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Teach Me Style: “Hildy”

I have a gorgeous and amazing friend who is a trasplant here in Los Angeles. She has decided to make it her home. She is fun, thoughtful, and open-minded, and lately we have been having a blast just hanging out on the weekends in Hollywood; parading the boulevard and observing the tourists and spectacles as we go along. It has been a welcomed change of pace for me because, as I have shared, I am known for being the lone wolf and gallivanting off on my own.

While enjoying this new routine, she brought it to my attention that she would love to update her style. She’s not much of a shopper she explained. That she never really enjoyed shopping for herself. That it always came as such a task. I have heard many women talk like this before. Nevertheless, it is still appalling to me because I thoroughly enjoy shopping! I mean I really love it! And not just for myself, but shopping for anyone at all brings me joy. She admitted that she always admired my fashion sense, and so, she asked if I would be willing to help her put together a few new looks?

We’ll call my friend, “Hildy,” and she and I met while working together. That’s right, a fellow preschool teacher such as myself, but in different classrooms. However, one pattern many woman and men fall into with this profession is letting their own personal style and care fall to the wayside. We have our kids in mind first, and our first inclinations is to wear clothing that is loose, comfortable, and we can get messy in. However, that thinking begins to spill over into our lives outside of work, and often times you will see us wearing those same old, loose fit pants with the paint stain on the knee outside of work. In short, we get comfortable and fall into a rut.

For a brief moment, I almost fell prey to this myself. Yet, the first step to fixing a problem is accepting that it exists. So, I made the conscious effort to change my habits. “Hildy” was starting to have a change of heart as well. She wanted a look that felt more put together. She had recently achieved a few milestones in her life, and she wanted to reflect that in her outer appearance! I can and did certainly empathize.

Now let me just say one thing I love about fashion, clothing, accessories, shoes… the whole thing, that is: when I look at a garment or necklace or oxford, I immediately see the potential for it. I see potential in all articles of clothing, even if that style does not necessarily fit me, I know that there is someone out there that it would be just great for! To bring together a person with an outfit that best suits them brings me joy. To see that person happy with their appearance, and to see how good it makes that person feel is rewarding in a way I simply cannot put into words. I believe every woman has the potential to be beautiful, and every woman deserves to express her beauty in the way that best suits her. So, when I was asked to help her out, I readily agreed! Plus, I was honored she thought so highly of my opinion.

“Hildy” has an amazing wisp slim figure, and I’m pretty sure she was placed on this earth to be a model of some kind. Nevertheless, for all the beauty I see, she is more aware of her flaws. One such concern was that she lacked any shape or curve at all. It just brought to mind that no matter what, we all have body image concerns to fret with. I am hippy, and this has always been my biggest worry area. I used to think that if I was thinner, than I would be so much happier. But here is a woman who meets that standard, and she still had her doubts to contend with. It was just a reminder to me that there really is no such thing as the perfect body. What is beautiful to some is horrendous to others, and vice versa.

In terms of shopping, it’s not changing our bodies that will make us feel better about ourselves, it’s changing our perception that makes shopping a lot more fun. Half the fun of shopping is playing around with styles and looks and pieces until you find what really works for you! That’s where confidence in appearance really comes from.

In conversation with her, I came up with this thought:

The only reason people hate shopping is because they don’t feel good about what’s out there, how it looks on them, or they are convinced that they don’t have the right body. But when you learn how to shop for your body and personality, it really is exciting! It makes you feel great, and you don’t care about the rest. I like helping people feel that way about themselves.

So, Labor day weekend, we went on an intense shopping excursion (much to my amusement), and after some thought, I was able to come up with 7 looks that fit her personality, style, and comfort level.

Here was the end result!

Note: All items followed by an asterisk (*) were purchased recently and may still be available in stores or online.

Look No. 1: Simple Elegance


Stunning, simple, elegance was the ultimate goal. “Hildy” is not the ornate type. For her, subtle and understated is what works best. A nude shoe elongates the legs, and allows the focus to be on the dress and the silhouette it creates.

