I got to Jane's house 5 minutes early - a little unusual for me (I am always running 10 minutes late!) - maybe because I was so excited. Before I went into her house, I sat in the car, and prayed about our meeting. Generally I do this before meeting any new client - but in this situation, I felt a particular need to pray about it.
As I entered her house, I could tell that Jane wasn't really in the mood for me on that particular day. The best initial meetings are those where the client has mentally started preparing for a change. They've already done some self assessment work, and realize that changes need to happen. This doesn't mean that they know where to start in that process - but changing one's image (i.e clothing/style) is a very personal thing. You can either embrace the change, or you can fight it tooth and nail.
We started by sitting down at her Kitchen table. I told her what was going to happen during this first meeting, and set a goal to have the entire meeting last no more than an hour and 1/2. I asked if that sounded OK to her - she agreed - and so we began...
I started out by asking her a lot of questions. I asked her about her family, job, career goals, what her hobbies were, how those hobbies / interests have changed over the years. I also talked about how she would define her style. We talked about what things she liked (clothing wise), and what she didn't. [interesting sidebar - she said that she likes my style...which isn't something I would have guessed - she said if she could put on a pair of pants and top and have it look pulled together, she would.] We talked about some celebrity styles that she admired, and tried to define why she was attracted to those looks.
Then I took some measurements of Jane. This really is a fast and painless process! The measurements help me to define body shape, and help to start on a path to a perfect fit in clothing and in undergarments. [sidebar - Jane was wearing the complete wrong bra size. Off in band size by 2 sizes...and off in cup size by 3 sizes]
We then plotted out Jane's measurements on a form. We could see easily by looking at the numbers, that Jane's shape is an inverted triangle (in other words, her shoulders are broader than her hips). With this information, I began to share some simple 'fit' tips on what will be attractive on her shape.
...then we went into her closet.
I was surprised at how many clothes she had. I asked Jane to show me 2 outfits...1 - what she would wear on a 'date' night. and 2 - what she would wear on a typical day. I also asked her to show me those pieces she did not think looked good on her. and those things she thought did look good on her.
This was a good exercise in body-shape / cut...those things that she didn't care for on her were not good cuts for her body shape. Because of that, Jane never felt comfortable in those pieces of clothing. After explaining why they weren't good for her, I saw the light bulb go on in her head.
We moved to her favorite pieces - again, I shared why the cut of those pieces she felt comfortable in. I could tell that all this started making sense to Jane.
We then went back to the Kitchen table, and I pulled out 2 catalogs (ones I got in the mail this week). I went through the catalog, and quickly 'X'ed out things that were not good for her, and 'star'ed things that were good cuts for her. This is a good starting point in showing ladies how to shop...just look for those things you know are cut in a way that will look good on you. That isn't to say that from time to time, you will find a piece that looks amazing on you that isn't on your list of 'good cuts'. However, for those that are less savvy shoppers, I try to start with simple rules...and work our way up to online shopping and the mall.
Jane was starting to get it!
I ended the session giving Jane an assignment. I asked her to tear out pages from catalogs and magazines (that I brought with me) of those things she liked. When we get back together for her closet audit, we'll review those pages.
*photo from mydressupgame.com