A few weeks ago I decided (for many reasons) never to click on a Daily Mail link again but mistakenly did so this morning. And I’m sort of glad I did. It was Mary Beard’s response to AA Gill’s “review” of her tv programme. (Just so you know I’ve watched the programme and love it. It’s revisiting something I studied at school). But that’s not what this blog is about.
Obviously I deal in image and that’s what the row is about.(Gill thinks that Beard doesn’t look good enough for tv.) For the most part, clients come to me because they feel that the image they’re projecting on the outside isn’t accurately reflecting who they feel they are on the inside. Feeling like you don’t look like who you think you are is distracting and knocks your confidence. The crux of my job is to help my client dress in a way that means they don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. They’re not feeling uncomfortable, they’re not distracted, it’s a confidence boost that means they can focus on whatever it is they are supposed to be doing.
AA Gill couldn’t be more wrong. Mary Beard is obviously comfortable with her image. So she’s not dyed and designer-clad. So what? To suggest that any of us have to subscribe to some prescribed image is misogyny. The whole point of image is that it’s an exterior projection of who we are inside, and nobody can, or indeed, should dictate that to anybody else. The very essence of what I try to do with clients is simply to untangle that projection for them. This is the main reason I think any sort of one-size-fits-all general rules tend to be nonsense and totally lacking imagination.
Our image is the most personal thing we have. Ever wonder why people classed as style icons tend to be trailblazers? Are they super-fashionable? Not usually. They’re just REALLY comfortable in their own clothes. And it’s that confidence that makes people copy them. Mary Beard, style icon? Stick that in your drum & bang it Mr Gill.