Very often I get comments and messages from clients, students and even just viewers of my YouTube channel setting out their style journeys and how their lives have been changed forever by authentic French Chic.
I recently had an exchange of emails with just such a lady. We will call her Alison. She has given permission to share her journey in the hope that her experience can help others find the true healing power of style.
I had no idea when I began my journey with you, that the experience would have such a profound effect on my life.
For a long time I purchased fabric and clothes in the moment, only according to their colour and feel, and then wondered why my wardrobe was so confusing, and why there was nothing in it I wanted to wear.
After a personal tragedy at a young age, I side-stepped my grief by finding fabrics and patterns to sew. This became my way of soothing survival. I went on to spend my working life in clothing factories. My closet rippled with the effects of this. It went very deep.
I had begun to get a nagging feeling that I had been operating at a fraction of who I was - and dressing at that fraction.
I knew the time had come. I had wanted to take your rectangle body shape course for about a year, but low esteem again, prevented me...so I took the plunge and enrolled...even then I was still ignoring my body.
It has been a huge snowballing of following your work Marie-Anne for about two years. I got the "intellectual hang of it", but I could not apply any of it to myself in my wardrobe....that was when the "why" really began to surface...the why became the vocal of why can’t I dress myself... why can’t I get this wardrobe sorted! Why doesn’t this go with this, and then the clanger.....other women can dress themselves and look confident, so why can’t I?
Marie-Anne, the why came out of complete frustration!!
I then had a complete realisation. “Its all in the closet - all of it!”
And the course all made sense, and seamlessly as I watched, I began to see my body, and its shape, and how to dress it...even with the type of fabric…that's when the shift happened Marie-Anne....I began to see dressing my body, as being separate from clothing/cloth being my security blanket...it all began to fall into place...I could see where my wardrobe had been and why...and I could see how my body had been ignored in all this.
I came to see that what hung from my coat hangers were moments of grief, which have absolutely nothing to do with dressing myself. I lived in jeans, and I think that was how I had tried to mitigate all my closet confusion.
After asking more and more Whys, my closet had its say - "You put your low self esteem in here, and then you shut the door!"
So now Marie-Anne when you speak of quality, being organised and decluttered, I will no longer say, “that's for others", instead I will say to that voice "be quiet, this is vitally important, and I need to listen".
I thank you so sincerely Marie-Anne that your care and dedication to our closets has led me to mine...I am shaking as I write this!
The trauma is coming out of mine, and a "me" is going in there instead. I have work to do, that I am sure, will be so liberating and so healing.
So in summary...I had forgotten I had a body to dress...and somehow in the ether, you somehow, through your course gave me permission, or okayness to accept my body and showed me how to dress it. My wardrobe at that moment became so simple and easy...it was unbelievable and wonderful at the same time…so, so cathartic....and the relief, that something which was so difficult for me could suddenly be so easy.
This has been a truly "true" experience, and I have enjoyed our time together.
I won’t be the same again Marie-Anne, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to find my courage.
This is my new found courage.
Who knew I could be this brave?
Thank you for this gift.
Alison also shared a poem she had written about her experience, which I will treasure for ever:
Your rectangle course, somehow mirrored my body back to me...
I had not seen my body clearly.
It was under the fabric pile somewhere, being soothed, and I had long given up looking for it...
So, "where are my jeans, lets go" became my fail safe strategy.
But I got tierd of that..
I have lived there for too long.
Why, do I do what I do ?
I have no idea...
Why have I no idea...
I never dreamt my wardrobe could be any different.
Marie-Anne says it can
Why don’t you listen to her ?
It’s because I can’t find my body
She talks about those bodies, but you see I lost mine.
I left it under a pile of fabric somewhere, and I have forgotten what it looked like.
I hope you will also find the true healing power of authentic French Chic and let me be your guide