How to Feel Confident and Empowered in Your Clothing
with Katie Allen
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When Personal Stylist and Image Consultant Katie Allen looks into a closet, she sees so much more than shoes and clothing. She sees an opportunity for women to “put on their power.” In this fun, eye-opening episode, Katie shares a wealth of style knowledge including the importance of having clothes that reflect your lifestyle, using style to connect back to your inner self, and the mistakes she sees entrepreneurs making with their clothing selections. Check out this episode to learn how to use your personal style to build your confidence while expressing your authentic self!
Katie Allen is a 90’s hip-hop-loving, lipstick-obsessed personal stylist who teaches women how to master their mood & energy through style.
Katie’s mission is to help women put on their power and start each day with confidence & clarity right from their closet. She uses her exclusive “Feelings-First” Styling Methodology to connect women back to themselves, their bodies, and even their cycles (yes, you can sync your style to your cycle) through unlocking their personal style.
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Expand Your Fempire Podcast #75 Transcript
How to Feel Confident and Empowered in Your Clothing with Katie Allen
Welcome to Expand your Fempire with Caterina Rando, the podcast for women in business on a mission. Sharing ideas to support you to grow and thrive. Now here’s your host, Caterina Rando.
[00:00:24] Caterina Rando: This is Caterina Rando and welcome back to another episode of the Expand Your Fempire Podcast. Today, I am so excited because we have with us Katie Allen: style coach, personal stylist, and your advisor for how to always look and feel your best in any personal or business situation.
[00:00:53] My friend, you may not know that I went to fashion school for a year. I consider myself a bit of an image enthusiast. I am so excited with our topic today. Hi, Katie. So happy to have you here.
[00:01:08] Katie Allen: Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here today.
[00:01:12] Caterina Rando: Katie, I want to get to some different style tips for our audience. What I want to ask you right now is a little bit first about your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from where you were to having your own style business and tell us where you were.
[00:01:32] Katie Allen: Yes. So I actually was in marketing for a national public retailer doing hardwood flooring for 11 years. Prior to that, I had some other jobs in marketing, but I’ve been in marketing for a little over 15 years. I actually went to fashion school and that is what I have my degree in.
[00:01:50] And after I graduated college, you know, I just kind of started checking all the boxes, get married and have babies and buy a house and get a job and climb the corporate ladder. Feeling all really traditional.
[00:02:00] And about two years ago, like the end of 2018, beginning of 2019, something inside of me started to shift and I was like, okay, there’s gotta be so much more to life than these things. And I started a podcast and I would say that that was the beginning of my quote unquote entrepreneurial journey.
[00:02:19] And I just showed up and I was just taking action every day. I was like, “ladies, I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I am you, you are me. And we’re just going to just share all the things and we’re going to grow together.” And I did that for about a year.
[00:02:31] And then in the pandemic, like a lot of people, I was laid off of my career for 11 years in that same company. Laid off, here in my closet where I recorded the podcast over Zoom. And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t like the biggest ego rake of my life. It just gave me the space to lean into myself.
[00:02:52] And at that time I went to my husband and I said, “I don’t know what I want to do yet, but if you can just give me some time and space to figure this out and like not worried about the money like I think something magical is really going to happen.” And I knew I could get him on that because he is an entrepreneur and has been since I’ve met him at 19 years old. So I was like, “Ooh, if anyone can understand this it’s him.”
[00:03:13] And he gave me the time and space and I just really dug it into myself every single day like it was my job. And somehow –I don’t remember what I was doing– I was Googling and the words “style coach association” popped up on my screen and it was like the seas parted and it all came back to me and I just came back to myself. And I was like, “yes, that’s my first true love. Why did I ever let that slip?”
[00:03:39] And that’s how I started my styling business. And then I just knew from then on that that’s how I could help the women in my life and how I can support them to show up and just live their big lives.
[00:03:52] Caterina Rando: That is so wonderful. I love that you followed your bliss after you figured out what your bliss was and that you took time to figure it out. I also love that your spouse supported you. This is going to have to be a whole ‘nother topic for another day my friend, cause sometimes women who are so so ambitious and so wanting to do their thing, unfortunately, they don’t have the support they need at home.
