From Inspiration to Finished Styling: A Behind The Scenes Look at Styling a Virtual Client

inspiration styling

I have been styling clients virtually for over a decade. Expanding my business beyond in-person consultation was one of the smartest business decisions I have ever made, and who knew that this decision to work this way would be the thing that would keep my business plunging into oblivion during the Covid-19 lockdown. Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, virtual styling has been my biggest growth area of business.

I now have a virtual client in just about every state as well as clients in far-reaching corners of the world. Just during this lockdown, I have worked with clients in Montana, The Netherlands, Texas, London, Buffalo NY, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, and West Virginia. Today, I am going to tell you about my client session with my client in West Virginia who has allowed me to share about her journey in the most generous way.

From Inspiration to Finished Styling: A Behind The Scenes Look at Styling a Virtual Client

I am giving this client the alias Mrs. Luminescent. As with all clients I blog about and give names to protect their privacy, I choose names based on their personalities. Mrs. Luminescent not only has a bright appearance with sparkly eyes and clear features, but she also has a presence that makes you immediately feel comfortable. I felt an instant connection with her. She’s open, lovely, and kind.

When Mrs. Luminescent reached out, her style issues were definitely things I had heard before. She expressed dissatisfaction with her wardrobe and while there wasn’t anything with it, it wasn’t inspiring her. There seemed to be a disconnect between her style and what was in her closet. And like most clients I have who live in rural areas, her access to store options are limited. She basically has two store options, neither of which she was totally in love with. Mrs. Luminescent was on the search for a more authentic style and the right stores in which to find it.

Starting with Inspiration

I always start the same with clients whether it be in-person or virtually. In addition to filling out a personal intake form, I ask clients to select inspirational photos to share with me. The instruction I give is to not think too hard about the exercise. This should be an instinctual process for a client. I explain to them that it’s my job to make sense of it and that this process should feel easy and liberating. The collage above is of some of the photos Mrs. Luminescent pinned.

When I first opened Mrs. Luminescent’s images, I saw boho-inspired images and more modern ones. I also had to figure out how to translate Mrs. Luminescent’s style inspiration to her life, body shape, and budget. Style inspiration isn’t to be taken literally. I decided to create a clean modern base with boho accents. This would be done through clean pieces paired with boho accents and accessories.

Before I made selections, I had to analyze our starting point. I needed to look at what was already in Mrs. Luminescent’s wardrobe.

Analyzing Mrs. Luminescent’s Wardrobe

I recently wrote a post about setting closet edit goals. Wardrobe and style goals set a course that can help us get from point a. to point b.. By using the style inspiration photos, I can more effectively figure out what needs to go and what needs to stay in a client’s closet because we have created a clear end goal. Beyond looking at whether something is flattering, inspiration helps further edit.

Very little of what Mrs. Luminescent owned would be classified as terrible, which is the case with most clients. Fashion nightmares don’t call me for help. The only serious ditch was the dress in photo #2, which Mrs. Luminescent wholeheartedly agreed with. The other images with x’s were pieces that I suggested she get rid of. Pieces with recycling icons were items that I recommended keeping if they were styled differently.

The overall feeling I got from Mrs. Luminescent’s wardrobe was that it was fine but ordinary. She could easily go the rest of her life and never get criticized for it but nothing about it was memorable either and it certainly wasn’t in line with her inspirational style direction.

Mrs. Luminescent’s Shopping Selections

Based on what we decided to keep in Mrs. Luminescent’s wardrobe her style goals, lifestyle, life goals, and budget, I made shopping suggestions. Here are just some of the selections.

Mrs. Luminescent’s Purchases

From the selections, these just some of the purchases from what I selected that Mrs. Luminescent made, much that will be styled with the accessories I selected. Many of these items can also be incorporated with what she already owns. It will give you an idea of the change from where she started.

One of the best parts of this transformation of Mrs. Luminescent’s is that is took two hours total, an hour for me to make selections and an hour for she and I to review. That’s it. The second best part was that this process was not only a style transformation for Mrs. Luminescent but a personal one. During our session, she told me about how she found herself again through the style inspiration exercise. What she said was so eloquent, I asked her to articulate them again:

When Bridgette asked me to pin inspirational pictures for our wardrobe session I wasn’t sure where to start. I followed her suggestions though and pinned images that meant something to me. I looked for things that resonated with my heart, caught my attention, or spurred my creativity. I tried not to think too much about it.
When I went back to look over the board as a whole, like I envisioned Bridgette would do, I was shocked by the initial sense of recognition I felt. I was looking at “me” or “the old me” before I got busy taking care of everyone else and responding to what others think. It was the funniest feeling and one that has left a significant impression on me! What I saw was a softer side to my personality that often gets overlooked in day to day life.
While we are amidst such challenging times it may seem superficial to take the time (and money) to invest in a wardrobe. I didn’t just get recommendations for what to wear though – which were right on target and much appreciated – but I came away with a new understanding. The renewed sense of self I feel is so worth it! 
My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by COVID-19. I hope that the readers of this post are also able to use this time to nurture and fuel the spirit so that we can all thrive post-COVID.

My special thanks to Mrs. Luminescent for her generosity in allowing me to share our session together and for our wonderful time together.

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