Many moons ago, I used to trapse around the shops and shopping centres for hours, enjoying every minute with my friends, chatting, laughing and trying on, this, that and the other. Saturday was always a full day in town, back to one of our houses to get ready and then out for the evening.
However, like many things as we grow up, we forget simple pleasures and clothes shopping for me has long since seemed a pleasure. While living in Saudi there were some trips to the malls, mainly because there was little else to do there!
In all honesty, my wardrobe has always been pretty much the same, conservative and practical. Of course the worklife gave me the serious outfits as the last thing you want to feel in prison is attractive, because that makes you vulnerable. When I left with my big burnout, I literally burnt my suits and have never gone back to them. Living in Spain, light, floppy clothes are much more practical, then the Middle East – living under an abaya I had smart casual down to a T. In fact, the only times I ventured out of that was for official “dos” at the embassies, then I could scrub up.
Since being back in the UK, always meaning to just get a bit of weight off, gave me the excuse not to buy clothes as I could wait till I had lost weight (which of course 16 months later – I am still waiting). Plus, logically there is nothing wrong with my clothes, they suit me. So, why am I feeling out of sync and out of place when I am attending events and meetings?
With joining the High Profile Club in London, Rafael dos Santos came out with an anecdote “change from an everyday chicken, to a peacock.” This phrase got into my brain and it was certainly true for me, I felt I was a drab chicken, not drawing attention to myself, rummaging around for scraps with my business, rather than strutting my stuff as a peacock. Professionally, I knew I know my subject without any doubts, have decades of experience and thousands of successful clients, but I had never moved much further up the ladder to the limelight. Now, in my brain was the time I need to step up, but selling yourself always seems harder than selling a product.
Speaking to Rafael about Leeds and the high business ratio here, it seemed like a logical step for him to develop his business and open a High Profile Club Leeds, I was amazed when he asked me to be Director and then I knew, I had to become a peacock once and for all. Just at that time, Keren Beaumont joined the High Profile Club and we began exchanging comments on social media, when I twigged that she was the Fairy Godmother I needed for the launch in Leeds on the 11th September, for once I was determined to launch Leeds and Linda.
Once I contacted Keren, she was very open to working with me, albeit virtually, something she does not normally do. I sent her my social media contacts, photos of some recent speaking engagements and a long blurb about me and my wardrobe. We had a meeting on Tuesday 7th August for an hour and she was amazing, explaining patiently the difference between warm and cold colours and shapes and styles, much of which was all new to me. Keren told me what to look for and what not to touch with a barge pole. I took 8 pages of A4 notes and she set me some homework to do as well. Clearly, Keren had spent time getting to see me online and working out all this for me.
After the call I was buzzing and feeling very engaged, I went and looked at my wardrobe and knew there was a lot of weeding out to do. This morning (8th August) I was supposed to be having a small operation, supposedly in and out in a day. I was at the hospital in Leeds for 8.15am, checked in and settled in the ward with all the tests and bloods done by 9.30am, then waited………… 11am the nurse came and said that the Dr would not be working that day and I could leave. I cannot remember a day when I have had my diary completely clear, so I left and was on the way to get the bus home, normally I would have come back and straight back to work on the computer. Today was different.
Instead of going to the bus stop, I walked to the centre of Leeds and started mooching around the shops, Monsoon, Debenham and M&S, I tried on so many items, all of which I would never have chosen before speaking to Keren. Some were an instant nooooooo, but some truly amazed me. I have never been one for frills and flounces, pinstripe rocked me with horror and I have never owned a pair of trousers that were not black (other than jeans). Here I was in coral trousers and a navy with silver pinstripe layered skirt, it felt good and to my astonishment, it was like going back with my friend and enjoying shopping. I did not buy anything as I had been directed by Keren to test and try, so today my homework is done and I will be progressing more tomorrow.
Changing style is not just on the outside, it is on the inside and I had more fun this these few hours than I can remember for a long time, just goes to show, we can get into a rut and stay there so long, we do not even know we are there.
So, I will be posting and blogging for the next month until the great reveal in the High Profile Club launch on the 11th September, come and see how well I do as a learner.
If you are thinking of making some changes for yourself and need some practical guidance contact Keren, instant results will follow.
Linda Sage MA, BA Ed(Hons) DTM