I’ve gotta be the worst image consultant in the world.

One of the biggest parts of my art de vivre* is based on the fact that I have the luxury of working in my pajamas until 10 am, or even all day long if I so desire** and one of my favorite clothing items are my sweatpants.

So one day, my friend Rihanna*** and I were sitting on a bench**** when suddenly, the science of life was in me. Picture this… Garance: Life Coach. Whaddya think?
Here’s a breakdown of our conversation.

Before we get started though, you’re going to need more context to get this: My friend Rihanna is all about the jeans and Converse. So very effortless even though she has a pretty important job, in charge of all of some important communications for an important company. Lots of important stuff.

So this is what we were saying :

“I love my job. But really, it’s such a pain to dress for. Do you have any outfits you can lend me?”

“Yeah, of course. Just come over whenever… But wouldn’t it be weird if you wore things that weren’t yours?”

“Yeah, but this is so annoying! I don’t want to have to buy things that aren’t my style – my style is jeans and converse – and plus, fashion is so crazy expensive! I mean, if you want to go anywhere besides Zara. Seriously though, even if I have a decent salary, a name brand bag would put me in the red. I just bought an apartment and I want to go on vacaaaaation…”

“Mmmmh. I hear all that, but I think sometimes you have to go for investment pieces. Especially at where you are in your career- cause it’s the moment where you can move things forward! Of course when you’re first starting out, no one expects you to go to a meeting wearing Balenciaga, but as years pass…”

“I know. You want to know what happened not too long ago? We had a meeting with a big client. He just loved my jacket and asked me where I got it. In front of all my team, this is so embarrassing… I’m terrible at lying so I said Zara. My boss’ mouth dropped to the floor.”

“That happens to all of us. I remember the first time I met Carine Roitfeld. She asked me where I got my shoes. When I said Zara, she raised an eyebrow. She said that it was probably time she went and took a look inside of one of those sometime. But I mean, it’s Carine, she’s cool. It didn’t stop me from being mortified inside.”

“I know what I’ll do. I’ll ask them for a clothing allowance. I’m not going to ruin myself just to have something to wear to work. It’s a crazy system! I’m supposed to represent the brands I work for so it should be a business expense.”

“Mmmmm. Yeah, that’s how it should work but not how it does, I’ve learned. Ever since I started working in fashion, I figured that you have to do everything backwards. And that ruining yourself a little bit is one of the best ways to bring good things for yourself. Stupid system.”

“Stupid system… Sooooo annoying !!!”

“Yeah, but it’s not going to change anytime soon. So you have to adapt. Listen, you don’t have to become Anna Dello Russo. Just go get yourself a good bag, or a jacket or two that’s well tailored, one or two pairs of heals that cry out Powaaaaa. Yeah, you’ll lose some dough but you’ll be able to keep them for a long time. Even if you dress the same every day, no one cares because you’ll be classy. It’ll be like your signature.”

“Mmmmmmm. Garance, you are annoying. You know that?”

“Mmmmmmm. Rihanna. You’ll thank me later.”

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Tra la la la la INTERLUDE la la la laaaaa… (que the flute music).

How did I become a life coach? You want to know how I learned that you have to have to look if you want the job? I learned this when I got my first job because of a pair of shoes.

And because Scott always said to me that sometimes, you have to invest. He even kicked my butt for some stuff (like not buying a “pro” camera when I was not even a beginner…) and I love the story he told me

“Soon after I started my blog, Style.com invited me to my first fashion week in Milan. I knew there was a chance I would never go again. So I had to make a big impact quick.
I didn’t want to be confused with a pit photographer. I wanted to be seen as an editor who told his story with pictures.

Because money was tight I asked a good friend to borrow some money (investing half the money in the wardrobe and half in camera equipment) because of my years of experience in the business I felt confident that making that investment was the thing that would set me apart.”

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Epilogue

A few months later, at lunch with Rihanna. She’s got a new job. She’s radiant and so well dressed – but like so awesomely dressed like the girl in my illustration!
I shower her with compliments and she says:

“No, but seriously, I listened to your advice and you know what, I didn’t ruin myself sooo much. I bought a few pieces and switched up how I did my hair and makeup. Basically I decided to play the game a little…
Things changed so fast! In a couple of weeks. It’s like once people saw that I was spending more time on myself, they were more able to give me more of their time… And I got a new job- maybe because of that!

And the worst of the worst of the irony is this… Now, I work for a place that gives me a clothing budget. I didn’t even have to ask for it…
I can even borrow clothes from the fashion closet when I need to!”

Pfff, stupid system!!!

How does it work for you, in your job or your studies? Do you have these kinds of problems? Or do you think that this kind of thing only happens in the fashion world?

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* Of course I have an art de vivre : it mostly revolves around jogging pants at the house.

** It’s never too good to take advantage of something good (Scott tells me).

*** I have to keep my friend’s name anonymous here for rather obvious reasons. So why not chose a name that packs some punch?

**** New York is not, unlike Paris, a city of cafés with outdoor seating areas. I spend my entire life sitting on steps and benches with my “to go” coffe cup. I understand Sex & the City and Gossip Girl so much better now.

Translation : Tim Sullivan