Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Sheila Dicks, style coach and owner of Women In Style. Among other things, we talked about how finding your personal style can reduce stress and help you dress with ease. Listen in and Sheila will tell you some important things about finding your personal style, dressing with ease (stress free!), and eliminating closet frustration.
Dr. Heather Clark: Hello everybody. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing the fabulous Sheila Dicks. Sheila is a style coach who help women choose styles they love to wear. Here’s the best part, she does it so they feel confident and relaxed to do their best work. Today she’s going to talk to us about dressing with ease.
Sheila Dicks: Hi Heather.
Dr. Heather Clark: How did you came to be doing what you do?
Sheila Dicks: As far back as I can remember, as a child I always love pretty things. I love visual colors, beautiful clothes and surroundings. For example, I love makeup and lipstick and when the Avon ladies to come visit I just couldn’t wait because she used to bring little lipsticks that were about two inches long, that’s what I remember and they were white and they came at all different colors. So I just love to see her come. I got the lipstick, my mom didn’t get them.
I used to love dressing up with high heels. As you know, if you’re eight years old high hills don’t fit very well, your mothers don’t. I always wish they would come in smaller sizes.
When I was eight I wanted the strangest thing for Christmas. I wanted a champagne glass. A champagne glass to me was really a wine glass. The reason I wanted it was because it reminded me of beautiful things and I had a wonderful imagination and I still do and I would imagine just that glass to take me up to different places and all kinds of things and beautiful places of course.
I also loved experimenting with clothes and I would dress up. I came from a place where there wasn’t a lot to do and so I would dress up, I would make all kinds of different outfits from everything, even scarfs.
My issue was that my mom controlled what I wore. As you can tell, I love to get dressed and being able to choose my own clothes would have been really nice but she chose what I wore. She would buy me clothes that were nice and they were expensive but I didn’t like them, they were just too stuffy for me.
Also, she made me wear a uniform to school and the kicker is that it wasn’t school policy so nobody else wore uniform, I was the only one. I think the reason she did it was because she wanted to make a good impression and she did that through me and that’s what she thought. Our clothes represent who we are and who we get to be and that’s my main thing that I tell people. It also influences how we feel.
An obvious example of this is because I wore a uniform to school, I didn’t get the feel how I wanted to and it restricted me. Not only was I boxed up and stuffy because the blouse that went with the uniform was also pressed and starched. I was boxed up that way but I also couldn’t go sliding with the rest of the kids. I couldn’t really express my real self.
Now, as adults, it’s a little more subtle. I got married when I was young to a man who didn’t really get the whole love your clothes thing and he would make a big fuzz over anything that I bought, my clothes mostly. He thought that clothes were meant for necessity and that I shouldn’t be buying anymore as I needed.
That suppressed my authentic self and I felt sad and unfulfilled. At that time I didn’t have this confidence and the guts to really stand up to him until a little later on I did leave and the turning point came when I started taking control of my life and living the way I wanted to live and that included how I dressed.
I met some wonderful teachers and mentors and I started to dress in a way that felt good and that was me and that I could express myself. I learned it so well because I read a lot of books, I did a lot of training. It was in the forefront of my mind that it started showing up all over the place. My confidence improved, I took on bigger and bigger challenges and now I noticed that I’m not scared, for example, to speak in front of large groups and it never used to be like that because I was always self-conscious.
When you feel confident in what you’re wearing, you don’t have to worry, then you just think about what you have to say. So that’s one stress gone away. I notice more people value my opinion more and the bottom line is I feel a lot better.
My goal is to teach women how to do that. How to learn from what I’ve done so I can share with them. I’m also going to share some of that with you today.
Dr. Heather Clark: That’s a great story. That really resonates with me and I’m certain that resonates with a lot of other people out there. Because not only do I too remember those lipsticks from Avon, loved those, but the dressing up. Where I grew up there also wasn’t a lot to do. I remember very clearly dressing up and that really transports you to somewhere else. I can [inaudible 00:06:04] with your whole story as you began to dress really for the interview, it’s like it transported you but making you more confident. Your outside is really reflecting who you are inside. That’s fantastic.
I know, you have a lot of different steps and learning how to dress with ease. What’s your first step?
Sheila Dicks: When I work with clients I always begin with finding their personal style and their personal style is a style that really makes them feel joyful and clothes they love to wear. Everybody is different. Everyone is unique and because your clothes affect how you feel, you want to be able to choose clothes that you have some say into.
Say, you want to feel enthusiastic and that’s one of your main things that you want to feel. You want to choose clothes that when you put them on that’s how you feel. My goal is to … whenever my clients, if they have a whole closet full of clothes that they just love to wear.
