Client of the Month: Kristi

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I first began working with Kristi almost 7 years ago before I was a trained stylist. Kristi always admired my outfits. She didn’t enjoy shopping, and putting things together didn’t come easily to her. At that time I was 6 years into a new home with a massive yard that needed landscaping. This was Kristi’s forte and we traded our skills. I enjoyed helping her shop; she sketched out plans for landscaping.

I chose Kristi as a Client of the Month because I like to show the variety of clients that I work with. For some it’s a one time appointment. For others, it’s ongoing. Changing your style does not happen suddenly—it evolves. Some women need the continual affirmation. New situations come up. Questions arise. There are stages and it’s a process. My sincere thanks to Kristi for being willing to be featured in this post, and for her support of my business.

This photo was taken in 2005. I found her the pink jacket and helped with the jewelry. She barely wore any at the time. Would it be my first choice today? Probably not, but it worked at the time. Kristi laughs at her hairstyle then, but who doesn’t look back at hairstyles and cringe a little?

I first took Kristi shopping in the winter months when turtlenecks and suede jackets were all the rage. Remember that? The year was 2004.

S by K: Describe that first shopping trip.

K: I was buying things too big and hiding behind them. I had lost 15-20 pounds, but didn’t embrace the new body I had. A more fitted pair of pants and fitted jacket made such a difference. I realized it wasn’t about being super thin, but embracing what I had and looking the best I could at that time—accentuating the positive.

I tried to teach Kristi “rules” so she would learn what to look for on her own. I realized that putting outfits together does NOT come easily to everyone. Kristi is not alone—MANY women struggle with making choices and decisions.

When I started my stylist business, Kristi expressed interest in my consulting services. I took her through the profile which was a piece I didn’t have before my training. I could asses her body type and personal style. I worked extensively on playing up her assets and her confidence. In the years since that first shopping trip, Kristi had gained back some of the original loss, but then took off a total of 50 pounds! She needed new clothes.

It’s hard to buy new things when you are in transition. This picture is a good example of wearing things too big in that stage where you’re “trying to get by”.

Kristi had weeded many things out of her closet. We talked about how clothes would look differently on her. We discussed what could be altered and what needed to be given away. We worked on accessories: belts, scarves and jewelry. We put new outfits together and took photos. We spent a lot of time on color. It is very easy for Kristi to choose the same colors and styles and not branch out. She was very drawn to black and other dark, almost overpowering colors. But, with her hair, skin and eyes, intense colors aren’t the best choice. Pastels wash her out, so the right saturation of color is important to bring out the best in her features. Kristi also needed new frames for her glasses and I helped with that too. Below you see the Before/After glasses.

The dark purple sweater was a favorite and overall a good color for her. The shade was so intense that it really “wore her”. I suggested the scarf which has green, yellow, cream and purple. It softens the deep color around her face.

S by K: What is the most challenging thing now about shopping on your own

K: Fashion changes quickly so I get stuck in that. I’m not fashion forward. I get comfortable with what I had last year and the year before. I don’t think of different ways to wear what I have. I find something I like and keep buying it over and over.

S by K: Do you feel like you have fully embraced how clothes fit you.

K: When you are not at your best, it takes a lot more metal prep to embrace a shape you’re not 100 % happy with. When you dress current and in fashion instead of hiding behind something that isn’t fashionable, it makes a difference. I realized when I wear something current it helps me look and feel so much better

The red helps brighten up the black. The blue sweater brings out Kristi’s blue eyes. The style of the sweater really helps add some volume to Kristi’s small shoulders and balance the hips. Kristi is now enamoured with belts when before she never wore them at all. The belt adds some interest. A long necklace or a series of bracelets would work as well.

Looking fab in jeans and boots

Kristi bought this gray sweater on her own. It was a good choice, but it was hard to find the right thing to go under it. Turns out, I had this blue top in my closet and wasn’t wearing it. SOLD. The shade is a cross between navy and cobalt and is perfect.

