It was no surprise to me when I heard that she had started her own personal stylist business…. She describes herself as an a “equal opportunity stylist” and in her workshops she preaches that styling doesn’t need to cost a lot. Have a read about her and then tune in for my next blog with her when I put her to the test and go on a shopping adventure with her. I think I just may be her toughest client ever… Bec xx
I have a great husband named Gary and two gorgeous sons, Bailey (10 years old) and Toby (7 years old). It’s cliched but I feel blessed – the four of us have a very good time and a fantastic life together!My business is called Marnie Perlstein Personal Fashion Styling and I help men and women find their personal style and dress to best suit their lifestyle, budget and body shape. I am also a corporate presenter and talk to groups about the psychology of fashion and how to dress for success in the work place.Growing up I wanted to be an investigative journalist like Jana Wendt (the first female Australian 60 minutes reporter). Unfortunately I was too busy reading fashion magazines rather than serious newspapers, so I made it into Media Studies rather than Journalism – this was actually the best thing that could have happened!I could not live without wine, coffee, chocolate, trashy reality television and a trio of rings my Mum gave me. She lives in Melbourne and I am in Sydney, so I carry a piece of her around every day!My favourite celebrity Mum is Angelina Jolie Pitt. I love the way she is allowing Shiloh to dress like a boy and call herself John. Unconditional acceptance and support.My favourite swear word is the F word – it’s emphatic and effective.The only parenting books I have ever read were “What to Expect When You are Expecting” and “Up the Duff” – I think they are more pregnancy books than parenting books. Wow, I just realised that I am freestyle parenting and hoping for the best!A quote I live by is “NO FUCKS GIVEN.” I am finally at an age where I can’t and don’t worry about what people think of me and I don’t judge others. I know who I am as a person and in terms of parenting, work, love and life, I am just doing my best like everyone else.
Best organisational tip is to do EVERYTHING online. That way supermarket shopping and every other type of shopping can get done when the kids are asleep or on the weekend and this allows you to focus on work for every minute that the kids are at school.My kids think that ALL I do is SHOP!
I am similar as a Mum to my own even though my Mum thinks I am a lot less tough on my kids than she was on me – but she has forgotten just how open minded and relaxed she actually was. My Mum was a really modern mum and she was a ground breaker. She was one of only a few Mums I knew of at the time who had a career, yet she was still the most present, caring and loving of Mums and we always felt that we came first. I hope that I am like her as a Mum. I think the only real difference is that there is a huge generational gap when it comes to child psychology. These days we are far more concerned with acknowledging and unpacking every single feeling and emotion our kids have. In the seventies they didn’t really dwell on it. We just had to get on with it.
In terms of parenting, if I had to do over I would have made things a little less easy for my boys and not made it quite so easy for them to avoid things they did not feel like doing (which were also really things that I didn’t feel like doing). Having said that, I think they are such great kids so I couldn’t have stuffed up that much.
What the frock do I wear now?
Getting dressed after baby…
I am a personal fashion stylist for goodness sake. I have dressed countless new Mums after they have had babies. I thought I had it all going on, sartorially speaking, for the 36 years prior to giving birth but by far the hardest and most tragic case of post baby reinvention I have even had to handle was trying to dress myself!
For starters, I was possibly the only person in history to GAIN 8 kilos in the months after the birth of my first child so even my maternity stuff didn’t fit right anymore!!
As much as I looked at my new little boy and wondered “who are you and what do I do with you,” the greater mystery was who the hell am I and what have I become? Even if my old clothes would have fit my body, they somehow seemed more appropriate for the “pre-baby” me. Those clothes worked before the days of feeding, burping, projectile vomit, orange
and green mush and saliva soaked EVERYTHING! I was not the same person now and I did not have the same life, so how could I go back to wearing the same clothes? The heels, the sexy black tight jeans…I never REMOTELY wanted to look as if I was dressed to even MILDLY suggest having sex EVER
Pyjamas seemed like the best option for the hours and hours I spent at home shell shocked, exhausted and completely detached from my own body and brain and on the first few occasions I had to venture out, I think I must have worn stretchy gym clothes because I don’t know what else I owned that I COULD have worn.
I was really down on myself in those first months and each time I put myself down in my mind, my hands and mouth would simultaneously hoover down an entire Sara Lee Apple Danish which really did not help the situation.
I was too tired and scared to talk to others and find out that many women had felt exactly the same level of overwhelming fear in the first months of having a new baby. I was too stuck in the moment to believe that babies (and their Mums) go through stages and phases and therefore that things change and get easier. I was too blind with sleep deprivation to look out there on the streets, on the television, on line and in magazines to see that literally thousands of women do get dressed again, go back to work, reclaim their lives, reclaim themselves and even go on to have MORE BABIES.