I have an exercise that we can do, if you don’t mind, that will show your listeners just how that works.
Dr. Heather Clark: That would be great because I have a closet full of clothes and I don’t necessarily love all of them. Yes.
Sheila Dicks: I want you to close your eyes and if you’re driving, don’t do this, but close your eyes and think of yourself in a situation where you would like to feel more confident. It might be walking into a room full of people you don’t know. It might be being on stage or it might be going out on a first date. So they know that situation.
Imagine now that you’re in this place, it’s a few months from now and you’re wearing an outfit you love you feel really confident in. You’re glowing and everyone notices. What words would you use to describe the feelings that that outfit brings out in you?
For example, you might feel enthusiastic, like I said before, you may feel inspired. The words are for you. Just a couple of seconds, write down those words and how they make you feel. Do you want to share one of your words?
Dr. Heather Clark: Yes. The three words that came to me, calm, centered and expressive.
Sheila Dicks: Very nice. That just shows how words are different for everybody. Everyone’s wardrobe is going to be different for that reason, that’s just one reason. When people meet you they see what you’re wearing first. They draw opinions about you based on what you’re wearing. Those opinions may or may not be right and that’s just the way we’re built as to what happens or visual.
We want to have some control over that and align who we are, a real person and how we look. Together, it makes a huge difference in these people we attract. Then we attract people who we resonate with more, who resonate with us.
If you’re trying to get clients for example, you will attract clients who resonate more with you if your inner is showing more on your outer. If you’re trying to get your soul mate, it makes sense to dress in a way that resonates with you. Because so many people and this is the way society is, people will dress according to what fashion states.
Even though I’m in the fashion realm I’m more on the lines of style than fashion. I do like some fashion sprinkled in but I’m more align with style. If you just follow what the style is or what the fashion is and what people wear that they think is attractive, you won’t attract the person who you want to attract. You will attract somebody but it won’t be the person who’s in alignment with you.
That’s a reason a lot of women have trouble when they attract men because they try to get this sexy thing going on which is really not their idea of sexy and they attract the wrong person. It’s very important to have your outer image in alignment with your inner image and that’s where I always start first.
Dr. Heather Clark: I thought that saves a lot of time and a lot of frustration.
Sheila Dicks: I does.
Dr. Heather Clark: Dressing for who you are doesn’t go off.
Sheila Dicks: It saves you a lot of money. It saves you money because you don’t buy clothes that you don’t like and most women have clothes in their closets that are just hanging there they don’t wear. It also saves you time because you’re not out shopping for things and you have it on your mind that you don’t have what you need. Yeah, it’s a wonderful all kinds of different ways.
Dr. Heather Clark: That’s great. I very much want to hear more. What are some of the other ways that you decide what’s great on you and what you love to wear?
Sheila Dicks: We’re all different personalities, we’re also different body shapes. Some women are tall, some are short, some have large hips, some have large bust, small waist. Everyone has different proportions horizontally and vertically.
Example, vertically, one person could have a long wait and the other person might have a short waist. Or someone has long legs, another person has short legs. That’s how your clothes look on you will be affected by where your weight is distributed and where your height is distributed. It’s both ways.
Manufacturers make clothes to fit the ideal body shape which is 7 heads down. Probably, I think it’s 2% of women who actually fit into that. That leaves a lot of people out and that’s why there’s so much women who are frustrated with shopping because they don’t know which styles look good on them to start. Then what they think looks good won’t fit. The crotch could be too short or the sleeves are too long.
Even in the things that improve a little while ago when they decided to bring in petites. Even petite people are different sizes because it’s from 5 foot 2 to five foot … 5 feet to 5 foot 2. Everyone is still different even petites so it makes it much more difficult to fit your size.
It’s important to know what your body shape is, that means where your weight is distributed, where your height is distributed. Because clothes act as complete illusions and I just love this part. I’m a [scenes 00:14:23] dress from years ago and I used to make all my clothes at one time. I found it fascinating about how clothes wearing a certain top would look totally different on one person than it would on another person. The different lines and what they do to people.
You still need sometime … because people are different sizes, a lot of times women need to get clothes tailored. That’s okay if they don’t buy a lot of it and if they buy good quality and they buy the things that are well-suited for them.
If you buy a lot of clothes and none of it [inaudible 00:15:03] you could spend a lot of money on tailoring. But if it’s done in a great way then it’s very good. That’s the second thing.
I think, for me, knowing your body shape is not the most important, its’ the second most important to know that. When you know that, when you go in a store, you don’t need to look at everything because you know what looks good. You don’t need to try it all on because you know which type of skirt will fit you well, which type of top and you don’t need to try everything on.
