Claire is an Image consultant from Norfolk and is quite probably the owner of the best shoes I have ever seen. (look at them!!) In fact that whole outfit is rather incredible... In case you didn't know (I didn't), Claire has a Dramatic Classic style personality; more on that later!
You all may remember Claire from a few blog posts ago, where she taught us all to say 'pre-loved' (I love a good bit of eco-fash lingo, folks!) and showed us her top tips on sourcing and wearing pre-loved clothing.
Well now, on a drizzly, rainy Saturday, Claire was ready to take her proverbial currency and align it with whence her speech comes. You know, she's talked the talk, now she's got to walk the walk. Step up to the mark. Put her best foot forward. (Yes, I am obsessed with her shoes...) Foot-related idioms apart, Claire was ready to show us her skills...
I had set Claire the challenge to style the lovely Juli in an outfit put together purely from clothing and accessories found in the Age UK Norwich shop on London Street. We all know the drill by now. At least, I thought I did. But that was BC- Before Claire.
When I arrived, Claire and Juli were already there, Juli half in, half out of a pair of amazing flared jeans, Claire zipping between the fitting room and the shop floor, scouring the rails purposefully in search of such things as 'brooch!' 'longer necklace!' 'camisole!'
I was definitely working with a professional.
The challenge was to create an outfit. Claire had clearly been reading our blog and seen that a previous Guest Stylist had taken the challenge up a notch and styled two outfits. But why style just two outfits when you can style... three...?!
That's right, Juli had a lot of dressing up to do. I'm going to hazard a guest that Claire is not the sort of person to do things by halves...
Here's the first outfit Claire put together for Juli:
Doesn't she look amazing...?
As Claire's job is to show people how to look and feel amazing in their clothes, there was a whole lot of theory going on behind the scenes, beyond just putting things together. She explained to me:
"As you can see Juli has an amazing figure, but even though she is very slim, some shapes flatter her more than others. Juli has a straight silhouette, which means she has very slender legs and hips, so this is the area we drew great attention to. A straight silhouette has a larger waist so I created vertical emphasis with the cord jacket and shirt, drawing the eye up and down the body. Vertical emphasis slims as well as elongates.
A person with a straight silhouette usually has a full bust, so a lower neckline is more flattering than a high neck line"
I was ready to applaud and go home, but seemingly there was no time to waste; after we snapped these shots Juli was whisked back into the fitting room and emerged in outfit number two...
Just... wow! I loved shooting Juli in this outfit! You could tell that she felt amazing in what she was wearing and it just shone through in her confident posture and that incredible smile...! Well done, Claire!
I also loved the colours of this striped poncho on Juli, which apparently were not chosen by accident. Claire says:
"When I style my clients, it is vital to understand not just what suits their colouring and body shape, but their personality too. That way someone can be truly comfortable in the clothes they wear.
Juli has a 'Dramatic Natural' style personality, which means she likes a relaxed look that also stands out. Anything frilly, sparkly or overly lacy just isn't her.
Juli has a warm skin tone, hence me choosing all these lovely rich colours for her which really make her look so amazing. Also as she is fair, I avoided anything too dark near her face."
With this said, I think I ought to show you what Juli was wearing before her styling session with Claire...
The same gorgeous smile, but lots of black... While Juli still looks great here (and I'm always a fan of black, ever chic - and monochrome makes for an effortless capsule wardrobe...), it was great to see how wearing different colours could light up Juli's face and skin tone.
Now I know you are on tenterhooks waiting for outfit number three, so I will keep you waiting no longer.
Here's Juli in her final outfit styled by Claire:
Those of you who have been following us may recognise this particular dress as featuring in The Challenge; it's had a bit of a facelift since Juli wore it here, but we think she'd rock it either way. Beautifully accessorised, too.
So it seems I am converted to the power of the image consultant. Three looks, thirty minutes, one happy model!
Thank you Claire and Juli, you make a fantastic Charity Shop Styling team...
If you think you could take on the Norwich Fashion Jam Charity Shop Style Challenge, get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to see what you come up with!