If finding a new style, cleaning out your closet, or feeling confident is on your list of resolutions for 2024, then you are in luck. Peterborough’s Nancy Wiskel has launched her new style consulting business to help women present, look, and feel their best selves this year.
At Styleyes Image Consulting (pronounced “stylize” or “style-eyes”), Wiskel channels her inner style guru, developed from years of guiding the shoppers who frequent her women’s retail shop, Dan Joyce Clothing in Peterborough.
From showing women how to create a flattering wardrobe to helping teams develop a cohesive professional image and understand the cues their appearance communicates, Wiskel knows how to craft a unique style that not only looks good but reflects the person wearing it.
“It’s time to get back to feeling good about ourselves,” says Wiskel.
Wiskel noticed the need for Styleyes after hearing a pattern of conversations and questions from women shopping in both her Peterborough store and at the casual-forward boutique she opened in Apsley in 2022. Women were expressing confusion in the expectations of dress for certain situations, especially following the pandemic.
“We’ve become more unsure of ourselves in so many different settings because for two years we were cut off, to a degree, from social events and interacting with our colleagues,” says Wiskel. “There is an unease and uncomfortableness in not knowing how to dress because the pendulum swung very far into casual over COVID — but how much did the pendulum swing back?”
This discomfort, she suggests, is happening in tandem with the regular uncertainty faced by women in transitional periods, whether returning to work after a maternity leave, starting to date again after a divorce or losing a partner, or retiring.
“There just really seems to be a need for helping women on their style and appearance,” says Wiskel. “It’s about bringing a sense of confidence back to women in all of these different scenarios so they can feel good and confident as they go about their day.”
For Styleyes’s personal services, Wiskel begins by bringing the client into the store to conduct an analysis of their body shape (apple, hourglass, pear, or rectangle) and eye, skin, and hair colour to curate an idea of colours and clothing items that would be most flattering.
“So many women see a gorgeous picture and they’ll want something exactly like it, but it might not be suitable for them, so they end up feeling bad about themselves and it reinforces a lot of negative self-talk,” says Wiskel. “They may put on a great outfit, but their eye always goes to what they think is a flaw, and it doesn’t matter that nobody else sees that.”
Wiskel’s work aims to eliminate these negative thoughts by doing a wardrobe audit, analyzing the client’s closet to find the outfits that work within the parameters of the skin tones and body type.
“Part of the analysis is understanding that when you wear this, it’s drawing your eye upward, making people see your beautiful smile, your gorgeous eyes, and thinking about how you can play up your strong features,” says Wiskel.
Wiskel adds that part of the goal is to get women to understand that manufacturers use a very “generic” body shape and models of a similar stature when crafting clothing.
“It’s important to not let women be discouraged because something on the rack doesn’t fit them. It’s not their body, it’s the manufacturer,” she says, adding that tailoring is another easy way to adjust an item to make it fit.
Wiskel — who describes her own personal style as “elevated preppy” — notes that there’s always room to cater the capsules to the client’s personal preferences and they don’t always have to follow the guidelines regarding their body shape and colour.
“We’re trying to take some of the blame or the guilt off ourselves and saying ‘No, you’re perfect just the way you are. Let’s find what works with that.'”
With colour and fit in mind, Wiskel works with the client to create a wardrobe capsule full of “necessity” items — white blouses, black dress pants, and a dark pair of jeans are just a few she deems most essential — which can be styled, altered, and accessorized differently to create various looks depending on the occasion, season, and client’s personal preference.
“I believe in ‘investment dressing’ — spending more money on really good pieces that are going to last,” Wiskel says. “When you spend a little more, you get clothes that wear well, wash well, and will look good on you for a long time. Styling is the cherry on top, but you have to have the basics.”
To help teams present a unified and professional image for the company, Styleyes offers the same styling service but with a focus on corporate or executive styling. This can include having Wiskel craft a style guide for workplaces where employees may be having difficulty adjusting to returning to the office or working in a hybrid style.
But it can be used beyond the workplace too, she notes.
“When you’re a business owner, you’re a business owner 24 hours per day, and you need to be able to project that when you’re out in the field, whether you have an appointment at the bank, are meeting potential clients, or are just out socially where you might run into clients,” Wiskel says. “It’s really important to understand how to project that you’re a business owner, you’re trustworthy, and people should try your work.”
The way appearances communicate to peers is one of the many topics Wiskel covers in the workshops and presentations she offers through Styleyes. Other topics include how to show professionalism in a virtual meeting, and the importance of both virtual and non-verbal communication skills in the workplace.
“How we dress really impacts how we feel, how we carry ourselves, and even how we project to other people,” she says, giving the example that people who don watches are automatically perceived to be more organized, punctual, and trustworthy than those who don’t. “There’s a lot of cues that you give off subconsciously that people are paying attention to that can really impact how they view you.”
The Styleyes website will also include e-book catalogues full of outfit inspirations, curated with the tips and advice Wiskel regularly provides through her social media and YouTube channels. The tips are suggestions for helping women look good and, in turn, feel good too.
“You can physically see the difference in women when they walk in the store, and you put them in a really ‘wow’ outfit that suits them,” Wiskel says. “Suddenly they’re standing taller, they’re smiling more, they’re chattier, and they walk out with their heads held high. Styleyes is about empowering you and giving you confidence, which you can do through your appearance.”
Visit www.styleyesimage.ca to contact Wiskel for styling services and to find outfit inspiration and styling tips.
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