Can you believe it’s been over a year since this pandemic hit the USA? The pandemic has disrupted how we work, shop, interact with people, where we go, and even where and what we eat. It comes as no surprise then that this pandemic hit the fashion industry massively. Reports, according to www.futureclean.com and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association (BGMEA), show that there was a $3.18 billion cancellations or suspensions in orders which is equivalent to 982 million pieces in just the first three months of the outbreak because more and more of us begun working from home and this almost, if not completely, took away the need to dress up. The NPD and Accessories Council came out with statistics showing the rapid decline in the sales of footwear and handbags. But the one section in the industry that did it justice is the comfort department, athleisure, to be specific. When we found the need to stock up on clothes, we opted for comfortability rather than aesthetics leading to a rise in sales in casual clothes such as pajamas, loungewear, and, above all, sweatpants. As reported by www.fastcompany.com, “purchases of sweats increased by 80% in April, and Google searches for the garment hit a 14-year high.” With the emergence of the Zoom video call application, even if we did dress up because we needed to attend a meeting, we just bothered dressing from the waist up and paired whatever we chose with sweatpants. This has raised the question that as society slowly but steadily reopens and our lives returning to the hustle and bustle of old, where do you start from in terms of getting back your personal style? Quarantining, as we have all experienced and can possibly deduce, did a number on everyone’s approach to style.
With the invention of a vaccine and clear signs of life returning to relatively normal, a lot of our old but mostly new clients at MIIEN Consultancy contacted me wanting to purchase the MIIEN Closet Edit or Closet Rejuvenation. With still so much time on their hands and with the mindset of trying to re-orientate themselves back into life without quarantine, made many of them ask the most pertinent question — where does my personal style stand after a year of quarantine in both my private and professional lives? A lot of people couldn’t find the rhythm of their style, with facial masks becoming a part of our everyday look and being in casual attire about 80% of the time. “People are likely to really enjoy dressing up when they can go to weddings and parties after having been deprived of them,” Chrisman-Campbell, a fashion curator, historian, and journalist, says. “But at the same time, a lot of these changes will stay with us.” Our clients now needed to find their new norm, a style that spoke to them and those around them but still had the chill look to it, by adjusting to the “relaxed look,” as I label it.
While many ladies were quick to swap blazers, skirts, dresses, and heels for loungewear, vivacious tops, slippers, and gaudy fashion accessories, the art of dressing has changed to the advantage of women. We know how important it is to be on point with our looks at all times no matter what the situation is, even if our emphasis is more on the upper portion of ourselves, which includes: skincare, makeup, hair, fashion accessories, and tops. While our mission statement here at MIIEN is “Creating a confident look rather than following the trend,” the pandemic has shaken up society’s idea of how and who women are allowed to themselves for despite trend standards set every season. This time around, we are setting our own pace and standard and are forcing society to shape itself around that. I, therefore, asked a few of my clients this very question and further inquired how they sought to incorporate their new-found relaxed way of dressing with the corporate, and their answers gave us, my team and I, was the foundation we needed to boost their closets and infuse them with their personal stamp. Here is some feedback a few of my clients gave after we revised their wardrobe (names have been withheld for privacy reasons):
The first client, who has been a very loyal client of mine for the past three years, said, “ Before this pandemic hit, you will always see me in a suit. I was always from one suit today into another the very next day. But once this pandemic hit and I was stuck doing ZOOM calls three times a day (sometimes more), there was a sense of myself that made me feel lost. I wasn’t really comfortable being “business-chic or business-casual” since my closet is full of tailored suits, structured trench coats, and pristine collar shirts, but Mikara allowed me to find a groove that fit my lifestyle and preferences. She gave me a complete makeover by assessing my current lifestyle, work, body shape and measurement, closet system, and everything fashion-related; she was very thorough (Mikara let me know that this was a new service to be launched on the 1st of May, so imagine the joy I felt to be one of the few chosen for this service). During our time revising my closet, I was able to get back to the “me” before I became this businesswoman who is always in suits every working day. Although I grew to tolerate the suits, I am very happy that I have been able to add some spice and enhanced my style by adding all the tips I received from Mikara. This now encompasses exactly how I want to portray myself and bumped up my self-confidence to new heights.”
