I’m Claire and I’m a Personal Stylist.
But before you think “Oh gosh – she’s all about fashion and designer labels”, nothing is further from the truth.
I never ever would have believed I would be a Stylist. Fashion and ‘mainstream’ were always the furthest thing from my mind – when I was growing up, I was a goth!
I didn’t really know what fashion was. I just thought it was a shame that so many people dressed identically but didn’t seem to realise it.
Well, I probably didn’t think that at the time. That’s more of a retrospective thing when I got introduced to the topic of fashion & style.
I also see that my goth “fashion” made me look the same as all the other goths. So, individuality is a very subjective thing.
Something that people often assume about those who dress creatively is that they are a drop-out. But I was always very career-driven.
“Individuality is a very subjective thing.”
My First Job
I started out as a travel agent in a High Street branch. But having to wear a uniform on a daily basis was so suffocating. I felt like I was being put in a cage!
Then as luck would have it, the student travel shop at the University of East Anglia in Norfolk had a vacancy. I went for it and got it. It really was a great job, and I loved the fact that I could dress however I pleased! I also didn’t have to work Saturdays, had 35 days holiday a year AND got free entry into the gigs. AND as I got paid as admin staff of the University, I was earning at least 3 times as much as I had been in the High Street branch.
Now, to say I wasn’t your typical travel agent is an understatement.
My hair varied from being purple, pink and blue at the same time, to big crimped Siouxsie Sioux hair to knee length hair extensions with bells sewn in. This was the late 1980’s so real hair extensions didn’t exist then.
Mine were pure nylon! I remember instead of washing my hair, I threw my head over the side of the bath and dangled my electro-static locks into a bath full of Lenor!!!
Never being one to be satisfied with what I had, I was always searching for something else.
Time for a Change
It was such a great place to work that the assistant manager and manager were never going to leave, so chances of promotion were slim. I couldn’t ever go back to the restrictions of a “normal” travel agency, so I became a mature student and studied for a Business and Marketing degree.
Looking back, it could have been a really good time to move away and meet new people, but I had my lovely bedsit in Norwich, a great group of fellow goths I used to hang out with and was in a relationship – so I chose my home city.
When I graduated I had various jobs. I used to do events for BMW (if there was ever a time when I felt like a fish out of water was when I had to wear the same branded suit the other promotional managers had to wear at county shows). I also worked as an events manager for hotels and back at the Uni, and then worked in PR and advertising sales
No longer a goth – I’d hit my next phase! Vintage clothing was my new love, and I would go to work in full 1950’s get up. I’d wear natty little suits with white gloves and have my hair ‘set’ weekly.
But I was still really career-driven so thought I ought to stop being in “fancy dress” and become a grown-up. But I didn’t really have any idea how to look like one.
I was in my last employed job. Someone I worked with was badly bullied by another person in the office. I couldn’t sit by and do nothing, so spoke to my boss about it. She told me to put-up and shut-up! The person doing the bullying was making far better sales than me, and until I matched that, she wasn’t going to have me “cause any trouble”.
This triggered something deep in me.
I felt so invisible.
I had been prone to depression since my early 20’s and had suffered an eating disorder at the age of 18.
The bulimia came back and the depression set in – I was a wreck.
I was signed off work and became a shadow of my former self.
I didn’t go outside for 8 weeks
I turned all my mirrors around in the house.
My curtains always drawn in case I caught my own reflection.
My parents had a friend whose daughter had been to see an Image Consultant and it had increased her confidence. So as a gesture of “we’ll try anything”, they booked me in too.
I felt rather put out! I was feeling pretty shit about myself and now I wondered if my own parents were telling me I looked awful.
But of course, that’s not what they thought. They only loved me and wanted to help. So under duress I went along.
And that day changed my life!
A New Beginning
Yes, I found out what colours and shapes flattered me.
But that day the image consultant told me I was dressing at least 15 years too old for myself and had completely negated my personality.
And that was the day I felt I had been given permission to be myself.
After that day, all I could talk about was how I wished I could help other women feel like that about themselves.
Finally, the penny dropped. I COULD do this!
Everything fell into place as to why I had always felt I never fitted in.
Why I felt constricted in being told what to wear.
Why working in a team of people that were all cookie-cutter copies of each other just didn’t work for me.
I was meant to be doing THIS.
I never went back to my job in sales. I quit. I gave up the company car, the great salary and trained to become a Personal Stylist.
That was in 2004. I’ve been doing it ever since and I absolutely LOVE helping women feel fantastic about themselves. Watching their confidence grow, and the hugely positive impact that has on so many areas of their life is the most rewarding thing in the world.
I started out offering the usual colour and body-shape consultations, sorting out wardrobes and doing personal shopping. But I felt there was something missing.
So, I started really focussing on the one thing that TRULY makes the difference to women. That regardless of what shape or colour you wear, if it doesn’t feel right – if it doesn’t make you want to shout “this is me, this is who I want to show the world I am” and that is called your Style Personality.
Working with Me
I love working online with clients. The joy of technology means I can work with women around the world.
Many of my clients have tight schedules – it’s easier for them to hop on a video call with me rather than take a day out of their diary.
And on top of that, they get a recording of the consultation, so they always have access to me and the help I give them. One client also confirmed what many have thought when she said her memory isn’t what it was! To have the whole consultation recorded means she doesn’t even have to try and remember any of it. It’s there at the click of a button whenever she needs it. I also have an online programme as well as online 1 to 1 consultations.
I have developed methods where the results are exactly the same as working in person. I also love doing talks and presentations and I’ve got a YouTube channel.
No longer a goth – I’d hit my next phase! Vintage clothing was my new love and I would go to work in 1950’s suits. I’d wear natty little suits with white gloves and have my hair ‘set’ weekly.
But I was still really career driven so thought I ought to stop being in “fancy dress” and become a grown-up. But I didn’t really have any idea how to look like one.
Based in gorgeous North Norfolk in England, offering online styling solutions worldwide.