Gemma’s story

Posted by Jacqui Cooper On 18th Jul 2019

I’d like to introduce you to Gemma – here she documents her style journey and how it has positively impacted on her life.

“Would I recommend Jacqui’s consultation? In a heartbeat. 10/10!”

Meet Gemma – glowing after our session together

Gemma: There had been a lot of change in my life in a short space of time. I’d had a baby, then been made redundant during maternity leave, and decided to set up my own business by going freelance rather than going back into a corporate role. Previously I’d had a good steer on my style and what suited me, but all this change had left me feeling very lost and questioning what suited me style-wise and suited my new lifestyle.

I’d got into the mindset that as I was going to be at home or running round a soft play centre that I didn’t need to dress in a ‘special’ outfit – so I’d end up in a basic t-shirt and joggers most days. However, I felt like I was losing ‘me’ and hated what I saw in the mirror.

I’d also lost confidence in my own style – buying things that were on trend but then finding they sat in the wardrobe unworn as they either didn’t really suit me, or I just didn’t know how to style them.

I originally booked a colour analysis, which was a Christmas present from my husband, but having found Jacqui on the Colour Me Beautiful website and then looking at her website and social media, I decide to upgrade to a Full Image Consultation.

Jacqui: As with all prospective clients, I have an in-depth telephone conversation prior to taking a booking. Mostly to ensure the consultation meets a client’s expectations but in addition to ascertain if :

a) I am the right coach/stylist for the client

and

b) If I want to work with that client.

Mmmmm, you might be surprised to hear that, I don’t say yes to every enquiry. Gemma initially approached me with a gift voucher but when we delved into what the challenges for her were it was evident that the Colour Consultation on its own wouldn’t address everything. That to me is the importance of spending time before the booking to ensure a client is able to measure the success of our time together.

Gemma: I told Jacqui I wanted to find a style that fitted my new mum and freelance marketing roles but that still inspired me and reignited my passion for clothes and getting dressed in the morning! I wanted to better understand what colours and styles suited me. She told me to bring a really good selection of clothes, some I like, unworn items, impulse buys etc. etc. I dutifully unpacked everything and hung them on the rail.

I was a little nervous when I arrived for the consultation, but I instantly felt at ease with Jacqui. I had to do some prep work prior which really got me thinking at a deep level about how my clothes portrayed an image to the outside world.

I really enjoyed the structure of the session. It was good to go through the process and understand what suited me and what didn’t and very importantly, why and how simple changes could make an outfit look amazing!

We started by working on something she called my Style Statement and wow was that an eye-opener. That was something I’d not thought about before. I showed Jacqui the Pinterest board she asked me to prepare prior to the session, part of which included some types of clothing styles I like.

She was very observant and quickly identified the ‘looks’ were all about comfort, casual and a little bit edgy. In addition, she pointed out that all outfits were an assembly of 3 items. We explored what I liked about each look and amazingly as we went through my clothes she recreated the same looks.

It was incredible how many new outfits were created by combining them in different ways. Magically, my ‘Style Statement’ – Comfortable, Creative and Quirky reflected in the outfit combinations I now had. I arrived at the session thinking I wanted to come away with a ‘polished’ look but soon realised that wasn’t authentic for me at all!

By the end of the session I knew what colours suited me based on my skin tone. I’d been getting a few things wrong as I’ve learned I have a cool skin tone but chose some warm colours close to my skin that actually made me look jaundiced.

I gleaned advice about my hair too, again I need to pull cool tones through it instead of the warm brown I currently have. She also recommended having it cut and reshaped too. I would have liked to go to the hairdresser she recommended but I’d already travelled far enough to get to this appointment so it’s not practical in the longer term.

I learned about my body shape and therefore what sorts of clothes would best flatter me.  Because Jacqui showed me how to put together new combinations with my existing clothes I ended up with a load of new outfits I felt great in but without needing to buy any new clothes. I’m on a tight budget these days, having had a good disposable income prior to motherhood my priorities have changed as has my available clothing budget.

However one of the best things I took away was realising that just because I’m at home or playing with my son, I can still make an effort in getting dressed – that every day should be viewed as special and an opportunity to put on an outfit that makes me feel good.

