Several weeks ago, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting with an amazing group of women who have organized their very own Fashion Club. These gals all live here in the Twin Cities and were drawn together by a desire to look good AND feel good. They’ve come to rely on each other for input and guidance, while each following a distinct stylistic path. I had a fabulous time chatting with them over coffee, and found myself becoming quite envious of their group! How amazing to cultivate a dedicated, organized cluster of friends who can trade tips about colors, thrifting, figure flattery, and all things style? Seriously. These women are extremely lucky.
And since their Fashion Club is such a marvelous idea – and many of their activities are both clever and worth emulating – I asked them to write a guest post for me. I’m hoping that their story will inspire some of YOU to form Fashion Clubs of your own!
So without further ado, I give you Maria, Annette, Sandy, Amy, and our narrator Nicole – the Fashion Club!
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Imagine our surprise, our pride, our confusion … when Sally said she was envious of what we call our “Fashion Club!”
It started out innocently enough. I was tired of shopping for clothes that did not make me feel fabulous. I felt frumpy, frustrated and even angry. I was committed to doing something about it, so I started to read books. I’ve always loved the TV shows that feature fashion makeovers, so I started with those companion books. Those books taught me about color and cut, and about looking for things that made you feel fantastic. One book in particular really spoke to me, specifically, Trinny and Susannah: What You Wear Can Change Your Life. Using this book as a guide, I determined what colors were right for me. I wanted a way to remember how to shop for the right colors, so I took my copy of the book to a local hardware store and found matching paint chips. Being a bit of a crafter, I punched the paint chips into a set of small, portable shapes and held them together with a fastener. I now carry this small “color wheel” in my purse at all times.
Over coffee and conversation, I mentioned my color wheel to my good friend Maria. She thought the idea was great, and she wanted a color wheel of her own. I told her I would help her to construct one, if she got the book and read it and found her colors. It was a plan! Maria was so excited about making a color wheel, she mentioned it to Amy, her neighbor and good friend; also to Annette, a fellow mom of multiples and friend; to Sandy, a college friend with a love of shopping. Soon, all of us ladies got together and made color wheels at my house. I’d met all of these women before, and we’d enjoyed each other’s company. But, aside from Maria, I would not have qualified the others as close friends; merely acquaintances.
That craft project – of assessing which colors were right for each of us and constructing the color wheels – started a fun new chapter. If we were not sure about certain colors, we held up samples of fabric colors that each of us brought to test out next to our faces and the group helped to decide. During the craft event, Maria started to call us a “Fashion Club.” We talked about the merits of certain styles, shopping thriftily and with our unique lifestyles in mind, and about how we felt about our bodies and our styles. A camaraderie was building. We agreed to try to meet again soon, and talk about “fashion issues.”
And meet we did! What started out as a craft project and conversation has grown to a stable and truly fabulous group. We meet as we are able, which is usually once every two months or so. We typically meet for coffee, cocktails or a light meal, and we try to plan the get togethers in advance. In talking about getting together, a sort of agenda surfaces. Items for the agenda have ranged from “What to wear to my upcoming class reunion,” to “Khakis: Are they actually OK to wear?” to “Please help me evaluate the following items which I found at the thrift store” to “Meet my new baby/See my new house/Meet my new significant other/Other fun life items.” Having a few things to discuss spurs on our conversation, which often flows easily from a few starting nuggets.
We have also put together a closed/private Facebook page for ourselves so we can share articles, blogs, questions and conversation in the times between when we meet. We have posted pictures of outfits and posed questions to the group about if they work, or which looks more flattering. Occasionally, there have been books that one or a few of us are interested in. When someone reads a fashion-related boot, they bring a few notes to the group on what they learned, and let us know if they recommend it. A few people have come and gone from the club who might not have been the right fit. We are OK with that. It is important to each of us that there is fun, friendship, trust, and respect within our group. We have found that meeting regularly keeps us accountable. Though we have gone through various seasons of life together – such as pregnancies or developing a new runner’s body – we continue to meet and challenge ourselves to look and feel great.
Most recently, we celebrated a milestone birthday of one of our members by inviting in a featured speaker: Sally! Sally talked to us about finding what we love about ourselves, about great local and online shopping resources, finding our individual style, and many, many other things. Meeting Sally face to face got the group re-engaged and upped the ante. Each of us has recommitted to the group and to ourselves in new and exciting ways. One of us is overhauling her closet and making the physical space more enjoyable and functional. One of us is doing some work on features to highlight and a critical evaluation of her wardrobe to determine which clothes help her to feature herself. Even though we all heard the same message, we each took individual inspiration and goals from it.
Fashion Club …we are great friends and trusted allies. Our friendships have grown over our common goal of looking our best. I am thankful to each member of the group for the unique perspective brought to the table. If this sounds like something you might like for yourself, I would encourage you to reach out to friends and acquaintances and see if you, too, can form a Fashion Club.
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