Michelle Orielle Testimonial

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A few years ago I attended a local, small-business networking event, and there she was. In a room full of people, one woman stood out. Petite and smiley, with fabulous hair, cute shoes and a gorgeous scarf, she had achieved the impossible – dressed appropriately for a business meeting in Israel.  She looked so good. Like global scale good.  Like, not trying too hard good. Like, wow, who is she and how can I be like her, good.  Talk about being your own best advertisement. 

I had to meet her, so I asked the organizer for an introduction.

“Of course,” she said, “that’s Wendy Lehmann. She’s a stylist.” Cue Psycho music.

I was terrified, sure she’d take one look at me and either dissolve into a fit of uncontrollable laughter or shake her head, sigh and walk away, leaving me wondering how I’d got it so wrong, as a single tear trickled down my cheek, dragging a streak of mascara to my chin.

“She has clients in London and New York,” she continued, making it worse.

Of course she did. Rich and famous people who could afford her. She was out of my league. Still, we were introduced and she seemed very nice. Friendly even. She must have thought I was someone else. 

While I’m no Kim Kardashian, I do need to dress for a range of events.  Maybe not the Met Ball, but still a variety of ‘Dos’ from causal to formal, local to international, professional to social. I need to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing so I can do my job and have a good time. And all this without Kim’s budget.

A couple of months went by and I kept thinking of Wendy - when I stood in front of my mirror wondering if I’d nailed it or was doing ‘frumpy-mummy’ 3.0,  when I was in a neon-lit change room, struggling to decide if an outfit suited me, if I needed it, if it was worth it, and if the salesperson was being honest about how FABULOUS I looked in it.   (Of course not.)  

The moment of truth came when I had to travel to LA – Hollywood actually - for a series of meetings at the big film studios. For the first time I had absolutely no idea what to pack. I had to look cool, casual, comfortable and not like mutton dressed as you-know-what. I was one lost sheep:  fifty something, with degrees in Visual Arts and Design, and still I didn’t know which bloody frock to put with what bloody shoes!

I called Wendy.

She flew in like a well-dressed Mary Poppins and opened her not a carpet-bag of tricks. (It was large, but in scale to her body, a metallic piece that looked fab.)

I had so many questions, the kind only a professional can answer and the kind where the answer could not be “We have to throw out this pile of vomit clothes and go shopping for thousands of dollars’ worth of new ones.”  

Wendy spent time with me and was fantastic. She was sensible, thoughtful, calm and caring. And we laughed a lot.

She taught me terms like body geometry and style personality, scale, and best of all appropriate. A memorable example was her explanation of how our local sex worker was indeed dressed appropriately, as it is all about wearing the right gear for the occasion. But that is another story. 

And thankfully she managed to transform this helpless grub into the kind of butterfly I could repeat when she wasn’t standing next to me.

Since then, I’ve given Wendy to my sister as a birthday present on Zoom internationally (hard to wrap but a great gift) and recommended her to any of my friends who’ll listen.

Maybe you’re thinking:  how trite, how trivial, how self-indulgent. What a waste of time and money, akin to getting a personal chef instead of cooking yourself.

I used to think like that too, but frankly, knowing how to dress yourself (especially for special occasions) is not as effective as having help from a professional stylist.   Think of it this way:  You know how to do your hair, but go regularly to the hairdresser, right? And you know how to brush your teeth, but go to the dentist twice a year to get them cleaned, no?  Going to a stylist once or twice a year is the same kind of personal maintenance.  In fact, I’m convinced that had I been smart enough to spend money on a stylist sooner, I would have saved a million dollars on not buying the wrong clothes and felt a million times more confident from being dressed well for each occasion.

With four Wendy sessions under my now very stylish belt,  – the travel packing, a couple of wardrobe edits,  and having had my colors done- I am proud to say that I no longer  stand in dimly lit change rooms pulling on and off a sweater in five different colors,  nor do I ask the woman in front of the mirror next me for her opinion on my outfit,  nor do I buy what looks fantastic on the 18 year old salesgirl. And I’ve stopped ordering items from beloved brands, simply because they’re 70% off.

Working with Wendy has made an enormous difference to how I feel, how I look and how I spend on clothing. I’m now far more confident in my choices and if ever I’m in doubt, I simply WhatsApp a picture to her anywhere in the world, and within moments she answers with her considered opinion!  My very own Fashion 911. Be still my beating heart. Wendy is another small miracle of the Promised Land, our very own Dressing Angel.  And she can be yours too.

So, don’t put it off any longer, take the plunge. A stylist, this stylist Wendy Lehmann, is not just for the Kim Kardashian’s of this world, she’s for the Michelles, Lyndas, Jennifers, Lauras, Adinas ……and for you too.

Go for it.