virtual styling services

virtual styling services


virtual styling

I love working with people in my town. There’s nothing like the face-to-face, living, breathing interaction when you’re dealing with a personal topic like what we wear. However, I know that there are others in the world who are ready to make a shift, ready to let go of the stuff they’re not wearing, ready to move to a more minimalist wardrobe and they’re not all within driving distance. I want to work with those people too. In my mind, I’ve offered virtual personal styling for a while, but I’ve never made a big deal out of it and it occurred to me that maybe it’s not clear that it’s something I offer. I just added a big new virtual styling section on my website and wanted to share more about it here.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “virtual styling”? For many people, it brings up images of subscription boxes like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. These services have their place. They can be great for those who know themselves and their style well and appreciate the efficiency of having options sent to them, without the time commitment of shopping. However, for anyone who wants to define their style and figure out what does and doesn’t work for them, a little more help might be required.

Here's what a box can't do: a box can't help you clean out your closet. A box can't tell you how to deal with the well-meaning gifts of mother-in-laws. A box can't tell you that you need to let go of limiting beliefs about your body and what you should or should not be wearing. A box can't suggest something to wear from your closet for a specific event (a quick example: I had a client text me that she got invited to a cocktail event last minute. She thought she should make a run to Nordstrom Rack. I calmed her down and sent a few new looks I created from her digital lookbook. She didn't have to buy anything and felt great at the event.) And btw, Stitch Fix stylists are allotted a maximum of 15 minutes per styling client to choose items for them.

What can we do via virtual styling?

WHAT’S INCLUDED

The mindful closet package descriptions are the same for virtual clients, with minor modifications. For the mindful beginnings session, we’ll have one extended video session (up to 3 hours). We'll chat for a while first (the consultation) and then I'll ask you to show me your closet and we'll edit it piece by piece (the closet cleanse). After our session, I’ll email you your mindful style notes and your customized shopping list. If you select the mindful shopping package, I’ll do the shopping from your customized list for you and send you the links for you to purchase online. Once your items have arrived, we’ll do another 2 hour video session for you to try on your items and for me to help you make your selections.

HOW IT WORKS

But seriously, HOW do we do a virtual personal styling session remotely? We can use Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom (a video conferencing platform), whichever you’re most comfortable with. The only special thing you need to do is have a way you can show me clothes without holding a phone in your hand. You'll want to have a stationary setup for your laptop or iPad where your closet is located so that you can be moving around and holding up items to show me. I’ll also send you specific directions on how to prep for our session. Even though we might be thousands of miles apart, you’d be surprised how quickly we forget that we’re not actually in the same room!

WHO’S A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR VIRTUAL STYLING?

Virtual personal styling works best if you're comfortable with lots of communication over email as well as by FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. You need to either have a Pinterest style board or be willing to create one. Since we’ll be bringing the dressing room to you (via ordering many options online), you’ll need to be able to manage the online orders and returns.

Interested in setting up a virtual personal styling session?

Get in touch here.

konmari your digital usage

konmari your digital usage

(Or how the internet is like an overstuffed closet.)

In January, my husband and I decided to stop using the internet for a month. There were a lot of reasons for it, but basically our brains felt cluttered. Also, after lots of experimentation, we had stopped allowing our four-year-old to use screens because we can see first hand the negative effects they have on his brain. We needed to apply the same logic to ourselves. Here’s how it went:

mindful closet virtual personal stylist: konmari your digital usage

The first week, I was really strict about it (except for email - as soon as I missed a time-sensitive email, I dropped my only-check-email-once-a-day rule). Over the next few weeks, I relaxed the restrictions a bit (I’m no good at all or nothing scenarios). I posted a question in a Facebook parenting group when I needed help. I looked up how long to cook a pork tenderloin. I continued to use accounting software and shop online for work. However, the baseline remained “I don’t use the internet”. In fact, aside from these aforementioned practical uses, I couldn’t really figure out why I needed the internet at all. This was not at all what I expected would happen. I was so scared that I was going to miss out on so much and as it turns out, I didn’t miss much of anything.

