Interview with Blogger Sally McGraw
Today I am SO excited to bring you an interview with one of my favorite bloggers, Sally McGraw of Already Pretty. Sally describes herself as a “blogger, freelance journalist, style and body-image writer.” Sounds like a lot, right? Yes, and that’s one of the reasons I love her blog–there are so many different features. She posts photographs of her outfits; she references pop culture; she answers styling and body image questions from readers; she talks about and questions cultural norms of beauty; she features other relevant bloggers; she makes sale picks. It’s what I would consider a really well-rounded blog–there’s something for everyone.
One of Sally’s projects is wardrobe consultations. You can hire her to help you take a look at your closet and figure out new ways to wear old clothing that are on trend and that will flatter your figure. This means you’re not spending hundreds of dollars on all new clothing–you’re creating a new wardrobe from the clothing you already have! Brilliant. Since full clutch is all about smart style, we asked Sally to share some of her insights about wardrobe retooling and saving versus splurging.
Images courtesy Already Pretty.
Describe what you do during your wardrobe consultations.
I ask the client to do a brutal closet purge, procure a bra and panty set that fits perfectly, and write a paragraph or two about style goals in advance of our meeting. Then I come over and look at what she’s got in her closet. I ask her to try on various clothing items for me so I can see them on her body, and we discuss her figure flattery priorities. Together, we assemble 6-12 great outfits from what the client already owns. I follow up with an e-mailed summary of our work and suggestions for up to 15 items she might want to purchase to complete her current wardrobe, including links to said items in her size.
How did you become interested in this work?
I love writing for my blog, but I also love working with people in person. Some folks can read instructions, apply them in real life, and learn tons … but others need a more personal touch. I wanted a way to help women connect dressing well with feeling confident and fabulous, and have found that working on style consults does just that!
What skills/insights/techniques do you use to help people with this task? How did you hone these skills?
Honesty and diplomacy are key, as anything related to bodies and style is extremely emotional territory. I also need to be able to think on my feet for long periods of time, as the consults run three hours and we’re working the whole time! I write about style and body image nearly every day, so my brain has become conditioned to use gentle, supportive phrasing rooted in honesty. And in terms of thinking on my feet, I’m still learning. After most consults, I need to head home and take a nap before I can string a coherent sentence together!
What do you find are some of the most common misconceptions about style, or mistakes people make with their own personal style choices?
Many women seem to think there’s a magic formula to dressing well. There isn’t. Style is personal, and what looks amazing on Susan might look bizarre on Jane. It takes time to suss out what will work for YOU, but once you do it can feel incredibly rewarding. Most women also focus on clothing, when so much of what makes outfits look finished and pulled-together comes down to accessories and shoes.
What types of wardrobe items should people splurge on?
Anything that gets daily or near-constant use. The classics are shoes, handbags, and coats and I generally agree … but the splurges should be the shoes, handbags, and coats you’re going to wear and use until they fall to bits! Not the fun, trendy, slightly impractical shoes, handbags, and coats that tempt us to spend big.
What types of wardrobe items should people get on the cheap?
Layering items like tanks and tees. Why spend $90 at Vince when you can spend $9 at Target? An item that isn’t a centerpiece needn’t be expensive.
What do you most love about your line of work? What is most rewarding?
I love the feedback that I get. I am constantly humbled by the e-mails and letters I receive telling me that my writing has helped women along their own body image journeys. I want to empower women, help them feel confident and strong. I’m extremely grateful that I’ve found a way to do that by utilizing something as ubiquitous as personal style. I’m very lucky, and I know it!