[00:04:21] In fact, not only do they not have the support they need, but they have someone who’s trying to negatively impact what they’re doing. I know that this was not our hot topic for today. I want to ask you though, what works with you and your husband in having you both be entrepreneurs?
[00:04:39] Katie Allen: I think for me it’s communication and like just being so brutally honest when I have a feeling, whether it’s a fear, an excitement or what it is, and just trying to communicate the emotion without the emotion, if that makes sense.
[00:04:56] So like, after I’ve worked through it myself a little bit with like journaling or talking to a friend or meditating on it or exercising, like whatever it is that day, cause it’s always slightly different, then I come to him and say “Hey, there’s something I really need to talk to you about. Do you want to talk now? Are you comfortable on a good space because this is a big conversation? “
[00:05:16] But I also think part of what works for us is we met when we were 19. We’ve been together since we were 19 and now we’re 40. So we’ve kind of had 20 years to figure it out. The biggest thing is just brutal, honest communication.
[00:05:29] Caterina Rando: That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. Thank you, Katie, for that. I’m very big on communication.
[00:05:34] Katie, let’s talk about looking great, your style, your image. When I first started my career, I was always colorful, but I was much more buttoned-up like, you know, blazers and all that, thinking that that’s how I had to be. If you can’t see me today, I’m wearing lace, I’ve got long dangly earrings, my hair’s long, all these things that resonate and vibe with me today. What would you say are some of the biggest challenges women make in figuring out their personal style? Because we often think we’re supposed to look a certain way.
[00:06:09] Katie Allen: Yes. I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned in this last year is it’s really just about connecting back with yourself and really digging into yourself.
[00:06:18] Because we’re constantly bombarded, especially now with social media always on, or you always feel like there’s someone to keep up with. And it’s totally different like when I went to fashion school and social media didn’t even exist.
[00:06:29] I say that the hardest part I see right now with women is they think that the answer’s outside of themselves, and that they’re supposed to be following a trend or an influencer or someone else on social media. And my biggest piece of advice is tapping back into yourself.
I’ve really tried to lean into this idea that if we think and we focus on how we want to feel every day with really descriptive words, that we can tie those feelings to the pieces in our wardrobe, and then use those to step into those spaces to feel really good. -Katie Allen
[00:06:46] And because I started my self-development, self-love journey before I got back to styling, which is how I got to styling, I’ve really tried to lean into this idea that if we think and we focus on how we want to feel every day with really descriptive words, that we can tie those feelings to the pieces in our wardrobe, and then use those to step into those spaces to feel really good.
[00:07:09] Caterina Rando: Okay. Let’s say for example, I write down some words. I want to feel joyful. I want to feel confident. I want to feel energized. How would I dress?
[00:07:26] Katie Allen: Okay, so this is my favorite. And that’s my favorite question I love to ask people. And I always say pick three, because I think we’re, well I know, we’re so multifaceted as women, as people we go and we do so many different things in a day. And all three of those feelings represent different things for you.
[00:07:42] So like, someone says joyful then like what brings you joy? And I think you and I probably both agree on this. Joy for me is usually something colorful. Like colors can really trigger joy in me.
[00:07:53] So then I would go back and say, okay, what really brings me joy? Well, for me, it’s lipstick. So I know that certain colors of lipstick bring me joy. So I have to have my lipstick on so I can feel joyful and playful or whatever that feeling is. The different colors represent the different feelings for me.
[00:08:09] And then with confident, now to me that’s the next layer. So what makes me feel confident? Is it my leather jacket? Is it my Jean jacket? Is it my blazer? Is it my hair pulled back in a bun?
[00:08:19] And I try to remind people, it doesn’t always have to be an item of clothing. It could be your makeup. It can be the way you wear your hair, the color you paint your fingernails. Anything that you physically adorn your body with.
[00:08:31] And then energized. Again, what makes you feel that way? Like you have to tap into yourself and spend some time thinking about what are those key pieces and what they mean for you. And this is why I think the self-reflection piece is so, so big.
[00:08:45] To get people started because I think this naturally becomes easier the more we do it, is like start trying to assign different pieces or colors or hairstyles or makeup items to these feelings and then wear them. And when you have all three of those feelings represented on your physical body, then you should feel like a-mazing. And you should be able to show up your best. And then just like radiate that out to the world.
