You CAN do it all and look good...this is my Houselife experience!

I operate a diaper store. I should talk about diapersbut as a new citizen in Calgary, I feel the need to share my experiences as a woman and a mother in this great city. I have met some amazing people and I want to highlight their businesses as I believe local business rocks. I dont think people are aware of some of the services that are available and are actually quite affordable. Maybe next week Ill write about diaperssend me topic suggestions please!

Now, I like clothes and I like shopping. I would say I even have decent taste most of the time. My problem is putting an outfit together and looking the way I imagine the outfit should look (on a size 2, 18 year old model).  Like many women, I have several style "personas". What do you think about your style? Can you describe it or does the question confuse you? I was in the confused state of style. I work in a corporate environment, attend trade fairs as a vendor and meet with clients in their home or mine. And that's just work; never mind two kids, being outside and once in a blue moon having a date with the hubby. My wardrobe is a mishmash of all of these things spanning at least 10 years. I love to shop and do a sort of purge every year, but there are still lots of great pieces that I have that stay in my closet. I love them, but I don't really know how to wear them. I didnt know how to dress my body. It's a lot different from 10 years ago and seems to shape-shift every week.

This is where Meagan comes into the picture. Meagan is a stylist and the CEO of Houselife. When you hear the word stylist, do you think someone who is part of a celebrity's entourage? I did at first. They are the ones that can afford someone to come to their house and pick out their wardrobe right? What about the regular woman? The working mom, the stay at home mom, the new graduate...they just have to make due right? Wrong! The core of Meagan's business is to be a stylist for real people. She offers several services including closet audits and personal shopping. After seeing how she styled real women in a fashion show she put on using all clothing from a local consignment store (as well as some of the ladies own items) in May, I knew I needed her help.

After contacting her, she sent me a detailed questionnaire to complete. It was tricky as I was kind of lost in my world of style. I decided a closet audit would be the best start, as I knew I had some great pieces, I just didn't know how to wear them on me. We got started right away on her arrival at my house. She even came with accessories (belts, scarves, trendy necklaces) to try on. Lucky for me, as I didn't have a lot to work with in that department. We focused on corporate attire first as last December was my first exposure to the corporate world and I felt like I could do it better. She put together 17 new outfits. Some new work outfits; all of them something I would have never thought to put together. Several casual and brunch/garden party outfits later we had finished our 3 hour session. Not only did I have 17 new outfits and many other ideas, she made me a list of the items I needed to complete my wardrobe, including suggestions on where to get them. She provided photos of each of the outfits to refer back to when I forget. Time flew by and made for such a great afternoon.

She also helped me focus on emphasizing my body parts I do like. I love my legs. Therefore, we focused a lot on outfits involving skirts and dresses. She also helped me with "adjusting" the parts I don't like, such as my waist. She showed me how to use belts and where to place the bottom pieces in order to make a waist appear. Not only was she efficient and thorough, she was friendly and genuine. I asked her to be honest as I was ready to let go of those items that just don't work. She was VERY honest and took away several of my old skirts and shirts that I hadn't been able to part with previously. She made fashion and styling fun! I felt like a movie star and it was great to finally be able to wear outfits including pieces that I loved. I have a great pair of tall boots that are teal and chocolate. They are well made and beautiful, but I rarely wore them. She found at least four outfits that worked with them and showed them off. I love skirts and dresses, but they always felt either too casual or too fancy to wear to work. She showed me how to alter them with other pieces and accessories. Apparently the way I was wearing skirts was not suited for my body. As soon as she showed me how, I felt so much more confident. She's my hero basically. As the session went on, I was actually excited to get dressed for work. Sure, there were a few misses, but we just moved on and changed around pieces until it did work.

Now this is her business, so it does cost some money. I did some basic math and I am pretty sure I will be saving money. I have a pile of new outfits and new ideas and my list (which really is a few basics that I am missing and will only increase the usability of my wardrobe).  My engi-nerd husband even agreed. And my confidence increased. Instead of focusing on what I didn't like about my body, she helped me show off what I love about myself. I felt that confidence when I had a diaper consultation with a customer later that afternoon. I wore one of the outfits she put together. It was lovely. And each week I have been wearing my new outfits. Someone even told me I was looking so well put together lately. I think any Mom would appreciate that comment as life is pretty hectic and usually being put together is low on the priority list. I've taken less time to get ready in the mornings this week; another improvement that I didn't factor in initially. 10 extra minutes in the morning is such a treat! Even packing for a work trip was easier as I am getting better at putting together outfits myself and was able to coordinate 6 days worth of clothes in 35 minutes (accessories and all).

A few examples of my outfits...along with my daughter's footage of the event! eyes are almost closed, but ignore them. This was the very first outfit. She worked in one of my favorite dresses that's too fancy for work and turned it into a corporate outfit. It looks like a pencil skirt and blouse!

I have loved this shirt for about 5 years...and never wore it. I didn't know how to make it work as something always seemed a bit off. Meagan tied in a cardigan, rolled up the sleeves and paired it with a high-waist trouser, my Aunt's pearls and fun shoes. Duh!!

This skirt I had worn before but it felt too casual for the office. Meagan paired it with a white linen jacket hiding in my closet (I thought it was too short for me), a fun, purple shirt, long necklace (hers), a wide belt (mine) and my grey heels. Ta da!! Maddie loved helping us!


I couldn't forget about Stampede attire! I had bought this dress a few months ago with corporate Stampede events in mind, but Meagan made it a complete outfit. Fun scarf, tan shoes and a woven belt (hers, but I recently bought a similar one). Oh...and she popped my collar. 


My boots. Love them...and we found several outfits that work so well with them!  And I just realized how thankful I am that Josh and I tidied the house that morning...


Meagan schooling me...again with everything I had and never thought to pair together. Another dress/jacket combo...who knew? Maddie helped with the documentation of the afternoon.

She styles women and men of all shapes and sizes. I think as a mom, you tend to focus a lot of everyone's needs and generally don't take the time for yourself. Everyone deserves to be confident in their own skin (and clothes). 

Please, feel free to share your experiences with great Calgary businesses!!  

Meagan Kelln

P: 403.464.5665





June 11, 2012 by Laurie McGowan
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