I knew things had to change when I stood in front of the only mirror in our house and had no idea who was looking back at me. That exhausted woman was trying to look like all the other women around her. Somewhere, along the years, I had lost myself.
Back then the diagnosis of a nasty auto-immune disease didn’t seem like a turning point. Focussing on strategies to battle an unknown enemy had absorbed all my energy. I had lost my pizazz. What happened to the student who had loved all those high end designer pieces?
It was back then I discovered second hand stores were treasure troves of vintage and quality pieces for a fraction of their original cost. As important as not blowing my budget; I needn’t have a conscience, what I was wearing was kind to the planet! Hemp had never been my style but I was way ahead of the curve with recycling and living a sustainable life.
Even as a young woman living the corporate life with a huge diamond company, I was more likely to be found in Steinberg and Tolkein, rummaging through vintage beauties on the Kings Road, than Harvey Nicks. Known for my quirky style, I enjoyed the feeling of “what is she wearing today!” I could pass the dress code test but was never invisible.
Life rolled on with a gorgeous career change to traditional storyteller, working wherever I could find an audience. This is something I still love but, more about that another time. Along came our amazing son and I made safer choices, staying closer to home. Enjoying his childhood, nurturing and being present as he found himself has been my greatest joy. Then my health took a mysterious turn and I spent more time in hospital waiting rooms than considering the face I was presenting to the world.
Somehow through the brain fog I began to see that how I dressed made a massive difference to how I felt. Making the effort to fight fatigue and pain to create the illusion of good health was a game-changer. That is how a secondhand Diane von Furstenberg dress paired with yellow and pink cowboy boots got me signed by the model agency Ugly. I had found myself again and slowly my confidence returned. Confidence plays a big part in taking responsibility for one's health and well-being, something we should all consider.
With this new found purpose, I was ready to take a step back towards my happy place. Launching myself into the world of jewellery once more with the international fashion brand Stella & Dot felt right. I checked out their ethical policies, reassured myself that I was happy with manufacturing quality and began a steep learning curve. As they moved further into accessories and apparel I was hooked.
The face I presented to the world was way more assured than I felt inside at that time. Each time I got away with it, the easier it was. There was no magic wand but clothes helped, not lots of clothes, not crazy spending sprees, just a few hero pieces that looked good.
I had stopped looking inwards. Seeing others struggling in the same way that I once had gave me an idea, Tales in Style. Maybe my story resonates with you. Has your identity got buried under a lot of clothes that no longer make you smile?