Sally Inkster Diva Dressing ImageHi, I’m Sally Inkster, an expert Personal and Corporate Style Consultant based in Chester, Cheshire. I help individuals, mostly women and a growing number of men, find their personal and unique dressing style.

I’m passionate about making you look and feel fabulous

Before founding Diva Dressing I spent many years in uniform, school, nursing, nurse specialist, pregnancy (breastfeeding) and at the age of 35 I panicked, not knowing what or how to wear clothes.

For the last 10 years I have investigated, been educated and finally learnt “the secret to looking and feeling good” and I have the added pleasure of feeling absolute fulfillment at being able to share this with you.

HOW DID I GET HERE?

I’ve not always been a style consultant – as is the way with many women and their careers we take unusual and creative routes to get to where we are today.

My story starts when I was 4 and my Dad took me to the hospital where he was a Charge Nurse. – from that day on my ambition was to be a nurse – not as you would imagine because I had an urge to make people feel better or even to be like my dad – but, because I liked the black tights! This must have driven my mum mad for a good few years, as I wore black tights with everything – yes even summer dresses and party frocks! (by the time I became a nurse, neutral tights were the order of the day)

So, as is the same with all of us, I went to school and wore a uniform – Red and Black how happy was I with black tights winter and summer!

During time off school I can remember standing in front of the mirror wondering how short my mum would let me wear that checked skirt – but as money was short in our household, quite a few of my clothes were ‘hand me downs’ that had little in common with fashion.

I can vaguely remember wearing cheesecloth shirts, apart from that I really don’t have any fashion memories just jeans that didn’t fit very well and tee shirts at the weekends.

On leaving school I went into nursing and that became my life – in uniform again and with no money to buy clothes the jeans and tee shirts carried on – I remember having quite a few wedding outfits, for these, there is weeks to decide what to wear and the excuse to buy a new outfit every time – trying to get the look right and not quite managing to look as put together as I thought, was usually what happened – especially when the photos came through and the hair, shoes or length of dress was just that bit off.

I became a very young Ward Sister and carried on in the uniform , albeit a different colour, luckily the navy blue suited me.

Next I got married to a man who loved clothes and always looked good – that caused me a lot of anxious moments on the clothes front and I soon bowed down to my husbands taste of what I should wear or what I thought he wanted me to wear! (never a good idea and the sooner you follow your own style, the better).

During this period I became a Nurse specialist in Cancer care and changed my uniform once again, this time to white which wasn’t quite so becoming!

Working with cancer patients you soon become very aware of what’s important in life and what’s not and I shall always be grateful for that insight – but I’ll tell you this – image stays important – the loss of hair, the loss of weight and the loss of control of so many parts of your life really do take there toll, and the importance we attached subconsciously and consciously to this part of us is anything but frivolous.

The more I watched people go through terrible side effects and dreadful news I realized that a great wig or an outfit that flattered them did wonders for there self esteem, their outlook on the life and their prognosis.

During this time I came out of uniform (for my patients sakes) believing that it would make me more approachable and more of a confidant rather than part of the system – but what I didn’t realize was the effect it would have on me – not the decision making, of which clothes to wear each morning ( which isn’t easy, as all of you who have to do that know) but the loss of recognizable status – Doctors, nurses, patients, and even management didn’t automatically give me respect based on my uniform and perceived knowledge that came with wearing said uniform and I found that terribly hard and felt my self esteem and confidence shrink!

It’s quite a shock to the system to discover that you hide behind a uniform.

I then became pregnant ( that brought it’s own uniform of leggings and big tee shirts) after that breast feeding – I repeated this cycle 3 times and finally at the age of 35 entered into the world having to wear clothes with NO UNIFORM to hide behind!

Being of reasonable intelligence and with quite a creative streak I decided that dressing fantastically was either genetic or it could be learnt – so I set off to ‘learn Dressing’, not being one of the lucky people who can do it instinctively ( even these people sometimes try something on and know it doesn’t suit them but they don’t know why) I discover that is not rocket science, but it can feel like nuclear biology until some one teaches you the basics of your body shape and coloring.

Have you ever entered a changing room with a handful of clothes which, one by one you try on and realize they all look awful, by the time you’ve got to the 6th item you’ve lost the ‘will to live’ and are convinced that shopping for clothes is something you can’t do, and that you have the worst body in the shop – sound familiar – yes? – well, your not alone!

After a few months of appointments with various consultants telling me what shapes and colours I should wear I became much more confident – but more than that I began to realize that clothes and dressing are completely wound up with our psychi and how we project ourselves to the world and how other people view and judge us.

“We only have one chance to make a first impression” the saying goes and oh how true it is.

It doesn’t matter how non judgmental we are, we all make a judgment about people within 3 seconds of first meeting them – we then have to work much harder to put our case across if that judgment was negative.

During this time our children where growing up and I was looking to go back into nursing and even tried it for a bit – but as anyone in that profession knows, it doesn’t fit in too well with 3 kids, a dog and a husband who is away a lot. So plan b was put into operation – to become self employed and work the hours I could and wanted.

This I did with 2 friends, who like me were convinced that our many combined talents could start a thriving business (sounds so naive now – I’ve been on a huge learning curve since then) We started a business where we provided groups of up to 10 ladies a day out, combining a great lunch with the chance to learn so new skills from other talented women. Subjects from Self Defense to Indian cookery, Flower arranging to Feng Shui.

This worked well for a couple of years but in between the cooking of lunch I was also doing the teaching of ‘Dressing to suit your Body Shape’ it became apparent that this was the most popular topic, but the most difficult one for me, as I was organising and cooking the lunch, as well as doing my presentation – so after a year of struggling and juggling I decided just to concentrate on passing my knowledge of ‘how to dress’ on to others on a one to one basis.

With more style courses and business courses under my belt this is where I’ve ended up, and at the end of the day I make people feel better than they did before they came to me – so perhaps that feeling I had when I was 4 was all to do with making people feel better, and nothing to do with the black tights, but then again!!!!

I’m now toying with the idea of becoming a ‘Psychological Style Consultant’ – because I want to take away the idea that clothes and fashion are frivolous, to encourage the idea that clothes and our attitude to them and our body has an awful lot to do with our mental health and that having an organised wardrobe (instead of a very cluttered one) gives us space in our lives to live as we should.

My goal is to enable people to learn what looks good on them without having to waste money on mistakes.

This means that going out becomes a joy and not something that comes at the end of hours of frustration and worry about what to wear, is it suitable?? and does my bum look big in this?

Discover your body shape and colouring : simply follow my step by step DVD Style Guides or choose the Personal Style Package to suit you.

Not sure which package suits your dressing style needs?

No problem, just give me a call or email me – contact details at the foot of the page.

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