Next month I am attending a conference for rewardStyle, the main platform I use to monetize this blog. Most of the links and those little carousels of the items I'm wearing are created through rewardStyle. The conference is invite only; 200 of their top bloggers will congregate in Dallas, Texas to attend seminars to improve their blogs, meet with brands, and side eye one another’s outfits as they sip rosé on a rooftop patio while taking selfies. I’ve been invited before and declined; friends who attended have said there’s a strong Mean Girls vibe and it can be very cliquey. However, this year I’m past being concerned with cliques. I want to learn how to blog smarter, and I know a few bloggers attending. I’m looking forward to it.
A video from last year's conference
Thing is, this conference is happening at a pretty inconvenient time. Starting April 1, I will have a new position in a new department at my company. This is a position I have wanted for a long time, so this is a good thing. However, this month I am transitioning out of my old position and starting work on the new and am working more hours and filling my brain with new information and the new ways of this new department. The last thing I have time or brainpower to think about is what I’m going to wear in a few weeks to this conference.
I also haven’t fully risen from my January slump. I feel like a robot, an assembly line going through my days without having the time to slow down and focus or even realize what I am doing. I blink and a week has gone by and I can’t recall what I wore, what I ate, where I went. I’ve gained weight, my roots need to be touched up, I’ve been using the dry shampoo more than I should, and if I didn’t have this blog or have to go to the office I’d likely be spending every day in my favorite sweatshirt with the neck cut out and knit pants. Yes, that’s what I’m wearing while typing this at 4am with a bout of insomnia. Even if I had the time to think about what I am wearing to this conference, I don’t have the motivation or inspiration.
I know what I'd want to wear, I just don’t have the time to put it all together. I realized that one evening at 11pm when I finished my blog post, finally turned off Outlook for work emails and realized I finally had time to look at the itinerary for the conference and start thinking about what to pack. 11pm. I had to get up at 5am and had a busy schedule the next day and the day after that and the day after that. Was I really going to sacrifice my sleep which would sacrifice my performance the next day to spend hours scrolling through online stores to shop for dresses? What weekend did I have free to dig through my closet? And when would I have the time to get to a mall? Other than the ELOQUII store opening last week I haven't been to a mall in over a year.
As someone with two jobs, a family, personal and community commitments, I regularly look at my time from an hourly wage perspective. With a blog sponsored post I break down how much I will receive and how many hours it will take to photograph or video, to write, to edit, to work with the company, etc. I’ve broken down my salary at work to know my hourly rate. I also do this with chores, tasks, and volunteer positions. I need to do this task, it will take me four hours. If I hired someone it would cost $15 an hour. Would it be worth $60 to have someone else do it so I have those four hours to do something more valuable? Which would be more valuable, me staying up all night to bake brownies for a bake sale or working an hour at the booth and donating $10? Is there ROI on attending that blogger event in Virginia? How much would I pay someone to just figure out what I should pack for this conference so I can hit the ground running with my new job?
But what about my reputation? I'm a fashion blogger for heaven's sake. Would I be less credible if I hired someone to help me with what to wear? But then I thought about how so many celebrity style icons have personal stylists. Those who have a great look often have a great team behind them. Nicole Ritchie uses a stylist. Cate Blanchette uses a stylist. Kerry Washington uses a stylist. Michelle Williams uses a stylist. Alexa Chung uses a stylist. Even Rihanna uses a stylist. We all benefit from a second opinion!
My good friend Rosana is the owner and chief stylist of DC Style Factory, one of the premiere personal styling companies in DC (who now does virtual sessions across the globe). I dig Rosana, and I dig her thoughts on personal style and how she runs her business and trains her staff. I know some of you readers have used DC Style Factory – I recommend the company when you contact me asking for a stylist, she has recommended this blog to clients who have a similar body shape, and I have friends IRL who have used DCSF and been happy with the experience. I’ve always been curious about how a session with a personal stylist would be… having them help me pack for this conference would save me time, save me brain energy, and also hopefully get me out of my sartorial slump.
I reached out to Rosana, I didn’t know if she’d be cool with mixing business and friendship but she was up for the task and from the get-go treated me like a regular client (and yes I am paying for this like a regular client). She said this was Special Event Styling. She sent me a link to schedule two sessions, one at the beginning of March to review my existing closet, define my style, strategize looks, and build a shopping list. Then a second session a couple weeks later to review purchases, confirm outfits, and decide what needs to be tailored. I let Rosana know I would be sharing my experience on the blog and she is conducting these sessions and all communication in the same manner she would with any client (there’s a few random texts about earrings in the middle of our usual conversations but we’re trying to keep it to a minimum).
I felt sharing my experience may be helpful to those who have considered hiring a personal stylist but think they’re not rich enough or important enough for it. Or that they feel they know their personal style and don’t want to hire someone who will try to change them. I also was curious; I've been friends with Rosana for years and even my best friend has used her, but I didn't know what a personal styling experience would be like. So follow my journey as I have posts about the first session, the second session, and the final result. And you KNOW I'll be sure to recap my experience at rStheCon (what they call this conference) – what I wore, what I learned, and who was side-eyeing my looks while sipping on rosé!