Dr. Heather Clark: That would be wonderful because I’m someone who goes in the dressing room with at least entire armload of clothes and often comes out with maybe nothing, maybe one thing. That would be a huge time and frustration favor since you’d be able to look at it, so, “Okay, that’s not going to work. This is moving on.” That’s great.
Sheila Dicks: It gets easier. I’ll tell you later, but it gets easier.
Dr. Heather Clark: What about colors? Because I’ve noticed there are some colors that I wear and I just look fantastic and then other colors I just don’t. It could be the same shirt in two different colors where the turquoise, one will look great on me and then the black one makes me look slight ill. Tell me more about how we can find colors that are better for us.
Sheila Dicks: You remember, I said body shape was the second most important, color is most important thing. Yeah. When you wear the right colors, your lines on your face are less apparent. Your eyes shine more. Your hair is shinier and your skin looks better. When you wear the wrong colors your dark circles show up more. Lines are more obvious. It make great sense to wear the colors that are perfect for you.
You mentioned black, but black is not a color but it’s a great wardrobe staple because it can be used to mix and match the well and stuff and you can easily find it. But it’s not great near your face, unless you’re young you can get all way with it much more easily. That’s why it will wash both people out because it just does that. You can wear black but you need to have other color around your face and when you do it.
Color, the right colors will make your skin look wonderful. Non colors will wash you out. The thing is that most people will think too well, because years ago people used to get their colors done and they would be either a fall or the autumn, spring, winter and summer. That confines you to just a small number of colors.
Women, “I don’t want to do that. I want to wear more colors. The thing is the colors systems have improved a lot since then and you can wear any color. Most people can wear any color is just getting that shade right and the intensity of it right.
I just wrote an article last week about yellow because most people think they can’t wear yellow. If a yellow is blue based, if it’s a blue based or orange based and your skin is either blue based or yellowish based. If you, say, your skin has blue wonder tones, if you pick a yellow that has bluish undertones it will look better on your skin tone and it will suit you.
It’s great that you can wear all different colors. The thing is you need to get a professional style of color analysis to a person to do it and then you can know which colors look best on you. Like I said before Heather, when you go shopping then, now you know your body shape. Once you know your color is well you can really avoid a lot of things, a lot of different outfits.
What happens when you get to know how to shop you know what you’re looking. You know what … when you’re filling your wardrobe, you know what to look for and what colors and you don’t need to … you can almost go in and ask the sales person, “Do you have this in this color?” and your shopping is done. That makes it a lot easier too.
Dr. Heather Clark: That’s fabulous. I read your article and I thought it was great because now I am reconsidering my position on yellow.
Sheila Dicks: You didn’t wear yellow either?
Dr. Heather Clark: No, but the yellows I selected before don’t really look good on me and it occurs to me it’s simply not the right yellow.
That’s great. I’m really curious about body shape. Can you talk more about more reasons why that’s important and maybe a couple of clues of how we can figure all that out.
Sheila Dicks: There are five different body shapes, just general ones. Now, people, like I said, are all different, but there’s five you could mostly fit into. For example, there is the body shape that is called inverted triangle where the person has broad shoulders, they have a large bust, they have a thick waist, they don’t have any derriere, it’s flat. They have narrow hips and slim legs. A lot of women have that body shape.
The whole idea about dressing is to make it all … make your body have an hour glass figure where it comes in at the waist. What you do is you balance the bottom and the top. In this body shape the top is too big for the bottom. You want to make the top part look smaller and you do that by using lines in clothing.
For example, one would be a v-neck and a deep v-neck. A person could wear … an easy example would be just a v-neck sweater or blouse but you can also create a v-neck with a jacket and how you do that is, say, you wear a light color top and then put a darker color jacket over it that still creates a v. When a person looks at you, their eye travels down the v in a slims upper body which will make the lower body look bigger in comparison. That’s one example.
Dr. Heather Clark: That is fantastic. I’ve seen all kinds of possibilities here. If I’m getting this, if I understand this correctly, once I figure out my body shape and the colors that I really look good in it will be easy to find styles that suit all of that. As a result, I love everything in my closet. Is that right?
Sheila Dicks: Yeah, you’re getting closer. Now that you love your clothes … it’s never over is it? Now you love your clothes, your next step is to dress with ease. Remember, say, if you were my client and we did all these stuff. You know your best clothes, what you love, your styles, your colors and everything but you still have that closet. Just think about your closet, you still have that.
The next step is to end your closet frustration and closet frustration is when you look in your closet in the morning and you want to find something else there to wear. You know there’s something else but you just end up wearing the same thing you wore before. Because for one thing usually it’s morning and you don’t really have a lot of time.
