Francesca

Hi, My name is Francesca. I’m a 19 year old student. My aunt and I went shopping for clothing recently as part of a gift and for an upcoming interview. I appreciated her suggestions but couldn’t imagine wearing any of them. We talked about it over lunch so that our afternoon could be more productive.

I’m not sure that I have a closet goal; the idea was new to me. My goal is to buy what I feel comfortable in so I can feel like myself. Many of my friends care what others think and post pictures on Instagram, but I don’t and I know that a lot of us don’t either. To me, they look alike and that’s not what I want.

I would follow style advice if I felt that it were really about me and I had the freedom to only follow the rules when I wanted.  If my friends and I have one goal in common, it might be that we look for how to look different. But I want to do different right, like having a style safety net.

Control of my appearance matters to me. My aunt thought people in my age group are looking for a distinct identity with clothing, but I disagreed. We are overloaded with messaging about “just be yourself”. It seems to be everywhere we go, in pictures, music, and social media. Some is in the context of “you can be anything you want” and some is about our unique self-expression, but really? We’ve heard it too many times.

I’m a student so I have to be economical, but I admit that a lot of my purchases end up in heaps on my bedroom floor, which I’m fine with for now. At the time, I loved all those pieces of clothing. I felt better when I wore them and it meant something to me that I chose them on my own.

What I buy depends more on what’s in the store than maturing in my own taste because a lot of those clothes, I might have bought last year too. I tell myself that if I had more income, I would buy more expensive clothes, but I know that the same repetition would probably happen.

So, yes, I would appreciate the option of a system that I could learn, and practice on the things I buy now. Doing image for yourself was my first exposure to the idea but I’d like to be my own best style consultant.

Instead of buying anything that afternoon, my aunt suggested we postpone the shopping trip and share another activity first. She booked a PCA session for me and we went together. First, I admit that I was surprised. If I hadn’t seen how much my face changed in different colours, I would never have believed it, but I felt comfortable the whole time.

The colour analyst was professional, with a framed certificate on the wall, and she was very organized about the process. The analyst and I went through a series of steps and she explained what to look for. My aunt kept pretty quiet (a first!) and let us work it out. It’s like a puzzle but it makes sense. In the end, we learned that I’m a Light Spring.

The next shopping trip was nothing like the first one. Totally different experience. Some stores, we walked in, looked around, and walked right back out. In other shops, we had a pile of items to try on and even looking at the stack, I could see how the colours worked together. I was starting to get how the PCA process would pay off over time. I’m still learning to think about what I buy in a new way.

I’m slowly going through the clothes I own and keeping a lot of them because they feel good or I have great memories about them. For the interview, I didn’t look like a student and I felt like myself in the outfit we bought. When I shop now, I actually have a closet project. I can remember what I already own and am committed to being less random in my purchases.

By my next birthday, my goal is to have an organized clothing system and no more piles on the floor. I’m going to new stores and feel good about talking to salespeople. I’m learning my priorities and feel more in control of what I spend. Sometimes, I get the feeling of my life taking on a new shape and I’m good with it.

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