A few years back my dear friend spent a day with a stylist. She was pampered with new hair, fresh makeup, a wardrobe audit and advice. I was very curious, and yes, just a wee bit jealous. My friend loved her experience and her hot new outfits but one morning with a stylist didn’t fundamentally change her style.
The idea of transformation or the revelation of our best selves is an alluring one.
It’s incredibly alluring after having babies and figuring out a new identity as a mother. It’s particularly compelling when it feels like every single thing in your life is dedicated to someone else. When clean hair, let alone a new do, seems completely out of reach. When the body that nurtured your child looks different to the one you had grown used to. A fairy style godmother, who will wave a wand and make you over is so tantalising. But I truly believe, that in the end, finding ones style isn’t something that can be outsourced. Guidance: definitely, but intrinsically it is entirely personal.
My lovely friend learned a lot during her session. But her body has changed again after a second baby, her lifestyle is different and the style advice she received doesn’t quite apply still. Our lives change so much during the period of early motherhood and sometimes its hard for our style to keep up. It would be nice to have a stylist on call who could help you figure out each stage. That’s probably out of reach for most of us. But what’s well within reach is Nikki Parkinson’s book: Unlock Your Style.
I love style and fashion. With a dress-maker for a mother, a boutique-owner for a mother-in-law and sisters-in-law who are consistently the best dressed in any room, it was inevitable. I also love books about style and fashion. I literally have bookshelves full of them. I adore Nikki’s blog, Styling You, but I will admit that when I first bought her book I wasn’t sure if it was going to cover new ground. I was pleasantly surprised to find it did. Loads of it.
The book is written in the same well-groomed and knowledgeable but at the same time chatty and accessible tone as Nikki’s blog. It’s a book that will appeal to fashionistas and the fashion-bamboozled alike. It doesn’t elevate fashion to ridiculous highs nor does it belittle it. It’s just full of solid advice.
The three things I love most are:
- Nikki throws out the rule book. After decades of being lectured about What Not to Wear by certain TV stylists, this was particularly refreshing. The approach taken in Unlock Your Style is more about finding what works for a person, rather than giving them a list of things to avoid. So much more fun, yes?
- The pages of Unlock Your Style will speak to women of all ages and stages. Perhaps certain trends can only be pulled off by the tall, young and slender, but style is something we can all have. I love how accessible Nikki has made her advice.
- The title of the book rings true. Nikki has layed out the groundwork but opening the lock remains a challenge for the reader. I love this. I love that this is not a book about meeting some preconceived idea of a stylish women or creating an army of Nikki clones, but rather is about unlocking the style unique to the reader.
This is how the book changed my style-life:
- It actually inspired me to clean out my wardrobe. Anything that inspires me to clean is pretty darn amazing.
- Whilst I pay attention to what I wear, more often than not I wear no make-up and pull my hair into a pony tail. Nikki covers hair, skin care and makeup in her book and it did make me realise that I should be considering the complete image I present. At least on some occasions.
- I used to be a bit embarrassed about loving fashion – it does seem pretty frivolous given all the horror in the world. Whilst Nikki acknowledges that she isn’t saving the world, she also gives some great arguments as to why it’s okay to get excited about style. That it is a pretty big part of our lives, that it is a valid form of creative expression and that looking good leads to feeling good. And we all want to feel good.