Many women, and particularly mothers, will relate to how Kelly Quarrell was feeling. She’d had two children, her body and her life had changed considerably and her wardrobe was no longer familiar or welcoming.
“I certainly wasn’t 100% happy in the way I was feeling and I had this fear about being mumsy and daggy,” Quarrell says. “I didn’t want to lose my style, I’d always been a bit unique, but I didn’t know how to express it anymore. I’d had two pregnancies, I’d put on weight and lost it, twice. I had an enormously cluttered wardrobe filled with things that were the wrong size, the wrong shape and worn out.”
A friend’s post on Facebook prompted the Ella Bache salon owner from Victoria to take action.
“An acquaintance posted some before and after photos. I knew she was around my age and I was really astounded by what I saw visually. She’d expressed a little bit through Facebook about how she had been feeling emotionally and it resonated,” Quarrell told Women’s Agenda.
She reached out to her privately and was recommended to style and image consultant Colette Werden.
“My initial consultation was over the phone because of distance,” she says. “I hadn’t considered it too much at the time but after my second child I had become someone who got up, put clothes on every morning and thought ‘that’ll do’. It was affecting my confidence more than I realised.”
Quarrell’s initial conversation with Werden focused primarily on what the business owner wanted to achieve. It gave her some clarity about where she was and where she wanted to be.
“I absolutely love being a mum but I felt I had lost some of my independence and through that a bit of confidence in being a business owner,” she says. “I didn’t have the confidence to manage my staff effectively because I wasn’t really putting forward what I was worthy of.”
After their phone conversation Quarrell hopped in a car, packed with every item of clothing she owned, and headed for Melbourne. Over three days she worked with Werden to essentially overhaul her wardrobe; they threw out vast quantities of clothes, bought new ones and compiled a series of outfits that worked.
“My confidence grew,” Quarrell says. “I got excited about getting up in the morning and getting dressed. It gave me flexibility too because if I needed to go into the salon I would still be dressed and look professional even in my “everyday” clothes. The people I worked with noticed a big change.”
That type of transformation is what prompted Werden to work with men and women around their image.
“It’s incredible how much our personal style impacts our self-confidence,” Werden says. “I have witnessed the positive ripple effect that the image transformations have had on my clients. I see them go out and network confidently, enhance their relationships and advance in their careers sooner than they expect.”
Appearance isn’t everything but how we feel about ourselves matters and how we present is an important aspect of that. Werden’s understanding of the relationship between confidence and success has earned her commercial relationships with Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Bendigo Bank and Arbonne Australia.
The CEO of the Fiat Chrysler Group in Australia Veronica Johns engaged Werden 18 months after being promoted to the top role.
“She was absolutely fantastic in developing a more powerful image for me, while still maintaining my core style preferences,” John says. “It was important to create an aesthetic transition after being with the same company for 14 years.”
As a time-poor executive Johns says having an organised wardrobe and ‘look book’ filled with appropriate outfits has been a “saving grace”. Johns was so impressed with the service that she engaged Werden as an ambassador for the business and integrated her into the company employee engagement program.
“Colette has worked with lots of people throughout our business on both personal style and presentation skills. As a leader, it has been particularly rewarding to observe growth in confidence and self-esteem of these staff members,” Johns says.
Have you ever thought about engaging a stylist? Do you think it could help your career?