This is a good time to talk about my unhealthy relationship with social media. I love it and yet it makes me feel bad. I knew that staying off of social media would be hard for me. It seems counter-intuitive, but I learned that the more I check social media, the more I want to check it. The less I check it, the less compelling all the minutiae of other people’s days are. During our month away, I checked in on social media about once a week, and since it ended, I check in about every 4 or 5 days.

Have you ever traveled and realized that you managed just fine with the small amount of clothing you packed and wondered why you needed all that extra stuff at home anyway? A closet full of clothes can be overwhelming. There are so many decisions to make. A lot of the things make you feel bad but you hold onto them anyway. When shopping, you get distracted and you buy things you never intended to buy.

That’s basically how I felt about the internet.

In Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering, or tidying up, you take everything out and only put back what “sparks joy”. When I work with clients, we start by pulling out their absolute favorite items to wear, so that we can set a standard for the rest of the wardrobe to measure up to. When you build a capsule wardrobe, you intentionally choose a small number of items to make life easier.

When I took everything on the internet away, and added back only what I really needed and used, I felt clearer and happier. The constant feeling floating in the back of my mind that I was forgetting to do something important gradually went away.

After our month was over, I stumbled across this interview with Cal Newport, in which he also advocates managing your internet usage by starting with a month long digital cleanse. Read the article - it articulates much more clearly than I can how I feel about the whole thing.

In the end, I found I could regulate my use by asking and answering honestly this question: why am I going on the internet? Is there a valid reason (“I’m bored” doesn’t count)? If I can’t articulate one, I’m guaranteed to take in some meaningless content that will not improve my outlook on life. Even though our month of no internet was over a month ago, I’m still operating from this place.

I’d love to hear from all of you - what questions do you have about how it worked? Could/would you do this? My friend Kourtney and her husband are starting Monday!

sometimes things fail

sometimes things fail

I haven’t been shy about sharing when things get hard in this business/motherhood thing. About a year ago, I launched the Making Space online course. I had worked on it for a year prior to that in the limited time I had during 3-day-a-week preschool (naps were long gone by that time). The idea was that I would make something that people anywhere could access, at a lower cost than my one-on-one fees and I would be able to work fewer hours and still earn money (in business terms, this is called scaling. Usually people want to scale to make a ton more money, but generally time is worth more to me. But hey, money’s good too). I knew it was really good and I dreamed of the millions (ok, thousands) I was going to make. 

(not a failure: my amazing family) photo: Celeste Boyer

(not a failure: my amazing family) photo: Celeste Boyer


The first round of the course was great. There were about 20 people in the group (sure, I would have wanted more, but this was just the beginning, right?), everyone made huge progress in their closets, we bonded as a group supporting each other in the private Facebook group, they all loved it (seriously, read the reviews). I was super psyched. 

I did a second round of the course in the spring. Six people signed up. Whomp whomp. At this point, I was going through a tiring pregnancy and decided, with the help of a business coach, to make the course “evergreen”. For those not well-versed in internet business lingo, this means that anyone can sign up and buy the course at any time, instead of “launching” it at specific times only.

Over the summer, I spent several thousand dollars hiring experts to promote the course on Facebook and Pinterest. Guess how many people bought the course during that time? Zero. In addition, it costs about $1500 a year just to have the course hosted online (not to mention the 100+ hours and several thousand dollars it took to create it in the first place). If you’re keeping track, I haven’t made any money off of my “passive income”. 

Basically, I did all the things and invested a lot, and it wasn’t successful. Meanwhile, a steady stream of people in St. Louis continue to hire me for one-on-one, in-person closet cleanses and personal shopping. So maybe it’s just the universe telling me to stop trying to change directions and go with the flow of what’s working. 

But here’s the thing, I still think it’s a really good course. And I spent a lot of time and energy creating it. So I’m going to relaunch it as a live course again in January. A nice cleansing after the holiday season. Maybe two people will buy it, maybe forty will. I don’t really have a lesson to teach here but just a sharing of a different experience than the success stories we usually see. And if you need help cleaning out your closet and are interested in taking the course with a supportive group of people, you can get on the presale list here

P.S. I wrote this in the notes app on my phone after nursing the four month old that’s currently sleeping in my bed and praying the light wouldn’t wake him up because I really need him to sleep. 

