We all look at other people’s clothes and make judgements about them. We do it all the time. We do it when we’re walking down the street and see someone coming toward us—we think, “Oh I like her outfit” or, more often, “Oh no, WHAT is he wearing?” The difference between Valeria and the rest of us is that she has a trained eye, a mind full of details about the esoteric parts of style like texture, and a gift for framing her conclusions in a useful way. The first two can be learned, but the last one is a gift.
The idea that she frames her conclusions so they are useful is another way of saying she tells us stories about ourselves. And it’s the coherent stories that we hear about ourselves, either from others or from our own minds, that stick in our head and become part of our internal narrative. They play on a loop in our head and become our motivation (or lack thereof). Most of us are stuck with a loop of stories that don’t serve us or actually hold us back, mostly leftovers from our past. We seldom replace them with better stories that actually help us forward. The best thing about Valeria’s vision board analysis for me was the way it told a story about my personality that felt compelling enough to replace the old negative narrative.
Her take on me was that I am dark, futuristic, and feminine in an unexpected way. She sees me as a black cat and thinks that no matter what my internal struggle is, my appearance is sleek, smooth, and flowing.
She basically thinks of me as a version of La Femme Nikita, which, if you’ve never seen one of the adaptations of that show, is about a beautiful international spy who lives a jet-setting life of intrigue. Now, the spy stuff isn’t going to happen…
but the rest of the ideas are inspiring. They’re also about as far from my own internal narrative as I can get, but that’s good because it gives me another idea of myself that is more compelling than the one I had.
And that’s what we are all seeking from style makeovers, right? We do makeovers because we want to be happier; we think dressing better will make us more confident, which will make us take more risks, which will make us happier, and on and on. We’re not just concerned with looking good, we want to understand how we can best look good because we sense that knowledge will help us unwind the chains that hold us back. A new personal narrative is knowledge.
In terms of specifics, Valeria’s analysis of my board has so much info that I don’t even know where to start when writing about it. She says that I should combine creativity and dramatic simplicity in every look, which is good advice. It’s so simple but I hadn’t really thought of it before, probably because I was imagining that the answer to my main style issue was going to be more complicated. She also says I should spend money on shoes and outwear, and not on the basics, and that I should shop on websites to get a greater selection. I think I tend to do the opposite, spend all my money on the basics and then not have much left over for the more noticeable things. I have enough basics now. I need to be more discerning about my purchases.
I especially liked her idea about expressing my flair in earrings. I think that’s a good idea, because they are so prominent and make such a big difference in a look. I want these now:
The advice that stuck with me the most is to make sure that every item has a unique element. I know that I often get so impatient to just buy something that I don’t want to wait until I find that perfect thing, but that has brought me to where I am now, which is to a place with some pretty lackluster clothes. Time to change that!