As someone who spends the bulk of her life in front of a computer screen, I can easily get in a rut with what I wear. I’m always looking for fresh ways to add something different to my look! Today’s expert Cindy Newstead of Cinz Style is just the right person to go to for advice. Cinz Style is a styling business which offers personal styling services including personal shopping, wardrobe makeovers, colour analysis and makeup workshops – Cindy can even help you figure out the best wedding gown for your body shape!
Tell me a little about yourself?
I run a full time business as a personal styling expert and I have a large family consisting of four children and four stepchildren. I am Melbourne based but also travel to Queensland every three months to consult and although I lead a very hectic lifestyle, I have a wonderful family and rewarding career that continues to drive me.
What/who influenced your decision to become a styling expert/image consultant? Do you have a mentor, or someone you admire who has influenced you?
I have never really had one particular person that I could call a mentor, I have just always had a keen eye for fashion and in particular what works and what doesn’t. I also admire the styles of the classics like Katherine Hepburn and Princess Grace to today’s Angelina Jolie, our own Danni Minogue and fictionally, Mrs Carrie (Bradshaw) Preston – SATC.
What qualities do you feel a good fashion styling expert needs to possess?
Along with industry experience and consistently trend/style researching, outside fashion you really do need compassion, a strong understanding of body shape, an ability to look at things outside of what you like personally and an ability to pace and lead.
What sorts of people come to you for advice? Are they generally at a particular ‘life stage’ or cross-roads?
When deciding to consult with me, my client base is filled with hundreds of unique people with many style objectives. From those that hate shopping, young people looking for style guidance and business clients who are time poor. There are some great reinvention stories with mothers who have just had babies, people who have lost weight and need help to dress their new shape and some people are looking for age appropriate style advice as their birthdays tick over. I’ve had my heart strings pulled with clients who have lost their self esteem and I’ve contributed to helping them regain confidence and generally even when it feels like I’m fashion consulting, the consultations go so much deeper as people begin to reveal to me their style and life challenges and how I can help them.
Can you explain the steps you go through to help someone change their style? What does your consultation process involve?
I have an initial meeting, which is generally held over a relaxing coffee where I learn someone’s needs and objectives for investing in a style consultation. During the consultation, I teach them about their body shape and show them how to dress in styles, colours and looks that are complementing. Making people feel comfortable during the consult and confident in my suggestions is key to my styling services.
Are there some basic ‘style rules’ we should keep in mind when choosing our clothes?
- Firstly understanding your body shape and customising style to your individual taste. Hiring a professional for this is beneficial as women generally tend to focus on their bad spots and can feel that this dictates their shape when it is not the case.
- Learning your vertical measurements will help you balance your look. i.e. short body, long legs, vise versa or if evenly balanced. This will help with where jackets should sit, what hem length you should wear etc.
- The key is to hide your worry spots and enhance your best features.
- Don’t wear clothing that is too big for you, so if you need a belt to hold your pants up, they are too big!
- A bra fitting should be done annually and control underwear is great if you have an issue with your tummy.
How do you learn and develop a sense of style, and not slip back into making the same old fashion mistakes? Any tips?
Your style needs to be continually evolved, so looking for inspiration from style magazines, celebrities and those that inspire you is a great way to keep your look updated. Choose looks you like and then add elements to your existing look as it’s all about evolving and doing something different with your style rather than just following trends.
Are there a few things you see that people get consistently wrong with their style – whether in the corporate world, a young stay at home mum, or an older retired person?
I think too many people buy on impulse and women don’t play in their wardrobes enough knowing what they have and don’t have. I think young mums tend to dress practically and can get a bit plain forgetting to have fun with their style. I have many mums come to me for style advice because they’ve woken up one day looking and feeling frumpy.
Corporate workers can become too staid with their look and their wardrobe becomes a uniform, I love the opportunity to work with these people as I align their style to their lifestyle and industry helping them customise their style.
An older retired person’s style can sometimes disappear. I think they forget to re- invent, wear lifeless styles, safe colors and shoes and can lose all sense of their personality. Style is attainable at any age and helping people discover that is truly rewarding.
Does money equal style?
Money certainly does not equal style! Money gives us the opportunity to buy quality and more pieces but looking good does not equal expensive! Cheaper brands can do the job well if you select them well and if you are careful with how you wash and care for your clothes.
What are a couple of items we should all have in our wardrobes that will add instant style to an outfit?
Accessorising is a great way to add instant style, update your look and experiment with trends. So my picks would be:
A great pair of shoes, a court or open toe heel, black or colored.
A good jacket or blazer either colored or black
A good quality handbag along with some quality or cheap accessories.
Do you offer a particular service tailored to brides?
I can always offer advice on the party but I generally help on the outfit. I can help choose the wedding dress, dress the bridesmaids, Mothers of Brides and Grooms. I can do an exclusive consultation for the bridal party, understand their requirements, any wedding themes, personal style requests and tailor accordingly.
What styling advice can you offer a bride?
Shop well in advance and create mood/inspiration boards of trends and styles you like so you have an idea in mind as the amount of dress options available can be overwhelming. Set a budget and stick to it, know your preferred colour and body shape so you can brief sales assistants for timely service. Research your stores and designers in case you have to make an appointment or if having a dress made, you’ll need a long lead up. Whether you are elegant bride, relaxed glamour bride or vintage bride, have fun it with it.
What styling advice can you offer the mothers of the bride and groom?
Grooms should ensure their suits are well tailored and fit perfectly. There is nothing worse than an oversized jacket or slouchy slacks. If trying to match colours with the bride or bridal party, take a sample of fabric with you rather than guestimating.
Mothers of the Bride play a key role in the day and deserve to look the part. Again, knowing their body shape and complementing colours will make shopping easier. Generally they should look opt for a classic and sophisticated look but be comfortable in what they are wearing. A headpiece is also generally acceptable or a little bling in the accessories to update something quite simple and classic.
Thanks for joining us today Cindy! You can find out more about what Cindy and her team offer by visiting the Cinz Style website.