What I do is, the last step is to get through your closet, take out things that you don’t wear either because they’re too tight, too small, too itchy, that’s one reason. It could be because you bought it and it was really expensive and is now out of style or you have nowhere to wear it. Women will hang on to things like that but it just clutters and creates bad energy or a stagnant energy I should say in your closet.
The third thing is clothes that you bought on sale. I could talk for another hour about buying clothes on sale. It’s a huge mistake but I’ll just give you one tip. If you see something that’s on sale, just ask yourself, “Would I buy this if it wasn’t on sale? Will I buy that full price?” If your answer is no don’t buy it. Women gets caught in that trap just so much and what happens it ends up in the closet not being worn. It’s not a bargain if you don’t wear it or it doesn’t look right on you.
When you get all those stuff out of your closet, just visualize this now, all the stuff is out and you might be trying to drag yourself away from getting rid of it but you’ve managed to it and now you have a closet that has things in it that you like. It has the colors you like and it has the styles you like. That’s where you start.
I’m sure, because in most women, have things in their closet that in addition of one item they can make probably four, five more. This is where we start then you add things that are the right color, the right style and things you love. Now your closet becomes a place that has everything in that you love. And then you start putting outfits together so you know how you can make a whole bunch of things that are few terrific outfits.
Even though you don’t have a lot of clothes, you have a lot of different looks and that makes it a lot easier rather than trying to go through with a closet that stuffed that you can’t find anything in and you don’t know where to start. Do you have a closet frustration?
Dr. Heather Clark: I do, in fact here what’s exciting about what you told. As you went down this, first of all, that there’s stagnant energy in the closet makes complete sense to me. Stagnant energy is actually a mild form of stress. So my closet is exerting stress just by being like it is. Then I experienced a little stress when I thought about pulling out everything that I don’t love and I’m picturing there’s maybe four or five things now left in the closet.
Sheila Dicks: Hopefully more than that.
Dr. Heather Clark: Probably more than that. What’s really exciting is adding one thing and getting four or five new outfits. It’s like you’ve removed all of the stress from dressing and I just got it on a whole new level, but that’s what you’re talking about when you talk about dressing with ease. You streamline the morning, you streamline travel because, shoot, you could just throw those things in a suitcase and you’re done, you’ll know you look great. Then you’ll go into the world more confident, feeling good and then you can reflect whatever you want to.
One of my words at our first exercise was expressive, that makes perfect sense how you could easily put together an outfit that really reflects that. This is very exciting Sheila.
Sheila Dicks: I think it is too, that’s why I do it.
Dr. Heather Clark: This is great. One of the other things that really strikes me, because as I think about the people I work with, when people are burned out and have a lot of stress, everything is harder. This is one-two punch. First of all you’ve made getting dressed and looking great really easy. Then the second part of that is when you look good you feel good, so it’s easier to feel better. This is wonderful. I’m so glad to talk to you.
Sheila Dicks: I didn’t even mentioned accessories which is another story.
Dr. Heather Clark: If you add a couple of accessories, does that move it from four or five additional outfits to maybe like eight additional outfits? What mileage can you get from accessories?
Sheila Dicks: Not so much mileage, it just changes it a little bit. You can change it from evening to daytime, from professional to evening, that kind of thing. Accessories can do that. Accessories are scarfs, belts, pushes, shoes, jewelry.
The thing about accessories too is you choose the ones that reflect your personality. This is where you really get your own self into it.
Dr. Heather Clark: Let’s say your favorite dress is maybe a style that doesn’t actually look good on your own figure. You select something that looks great on your figure. But then you show your expressiveness into, perhaps, your scarf or your earrings or things like that. You become the total package.
Sheila Dicks: Yeah. Is it fun isn’t it?
Dr. Heather Clark: It is. Of course I’m seeing all possibilities for myself, but also for clients, because there is very little downside to making things easier and feeling and looking great.
Sheila Dicks: Right. Also, for me, it comes from my desire to make things pretty. I wants things to look nice.
Dr. Heather Clark: I think most of us deep down really can relate to that. This has been fun.
Sheila Dicks: Yes it has.
Dr. Heather Clark: What I do want to let people know is because I know you’re keenly interested in learning more about all of these. Sheila is offering a complimentary 30 minutes style session where you can get your most burning style question answered which is fantastic. Simply go to the bottom of this page and we’ve got a link for Sheila’s schedule, click that and book that three minute style session. You will not regret it.
Sheila, thank you so much. This has been very enlightening and I’ve enjoyed this immensely.
Sheila Dicks: I’m glad. Yeah, it’s been wonderful. Thank you.
Dr. Heather Clark: Great. Thank you so much.
Sheila Dicks: Okay.
Dr. Heather Clark: Bye-bye.
Sheila Dicks: Bye.