New Year New You: 'Let's show kids how to take care of themselves by taking care of ourselves;' style tips for moms from Sheon the Stylist
Show your children how to take care of themselves by taking care of ourselves, says Sheon Wilson, image consultant and owner of SheontheStylist.com.Posted — Updated
Full disclosure before I launch into this week's weekly mom feature: I had the pleasure of working with Sheon Wilson many years ago at The News & Observer.
My uniform at the time was baggy khakis, huge sweaters, oversized blazers and chunky heels - pretty standard for reporters in print newsrooms at the time. But she was different. Always impeccably dressed, she combined colors, prints and accessories in a way that made it crystal clear to me that she had more style in her pinky finger than I had in my entire being.
When she started sharing her styling talents in a regular column, I wasn't surprised. And when she asked if she could make me over, I was a little scared. Pregnant with my second child, I was wearing maternity clothes from my first pregnancy five years before that included pants that were about two inches too short (why!?) and empire waist shirts that did nothing for me. What's more, the only makeup I owned was from my wedding, eight years earlier. The first and last time I'd plucked my eyebrows was eight years earlier (for that wedding). And I steered clear of any and all hair products, so, my dirty blonde curls often were in a frizzy mess.
In other words, I needed a lot of help. Sheon was more than up for the challenge.
The result literally made my mother cry and say something to the effect of, "I always knew you could look like that." And, since then, I've taken the lessons I learned during that makeover to heart. I learned that baggy clothes do nothing for me - even when pregnant. I learned that spending little time on my eyebrows does make a difference. And, though I still don't wear a lot of makeup, her tips have stayed with me, especially when I wear it each week for my weekly TV segments on WRAL-TV.
When I look good these days, it's because of those tips I learned from Sheon many years ago.
Sheon, a Duke University graduate, lives in Durham with her husband (who happens to be Anthony Wilson of ABC 11) and her daughter, Ryan, who is an Air Force airman. Here's our Q&A:
Today, like most women, I gravitate toward a look that speaks to me personally. My style keeps evolving as I learn more about body shape, trends and color. Having my color analysis done when I first started as a stylist built my style confidence. Learning how to pick colors based on what suits my natural coloring (my skin color, hair color and eye color) took out the guesswork. I know that teal, not royal, is my blue. Golden yellow, not pastel yellow. Fashion gets easier and more fun the more I learn.
My high school weight loss freed my serious pent-up demand for fashion. I had been watching other kids enviously, and the way they put themselves together sent powerful messages. By the time I graduated college and got my first full-time job, I knew dressing a certain way was an important part of how I was perceived.
I was the first black, female reporter many of the people I interviewed had ever dealt with face to face. The more energy I put into projecting a professional image, the more people responded to what they were seeing: confidence. Colleagues started asking where I bought my clothes and how I put things together. I helped a co-worker find a gorgeous dress for her parents' anniversary party, and she got so many compliments, she recommended me to other people.
I got other paying clients and, after brainstorming with a News & Observer editor, I started a monthly makeover feature that taught me to dress women with different styles, body shapes and body sizes. I made over several pregnant women including you, Sarah, before your daughter was born. I made styling a business. I learned to do color analysis through Color Me Beautiful, the company that innovated the color by season method. I learned styling tricks through Stacy London (host of "What Not to Wear") when she offered a style seminar in New York City. Now I stay current by shopping local stores and through fashion magazines.
You're smart enough to raise a human being so you can figure out how to look good with limited time and money. Moms must multitask, so think about good style as a twofer. You look good and you also silently communicate your power. You look more alive and capable, healthier and smarter when your look is in harmony.
A trend I see among moms is neglecting ourselves in the name of giving everything to the kid. It's time to walk the walk: Let's show our children how to take care of themselves by taking care of ourselves. Show, don't just tell. My wonderful, dedicated mom found a little money in our tight family budget for an indulgence: She bought Oil of Olay face lotion and told us it was her special thing, just for her. Not for smearing on ashy knees. She showed me it was OK to set aside something special for herself even when she was taking care of her family.
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