P.P.S. Please don’t comment with business advice! I’ve had the advice of some of the people I respect most on the internet and I’m good with that. 

10 piece maternity capsule wardrobe

10 piece maternity capsule wardrobe

A fun challenge that goes around Instagram periodically is the 10x10 challenge, created by Lee from the Style Bee blog. Essentially you choose 10 pieces to mix and match for 10 days. I've done it a few times, but wasn't sure if I was up to it late in my pregnancy. I'm glad I decided to go for it, because I came up with some fun new outfits and hopefully a little maternity style inspiration. 

10x10 challenge.JPG

Here are the 9 pieces of clothing I chose: 2 tank tops, 2 tops, 2 pairs of pants, 1 pair of jeans, and 2 dresses. I also chose two pairs of shoes, so technically I had 11 official pieces instead of 10. That's cool, I always say do what works for you. By doing some creative layering, it was easy to come up with 10 outfits. 

maternity 10x10 challenge
maternity capsule wardrobe
maternity capsule wardrobe
maternity capsule wardrobe
maternity capsule wardrobe
maternity capsule wardrobe
maternity 10x10 challenge
maternity 10x10 challenge
maternity 10x10 challenge
maternity 10x10 challenge

What do you think? Doable? I found it to be just a fun exercise when you've gotten a little bored with your wardrobe. Try it! 

WANT TO CREATE YOUR OWN CAPSULE WARDROBE? GET MY CAPSULE WARDROBE WORKSHEET AND EMAILS LEADING YOU THROUGH THE PROCESS - AFTER 5 DAYS YOU'LL HAVE A CAPSULE READY TO GO! 

maternity 10x10 challenge-2.jpg

maternity style for hot weather

maternity style for hot weather

I'm such a proponent of mindful consumption that it's been hard to admit to myself that I needed a fair amount of new clothes to get me through the last trimester of this pregnancy. However, I often get asked what people should do during body transitions (of any kind) and my answer is always buy clothes that fit!! Your sense of self is changing enough that the last thing you need is to feel uncomfortable and unattractive in clothes that are too small or too big. I needed to take my own advice. 

maternity style for hot weather

Above: sunglasses, dress, shoes* - No. 6 not currently available

During my first pregnancy, I was able to do a lot more layering because I was pregnant during the winter and spring. This time around, since I'm due in late August, and because summers in St. Louis are brutal, I needed more lightweight, stand-alone items. Jeans will not be working for me this summer. 

Here's most of what I've purchased. 

TOP ROW jumpsuit: Asos, jumpsuit: Urban Outfitters, dress: Target via Poshmark*

SECOND ROW kimono dress: Not Perfect Linen* (actually still haven't received since it's made to order), shorts: Asos, dress: Asos

BOTTOM ROW  tee: Asos, striped top: Nordstrom Rack, cargo pants: Liz Lange secondhand* (same)

I tried to find as much as I could secondhand (all of my jeans and leggings have been secondhand) or from ethical retailers (marked with an *), but it's tough for maternity. Storq is one of the only ethical maternity brands I'm aware of, and none of the pieces were right for me (a reader just reminded me of Boob Design, but they're in Australia and shipping and returning is pretty pricy). It's a very weird feeling to buy this many items of clothing so quickly when this is usually about what I'd buy in an entire year, but again, you have to have clothes that fit! I'm hoping this will get me through to the end, but if it doesn't, it doesn't. 

P.S. The comfy bras I'm wearing now that my others don't fit (go here to get 20% off this  - I'll get a credit too) and the affordable maternity swimsuit I'm loving. 

P.P.S. Follow me on Instagram to see my maternity outfits in real time. 

This post contains affiliate links, which may earn a few cents when clicked on. 

 

first trimester (ethical) maternity style

first trimester (ethical) maternity style

Before it becomes old news, I thought I'd post a few photos from a photo shoot I did with my favorite photographer, Celeste Boyer. This was in the early stages of my pregnancy, and I was enjoying dressing the bump with layers. Of course, now it's boiling hot in St. Louis and I could never get away with any of these things! Enjoy. 

maternity style
ethical maternity style

Tee: secondhand via Goodwill, cardigan: Aritizia (similar), jeans: secondhand via Goodwill (similar), clogs: No. 6 (similar).

first trimester maternity pregnancy style
pregnancy style

Top: Elizabeth Suzann Linn tee, same jeans and clogs as above. 

