By Liliana J Stephenson
Multilingual Educator and International Junior Cricket Advocate
“What’s your style?” Tami asked as we settled down on her couch. She looked at me, laptop open, fingers awaiting my response. I searched her face, hoping to find the answer somewhere in her cheery countenance.
“Ummmm...cover my body before I go into public?” I shrugged. “Is that a thing?”
Silence. She just smiled and started to type.
Desperate to fill the awkward void, I blurted, “My friend Elizabeth is the epitome of Daily Stunning. Her closet is filled with what she loves—retro pin up dresses. It doesn’t matter if she’s lounging at home or going out, she just exudes...fabulous.”
Elizabeth had once told me a story in which she urged her mother-in-law to purchase a luscious green velvet dress.
“Wherever would I wear it?” her mother-in-law asked.
“To the store, Mother.”
To the store always reminded me of Elizabeth’s approach to getting dressed: if you’re excited about something in your closet, wear it. Wear it to the store. Wear it in your house. I tried her style, but we don’t have the same body type. She has ample chest and a flat bum and I have a flat chest and ample hips. I tried buying one of those dresses online, but it just didn’t fit me right, even though I used their size guide.
I got out my laptop and started working as well, searching random word strings in pursuit of the magic answer to the age old question: How do I find clothes that fit me properly?
“Tami...” I trailed off thoughtfully after closing yet another browser window. “What if we could give clients suggestions about what types of things would fit them well, even if they hadn’t worn something like that before—you know, play with Daily Stunning? They could confidently come to Poppy & Dot, and know they would be receiving clothes that actually flattered them!”
Tami was enthusiastic about the idea. She really did want women to get excited about what’s in their closets, because she knew what it was like to not be. She shared her plight of the past: spending way too much time trying to find clothes that fit properly until she’d been left to wonder if it was all a myth.
We researched website after website, considering different opinions and ideas, but we wanted scientific facts. Finally, I came across a university website that had posted a document from their textile and design department. Therein contained the reasons why certain clothes, fabrics, flatter some shapes and not others.
We pored over the information and took notes, contemplated, and discussed.
“Let’s put something on the website that allows customers to look for products based on ratios, dimension, body type! That way a client could know straight away whether something would work or not, based on textile science.” Frenzied clickity-clackity continued until I realized I was the only one clickity-clacking. I felt eyes on me. Unsettled, I looked up to see Tami with a peculiar expression on her face. I had no idea what it meant, but my gut was suddenly twisting with anxiety.
“Perfect!” she said, after what seemed like ages. “Let’s start with you.”
I blinked. My brain stammered, tripping over every possible reason why I couldn’t possibly do something like this, but my throat couldn’t seem to produce a sound. I just started at her, like a deer in...something much more intimidating than headlights...much more intimidating. Train lights?
“This is why you came out, right?” Tami earnestly inquired.
For a minute, silence was my only response.
Finally, I heard myself say, “I mean, in theory, but…”
Her peculiar expression turned into a full-on grin. “You’re going to have to be open-minded.”
Quickly, I tried to find some clever retort to hide my apprehension. “Sounds like open-minded styling,” fell out of my mouth instead.
What did I just say? Open-minded styling?
That phrase just grabbed me, sat me down, and stared me in the face.
“I like the sound of that,” Tami said, looking satisfied. “Let’s see what that looks like on you.”