We even drilled into my lifestyle, what do I want it to look and feel like? As a result, I made some big changes there too. From slouchy joggers and comfy t-shirts – my work from home attire morphed into a very comfortable, creative and a little quirky collection of clothes. These can take me to the school run, client facing and into the nearest town and working from a coffee shop for some of my day. Something I’d not really considered before.

Mustard coat, teal scarf
A great colour for a coat but the mustard tones don’t balance and harmonise with Gemma’s skin tone, but with the addition of her teal scarf it’s a great combo!

A reason to get dressed, go out, get work done AND engage with the human species. That’s the really hard bit when you work from home isn’t it – feeling a little isolated. I now feel so much more inspired!

Jacqui: I hear this so often. Many people have the flexibility to work from home these days given the digital technology available. Management meetings can often run more effectively via Skype and business can be conducted all over the world from your kitchen table. And that’s progress and often a good thing but we have to be mindful that we are as a species better when we are together (mostly).

It’s only when we are with other people that we get to be who we really are. We need to connect. As a new mum and newly launched business owner I wanted to encourage Gemma to put herself out there, create new habits and make new contacts. So the suggestion of ‘working’ from a local coffee shop a few hours a week gave her some structure and a reason to get of her four walls.

Gemma: As a result of the session the first thing I did was to start making more of an effort in getting dressed each morning. I realised it didn’t matter if I was just going to be at home – by putting on an outfit I felt good in and some quick makeup, it made a huge difference to how I felt across the day.

The makeup lesson as part of the consultation really helped me to create a natural ‘no makeup look’ that was quick and easy. It made such a difference by enhancing my features rather than looking made up – if you know what I mean. Jacqui intuitively knew if it wasn’t quick and simple I wouldn’t make the effort to do it.

Woman having makeup applied
Whoops, I missed!

I have instantly implemented ‘the power of 3’ when putting together outfits – for me this tends to be jeans or casual trousers, a casual jacket and jewellery/accessories. I don’t really have any accessories but soon learned how an addition of jewellery can really upscale a look and add personality.

I try and have at least one statement piece in my outfit and I also ask myself does the outfit fit my style mantra. If not, then I know something’s not quite right and I’ll tweak until I get it right.

Animal print pump, white trainer
Playing around with footwear. Gemma’s once ‘dressy’ leopard flats look great dressed down with faux leather pants.

In the next week, I intend to have a good review of my wardrobe and decide what things fit with my new style mantra and colours. Anything that’s not right anymore I’ll either sell or donate to charity so someone else can enjoy it.

Longer term I want to identify any gaps in my wardrobe and only shop for things that suit my style rather than impulsively buy things that are ‘on trend’ but not actually my style. We agreed the immediate purchase would be for a short, fitted denim jacket that would pull so many looks together.

Gemma liked her oversized denim jacket until she really observed what happens to her lovely curvy shape underneath. She visibly gains pounds. I showed her the difference it makes when she wears a shorter fitted style.

I came away with handouts which recapped what I had learned, my colour swatches and in addition a booklet called Your Style Guide that Jacqui has created and is available as a free download.

It’s only been a week, but I already feel my passion for clothes and fashion coming back. I have also started to see I have great things in my wardrobe to wear and I don’t need to buy a load of new things. I generally feel more confident and inspired.

Would I recommend working with Jacqui?

In a heartbeat! 10/10

Jacqui: Gemma was transitioning from, in her words “a big job” to “motherhood” and now juggling motherhood, self-employment, a new image and identity. Lots of changes there. My role as a coach/stylist is to explore with each client who they are at their core, their changing image and identity and help them to dress in a way which feels authentic.

The magic happens when the ‘lightbulb’ moment occurs, which is usually around the kind of questions I ask, sometimes intuitively sometimes textbook. And then BOOM, the questions a client begins to ask herself.

Gemma will share some ‘after’ shots next month when she has had her hair restyled.

With a colour change to dark cool tones and a restyle Gemma’s hair also needs to work with her style mantra. Mmm, I’m thinking messy, choppy slightly inverted bob.

It’s got to be quick and easy for her to manage and also has to align with her style mantra: Comfortable, Creative and Quirky. That’ll do it. But let’s wait until next month to see what she does …

With love & gratitude,

Jacqui x

About Jacqui

Hello, I'm Jacqui Cooper, The Style Counsellor, and I'm passionate about helping people look and feel good by living and dressing authentically.

Find Out More

More articles