Everything I'm wearing for these maternity shots is either ethically made or secondhand, which I was able to get away with before the heat wave hit. More about purchases I've had to make for the hot weather in a future post! 

creative motherhood: megan jedlinski

creative motherhood: megan jedlinski

As a general rule, I don't follow other personal stylists on social media. I have enough crap going on in my head without comparing myself to what others are doing. One of the only exceptions I've made has been for Megan Jedlinski. Megan is a personal stylist in Chicago and has a similar aesthetic to mine (i.e. no pink or glitter or unicorns). Her daily style is clearly appropriate for real life and her daughter is ever present on her social media, which feels relatable to me, since there are no full work days over here. I really wanted to have Megan on the Creative Motherhood series because she's recently stepped away from working to stay home with her daughter, Parker. I'm constantly questioning how much I should be working or not working, especially with another one on the way, so I couldn't wait to hear from her! Enjoy!  -Dacy

creative motherhood: megan jedlinksi

Q: Introduce yourself, your family, the work (aside from mothering) you currently do, and how that work has evolved as your child has grown. I know you've stepped back from working with clients, but what about managing social media and other projects?

I’m Megan and I live in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago with Steve, my husband of almost 9 years, our goofball of a daughter, Parker (who just turned 1!) and our 10 year old pooch, Winston. I recently closed up shop on my wardrobe editing and personal styling business, to become a stayathome mom to our daughter. When my schedule allows, I share my passion for minimalism, sustainability, wellness and cooking on my Instagram and newly launched blog, meganjedlinski.com.

The decision to transition to my full-time mom role was equally hard as it was easy, as I had no intentions of closing my biz prior to giving birth. The time, money and energy I invested, along with the incredible clients and people I connected with through my business, made it tough to walk away. Not to mention I felt like I was failing somehow if I quit, I wasn’t that mom that could ‘do it all’. But then there was Parker. Growing up week by week, then month by month. It was going too fast and I wasn’t being there for her in the way that I wanted to be (and I also wasn’t showing up to my clients the way I wanted to). Thankfully, my biggest cheerleader, aka my husband, couldn’t have been more supportive of this move and we’re fortunate to be in a position that we can live comfortably on only his income. So, as her 1st birthday approached, I was officially closed for business.

I’ve realized that since becoming a mom, I’ve embraced the progress over perfection mentality and have become a heck of a lot more efficient! When it comes to my blog, I launched before the website was done and I continue to move forward with it, even though I don’t feel ready or have a perfect plan in place. I simply don’t have the time or energy to obsess over small details like I used to. I’m still finding my groove and learning how to better balance my time with that and social media, somedays failing hard, other days totally killing it.

Q. Do you wish you could do more or less creative work? How do you manage those conflicted feelings?

There are definitely times I wish I could do more creative work (and not have major FOMO when Steve and Parker are hanging out!), however, I also wish I would let myself be okay with doing less creative work. While creativity is in my bones, I have this inner-struggle of feeling like I should being do more creative work as opposed to just being creative. Does that make sense? For instance, some nights I just want to turn on the Real Housewives and pick up my new hobby of knitting, but I feel like I ‘should’ be working on my next blog post. Often times, it’s when the shoulds creep in that I end up getting discouraged and neither the knitting or blog post gets done...but you can bet I saw what went down between Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump! So long story short, I’m still learning ways to manage those feelings and trying to be patient with myself in the meantime:)

Q.  Does choosing to focus on motherhood affect any financial or career goals for you?

Absolutely. First of all, I never thought I’d want to be a stayathome mom. My ‘plan’ growing up was to be the one working and my husband would stay home with our kid...plans can be funny like that. In the short-term, it’s affected me in that my financial ambitions and career aspirations as a personal stylist have more or less come to a screeching halt. However, I’ve also changed career paths enough to know that my next passion and opportunity is out there when I’m ready for it. Being a stayathome mom may even open doors to financial and/or career opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise explored. The unknown of what my professional future has in store definitely makes me uneasy and anxious at times, but I’m learning each day to go with the flow and see where this crazy rollercoaster of life takes me.

