If style is a form of self-celebration, then this woman knows how to celebrate well. Always seen in something bright or bold, she’s discovered her identity and shares it with pride and confidence. She’s a mum, she’s an author and a clothing designer. She’s also a stylist, empowering ladies one woman at a time to find themselves and really love themselves – flaws included. In this interview, we’re chatting with the founder of Dressing Up, to see just what kind of journey she’s been on to get to where she is now.
Name: Monique Doy
Passion: Helping women to wear their personality
Go to outfit: Something with print, pink and sparkly shoes!
Style Icon: Mindy Lahiri from The Mindy Project
How did Dressing Up start?
Completely by accident. I didn’t know what a blog was! I was at home with my babies who were at the time 2 and 6 months and I was feeling a bit lost. Not because I was unhappy being a stay at home Mum, but because at that point I was about two and a half years into not having anything that belonged JUST to me. Everything was about the babies. I was starting to forget my identity and what I liked, and I certainly had very limited options as far as what I could wear. It was this chaos of not being able to fit anything I had before having babies and not knowing where to go out and buy things that did – or how to dress and accept this changed body!
It was thanks to my daughters that I ended up on Facebook a lot, selling and buying baby clothes. Eventually I got talking to some of the girls on a page I was admin-ing about what I was wearing. I talked about my little finds and they just went nuts! They’d have question after question; “What are you buying, where are you shopping?” I thought “Oh god, how am I going document this for them in a way that’s going to be useful?” I ended up writing a post about where I was at with my body at that time – because these ladies were in a similar place to me. I shared it on the Facebook page but of course it disappeared into the feed. Then everyone started messaging me, “where’s that post?!”
That lead me to start my own Facebook page and then my husband, James (who happens to be a Web Designer) said to me, “it’s called a blog. You need a blog to house your information.”
I never thought that Dressing Up would take me to where it has now, being a stylist and helping women to wear their personality, but it feels meant to be!
When did you discover your passion for clothing and style?
I’ve always loved clothes. I don’t know if I ever really realised it, but when I was living in London I was shopping most days. The fashion and shopping in London helped me to get a real feel for style, although I was still pretty uncomfortable in my body at that point.
At that time I was dressing myself how other people thought was appropriate, not in stuff that I loved that expressed who I was which is interesting to look back on.
I also grew up with a deeply stylish Grandmother. She just always had perfect makeup, hair and outfits. Both my mum and Aunty are plus size, so I grew up watching how they dressed themselves and how they struggled to find things that weren’t $350 a piece. My Mum and Aunty owned a clothing company growing up so I was always surrounded by fashion.
What was it like translating your blog into a book?
Like my blog, the e-book happened on accident. As a stylist there are things that you say, to your clients all the time, we are all having a similar experience with our bodies and experience the same self-doubt. I became aware that I couldn’t reach all women one on one. Some of the posts where I talk about body image and identity are crucial for women to see so I started writing down everything in an e-book. It covers everything from what you generally need in your wardrobe for each season, to how to edit your own wardrobe and organise it. Most importantly it has a lot of information on body positivity, how it’s such a journey and the steps you can take to feel more positive about yourself.
It was going to be a 3-4 page printable and it turned into a 30 page colour extravaganza! I’m honestly thinking about doing a re-edit for the coming summer cause there’s SO much I want to say. The response has been incredible to it! It’s usually the first port of call for women before the decide to book a styling session with me.
How do you manage your time between your career and family?
I would like to say that I’m super structured about it but not as structured as I could be. It’s really hard, I have the guilt – the Mum guilt. I am lucky because my girls do spend a couple days in kindy and daycare. I have three days a week where I get to create my empire. But, with the blog and with creating content and new designs for Dressing Room (my clothing label) and the building of future projects, three days is nothing. 9.30 – 2:30 isn’t enough time.
I’d like to say I don’t work at night but I do. But I genuinely love what I do, so it’s my hobby too! I would like to be more disciplined, that is one of my goals for the next three months.
Can you tell us a common misconception about being a stylist?
That we’re perfect and judge what others wear. My clients always say they’re so relieved after they’ve met me, I’m not scary at all! They think that I’ll expect them to be perfect in terms of a tidy home, their wardrobe will be tidy and they often think I’m trying to turn them into a version of me. That’s not the case at all! I want them to show who THEY are through what they wear and experience the confidence that comes with that.
What is the most common insecurity you find with your clients?
No one is truly and deeply happy with their body. Many of my clients are scared of their arms and legs. They get to a certain age or a certain weight and they decide they can no longer show them off. I spend a lot of time trying to find clothes to address these issues but at the same time trying to stop them from getting out of control with those feelings. No one else cares about how your arms and legs look – you’d miss them if they were gone! Fashion for me is truly about showing your personality on the outside. Starting your day by opening your wardrobe and dressing to create the day you want. Mindset is everything.
How can we change these thoughts about ourselves?
I talk a lot in the book about body positivity. You actually have to take time to catch those thoughts and reframe them. Every time.
For me, I used to go into stores and try things on that were a little bit small and I would think “oh I need to lose 5kgs.” This became something I constantly told myself and consequently it undermined everything I did because life was going to begin for me once I lost 5 kilos. You know what’s on the other side of 5 kilos? 5 more kilos! It’s not about the weight it’s about the mid set. You are literally wasting your life worrying about something no one else cares about. Now, when I go into a changing room and try something on, if it doesn’t fit me and I want to be annoyed about it, I’m annoyed at the clothes. “The clothes aren’t doing their job. It’s the clothes job to fit me, not my job to fit the clothes.” And stop shopping at those places that you know won’t fit you, it won’t make you feel good.
If you had one piece of advice for your 25-year-old self, what would it be?
Don’t wait to be confident and go for what you want in life. At 25 you own the world. You’ve got all the skills, you’ve got all the abilities and you’re starting to get the common sense to put it together. The difference between what you’re doing and what other people are doing (while you’re scrolling their Instagram and feeling jealous!) is that they’re DOING it and you’re thinking about it. No one is you and that is your super power. You’ve got to put yourself out there!
Make sure you get yourself a copy of her book, click here to kick start your own style and body positivity journey!
For more information on the Dressing Up book or to chat directly with Monique, visit her website.
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