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growth over perfection

growth over perfection

I’ve noticed an unsettling pattern among clients I work with: many place crazy unrealistic demands upon their own appearance. I had a trim, beautiful client in her 60’s tell me she never wore skirts or dresses because she didn’t like how the skin on her legs looked. Another perfectly proportioned woman shied away from dresses because she felt that her calves were too big. One person thinks their boobs are too big, another thinks they’re too small. I’ve had many people share sadly that they aren’t the same size they were when they were in their 20’s, as if that’s something to be ashamed of. Granted, this stuff comes up because people pretty much get naked for me, so I doubt that these women go around telling the world these things.

saint louis personal stylist

While all of these women have some truly exceptional qualities, they were focused on those they had determined to be a problem. Who knows if this focus was the result of an off-handed comment by someone years ago, or images of perfection portrayed in the media, but trust me when I say none of these flaws were at all noticeable to anyone other than their owners. (Hint: if you’re self conscious about something, never mention it to anyone else. There’s a 90% chance they hadn’t noticed it before you said anything, but since you brought it up, now there’s a 100% chance that they have.)

In addition to perceived physical flaws, I know that many women feel they should look perfectly “put together” every day.

Where is the reality in these perceptions? Should someone who’s lived a full life for more than 60 years honestly expect to reach that age without one blemish on her legs? Should someone berate themselves for not weighing the same amount they did in college? Should someone who works 60 hours a week and trains for marathons expect to have the same perfectly pulled together image as someone who spends all their free time reading fashion magazines? It’s not realistic and it’s not even natural.

Curious about why we do this to ourselves, I read a book by Brené Brown called I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Making a Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” (how’s that for a title?!).

Brown writes that when women see an image of someone they perceive to be “well put together”, or when they feel self-conscious about a perceived flaw, they might feel shame for not measuring up.

What we’re not accounting for is that these images required hours and hours of preparation. Intellectually, we know that a model in an ad has a team of multiple people working to make her look her best. Celebrities have someone choose their every outfit and often (as in the case of the Kardashians) have their hair and makeup done professionally every day. It’s even crossed over into what used to be a venue to see people more like ourselves: fashion blogs. Bloggers plan their “outfit of the day” weeks in advance and coordinate photos shoots with multiple outfit changes. And the girl at your church who always looks perfect probably spends hours of her life shopping, practicing hair and makeup techniques, and getting ready for the day. Some people love that stuff and it’s how they want to spend their free time. Some people don’t. If you’re someone who doesn’t, you probably have other things you care about more. Those are your priorities, the things you value. It’s not realistic for you to have the same expectation of yourself.

There are going to be days when we feel like we’re killing it on the wardrobe front, and there are going to be days where we’re not all that satisfied with our outfit. Happens to me all the time. That’s life. The day will pass either way. If it bothers you too much, you can invest some time and energy into working on it, but we also have to have realistic expectations. This is what Brown calls “growth over perfection”. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel pulled together, but you can’t burden yourself with the expectation of being “Pinterest perfect” everyday.

What do you think? Do you feel pressure to measure up? Where does it come from?

P. S. We all do it. When I was looking for an image to use for this post, I thought “Oh, I’ll find the one that shows that big weird spot on my leg”. Took me a while to find the photo because it turns out, that spot isn’t so noticable after all. (photo by Celeste Boyer)

(Sign up for the mindful closet Making Space course to follow the process I use with my clients to define their style, edit their wardrobes, and move to a mindful way of shopping. )

family photo styling tips + a giveaway

family photo styling tips + a giveaway

It's super sad, but it must be said - summer is coming to an end. Kids are back in school, sweaters are hitting the store shelves, and I'm beginning to strategize about how I'll make it through another winter. For many, it's also time to start thinking about family photos for holiday cards. The important part is booking your photographer, but once you've done that, the panic sets in - what are you going to wear?!

I offer styling for family photos (meaning, I'll come over and pick out coordinating outfits for everyone in your family), but if you need some quick tips to go it alone, here are mine:

1) Start with Pinterest. Always, always, always start with Pinterest. Like any other visual you're trying to create, you need inspiration. You may have picked a photographer because they already have a defined visual style, or your photographer will want to see examples of your favorite images. In either case, you're going to want to gather looks you like, whether on Pinterest, or from magazines or photos. Pull whatever appeals to you for several days, and then go back and review. Is everyone wearing bright colors in all the images you chose? Neutrals? Mostly neutrals with a pop of color? Is the vibe energetic or calming? Do you want everyone to look polished and dressy or casual and comfortable? Make notes of what you're going for. To get ideas, check out my "photo styling" Pinterest board! Here's my most recent family photo - which, as you can probably tell, is completely my/our style! 

mindful closet st. louis family photo styling

(Where did that little baby go?! I want him back! Photo by Celeste Boyer)

