Cate Linden

bespoke personal styling

My Blue Skirt and the Magic of Personal Image Analysis

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I bought this skirt three years ago. I'd found a wonderful etsy seller who sewed custom skirts. She had a couple different styles available, and you could use her in-stock fabric or send your own. I ordered some fabric samples, picked out a navy linen (probably Soft Autumn, but close enough for me) and shipped her the yardage. I gave her my waist measurement and my preferred hem length, and a couple weeks later my skirt arrived. It was a moderately expensive garment, and at the time I remember feeling very fancy and even overly self-indulgent having something custom made for me.

I have now worn this skirt so many times that it has cost me a quarter or less per wear. I've worn it in every season, in multiple states. I've worn it on playdates, on real dates, for professional photos, for PCAs. I've worn it with sweaters and with tanks, with belts and without. One day I snagged it on a nail and felt real panic. I had it darned.

I'd invested in wardrobe pieces before, to ill effect: a very tailored Mad Men-style dress that made me feel claustrophobic and left me tugging the skirt down all night, cashmere v-necks that looked elegant online and frumpy on me, pointy-toed flats that felt like a costume. These pieces depressed me when I looked at them; they were beautiful (and expensive!) but wrong for me, and I didn't know why. Like many women, I blamed my body. 

When I was draped as a Dark Autumn during my PCA training in March 2014, I had one autumn shirt in my wardrobe, and I'd spent the previous five years pregnant or nursing. I needed a new wardrobe badly. But when I wandered into the mall, I was still confused. I knew I needed rich autumn colors, but what about shapes? I knew what I liked, but buying what I liked had led me astray so many times that I knew it was not a reliable strategy.

Rachel Nachmias of Best Dressed was truly my guardian angel during this time. A fellow color analyst, she had fine-tuned an image archetype system based on your bone structure, your flesh type, and your individual essence. I was fascinated, and like I had with PCA before my training, I tried to figure out my archetype myself. This did not go so well. In fact, it went just like all of my shopping experiences before: I bought things and felt wrong in them.

Eventually I came to Rachel for help, and she explained to me, through a detailed analysis of my features, why I am a Yin Natural and no other type- much like your color analyst explains to you during a draping why you are a Dark Autumn and no other season. She indulged my many neurotic "Huh! Really? Well, what about this?" questions, gave it to me straight when I was trying to rationalize iffy purchases, and frankly turned my wardrobe completely around. When shopping during those first couple years, I held close the "autumn wood nymph" nickname she'd given me. It was an image that resonated with me, an image I could easily visualize, and an image I could build a workable- but not boring- wardrobe around.

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For the first time in my life I felt that I was well dressed, and without any agonizing effort. I bought things according to the guidelines for my archetype, and I felt good in them. I learned how to stay true to my own personal taste while choosing shapes that flattered my body. I did this on a budget, picking up pieces here and there, and I still maintain a smaller wardrobe. When I purchased my beloved blue skirt, I knew where and how it would sit on my waist. I knew it would be the proper length for my proportions. I knew the cut of the skirt would allow for the curve of my hips without distorting my shape. It was a purchase made in simple confidence, and that confidence has extended to each and every time I've worn it. 

Over my four years of providing Personal Color Analysis, I regretted that I could not personally help my clients with this other, crucial piece of the getting dressed puzzle. And so I am completely over-the-moon thrilled to announce that after an intensive training with Rachel, I am now offering Personal Image Analysis to my own clients.

This transformational service can now be scheduled via my calendar, with appointments beginning in May. Personal Image Analysis is available both remotely and at my studio in Louisville, KY.

And if you're in Boston, you have a one-time opportunity for a specially priced PIA while I'm in town April 21-24, 2018.