What is the power of personal style? on the Conscious Style Podcast
Elyse joins Elizabeth Joy on the Conscious Style podcast to talk about the (underestimated) power of personal style, changing your consumption habits, and building a values-driven business.
February 15, 2022
September 15, 2022
I had the pleasure and honor of joining Elizabeth Joy on her podcast, Conscious Style to talk about personal style, the importance of changing our own habits, and why style matters so much to us. Plus, go behind the scenes of building my business!
In this episode, Elyse and Elizabeth chat about:
- The power of style — and why that power has been so underestimated
- What personal style coaching is all about
- The importance of habits, why it’s so challenging to shift consumption behaviors
- How she integrates her values into her business
- The balance of fair pricing as a socially conscious business
- And my advice for others who want to start service-based slow fashion businesses of their own!
Tune in to this episode of the Conscious Style Podcast on your favorite podcast app.
Quick Links: Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, or Google Podcasts
On Elyse's own personal style journey:
You know, because I’m not a fashion person. I think a lot of personal stylists are often like fashion people who are like very interested in fashion. But I was a software engineer, like I do not have a fashion background and that wasn’t really how I came to things.
You know, I went through my own life transformation where style was just like a really painful part of my life. I had gotten engaged, I had a job that I really liked, I was like, who am I? Like, what does it mean to dress in a way that feels like me? This just feels wrong.
I feel like so much of my energy was sucked in this like negative spiral, right? I wanted to like style but I was like I want out of this cycle. And you know, I don’t think my journey is all that unique, actually. I think lots of people experience that.
So I went through my journey of figuring out… I read every book, I read every article, I read every blog. And I went through all those stages of being stuck and frustrated blaming my body, trying on all these different style identities.
I feel like we’re just stuck on this hamster wheel and I want to help people understand themselves, understand the relationship to clothes. So it really started with that, because I feel like our clothes and bodies are so caught up in like, there’s such a source of internalized sexism, internalized patriarchy, and like beauty standards, and like, shopping and consumptions, that’s a really excellent place to start thinking critically about our values.
On style being "frivolous":
Elizabeth: I think that’s really underestimated, like a lot of people assume that fashion is superficial, and maybe thinking about our personal style is frivolous, or whatever. But I like how you talk about style as more than just aesthetics, but that it really can influence our mindset, and so many aspects of our lives. So can you tell us more about that, like what you see as the power of style?
Elyse: This idea that style is frivolous is one of the things that keeps us in some of our bad behaviors. Well, I can’t think about it seriously, I can’t take it seriously. It’s shameful to take it seriously, or to look really seriously at my spending. And so we are like, well, I shouldn’t spend so much money on clothes, I’m going to restrict myself. But we don’t really take a look at the underlying reasons, because it’s “just clothes”, it’s “just shopping”, it’s just haha girls go to the mall. We don’t, you know, we don’t look at it really deeply. And that’s, I think that stops us from understanding how powerful it actually can be.
On the difference between a personal stylist versus a style coach:
The main difference is that I don’t shop for my clients. I work with my clients to help them define their personal style, look at their shopping habits, learn to shop strategically, and look at their self identity.
So we do a mix of style education. So that is the kind of the styling part: it’s like, fabrics, colors fits proportions, like, how do you make clothes look the way you want them to look on your body? How do I decide what I even like? But we also do a lot of mindset and emotional support, unpacking our stories, a lot of coaching, a lot of self reflection, habits, science. I love like brain science, behavior change, you know, so we look at like personal values and stuff like that.
And it’s really teaching you the skills, you need to incorporate how you want to show up, incorporate how you want to shop — not just how to make outfits. So you’re really doing the work and I’m a guide.
My focus is really like how do I get my clients to learn how to do that for themselves. So they never have to be reliant on me or anybody else in the future.
You’re looking at your closet, your outfits, what you like, through guidance and worksheets and exercises that I’m providing. And then you submit that work to me and I provide personalized feedback just for you. So you’re getting my eyes and attention. But you’re actually still like going through yourself so that you’re learning as you do it.
So just the other week, I had a client who submitted some photos of herself in jeans that she didn’t like, and some inspirational photos of outfits, and she was like, are the jeans that my photos like the ones that I have in the inspiration? Like they never fit the way that I want. How do I make jeans work? Should I just give up on jeans? Jeans are hard. Like how do I like why can’t I make this work for me?
And so I get to provide her some feedback on that but she has to go out and try on some other pairs or cuff or hem hers or like fix the waist or like try on different styles. It’s up to her to determine whether or not she’s happy with the way that that looks in the end, instead of me going, oh, buy these. These are the ones that you want.
On meeting you where you are:
Elizabeth: So I’m curious, how do you sort of meet people where they’re at, and integrate sustainable and slow fashion values in your work, while giving clients advice and guidance?
Elyse: I honestly believe that to get anybody to change, we have to meet you where you are. I can’t tell you how many times I hear stuff like, my body has changed, I had to buy new clothes but I feel too guilty. The old ones don’t fit and what do I do? I feel so bad in all my clothes. I hate everything in my closet but then I feel so guilty that the fashion industry is so terrible, that I’d rather personally suffer because I’m obviously personally responsible for climate change. If I buy anything and it comes in the mail in a plastic bag like it’s all my fault. People get truly frozen and I think that they are unable to wear clothes that make them feel good and also unable to do any fashion activism because they’re just like, What do I do? Like, how do I navigate this?