As the stylish women of Essex make their way back into the office, personal stylist and founder of One of a Style, Stefania, examines the boom in demand for smarter style – despite what experts were predicting
As Karl Lagerfeld once said, “sweatpants are a sign of defeat,” but with nowhere to go and no one to see, 2020 saw many professionals turning to their loungewear as they fielded calls from home. But despite many predictions that this penchant for relaxed style would continue as real life ramped up again, London-based personal stylist Stefania has seen a surge in bookings as clients seek out help to reinvent themselves post-pandemic.
With a background in fashion, design and product development, Stefania founded One of a Style as a way to make styling more accessible to everyone by focusing on the qualities that make each client unique, rather than what is currently considered fashionable.
“For me, personal styling is about so much more than clothes. I explore my clients’ opinions, their personalities and lifestyles, as well as their home and work environments. I consider their physical features, but also their attitudes and sense of personal expression.”
Since the pandemic, she’s seen a huge shift in attitude towards personal style.
“Over the last few months I’ve seen a huge increase in demand for my services – even more so than since before the pandemic – from women wanting to create a sharper workwear style,” Stefania observed. “Rather than opting for casual styles, they’re all keen to dress in even smarter styles than they did before.”
But why? Here, Stefania delves into the motives behind the move.
We all know that confidence is one of the key components to success, but, according to research, the pandemic created a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges for female entrepreneurs, many of whom were left feeling less assured as their businesses suffered. Stefania has found that many of her business owner clients are using a wardrobe revamp as a catalyst for regaining that lost confidence. “A lot of entrepreneurs went into survival mode because of things outside of their control. Upgrading their style is a way to rediscover themselves after this substantial life change. They want to look and feel the most confident, charming version of themselves and use this as a springboard to success as they re-enter the world of business.”
Stefania lays out some of the noticeable benefits that her clients have experienced:
Regain the desire and strength to dream outside your boundaries – clients have felt the psychological impact of lockdown and need to re-explore their lives
Enjoy clothes again – Clothes are generally seen as a form of expression but during the Pandemic there it was not necessary to wear clothes due to restrictions.
Regain confidence – you don’t realise how much your confidence has suffered until you suddenly get a wave of feeling fantastic about yourself. This is easily expressed through how women feel about their clothes.
Reaching goals and planning ahead – whilst you work on you also get a visceral sense of your desires and goals and your style is good reminder you of your dreams where you are headed
Show off – we still want to create that sense of pride in ourselves and we do this with clothes. Even subconsciously, when you know you look good in an outfit – you feel good and that air of confidence is felt by those around you.
Thanks to the huge part that social media now plays in our lives, having a personal brand is no longer reserved for the famous. “In order to get ahead and achieve our goals,” Stefania observes, “many of now feel that one element of being seen as an expert means looking the part.”
Whilst “looking the part” once meant traditional office wear, she’s also noted that clients “don’t want to lose sight of who they are.”
“Some clients do have to adhere to certain dress codes at work, but rather than opt for plain or traditional styles, they’re keen to put their own spin on them.”
Traditionally describing a person dressing their best to see an ex partner for the first time – all as a means to show them what they’re missing – ‘revenge dressing’ now takes on a new meaning.
Whilst much of fashion media has predicted a rise in popularity of more casual styles, for many, the return of freedom has been an opportunity to dress up in ways they missed out on during lockdown. “Many of my clients are seeking to rediscover themselves after the substantial life change the pandemic forced upon them. They feel they’ve missed out on a precious year and a half of adventure and are keen not to waste any more time. I see this coming out in their personal style – many no longer want to blend in and are using more eye-catching styles and colour palettes as a way to get “revenge” on the last 18 months.”