Q. What kind of a “village” or help do you have around you?

Village or city?! The amount of support I have is more than I could ever ask for. My husband and I are truly partners in this journey of parenthood. The guy has probably changed more diapers than I and even with the demands of his work, makes sure to get in his dad and daughter time every morning and every night. We’re fortunate to have a close knit family that supports each other’s own endeavors unconditionally. My parents and in-laws live within an hour of us and my twin sister only lives about 5 min away (she actually lived with us while I was pregnant and for the first few months after my daughter was born!) My older sister is in Boston with her family, but is only ever a text or call away, not to mention they visit often.

My core group of girlfriends are the kind that will be around for life. They’re there for you at the drop of a hat whether you need an ear to listen or that glass of wine :D. The moms I’ve met since having my daughter have also been really incredible and have helped make the transition into motherhood a little less overwhelming. Can we also talk about this amazing community of creative women I’ve met locally and online? I love being a part of such a supportive group!

And finally, but no less important, there’s my therapist, acupuncturist (my daughter’s too!) and a health coach who have helped me on my journey of personal growth and overcoming my own issues.

I know I’ll always be a work in progress, but I want nothing more than to be the best version of myself for my daughter and I appreciate my ‘village’ for being there along the way.

creative motherhood series: megan jedlinksi

Q. Do you feel as though your work and home life lines are blurred? How do you handle that challenge?

Yes. This was very apparent in the beginning when I still had my styling business. I remember Parker was a month and a half old and I started responding to clients and hosted my first event post baby. I felt pressure (from myself) to bounce back and balance both. I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t showing up 100% for either my business or my daughter. My husband could always tell when I was stressed with work related stuff and that’s when the conversation started about letting my business go. With starting the blog, I try not to over-commit myself and will give very realistic deadlines and expectations for any collaborations I do. When the blog or social media starts to feel stressful or take my mind away when I’m finger painting with P, that’s when I pull back and take a couple days to regroup and remember my most important role, being P’s mom.

Q. What’s a typical day like and when do you actually get your work done?

Parker usually gets wakes up around 7am and plays with dad while I get her breakfast together. Since she was 7 months old, she started attending daycare twice a week, and will continue to do so because we love it there and she has learned so much. Those are my days for appointments, meetings, coffee dates and catching up on projects (with a stop home to pump once or twice throughout the day). When Parker’s not in daycare, we’re usually heading out to a playdates or classes and I try to take advantage of my to do list while she naps.

My evenings are probably my most productive time of day with projects. Sometimes I’ll get up early on a weekend and go work at a coffee shop, but my early mornings can be hard because 1. I’m tired 2. I’m still breastfeeding and it’s those mornings she decides to get up early :P.

Q. What do you do when creative ideas hit you and you’re in the middle of mothering?

Write it down. This was especially hard in the beginning when Parker didn’t quite know how to entertain herself. We try not to expose her to screens and we didn’t have a play saucer (that minimalist in me!), so I didn’t really have any other choice but to write it down and hope the inspiration hit at a more convenient time. Now that she’s more independent, I can take a few minutes here and there to hop on my computer or phone to explore something quickly or send a quick text/email.

Q. Do you have any words of encouragement for other moms trying to do all the things?

You do you! It was really hard, and still is, not to compare myself to other moms and all that they were accomplishing, all while I could barely get myself showered and dressed for the day (btw, it’s 4 in the afternoon right now and I am definitely not showered or wearing a bra). There’s no right or wrong way. Our journeys are all different. Our experiences are all different. Our children are all different. Take a deep breath, drop the ‘shoulds’ and start trusting yourself. We’re all just trying to figure this thing called motherhood out and I’d say we’re all doing a pretty damn amazing job.

I definitely struggle with the "shoulds" and comparing myself to other moms who appear to be so productive. What a great reminder that stepping away can lead to doors opening in other areas and that we're all on our own paths. Thanks, Megan! You can find Megan on her blog meganjedlinski.com or on Instagram

(family photo credit: Brooke Blakemore Montes