Clothes, CVs, Careers, Coaching, and Confidence
When I asked style and confidence coach Loulou Storey for her tips on how to create a great work wardrobe, where to shop, and how to put together a great look for an interview, she said to start with the clothes that you already own.
She's down-to-earth and practical. I like her type of advice.
“Start with your knicker drawer.”
“Get rid of three things a day.”
“Go shopping with a list.”
Like other stylists, Loulou will edit your wardrobe for you and take you shopping. But more than weeding out clothes that don’t suit you, and helping you to buy ones that do, she’s also got a unique style and confidence programme.
I’m always interested in hearing about USPs and why people do what they do, so we got talking. Turns out there were more than a few similarities in the way we choose to work – it’s just that Loulou starts with a wardrobe, whereas I start with a CV.
As our lives change and evolve, so does our wardrobe.
Loulou recommends looking in your own closet so you know what you have you have, before trying to work out what’s missing. She never insists on a complete overhaul – as it’s rarely practical, affordable or necessary.
And when it comes to shopping, retail therapy may be fun but can also be a quick fix. Instead, Loulou works with you to edit what you have and buy only what you really need.
Old clothes hold memories and associations with the past, which makes them a great starting point to see how you and your life have changed and get a clearer sense of direction. When you’ve agreed on what image looks and feels right for you now, Loulou will help you to refresh your wardrobe and write that shopping list.
CVs and careers
I can tell just as much about a person from their CV as Loulou can from their wardrobe. The way you write your CV and how you talk it through speaks volumes.
It’s a bit like that out-dated wardrobe, there are always things that shouldn’t be there and key pieces that are missing. And when it comes to your interview technique, that’s a bit like styling. I help people to tell their career history in an interesting and engaging way, under the banner of marketing and pitching.
There’s more to it than meets the eye.
For a start, you need to be fairly motivated to sign up for any sort of coaching.
I’m really into self-development and refinement, but I'm sure some people only try it when ‘needs must’ or they are at the ‘last chance saloon’.
Talking to Loulou I realised that her Style and Confidence programme and my Career Shape-up programme probably started off as something else.
As Loulou pointed out, she might be helping a successful career woman to update her wardrobe but behind the scenes, she’s often supporting a woman going through a transition such as motherhood, divorce, menopause or approaching retirement.
I designed the Career Shape-up so that I could teach people how to navigate the recruitment market and share some of my insider’s tips. Once I started coaching, I realised that there was a lot more going on under the surface that I was helping with.
There’s no denying that some transitions can be really tough and, in some cases, they can create a loss of identity, with someone asking: “Who am I now?” Loulou used her own story as an example.
After giving birth to her daughter, she’d gained three stone in weight, was suffering from depression and anxiety, and feeling disconnected from her former self. Loulou made no secret of her difficulties getting back on track, but those struggles have transformed her business and helped her to transform other people’s lives.
As well as being motivated, I think you need to be quite brave to work with a coach. I’m known for being a straight talker and many of my clients claim to be too. But when they sign up, it often turns out they need some help with their confidence.
Letting someone into dark corners of your wardrobe, or behind the scenes of your career, does require courage, but I've yet to discover someone who hasn’t enjoyed or benefitted from the process.
To find out more about Loulou visit The Styling Storey
If you enjoyed this post take a look at How to look good at work and why your work wardrobe matters
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