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First Impression Fashion Tips - By Stylist Samantha Woodbury

Crafters, we have a treat for you. We are welcoming Samantha Woodbury to the blog to share her tips and tricks from her experience as a personally stylist. Over four blogs, she will be revealing how to dress to make a fabulous first impression, insights into craft trends in fashion, tips for adding colour to your wardrobe and thrifty fashion advice.

Gem: Hi Samantha, welcome to the blog, it is really lovely to have you. Before we start quizzing you on all things fashion, could you tell us about yourself? We'd love to know how you got into being a personal stylist.


Samantha:

Hi, and thank you for inviting me to contribute this guest blog for you.


So a bit about me… I am a busy mum of two, and I live in Hedge End, Southampton. For as long as I remember I have had an interest in clothes and fabrics, and as a child I had my own knitting and sewing machine, and I used to try and make little outfits for my dolls! I studied fashion and textiles through college and university, and over the years have worked in most areas of the fashion and design industry, including buying, design, visual merchandising, marketing and retail, and I dabbled in a bit of styling here and there over the years. But it wasn’t until I had my first child that I really started thinking about personal styling as a career.


Like many women after they have children, I lost my way with fashion and I didn’t really know what to wear. Looking stylish and on trend took a back seat to clothes that were breastfeeding friendly, comfortable and practical. I was in a fashion rut. Then by chance I met a personal stylist through work. Spending time with her and seeing her work with women just like me ignited that passion I had for style. I started to rethink about clothes in a whole different way. I stopped limiting myself to pieces that I thought a ‘mum should wear’ and started to experiment with clothes that I was naturally drawn to.


Slowly I started my own personal style journey and became more confident in what I wore. I felt more like the old me. It was during this time that I started my training as a personal stylist. A lot of it was simply a reminder of what I already knew, but having experienced that lack of self identity and loss of style really helped me fully understand who I wanted to help…. Other women, just like me.


Now I run my styling business alongside a marketing and PR role at a local shopping centre. I specialise in helping mums rediscover their fashion mojo, through understanding how to dress to flatter their new ‘mum shape’, lifestyle and natural fashion personality, as well as helping them understand how to use colour to lift their mood and enhance their colouring. My key focus though is on making my services accessible to everyone, which is why I pride myself on my affordable services that I offer in person locally and online across the UK.


Gem: Fantastic, that's a lovely mission to have. We are all for building confidence so people can be happier! Right, it is time for the hard hitting questions. We get a lot of people to our groups who are anxious to meet new faces. Although our groups are non-judgemental and very welcoming, it can be daunting to meet new people. Do you have any wardrobe tips for people who want to make a good first impression?


Samantha:

Meeting new people for the first time can be daunting. I still get those nervous butterflies when I meet a new client for the first time, be that virtually or in person, but there are a few simple things that we can do to help us feel and look confident in order to make this initial experiences less scary.


1. Wear something you love

Clothes have enormous power over our self-confidence and mood, so if you are feeling a bit unsure about what to wear, start building your outfit around an item of clothing that you love. This might be something that you feel looks good on you, or maybe something that has sentimental or positive memories attached to it. Wearing pieces that make us feel good can instantly lift our mood and this really helps us feel more confident in ourselves when meeting new people.


2. Get the fit right

Wear something that feels comfortable. After lockdown I know that there are a few things in my wardrobe that don’t quite fit the same way that they did before. If you are conscious that a top hugs your tummy a little more than you like, or the buttons aren’t quite closing properly on that shirt, then don’t wear it. You don’t want to be tugging at hemlines, pulling together buttons or crossing your arms across your tummy to disguise, hide and rectify these outfit problems. Not only will this create negative body language, but you’ll feel self-conscious.


3. Add some colour

When you meet new people, you want to not only look good, but also project an approachable and friendly image that will last in that persons head after the initial meeting. One great way of doing this is through wearing colour. Colours play an huge role in our lives, they influence our thinking, impact our mood and even inspire our decision making. All colours spark a psychological reaction when we see them, for example red is said to activate your pituitary gland, increasing your heart rate and causing you to breath more rapidly. This instinctive response makes red seem aggressive, energetic, passionate and attention grabbing, whilst green is considered a relaxing and revitalising colour for mind and body and this in turn implies freshness, serenity and health. Here are some other reactions to colours:

  • Blue is perceived as trustworthy and dependable.

  • Yellow communicates optimism, positivity and warmth.

  • Purple evokes mystery, creativity, spirituality and sophistication.

  • Pink conveys youthfulness, fun and excitement, with lighter pinks being seen as more romantic.

  • Orange is seen as cheerful, evoking feelings of exuberance, fun and vitality.

  • Brown conveys simplicity, durability and honesty.

  • Black is seen as serious, bold, powerful and classic. It can also create a feeling of drama and sophistication.

  • White implies simplicity, innocence and perfection.

With this in mind it is important to consider what impressions you want to convey through the colour you wear. Think about what reactions and meanings they communicate.


4. Be yourself

Wear something that is authentic to you and your own style. Being congruent to your natural style personality is a key part of the work I do with my clients. Too often we try to dress in a way that we think we should rather than in a way that we want.


How many times have you thought, ‘I’m too old’ or ‘ I’m too big’ to wear that (skirt or top) or ‘I’m a mum now, I can’t wear that’. These self-imposed rules leave us feeling restricted and suck our self-confidence, leaving us feeling frumpy and disconnected with who we are. Meeting new people is a great time to try something new, as they have no preconceived ideas of who you are and no knowledge of what you normally wear.


Now I’m not suggesting that you experiment with a head to toe boho look, when you are normally a quite classic dresser as this would leave you feeling vulnerable and self-conscious, but if you are looking to add a bit of edge, colour or femininity to your look, a new meeting is a great time to dip your toe in the water of change. Simple changes like swapping your jeans for a dress, adding a funky belt, trying out a new neckline or wearing a bright lip colour can really elevate an outfit, allow you to debut your look without ‘judgement’ and have a bit of fun with your style.


If you are a little nervous about trying something new, wear it around the house first. This will help you get used to it and allow you to feel more confident about wearing the new item, so that when the day for debuting it publicly comes you can wear that new look with her head held high.


5. Plan your outfit

My final tip is to think about what you are going to wear in advance. Planning your outfit ahead of the meeting will not only make getting ready a breeze, but also means that you can be sure that you are happy with your outfit, that it fits, that there are no marks or dropped hems and that you have the right shoes and accessories to finish the look. Knowing you look good, that you are well presented and being authentically you will allow you to stride into that meeting with confidence and positivity.


So there you have it. My top five tips for confidently dressing for new meetings.


Gem: That's fantastic, thank you! I love the idea in tip 4 about trying new styles with a new group of people. I also can't wait to go and check out the colours in my wardrobe to see what message I am giving off. Before you go, could you share how people can find out more about your services?


Samantha:

Of course, if you would like to find out more about discovering your style personality, or simply want to discover how to dress confidently, I offer both online and in person style consultations. These include wardrobe makeovers, personal shopping and body & colours analysis.


I pride myself on affordable pricing. Online services start at just £20 and are bookable via my website samathawoodburystyling.com.

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Samantha will be back with us next month to talk about crafts trends which have crossed into fashion. She'll cover clothing and accessories, giving us insight into crafts which have been popular on the runway by top fashion designers!

Illustration for MayInspire - We run adult craft groups in Southampton
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