The Journey to Great Individual Style
with Carla Mathis

When it comes to having great personal style, it’s more to it than being able to afford the latest designer “must haves”, or acquiring what’s hot on the runways during fashion week. It’s about knowing oneself inside and out and finding what best works for you.
“There are no absolutes in art and there is no one way to get to art.” – Carla Mathis
Everyone’s recipe for great personal style involves different ingredients and measurements.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of traveling to Boston, MA to attend a Psychology of Style Masterclass with one of the world’s top image consultants and stylists, Carla Mathis.
If you are unfamiliar with her, I suggest you open up another tab right now and Google her. She’s a fascinating woman, with a lot of knowledge to share.

She also wrote a great book, "The Triumph of Individual Style" that I highly recommend. It's a easy and great read for those looking to achieve great personal style and/or work in the industry of fashion and styling.
When I got word of the opportunity to attend this amazing class from my Twitter mentor Robin of Polished Image, I immediately put in for days off at the showroom to plan this quick informational getaway. I thought if this trip involves learning more about my craft, than it was definitely one I needed to make happen.

Sidebar: I don't think Robin knows I've given her that title in my life. Nonetheless, it's very befitting with all the great advice she's given me!

It was time to reserve a hotel room, rental car, pack a small bag, make sure the iPod was loaded with all my favorite tunes and make the 4-hour drive.

After a torturous rental car experience that almost made me turn around and head back home, I’m so glad I pushed on and attended the class. It confirmed stuff I already knew and taught me some things I could stand to learn.

The class consisted of other image consultants and stylists from all over the east coast looking to further their knowledge. They were all fab chicks and great women from different age groups and walks of life. It was great to meet and learn from them all.

So of course, business cards were exchanged and my network grew a tiny bit more.

The class consisted of many great hands on exercises, all of which I have carried into my everyday life of getting dressed, making styling recommendations to others who seek my advice, and having merchandising conversations/meetings at work.

This class really confirmed to me that many of us both in and out of the industry who considers ourselves style professionals really have no clue about the work it takes to achieve great personal style. It’s about more than just loving to shop.
“Just because a trend happens doesn’t mean you should adopt it, wear what best fits your shape.” – Janet Jackson
Many times we get caught up in trends, myself included, piggy backing on what celebrities are wearing, and forget to listen to our inner voice. We forget to tap into what speaks to us organically. We confuse the images that are constantly in our faces for what’s in our hearts. We compare ourselves to what others are doing.
“When you compare you will always come up short or unrealistic” – Carla Mathis
Carla taught and confirmed for me that personal style is a visual of what is inside of us, what’s in our hearts. I could go on about this very topic, and couldn’t agree with her more.

I’ve always said to achieve great personal style your styling efforts and aspirations must come from within. It cannot be a surface decision.

You know a surface decision most times when you see someone and have to ask yourself, what was she/he thinking? That look is not for him/her. Clearly they’ve seen it on someone else, liked it, and tried to adopt it as their own. Not good!

The key to it all is figuring out what’s inherent to you. If you figure out what is natural to you based on a healthy balance of knowing your body type and design, personality, along with what you want to convey, this will create a seamless integration between your innate style and how you want to be perceived.

Get to the heart of who you really are, pair it with fundamentals of fit proportions and design patterns and you to can have amazing style!

Sounds like a great recipe to tap into your Fab Chick-ness if you ask me!


BlacBlouse 23.6.10  

Love love love this post! I enjoyed reading it. The quote insertions and pics, love them too. Fits so well within your commentary. You are the bomb.

Kerissa 12.9.10  

This post was a confirmation and encouragement to me to keep being me. No two people are alike and my individuality and brush cut is what makes me stand out. I'm learning to love myself more!