Wearing jewelry has been a learning curve for Kristi. When she sent me this photo, I explained that with layering you want one piece to “nest” inside the other. The chunky piece really stands by itself and she doesn’t need a piece above that–that link necklace almost gets lost. The other silver necklace could be worn long rather than doubled up. I suggested one necklace and sticking with the bracelets and earrings.

S by K: What was the most helpful part of my services the 2ndtime around?

K: Accessories to brighten outfits, re-thinking color. My new glasses have made a huge difference. I’ve also changed my hairstyle. All of these pieces worked together to change my look. I receive compliments all the time and it feels great!

This next picture is Kristi’s favorite. It’s been a journey and I believe this photo depicts her happiness and confidence. And finally, my favorite photo. My goal is to teach everyone to do this on their own. Kristi bought the sweater without me and later asked for my opinion. It followed all the rules when it came to color, and style for her body type! Perfect.

Make a comment to thank Kristi for sharing her story! I know she will appreciate your compliments.


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Client of the Month: Laurie

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Don’t forget to enter the drawing for the Gift Certificate for CABI! Deadline is tomorrow.

Laurie was one of the first clients I worked with when I started my business. We’ve been working together off/on for two years and she is a VIP client. Laurie has great figure. Her shoulders and hips are fairly balanced. She felt like there was a little “extra” in the middle ,but it was not excessive and very easy hide. My goal was to show her shape a little more and bring in the waist with different styles. I also wanted to see her wearing more accessories.

Laurie is petite which presents some challenges as many longer styles don’t always work. She often felt encompassed by too much fabric in a longer top. Some things didn’t hit her right at the waist. But she is thin and most everything looked great on her.

When we started working together, I felt that many clothes in her closet she had worn for a while and some had seen better days. Others had potential, and we worked at giving them new life. A few styles made her look a little older than she was. My job was to help her see that her style is always evolving. It’s easy to get in a rut. When someone seeks my advice to help change their style, I know I have to be careful not to push them too far “outside their box” or it will remain unworn. Yet, I need to encourage them to see things they would NEVER try. It can be a fine line at times.

I’ve even worked with Laurie to help her plan outfits before a vacation(she was tired of looking the same in all the photos) and choosing clothes for a Family Photo.

Here are some BEFORE photos. I’ve highlighted some of her perspectives below.

K: How would you say your style has evolved?

L: I would define my style as extremely classic. Although I had a romantic side, I never allowed myself to indulge in that style. I also have seen a glimmer of contemporary now. Previously I would NEVER have entertained wearing skinny jeans tucked in my boots.

K: When you look back at the “Before” pictures, what do you notice?

L:I was trying to be a step above the women in sloppy, baggy sweats, but I always dressed the same. I was the typical “Mom on the Go” trying to juggle kids, a business and their activities. I taught Spanish part time and had to dress up a little but, but typically I was in jeans, a hoodie, a colored T-shirt and tennis shoes. In fact my kids even commented one day that I NEVER wear tennis shoes anymore!

K: What was the biggest frustration with the clothes in your closet?

L: I had a ton of clothes and I didn’t know how to wear them. I didn’t know if things were dated or could stay. I bought separates–”stand-alone” pieces that I didn’t know what to do with when I got them home. I was stuck with the idea that being petite meant I could only wear short jackets. I thought my choices were limited in jeans.

K: What have you learned through this process?

L: I make way better choices and am even able to put together some of my own combinations. I could never do this in the past. I never shopped sales confidently and now I can walk into a discount store like the Nordstrom Rack or Marshall’s and find something. I shop smarter. Before I had been told that I had an athletic frame and not to wear a belt as it would only accentuate that. Now I realize that I want to show my shape and bring in my waist with different styles and the right belts. I feel better and more confident. I’ve always loved clothes but feel more freedom to dress in a way that expresses who I am.

K: What do others say now?

