Whether you are dressing for a new job or special occasion, decorating a new home, redesigning the showroom of a business or just wanting to feel more connected to your environment, It's a lot to take in. We can all get a little over whelmed and ultimately CONFUSED by all the 'STUFF' that is out there. It’s often big, bright and exciting, from information and imagery to opinions. It’s hard to decide what works for you, What emphasises your best assets, what reflects your style, what is going to be appropriate and sell your product and most importantly what you feel good about. When considering these projects you might seek the assistance of a stylist, but first, and at the risk of adding another voice to the opinions, Thomas Burge, stylist and owner of the Storehouse shares 7 tips to start your process.
1. REMIND YOURSELF WHAT FEELS GOOD
It doesn’t matter how the colour flatters you or how well designed the chair is or how “everyone loves it”. if it doesn’t feel good to you, then you’ll never make use of it and will become another wasted item. So take some time to remind yourself of what feels good to you. Throw on those old jeans or that favourite jacket, lounge on that comfy chair and sit in your safe space. Take a really good conscious or practical snap shot of that feeling, that space, that look and use it to constantly remind yourself that this is what your aiming for. That’s not to say that everything you wear or sit on or live in is going to feel like your best track suit pants.
However if those sky high stilettos make you feel like you’re on top of the world – even if a little uncomfortably - then remember that feeling of confidence. If you have a desk that emboldens all your best business decisions – even if a tad old school - then imprint that sense of control. These are the feelings and experiences you should aim to replicate in your styling choices.
2. GATHER REFERENCE
References are imperative, not only to remind us of the track we are on and confirm what we really feel good about, but to communicate to others involved in the process what we really want. Create a folder, picture gallery, Pinterest board, shoebox or anything that works for you and start pulling together your reference pieces. Colour swatches, fabric samples, images, objects, names and contacts.
The references may not and often don’t relate directly to a specific project. For example if you are renovating a bathroom you would not only be looking for pictures of bathrooms or tile samples, you may also collect smells or pictures of autumn leaves with colours you enjoy. If you are creating an outfit for a special occasion you may collect architectural references that incorporate structure and lines that you feel will empower you. Reference although important for practical reasons, is just as important for pure inspiration.
3. IGNORE THE RULES
Even if you believe you have little knowledge of the rules of dressing, interior design or merchandising. There will always be specific do’s and don'ts that you may have over heard or tips that you’ve read that have lodged in your subconscious. Black shoes with black bag, don’t mix patterns, customers like neutral backgrounds, stripes make you look larger! You will find that these ‘rules’ are mostly untrue and certainly limiting. Even if there are some basic rules to heed, in the initial development and discovery phase, it is always best to push the boundaries and ignore the rules. This will allow for some surprising discoveries and maybe completely new ways of doing something. You can always reapply the rules at a later stage.
4. ASSESS YOUR CURRENT RESOURCES
In a disposable world and a market place full of cheap options. It is not always the best idea to take these options. The aesthetic world can be ever changing and fickle. This can encourage us to throw out the baby with the bath water. Assessing the resources you currently have can serve two important purposes. Firstly you get to keep pieces you are really connected to and secondly you get to save time and money. Also you often find that something that you have had for a period of time may be far better quality and more timeless than something you purchase that is cheap and on trend. In general, I find well loved and well used things tend to create interest and gravitas, far more effectively than something shiny and new.
5. LIVE WITH IT
Whatever it is that you are considering bringing into your lifestyle, for it to be of value, it must be something you can truly live with. If at all possible, try to incorporate the look, object or style option into your current everyday life. See if you can borrow the piece you are considering from the retailer and sit it in your space. Loan a similar garment from a friend and wear it around the house. Paint a large swatch of the possible colour choice on your current wall. Drape a lounge in a sample fabric. Mock up some lighting detail and direction to assess the result. The more real life, in context experience of something you can have will confirm its value and appropriateness for you. It may take a little extra effort but will be worth it.
6. LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
Nothing is experienced in isolation. It is vitally important that you look beyond the specific piece of clothing or space or object and consider the other elements that will be relevant. There will always be some degree of impact from another element in the picture. This may be minor like the temperature in a dining room at a function or game changing like major construction next door to a house renovation. More likely it may be something simpler like considering a historic colour scheme. Either way, considering these external elements will ultimately change and often contribute to the success or your overall personal impact or project.
7. EDIT, EDIT, EDIT
It’s an oldie but a goodie. Less is definitely more!! At least to start with. Once you have a firm grasp on the colours, styles, feel, structure and general elements that you are wanting to work with. Once you really know the feel. Once you’ve gathered all your reference and broken all the rules. Once you’ve identified all the resources and spent some time living with your choices and knowing that what you want really fits into the bigger picture. Then go back and edit, edit, edit. It’s easier than you think. Its far better to add back than to take out. By this point you really will know what is working best and be ready to focus on creating all the things you love and bringing them into your lifestyle.
TAKE A TOUR OF THE STOREHOUSE
We love the Storehouse in Koonwarra and always find something amazing to come home with - in the case of this interview, two stunning white garden chairs. If you haven't paid a visit to the Storehouse - you are in for a special treat :-)