about your style personality too. It's how you express yourself and often, like we talked about earlier, we have these stories inside of us that we tell ourselves about how we can feel or how we’re allowed to feel in clothes or what you should feel like. Can you imagine if you were wearing a black outfit?
J: Especially if it took place in one of those awful months, which it did, so February or November or something. I would have been adding more lipstick more, more, more. Instead I felt chic and I knew I looked good.
There's many examples in life that I've either personally experienced or I conjecture about other people, which is, you don't realize how good it could be. I don't think people realize how good and easy it could be. This is all they've ever known or all they've been exposed to that affects how it fits with that story. That was the same for me, I didn't even realize. Again, I really need to emphasize I am a person who loves clothing and I love shopping for other people, I understand shape and proportion and how all this stuff all works. Yet, it was that barrier of what you know and want versus what you're actually experiencing. Then to be able to find what was that missing piece and jump to the other side. Now you feel good and you're not wasting things (anything that reduces waste is incredible).
S: It's almost like by adding these rules and restrictions it freed you from these old rules and restrictions that you didn't even know you had. It gave you this freedom to express yourself that’s more you.
J: Yeah and gamify it! You have freedom in boundaries. I would say it wasn't boundaries imposed on me it was me with my particular subset, that I now get to play within. I have my particular color palette dictated by me, my skin color and hair color and eye color.
Next time on Jenn's Style Story:
Part 3 - What would you say to someone who is unsure?
p.s. looking for help with your personal style? Check out our online course in The Style Lab, 'Creating Your Confident Closet' for a guided wardrobe edit experience done at your pace, in the comfort of your home.