Great stories and big achievements often begin as a series of small, synchronous events. In late November, I received an email from Rachel asking if she could take part in the training course beginning in about a week. She wanted to be in a course with another person. The course running that weekend came together at the last minute for Lisa whom you’ll meet briefly here and more another day, so there was a position still open. I don’t really buy into coincidence. I believe in opportunity and timing. I will follow anything that even slightly resembles a green GO light flashing in the sky. Of course, we figured it out. Rachel climbed out of a taxi on a Friday. She, Lisa, and I began three amazing days.
Rachel has said that she’s been storing energy for years for this time to arrive. As a colour analyst, her eye is highly accurate. More importantly, she understands how to think and how to correct her thinking in the moment. Her insight into body line, style type, and applying the best of the fashion world as you embrace the simple joy of being who you really are, will literally astound you. I had seen some of the online discussion and yet, the in-person experience was unexpectedly powerful. I’m now working towards the image of Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. The image at the bottom will be reserved for the arsty among you ;)
You have met Rachel before in the article Growing Into Bright Winter. It is my honour to formally introduce her and her business to you today. You can find information about Rachel’s services (including Personal Colour Analysis (PCA) and Personal Image Analysis (PIA)), location, scheduling appointments, and contact information at her almost-complete but functional website, bestdressed.us. Read her first blog post, How True Colors Reveal True Features. These transformations never cease to amaze us.
from L to R, Lisa, me, Rachel
Before Rachel takes her turn, Lisa added a few words,
I met Rachel last fall, when I had the incredible luck to get her as my classmate at Christine’s training course. She is captivating the instant you meet her, and the thing about her is that everything you feel at that moment, and as you get to know her — that she positively sparkles, and is magnetic, astute, warm, totally adorable, fiercely smart, beautiful, and at peace inside — all of it IS authentically her. And she’s only 28….yes, one of those old souls who connect with people of all ages; I saw for myself her genuine rapport with teenagers, to women in their 70s.
It’s Christine who can speak with authority, and much more knowledge than I have, on Rachel’s truly remarkable eye for the nuances of colour (in fabric and in faces), and of course, on her unequalled insight into body lines, so I will leave that to our teacher. (Except to say, from personal experience, that being typed by Rachel is transformative – you feel deeply that you have been seen and understood). Let me finish by stating it in black and white: There is going to be a cult of Rachel.
(oh, and I did realize at that training weekend that I was witness to a meeting of titans, and the start of perhaps THE partnership of the 21st century, between Christine and Rachel – I am not exaggerating. But thats whole ‘nother story, ha…)
Rachel’s Own Story
I guess you could say that I’m a life-long style addict. My Barbie collection was nuts – but I didn’t really care about more Barbies, I wanted the clothes. At 17, I went off to study political science at Bryn Mawr College, but after two years there began to feel I was denying my creative urges and made the decision to apply to schools where I could study fashion design. My top choice, Parsons the New School for Design, accepted me and I enrolled immediately and earned my BFA there, in NYC’s amazing garment center. Since then, I’ve done a variety of creative work, including floral design, personal shopping and wardrobe assistance, freelance fashion design projects, and costume design for film and stage.
Given my history with clothes, it’s probably not shocking that people always noticed and appreciated how I dressed. Regardless, sometime in my late teens, it began to bug me that my style was kind of all over the map, and further, that the pieces I loved on the hanger didn’t always flatter me. I tried a lot of different methods to hone my personal style, but always ended up with a closet full of somewhat random items that I loved individually but didn’t work together, or necessarily on me. It might sound trivial, but as a design professional, I always felt embarrassed that I somehow hadn’t yet perfected and defined my own look. Then, one fateful day, a blogger I read routinely posted a link back to an old post from her archives on how to find the colors that work best for you. I remembered having seen some Color Me Beautiful books in the bookstore, but not having been able to figure out what season I was, and being afraid of getting stuck with colors I didn’t like, I put them down and forgot about them.
Now, for some reason, I was willing to try again. A quick google search got me started with two deep wells of information: the Yuku forums, and 12blueprints.com. Within a couple of weeks, I was drawing out the seasonal circle for friends and trying to sort out what season they might be. My personal journey to my colors is quite a story, but one that I will save for a post on my own blog. I knew I wanted to train and learn to do it properly from before my first draping, but due to the circumstances at the time, the path ended up being more meandering, in the best possible way, than I predicted at the start. Only when the moment was truly right, did the universe lead me to Christine’s training program, almost 2 years after a blog post set the chain of events in motion. All the time and energy I have spent learning and researching about every facet of color analysis and related style theories prepared me to fully embrace and understand Christine’s incredible, genius way of teaching.
I believe, from my own extensive personal experience, that knowing your perfect colors is the critical first step to having a signature personal style that flatters you and expresses who you truly are. It is my pleasure and privilege to share with each client, in roughly 3 hours, the amazing and uplifting insight that I searched for through a decade of fashion training and professional experience and finally found at my PCA. I’m not the kind of person who squeals very much, but I find myself grinning from ear to ear and making all manner of high-pitched noises every time a PCA concludes. Seeing the difference I’m able to make for the client before both of our very eyes makes this truly the best job in the world.
As a bit of a post-script, I want to just say a few words about my development of Personal Image Analysis, my own proprietary version of the style counterpoint to a PCA. I know many of you have followed my progress all the way and are waiting with baited breath for this service, and I am so deeply grateful for your enthusiasm and support. Because many women will travel to see me, I want to make my services in discerning a woman’s type and discussing all of her styling concerns available when my PCA studio opens in Philadelphia, currently slated for the weekend of February 22nd of this year. Online analysis will open in late March or early April to accompany an exciting information service that will be presented cooperatively by Christine and me. I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of your personal style and color journey!