Falling in love again (with my wardrobe)

It’s a pretty nerve-wracking thing, preparing your wardrobe for a consultation with a stylist. But that’s exactly what I found myself doing one recent wet Wednesday, in anticipation of a visit from Natasha Musson. I’d been feeling uninspired about my clothes for a while (something to do with an extended Christmas period, sporting track pants and mad hair while wondering what day it is and whether there’s any brie left? I think so) and, well, lost in terms of style. During an initial telephone consultation with Natasha, she asked how I’d describe my style and it was almost impossible to answer. But never fear, perhaps our session could help me uncover it.

So back to my wardrobe. Or rather, series of hanging rails crammed with an assortment of clothes, 80% of which I never wear. What would she make of it, I wondered? 

Next day, Natasha arrived with her own industrial-strength clothes rail and after a bit of fashion chat over coffee, we set about transferring my wardrobe contents onto one rail, in logical sections of skirts, shirts, jackets and so on. There were things I’d forgotten I had and things that I nostalgically love. There we things that I can’t believe I ever bought or wore and things that actually, I hadn’t ever worn (it’s not just me, right?). Natasha’s approach, once she’d done her slick wardrobe sorting trick, is best likened to fashion therapy. ‘Tell me about this beauty,’ she says, holding up my favourite dress, and before we know it I’m talking about when I’ve worn it and with what and how it makes me feel. Some items I confess to being baffled by (you know, the quirky skirt that looked magnificent on the Anthropologie sale rail but that you have no clue what to wear it with) and others, simply unsure or unenthusiastic. But everything gets a fair hearing and Natasha has me try in each piece, then uses the rest of my wardrobe to find new and interesting ways to style it. 

It is a kind of magic. A purple sweater and a red belt bring new life to my favourite leopard-print maxi dress. A fine striped top turns a silk skirt I’d written off as formal attire only into my new favourite daytime outfit. We unearth forgotten shoes and jewellery to create new outfits from basics. I’m inspired. The effect lasts, too. In the weeks after Natasha’s visit, I wear the yellow Zara biker jacket I was so close to chucking out to an event (with tailored navy cropped trousers and a denim shirt) and was told I looked great by several people. I was brave enough to buy a long floral shirt dress from M&S and have been experimenting with layers (a life skill I’d never previously mastered). I feel far more connected with my clothes, having remembered why I love them in the first place. And, now that I’m actually bothering to take them out and show them a good time, it’s safe to say that me and my wardrobe are falling in love again.

Kate Foster is a Somerset-based writer. You can find out what she’s up to on Twitter.

How lucky was I to meet up with Natasha.  I live in the South of France but needed a fast and furious boost to my wardrobe.  We couldn’t work through what I already have so we had to dive in and just go out on a shopping experience.  Which we did with gusto!  Natasha gets to know you very quickly and is therefore able to suggest items to try that I might never have chosen myself.  Immediately I felt a sense of excitement and saw the possibility of change.  Change on your own isn’t always easy but with the help of professional, caring and expert support it all becomes possible.  I loved my time with Natasha and now feel re-energised, more confident and reassured.  I had felt that late 60’s was a perilous time to get stuck in a rut – that’s never going to happen when I have someone like Natasha on my team!  Thank you and it won’t be the last time that we shop together!!

Maggie

My shopping day with Natasha was everything I had hoped it would be. She was able to pick out clothes and create styles for me that not only looked good but felt great. It completely took away the stress I usually feel when shopping and I actually enjoyed the experience, something that hasn't happened for years!! It took Natasha four hours to complete a capsule wardrobe for me, something that would have taken me many days to do. Well worth the money!

Karen, Wells

Natasha, Thank you for an utterly brilliant day! I've never felt as happy nor smiled so much whilst shopping as I did with you! You gave me a sense of confidence in my purchases that is alien to me and I actually ENJOYED spending money on myself which is a first! I went out for a drink with a bunch of friends last night in my new boots, jeans, Bibico clothes and everyone loved it and commenting on them before I even had a chance to tell them what I'd been up to you wit you you! 

Jessica, Bath

It is delightful that every day since Friday I have had a compliment from saying 'wow you look great' or words to that effect. I think you have left a little style gremlin behind when you left as I no have an immaculately tidy wardrobe with a glamorous display of shoes on the shelf. There is an amazing sense of order now and everything is magically making itself keep all neat and tidy. Plus I definitely feel more elegant in myself and I'm am sure that I am standing taller and straighter. It is new to me this feeling of excitement about getting dressed up...this contrasts with the gloomy confused sense of doom I used to feel regarding my clothing. To my astonishment I find myself quite impressed by the quality of my clothes - I didn't know how nice my clothes are and don't know why I thought I had nothing to wear. I have millions of things to wear and and I feel more confident about wearing them in an artistic, exciting and different ways. Its a bit like showing off but in a nice way. It all feels really fun for a change.

 Anita, Somerset

An afternoon with Natasha was like having all my dreams come true in three hours! I always thought I had a good sense of style but after three kids, a demanding job and heavy social commitments I don't have much time to sort myself out and to be honest this was just what I needed. It was so much fun and having someone there to help style me and validate some of my choices made me feel so good! Natasha's energy and style was incredible and I loved all her tips as they were personalized towards me and not just generic things to do. I had the feeling Natasha could get a good sense of what I am like just by seeing the contents of my wardrobe. I feel like this was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. I am already planning what I want to show her next time she comes to my house! (There will definitely be a next time!) Thank you Natasha for your time, enthusiasm and style! 

Anu, London

Natasha was asked to meet up with our 16 year old daughter. She has just started her A level studies in sixth form. They went through her wardrobe one evening, examined what she had and talked about styles and fashion. Natasha listened to all our daughters preferences, worries and went on to encourage practical and wacky ideas using the clothes she already had. The evening consultation was quickly backed up with a recored of all the outfits they made and pics to make it easier and follow up with buying new. All the many tips and encouragement were summarised helpfully in a letter to go with the pictures. We have to say on the very first day back after half term our darling daughter created a new look and tried it for school. Brave! She had a very good day! I know she felt better about herself! Thank you Natasha for sharing your knowledge. It made me think too!

Karen, Bath

The Fashion Show we held in the autumn of 2013 was one of our most successful fundraising events to date. It raised a huge amount of money and helped us a reach lots of new people with our fundraising message. Having left all creative input to Natasha, our reputation was entirely in her hands. On the night the show was dazzling and we were so proud to be involved. She is hugely creative but she also needed to very organised as she was dealing with hundreds of different volunteers, suppliers, companies and individuals. She seemed to take all of this in her stride and brought them all together to create a truly memorable evening for everyone.

James Kirton Head of Fundraising, Flying Colours Charity

Natasha offers, in my opinion, an unrivalled personal styling service here in Bath.  She is personable, has extensive fashion knowledge and clearly takes much pride in ensuring her clients needs are not only met but exceeded.

Luciana Scarpino, Senior Manager Jigsaw Bath  

Every time I get dressed in the morning, I thank god for Natasha Musson!

Emily, Somerset

Thank you so much for a fun morning of wardrobe consulting.  It was very interesting and a great way to discover some old familiar friends at the back of my cupboard!!!! Thank you for the photos and your patience.   It was great fun and hopefully every time I open my cupboard I will have you as my little guardian angel on my shoulder telling me what to choose. 

Claudia, Somerset

Natasha. You are fabulous and have great energy, I love my new wardrobe and can’t wait to wear them from tomorrow - why wait :) thanks again xx

Bini Ludlow, Chef and owner of Sweet Cumin