L: Right away friends told me that I looked 10-15 pounds thinner. Many thought I had lost weight. Others told me I looked younger and more comfortable with myself.  

Before we took the “After” pictures, I suggested we do some makeup at the Bobbie Brown counter. Laurie had not done a makeup update in many years. I can’t emphasize enough how much makeup and hair can change your look in addition to your clothes. It takes some time, experimenting. This was just a start.

Photo #1 Laurie runs cold so she needs to layer. I’ve given her lots of ideas to do this, but the bottom line is she needed a warm coat with a hood. Laurie even found this one on her own. It was a good choice. Great color, nice shape to the coat yet roomy enough to layer over light jacket or heavier sweater.

Photo #2 & 3 Typically she wouldn’t have worn solid purple and solid green. The scarf tied those two colors together perfectly. Scarves and jewelry do that.

Our next step? Jewelry and Hair if she is game! Please take a look on the VIP page and see Laurie’s family photo testimonial. Laurie is a faithful reader, so leave a comment and tell her how great she looks!

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Client of the Month:Sheryl

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This month I’m featuring Sheryl, a client I worked with this past fall. I was so pleased she was willing to be on the blog. I like to show the variety of services I provide. With other clients of the month you’ve seen a complete makeover, dramatic results from weight loss and now just a little tweaking!

Sheryl found my site and contacted me. In addition to needing help for herself, Sheryl was adamant about teaching her daughter to embrace many of the important concepts I teach. This actually is a very wise move. Many women I talk to feel the same way. It’s very important to them to teach their daughters about body image at an early age. With all the pressure we receive from the media, our philosophy emphasizes embracing your body type and learning how to dress it.

When I first started to work with Sheryl, we worked on her profile which is the best way for me to get to know her and her needs. I evaluated her body type, colors, and personal style. Sheryl works as a nurse so it’s not as though she needs an extensive wardrobe for every day wear. But recently she started getting involved in some training, and felt that she needed to dress more professionally. We talked a great deal about how she wants to present herself in this setting.

 The next step was her closet. Sheryl was a very savvy Good Will shopper. Yet, she felt like she wasn’t necessarily purchasing the best things for herself. It doesn’t matter if you are shopping at Good Will or Saks, if you purchase things that don’t flatter, they will sit in the closet. If it is inexpensive, it’s easy to justify it by saying “Oh, I only paid  _____ for it!”  It’s all about accumulation! Having a closet full of things that you don’t really wear is a total waste no matter how much you pay for it.

 I helped Sheryl make some new combinations and assured her that a number of the things she had were very easy to work with. We also weeded out some things that were very worn, stretched and just did not have any potential. I always get an idea of a client’s budget BEFORE we weed things out. I want to make the most of what they have. I do not want to leave their house with just a few things in the closet especially if they do not have the budget to replace it right away.

 Our next step was shopping. Many times this is scheduled a couple months after the Profile/Organization. Sheryl’s budget was $200 for clothes and $100 to pay me. I suggested we start at the Nordstrom Rack. We found these pieces. That military jacket was 19.99!

At The Rack, she spent a little over $100 and got the jacket, a nice pair of dark brown pants, a long tunic sweater and a skirt. Sheryl had several things at home that went with the pants and they were a good buy at 29.99.  The tunic sweater was very cute on her, and it was a style she was drawn to and wanted to add to her wardrobe with boots and leggings. In the end, we returned the skirt as I determined that this season the right colors to blend were just not in the stores. At over $40, it seemed wise to return it and use her money in another way. I was worried it would sit in the closet waiting for the perfect match and the search might frustrate her.

Next stop: Target! The store was located in the same complex and since Sheryl was on a budget for money and time this was key. I have found the Merona and Mossimo brands to be pretty good quality in the past. It had been a while since I had shopped there and I was pleasantly surprised. It certainly fit into our budget! My apologies for the photos. When you’re on a time budget, detailed pictures are not always possible. The Target dressing room wasn’t exactly conducive to lining it all up!