For those of you who are stuck in the fog and feel like they will be stuck in pyjamas for ever, this is what I recommend to my clients and to each of you.
1/ What you look like or more importantly, HOW YOU FEEL about yourself, really does matter.
Everything is connected to how you are feeling about yourself so be kind and gentle to yourself – marvel at the fact that your body just grew and pushed out an entire new person and that you are a bloody genius. Tell yourself that you are the smartest person on earth and that no one could be as brilliant as you.
2/ Surely someone as fabulous as you deserves to be pampered day 1 post-partum!! Start with body cream and spend five minutes a day taking care of yourself. This one small act of self-kindness will have a knock on effect whereby you will feel worthy of putting yourself first at some point (albeit for a very short, “almost missed it” point) in the day.
3/From the minute you give birth, for the next few weeks, wear cotton lycra gym shorts or control undies that are at least a size too small. I don’t know if this is an old wives tale and I can’t remember where I read it (I had babies WAAAAAY before the Kardashians), but I did this and I swear it worked for me. It forced me to focus on my non-existent stomach muscles and hold them in which must have sent out a faint distress signal resulting in their eventual rescue!
4/As soon as you can face the shops or the internet (ie –about a month after giving birth) you need to purchase three new outfits. They don’t have to be Vogue’s answer to fashion masterpieces, in fact they just have to be INEXPENSIVE, CLEAN, FRESH and NEW. This is an important psychological step in slowly re-claiming yourself and ensuring that you feel good about yourself (or as good as a sleep deprived 24/7 milk pump can feel). Within a month or so of giving birth, those three “interim” outfits should be the only thing you wear. Maternity clothing should be burned at best or packed away for the next baby at worst. Your old pre-pregnancy clothes should not come anywhere near your new post pregnancy body. Buy three NON EXPENSIVE outfits that fit your post baby body and wear NOTHING ELSE! This is a good time to buy clothes in fabrics that have a lot of stretch – that way they will hold you in and be comfortable to wear. This is a good time to buy vomit proof colours and fabrics that can be machine washed. This is a good time to pat yourself on the back and tell yourself that you are a step closer to re-claiming a little part of your old self and hell yeah – you did that only a month after having a baby. Double genius.
5/Once your baby has settled into a routine and you are getting more sleep, it is important to re-assess where you are at and what your clothing needs are. Are you going back to work? Are you going to spend the next few years at home? Are you going to do a mix of both? Even if you have absolutely no clue about what you are doing or where you are headed, even if you have spent six months drowning in nappies and empty packets of Tim Tams (or family blocks of Cadbury’s as I did), somewhere around the six month mark, it is time to buy a capsule wardrobe. This is a collection of ten or so pieces, all of which will work back with each other to create many outfits which suit the body you have on the very day you buy them and all of which will suit your particular and unique body shape. Some of your pre-baby accessories, shoes and maybe even clothes could tie in and expand your outfit options. This is still an interim phase, but one which is bringing you even closer to the “old pre-baby you” or to the “post baby even better new you” given that for most of us, the “old
pre-baby you” ceases to exist.
6/I probably need an entire blog on how to dress for your body shape but the universal piece of advice would be to not swamp your entire body in loose clothing. Balance things out. If you want to wear a loose top and hide your tummy, then wear skinny jeans (that rule applies to women of all sizes). If you are hating your legs and bum and want to wear something loose down the bottom then make sure that the top is not too long and not too wide. Ensure that that it is fitted or just skims the body. Aim to create balance through the body. Also use dark fabrics to minimise the bits of yourself that you least like. If you are feeling insecure about your bum, wear black pants or jeans. If you can’t deal with your new set of enormous boobs, a black v neck top will work best for you. Avoid ankle straps on shoes which cut off your legs and make them appear shorter and never ever wear low rise jeans or pants again – a mid to high rise jean will hold in all the new found wobbly bits as well as creating length through the torso and waist which will in turn create a more slimming silhouette.
I work with new Mum’s every day and the one thing that allows them to see themselves differently is just trying on something that they would never have thought to try on before. This teaches them that they may have been making the wrong choices for their body shape in the past. Try the dress with the belt at the waist if you have never ever worn anything that ties at the waist – you might just learn that what you think would never have worked for you is in fact the very thing that suits you. Play around and experiment to learn what works for your individual body.
Above all, remember that you are beautiful and perfect just the way you are and that none of has a perfectly proportioned body, but the right clothes worn in the right way can help create the illusion.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone – 0403055113
Facebook: Marnie Perlstein