This is the second installment on Fernanda’s style session (here’s part 1 if you missed it). We worked together for two and a half days, purging her closet and putting together outfits for all areas of her life, from casual to formal. We dug deep into what type of look made her comfortable, appropriate and “very Fernanda”, taking great care with every detail. By the time we finished her apartment looked like a bomb had hit it, with clothes, footwear and accessories absolutely everywhere!

When Angie and charming Greg landed in Mexico City, I was excited beyond words but still uncertain about my own ability to push my own boundaries and step out of my comfort zone. I had the new gorgeous items, and loved to see them on the hangers and boxes, but now it was time to wear them following Angie’s advice. I’d have to look at myself in the mirror without faking a smile. The time had come to face my demons regarding insecurities and deeply engraved ideas on what looked “right” or “wrong” on me.

Take for example, dresses and skirts. One of the first things I told Angie in our early email chats was the fact that I had always disliked my legs. Compared to my elbows and wrists, their counterparts —knees and calves— looked like they belonged to a completely different person. They seemed to me big boned and heavy —the opposite of dainty and shapely— and therefore I didn’t feel “allowed” to show them off or even acknowledge them. There was a little catch, though: for as long as I remember, I’ve drooled over skirts, dresses and all kinds of pretty shoes. Not only that, but I’ve accumulated them over the years, as if owning a small collection could make up for the “injustice” of having less than perfect legs. It was not only a matter of obsessing over imperfect things: I have a bunion the size of my house, and the fact that I can’t wear strappy sandals is something I just don’t mind.

The “leg issue”, as I came to call it, quickly caught Angie’s attention. She empathized with my problem and kindly committed herself to help me overcome my fears. Her “leg therapy”, as she came to call it,  was a mix of objective troubleshooting (finding my best hem length, avoiding a leg-cutting effect either by wearing hose or nude/low vamped shoes) and, most importantly, a step by step demonstration of how confidence trumps perfect measures, in all the cases, all the  time.

We spent two and half days of enjoyable hard work: I tried on every single item on my closet, Angie found its perfect match, we dressed it up and down with accessories, and finally took a picture that will serve as a reminder of the endless possibilities already waiting for me. Watching Angie at work was both amazing and a lesson in itself: in a matter of seconds, she looked around the room and grabbed different pieces just to see it they could work (they always did). Not once did she second guess or let her rational part take over: she trusted her amazing instinct (she even picked an outfit based on items she had dreamed about me wearing!), giving a living proof of how there’s not such thing as a strict “style theory”.

In possession of a hundred or so pictures of outfits that look as if they were planned a week in advance, I finally came to understand style as a joyful activity that can only by achieved through playfulness and self-acceptance. These two elements were the missing pieces of a puzzle I had struggled to solve for a long, long time. They were handed to me by the amazing Angie Cox, who I regard as an inspiration and a very dear new friend. My crossing of paths with her is, without any doubt, the luckiest chance encounter I’ve had in my recent life.

Epilogue: on the last day of Angie and Greg’s visit to Mexico, their beloved yorkie Jasmine fell sick, and ultimately passed. Over the last few months, Angie and I had bonded through our mutual love for our dogs, and she shared with me stories and pictures of beautiful Jasmine and Rosie. I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Jasmine. Everything good that comes out from the experience of working with her wonderful Mommy, will always and entirely be a tribute to her memory.

We’re very grateful to Fernanda for sharing her experience and allowing us to document it in photos. There are additional photos in this album on the YLF FaceBook page.