We found a cascading cardigan, black leggings, two sweaters, a blouse and tee. We came in right under budget at about $179 after the skirt went back. I showed Sheryl the best tights to look for and really explained the difference between tights/leggings. I went over my time by 10-15 minutes but told her that was a bonus for allowing this to be on my blog. Thank you Sheryl for allowing me to help you. Sharing your experience shows many other women that it is totally possible to shop on a tight budget!

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Client of the Month:Cynthia

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I started working with Cynthia nearly two years ago. We had known each other for years through a previous home based business. When I put the word out about my new venture, Cynthia was eager to help me get started because she felt she could use some organizing help. Primarily, she just wanted to see me succeed with something brand new. She had no idea this experience with me would extend well over a year.

We met for the first appointment to set up her profile. We also weeded out some things in her closet and gave her a few new things to wear. We scheduled a time to shop. However, as that time got closer, Cynthia wrote.”I have to cancel. I just can’t face going to stores and trying to fit in clothes at the weight I am right now”.  When I work through a profile with women, weight is often a hot topic. I listen to their struggles and often share some of my own. I completely understand the ups/downs women go through. My reply: “My job is to get you in clothes that will help you look and feel good RIGHT NOW!”

I told Cynthia that often 2-3 new outfits help you feel so much better about yourself. It often motivates you to lose that weight. Other times women realize that it’s OK where they are. I want women to embrace and love who they are despite what the scale says. That being said, I don’t push. When she told me she had to wait, we did just that.

Fast forward almost a year later. I believe Cynthia had e-mailed me about her new plan with “Take Shape for Life” and using the Medifast products. When I saw her in January, she was ecstatic and look fabulous. She had lost 25-30 lbs and was well on her way to her goal of 50. Her words: “I’m ready to shop now!” A year, nearly to the date of our first appointment, we headed to the mall. What fun we had!

Here in Cynthia’s own words…

K: What encouraged you to try these products? What was the difference with this diet from other things you had tried?

C: I needed something easy, doable and that fit my busy lifestyle. I didn’t want to measure, weigh or deal with inconvenient products that were not portable. The fast results were completely motivating! There was never a week where the scale didn’t go down.

K: Once you reached that first benchmark, did you buy anything new to wear? Were you encouraged to keep going?

C: I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing at first because I was worried I wouldn’t succeed. I had failed before and gained it back. They say that once you lose 10% of your total weight it becomes noticeable to others. I found this to be true. I was so tired of buying all my clothes at Costco or Target that just going in another store felt so good!

K: What was the best part about shopping after losing 35-40 lbs beyond the fact that it was just a different size? (Karen’s note–We purchased things in March, but by July, Cynthia had lost more and many of these pieces were too large! Thank goodness for the Nordstrom return policy!)

C: I could try completely different things that were “off-limits” before. I experienced the world of belts for the first time. I could now wear skrits. I could tuck things in and wear more layers.

K: What did you enjoy the most about working together as stylist/client?

C: The first time we went shopping and had that large dressing room at Nordstrom. We tried on many things, and you went and got more. You helped me see what was the best purchase for my money because I liked it all. And it all fit. Shopping wasn’t a chore. I learned about buying core pieces and how to add and coordinate later. I learned about accessories and how to see different possibilities with my outfits.



In addition to shopping, I went back to Cynthia’s house a few months later and we logged outfits. Clothes, shoes and accessories were all out so I could go to work. She snapped pictures for later reference. Such fun!

Here is Cynthia AFTER the weight loss but in what she called a typical “mom-running around outfit”

And the “going out” outfits!

What a journey this has been for Cynthia. I’m excited to have been a small part of it. If you would like further info about his plan, Cynthia is now a coach. She is offering a Giveway to Style by Karen readers: A FREE initial Consultation (1-2 hours) and $30 towards food. To enter this Giveway, click HERE and you will be directed to her site where you will be able to send a message/comment. Cynthia will keep track of all entries and choose a winner on Monday, November 29. Contest ends at 9 PM PST.