2) Lay all your options out on your bed or floor and go to town. Start with one outfit that you know you want to use - maybe it's an adorable kid's outfit you've had picked out for ages. Maybe you only have one option you're comfortable with for yourself and everyone else is going to have to work around that. Using your notes from step one as a guide, pull any options that might work from each family member's closet. Start big and then edit down. Rearrange. Try different combinations. Don't forget about shoes and accessories! For a great run-down of how the process works in person, check out my friend Sara's post about our experience styling her holiday photos on her blog Running from the Law. Here's one of the photos from another session I styled for her.

mindful closet st louis family photo stylist

(Adorable, right??!! Photo by Kristie Cromie of L Photographie)

3) Make sure that your outfits aren't too matchy-matchy. Thanks to layering, it's easy in the fall to get a mixture of textures and patterns like knits, denim, lace, plaid, and stripes. If you are starting with an outfit that has a pattern, pull colors out of it to add a pop to other outfits in a scarf, headband, or underlayer. Stay away logos, brand names, and cartoon characters. This image (below), from a sweet family I styled, is a great example.

saint louis family photo styling

(So cute! Photo by Laura Edwards Gordon)

4) Make sure everyone's comfortable. You aren't going to have an easy time getting a glowing smile out of a child with itchy tights on. Same goes for dads (the comfort, not the tights). When in doubt, as in all things in life, keep it simple. The focus here is on your beautiful family's faces. The outfits shouldn't compete. 

5) Plan ahead. Have a dress rehearsal and have everyone try everything on. Do your initial planning session at least a week before your photos so you have time to grab any last minute replacements. 

Ok, now here's the good part - I've partnered with my friend Jessica from Emma Constance Photography to give away a mini family photo session*! Enter below, and, if you head over to Jess' blog, you can enter to win a styling session from me! So much giveaway!


*Must be scheduled on one of Jessica's available session dates, within the 270 loop, and must be redeemed by the end of 2015. Session is 20 minutes long and you will receive 5 digital images with printing rights.


pinspiration: flare legs

pinspiration: flare legs

Sometimes you just got to change it up a bit... 

credits:; geraldine saglio-source unknown via pinterest, unknown via pinterest, American Vogue (if you know any of the unknown credits, please let me know!)

h&m blouse (in stores now), old navy jeans, nine west sandals

Highest heels are recommended for this one ;)

pinterest strikes again

pinterest strikes again

Last Friday, I attended the St. Louis Fashion Blogger Award nominations, hosted by ALIVE magazine at Craft Alliance in Grand Center.  Looking for a little sartorial inspiration, I jumped on Pinterest and saw this image on my style board:

image: Kaufman Franco Resort 2014 via

image: Kaufman Franco Resort 2014 via

It reminded me that I actually hadn't worn my metallic belt that I was so excited about since May (here). I decided to try it with white instead of black and paired it with a thrifted Forever 21 peplum top, H&M pencil skirt and thrifted sandals.

dacy gillespie st louis personal shopper.png

And guess what? I was nominated for "Best Writing" and "Best Fashion Blog"! Thanks to the people who nominated me (whoever you are!) - I was so surprised.  It was also nice to meet many of my fellow fashion bloggers (like Pysche, Julia, Lindsay, Sarah, Marisa, and Samantha) in person for the first time - they are all such sweet, friendly girls. 


 (self portrait by my photographer for the evening)


Don't forget, there's more mindful closet on facebook (like the page for updates!) and twitter - and I recently gave in to Instagram too... 

my 5 favorite pinners on pinterest

my 5 favorite pinners on pinterest

As a personal shopper and wardrobe consultant, I use Pinterest as a tool to track my clients' style likes and to gather inspiration for them. I've also gotten quite a few friends hooked on Pinterest. One of the first things people ask is "how do I know who to follow?" It can be pretty overwhelming to just select a category and see the thousands of things pinned every minute, so I thought I might suggest a few places to start. There are many, many fashionable people on Pinterest, but these are all people who also pin often so you'll get a steady stream of inspiration.

photo by Jennifer Young via

photo by Jennifer Young via

Justina Blakeney at One of the top pinners on the site, Justina has over 1.2 million followers. Her perspective is earthy, natural, and bohemian, with pins about motherhood, food, fashion, and home design. 

Mrs. French at Mrs. French has even more followers (over 4 million!) and her pins are often dreamy and romantic images. 

Dree Harper ( is a personal shopper, stylist, and regular contributor to my favorite site, She pins a wide range of things, from fashion-forward style, to vacation spots, to inspirational quotes.


photo : oh darling photography
photo: oh darling photography

Joanna Goddard's pinterest page ( is how I actually keep up with her super-popular blogA Cup of Jo. Lots of pins from her blog posts.

Joslyn is perhaps my favorite blogger. Her style is minimalist and artistic and I love how she writes honestly about handling life with a full time job and two daughters. I never get tired of reading her blog, and her pinterest page ( just as beautifully curated.

So, anyone inspired to check out these pinners? Have any of your own favorites to recommend?