What you see here:

  • Basic, 3/4 sleeve, fitted dress in Duck Green – Zara*
  • Suede, d’ Orsay flat in Nude – Forever 21*
  • Necklace – Zara

Look No. 2: Prim and Proper


One of her favorite outfits! This is great for fall. The mix of textures gives depth to the overall look, and its clean, cut styling gives it an air of sophistication.

What you see here:

  • Textured, sweater in Green – Forever 21*
  • Denim skinny pants – Jessica Simpson
  • Collard Button Down Chiffon top in White – Urban Outfitters
  • Suede, cap-toe, oxford in Tobacco – Franco Sarto/Purchased at DSW*
  • 3 Layer Necklace – H&M*

Look No. 3: White Shirt/Blue Jeans Upgrade


A spin on the classic white top and blue jeans look. She wanted something a bit more spiced up. The fun belt and necklace give this look pops of color without being overbearing.

What you see here:

  • Loose fit, 3/4 sleeve top – Forever 21*
  • Denim, skinny pants – Jessica Simpson
  • Belt – Model’s own
  • Earrings – Forever 21
  • Bib Necklace – Zara
  • Suede, cap-toe oxford in Tobacco – Franco Sarto/Purchased at DSW*

Look No. 4: Denim Head to Toe


This one was a challenge met! “Hildy” had never worn or owned a denim shirt before this day. Furthermore, she was convinced that she could not wear it with more denim. I wanted to prove two things to her with this look: 1) Denim shirts are a great staple for any wardrobe and 2) Yes, denim shirts and denim pants work! Needless to say she was pleased with the end result.

What you see here:

  • Denim top – Forever 21*
  • Denim pant in Black – Forever 21*
  • Belt – Model’s own
  • Earrings, Bib Necklace, & Headband – Forever 21*
  • Slip on Plimsoll in Silver Metallic – Zara*

Look No. 5: Weekend Chic


Hands down our number one favorite look! ‘Hildy” owned this look. Funny story: when I first put it together, I couldn’t figure out what was missing. Then in a random act, I threw on the hat and, “Wha la!” It suddenly came together.

What you see here:

  • Long t-shirt with splits in Olive – Zara*
  • Denim pant in black – Forever21*
  • Felt Hat in Black – Forever 21*
  • Bib Necklace – Forever 21*
  • Mixed media, d’ Orsay flat in Black – Aldo/Purchased at DSW

Look No. 6: Fun and Girly


This was cute. She said she always wanted a skirt like this, and was so thrilled when she found one she liked. Though once she got it, she was not entirely sure what to do with it. That’s ok. That’s what I am here for.

What you see here:

  • Collard, chiffon button down in White – Urban Outfitters
  • A-Line, jersey skirt in Grey – Forever 21*
  • Mixed media, d’ Orsay flat in Black – Aldo/Purchased at DSW
  • Felt Hat in Black – Forever 21*
  • Linen Cardigan in Oatmeal – GAP
  • Bib Necklace – Lucky Brand
  • Earrings – Forever 21

Look No. 7: Lounge Around


I call this a lounge look, but honestly, the beauty about this is that it could double as a comfy outfit for her job.

  • Over-sized shirt in Mint – GAP*
  • Leggins in Grey – Forever 21*
  • Slip on Plimsoll in  Silver Metallic – Zara*
  • Headband – Forever 21*

There you have it. One of my prouder moments, seven… count them SEVEN looks that fit her personality and figure. The best part of this experience for me was seeing how happy she was with her clothing. She saw herself in a new exciting light! It felt so good knowing I had a hand in that. Now, I have kind of created a monster, because she is dying to shop more.

We’ll see what comes next.

Until next time my darlings, may we all be sweetly inspired.

All photos were taken and edited by A. Reneé for Darling Afflatus, 2015. No photo may be used without permission.



    • Thanks for the like. I went and visited your blog and I am very excited about it. I have an interest in Korean culture and fashion, so I am looking forward to reading more from you!


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