To keep adding to your entries for my week long contest for the $100 Package, make a comment and tell Cynthia how great she looks!

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Angela: Client of the Month

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Congratulations to reader Ruth who is the winner of the Virtual Boot Consultation. Ruth lives in Michigan. I can’t wait to help her. Comments from ALL boot posts were put in the drawing. Thanks to everyone for participating.

I began my work as a Personal Stylist two years ago. After meeting the founder of Holobi at a trade show, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I began practicing. Although I had been styling friends for years, I knew that certification was important component. In January of 2009 I went through eight hours of training and since then have taken 24 more hours. I have worked with over 40 women individually. I have been a speaker at small women’s groups, home workshops and some larger venues as well. I am fortunate to be able to say that I’m on my third career and I have loved each one. From teaching elementary school, to helping women with their family memories to now styling women, each one has been and is extremely rewarding.

For part of my certification “test” I had to style two clients and send photos. I thought it was very appropriate to feature Angela, who was my very first client as Style by Karen’s first Client of the Month. This is her story.

Angela works full time as an X-ray technician. Her commute and hours are long. She wears scrubs every day to work. Yet, the weekends and one day off provide some down time for her to dress in “regular” clothes. Angela likes getting together with friends, an occasional dinner or movie with her husband and traveling. Comfort is VERY important to her, yet, I could tell that part of her wanted to take it up a notch. My first job was to take a look at her typical week/weekend and decide what she needed clothing for. Because of her job, Angela’s clothing needs are far less than many women. In that first appointment I also analyze best colors, determine good styles for body type, discuss personal style, and how we want to present ourselves. Although I had known Angela for years, this is truly where I dig a little deeper to get to know all the details which is helpful for the closet experience. The profile we create sets the tone for all that is to follow in the closet and shopping appointments. I described a few details of closet purging in Should it Stay or Should it Go. In addition, I try to make new combinations with what is already in the closet. I call that “Shopping your Closet”.

Next comes shopping to fill the gaps. I make lists and have a specific plan. Sometimes we bring things along that aren’t being worn. I try to find something different to give it new life so it will be worn and loved. We shopped in January at Nordstrom. Top on the list were jeans and casual clothes. Here is a picture of Angela before we started and then after the first shopping trip.

I asked if she was willing to do something a little different with her hair. She was game. Angela had never worn makeup. I took her to the Bobbie Brown counter which is known for a very natural look. Miranda at Envy Me in downtown Vancouver did the cut. Angela loved her hair and so did I! She also chose new eyeglass frames.

It has been almost two years since I worked with Angela. She happily agreed to be featured as my first Client of the Month. Angela came into Accentuate in Downtown Camas when I was working. We picked out some great pieces for her. We scheduled the photo shoot around her hair appointment. Miranda has added some lighter highlights which look beautiful. Angela is still not very comfortable wearing makeup. I’m not a makeup artist, but was able to apply enough to give some color for the photos. Ilona from Studio Lumiere took the photos. Here are the fabulous results of a team effort!

The purple sweater fit really well and felt comfortable. The color brightens up her face; the scarf with all the warm colors that favor Angela’s hair, skin and eyes soften the bright color so it is not too harsh.

The Coat by Lindi is so perfect for her in both color and style. The 3/4 length is extremely flattering, and there is a lot of “give” which makes it comfy and easy to wear. Clothes and Accessories from Accentuate. NYDJ corduroy pants and Clarks shoes from Nordstrom. Another option would be to pull out the teal color in the coat with accessories. I told Angela a teal bag is on the list! We liked the slimming affect of the chocolate brown tank and pants, but you could add some color with different color tank. The coat has a metallic thread which we pulled out with her necklace (a little hard to see in the photo) If you like what you see, make a comment and make Angela’s day!

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