As a designer, I’m occasionally asked my opinion not only about what I’m designing for them, but colors, accessory choices, hair, etc. That makes sense. As women, we can easily bond over a pair of shoes, jewelry or a great handbag.
But, on other occasions I come across the ‘pleaser’ client. I call them the pleaser because they tend to seek the approval of everyone around them without recognizing what they like. The pleaser asks everyone their opinion and is so busy trying to ‘please’ everyone, they forgot and never learn how to please themselves.
As much as I like a challenge, these clients leave me perplexed and often frustrated because 9 time out of 10 they will not be satisfied with the finished product. No matter how many people’s approval they receive. Why? Because it is very difficult, if not impossible, to please someone who doesn’t know their own tastes.
“They said I should wear this”
“They said that won’t look right”.
As fashion designers, sometimes, we are often forced into a role of counselor. When I get the ‘pleaser’ (and I can tell right away), I begin to ask myself….
“Who are THEY?”, “Why does their opinion matter?”, ” Are THEY wearing it?”
Most importantly…. “are THEY paying for it?”
All those questions can be answered when I ask, “Well, What do you like?”
It is a simple question, but it can tell a lot about a person. Sometimes we get so caught up in other things (a jobs, relationships, marriage, children, etc.), we forget our own tastes and likes.
I, myself struggled with this concept from time to time. Born of the Sagittarius sign, we are notorious for keep strict regimes. You can set a clock to my daily routine and although it keeps things organized, we forget to step outside the box to see what we really like. As we mature, we also need to realize what our tastes change. What we liked 5 years ago can differ from what we enjoy now.
In terms of fashion, when following the latest trends, colors, etc. it isn’t necessary to buy a new wardrobe each season (one could hope, right?), instead pick one or two trends that fit your personal style and taste.
For example, one of the hottest trends for the season is color blocking. Yes, remember those days of looking like a Rubic’s cube? Well, it’s back. Not as bold and drastic, but the trend from the 80’s has made a return on the runways for the last few seasons.
Instead of heading to the mall to pick up that color block dress or tunic, that may not fit into your personal style, head to the closet and mix two different bright colors together with a neutral color. For example- bright top and bottom, then add a neutral belt. Isn’t that better?
Mixing your personal style and what you like gives you a sense of confidence, right?
Now, I’m not saying clothes make the woman (or man), but face it, we are living in a visual society and impressions are made within the first 15seconds. Hey, don’t shoot me, I didn’t make the rules…..
When you hone into your personal tastes and style, it gives you a sense of who YOU are and what YOU like. Notice, I didn’t mention anything about price. My shopping hotspots range from Saks and Nordstrom’s to the thrift, to (of course), making it myself, but when I put it all together….I love each and every piece.
Knowing what I like gives me a sense of power and knowing who I am and most importantly, confidence. If i know i look my absolute best for that situation at that moment and I love it, then it doesn’t matter what ‘they’ say…
Because if I like it, who cares?
About the writer:
Drue Thompson is a fashion designer of women’s and men’s apparel based in Cleveland, Ohio under the label, druChristine Couture. The designer has worked in several facets of fashion including stylist, costume designer, image consultant, fashion show producer and freelance writer.