The second, a new client, said, “The crazy thing is, I’ve actually put a small picture of a look I found in a magazine that I love on my vision board and just admired from afar. That is my pastime, you know; because of my love for fashion, I own a gazillion fashion magazines and go through them at my leisure for fashion ideas, but I wasn’t sure I could pull off the styles I so admired. Then this pandemic hit, and I had more time on my hands; getting dressed became even more of a hassle for me. I needed to fix it, and with the mindset of drinking margaritas with the lemons life gives you, I decided the perfect opportunity to develop my sense of style had finally presented itself. I found MIIEN via YouTube when I took that decision and did a google search. It was like the divine had heard my request and sent me to just the right person for the job. I visited her website and booked a consultation, and I tell you, I was very impressed. Her consultation alone was mind-blowing – Mikara’s way of dressing that day told me a thousand and one stories about her, but most importantly, I knew there was no way I could ever forget what she wore. It’s definitely not about trends for her. I knew it was a style I will forever associate with her. It made that much of an impression on me. I realized that she was really God-sent and the perfect person to help me develop my very own signature through what I wear. I immediately took the first step toward my goal and book a consultation. I honestly admit that before that consultation, my style was average. I am not an excessive shopper. I buy just what I need, but I do love luxury items. Going through this new process of developing a better understanding of my body shape, preferences, lifestyle, and the fashion industry as a whole created a new level of confidence that I’ve never experienced. Although this pandemic has done more harm than good, I have to say it was the best time to seek out help, develop that skill you’ve been putting off or improve yourself, or better yet, doing all three. And as the over-achiever that I am, I did all three. I believe my level of confidence is on a whole new level. My appearance and style have elevated, and that’s all thanks to Mikara at MIIEN. The foundational styling tips I learned will last me a lifetime, and I can even pass that knowledge on to my daughters and nieces! Thank you, Mikara, for the time and patience you invested in me.”
This is what the third and last client, a 55-year-old mother of three sons, had to say: “Thank goodness for MIKARA REID. I am a woman executive for a Fortune 500 company, and as Mikara calls it, I’m in a uniform most of the time. My wardrobe was similar to that of the males, with just enough room to wiggle in some feminine attributes like jewelry. And because of my position and upbringing (I grew up in a military home), I never questioned it. In my downtime, I didn’t put in a lot of effort when it came to dressing up, so I was not the one drawing the most attention in a room. But during the quarantine and the countless business meetings and conferences being carried out over Zoom calls, I had to start blurring the fashion lines of my work and personal life. I attended and still attend my meetings in-between times throughout the day. This pandemic created the need for me to restructure my day-to-day looks. Instead of being in suits, I found a new love for comfortable tracksuits, knit sets, jogger pants, and a statement piece (fashion accessory), and I couldn’t put on a tracksuit for a business meeting. This called for a serious closet makeover and a rediscovery of my style. That is when I decided I needed a professional to assist me in combining this no-stress way of dressing I had developed with a sense of professionality and personality. I spoke to a friend, and she directed me to Mikara and MIIEN consultancy. She isn’t known for handing out praises lightly, this friend of mine, but she spent more than an hour praising Mikara’s work. I had no other choice but to contact her, and with no doubt in my mind, I visited her website and booked my first consultation. I knew my friend hadn’t exaggerated in the least when I met Mikara during her consult with me; if anything, she hadn’t praised her enough. I knew I had made the right decision and haven’t regretted it once. She listened to me, figured out exactly what I was looking for, and did a brilliant job coordinating my closet. Know my dressing is always pristine and announces my presence no matter where I find myself, whether on a Zoom call or just a casual stroll in the park, and now I do draw all the attention in the room. Mikara taught me many new things, but my biggest takeaway is that dressing comfortably does not mean being sloppy or unattractive. It’s all about your lifestyle, how you feel and function in it and how you rock it.”
If you are interested in personalized fashion that elevates your success, log on to: www.miienconsulting.com/services and see what fits your fashion needs. Also tune in to our weekly podcast, MIIEN Notes Podcast with Mikara Reid every Friday.