[00:09:09] Caterina Rando: I love it. That would also mean then, if you said Katie, that your clothing has different feelings associated with it, that would mean that you could go through your clothing and you could see when you hold it up, how does it make you feel? And if it doesn’t make you feel the way you would want to feel, you don’t keep that in your closet, even though it might’ve cost a lot or be fabulous. But if it doesn’t make you feel fabulous, then you get rid of it. Would you agree?
[00:09:41] Katie Allen: Absolutely. I tell all my clients, my ladies, all the time, donate it to your local women’s shelter, because there’s another woman that’s just two steps behind you that that’s going to make her feel fabulous.
[00:09:52] And then if it does cost a lot, or if it has a meaning or your mother give it to you, your mother-in-law, and you’re feel guilty about donating it, if you’re paying it forward to another lady, then I feel like this is a way for us to do both things, make ourselves feel good and make someone else feel good.
[00:10:12] Caterina Rando: That’s good. I like that. Make yourself feel good and make someone else feel good. Now, Katie, I’m going to tell you the truth. I think I would qualify as having too many clothes in my closet. I think I have a good sense of what styles and colors and all that I like.
[00:10:29] The thing is though, would you say that our style evolves or that we evolve with our style? What are your recommendations for closet audits or how somebody might put attention on getting rid of what’s there? In addition to how it makes you feel, anything else that we should pay attention to, as we want to purge our closet?
[00:10:51] Katie Allen: Yes, definitely. I believe that we evolve constantly and our style evolves with us, for sure. As hard as this is, sometimes I do believe that less is more. And when we have too many things that it does become a little overwhelming.
I believe that we evolve constantly and our style evolves with us, for sure. As hard as this is, sometimes I do believe that less is more. -Katie Allen
[00:11:07] For my ladies who track their cycles and are into cycle-syncing, there’s definitely times of the month where it’s easier for us to get into our closets and do an audit mentally where we’re not feeling like as emotionally tied to things. Absolutely release things that don’t feel good for you.
[00:11:23] But yes, I would say if you haven’t worn it in six months or more really seriously ask yourself why it’s still in your closet. If it does have holes or tears and things like that, I’m a big believer of releasing it.
[00:11:37] And another one I see that comes up a lot for women is they will have like five or six of the same thing. And I challenged them like, “do we really need five or six plain black t-shirts?” Like, is there something going on here?
[00:11:50] But also like take inventory of what you do have and what you feel like is missing. And are there colors that really light you up that aren’t in your closet? Because as much as we want to get rid of, like also kind of what’s missing? Like what’s going on in your life? If you did say you wanted to, you know, feel energized and nothing’s making you feel energized then take note of that.
[00:12:09] My last piece of advice, it’s really great and tangible I think, is take an inventory of your lifestyle and how you’re living your lifestyle and does your closet reflect that? So like you had mentioned earlier about how you were dressing at different point in your life.
[00:12:22] I like to use the example of I want to go on date nights with my husband. That’s a goal of ours now that our kids are getting older. Does my closet reflect that? Or does my closet just reflect a working from home entrepreneur? Cause if I don’t have the clothes that make me feel like I want to go on date night, then I probably won’t.
[00:12:38] So I like to work that in there too so we’re always mixing our lifestyle, how we feel, and then like the really tangible tips on like, if it doesn’t fit, let’s release it. And those kinds of things.
[00:12:48] Caterina Rando: I love that Katie. There’s so much to think about here when we think about our image, our style. One of the things I often say to my clients is that you want to make sure that your personal style and your personal image is on brand for you. Could you talk a little bit about how you would interpret that?
[00:13:11] Katie Allen: Absolutely. I think it’s really important to build a style that is on brand for you. And that’s one of my favorite pieces to go into with my clients.
[00:13:20] If you have certain brand colors, especially for small entrepreneurs that are their personal brand, a lot of times our brand colors are colors that we’re naturally attracted to. And I love to tell my ladies, make sure you’re working those into your outfits just as much as you’re using it in your branding. And that your style should match your voice and your brand’s voice, right?
[00:13:42] Like if I’m saying “I have this really big energy and I love to show up and I want women to live this really big life that they’ve been dreaming of!” But my personal style doesn’t match that, then it starts to create a little bit of confusion.
[00:13:56] Another one of the things I love to tell my ladies is think about conversation starters. Your style is really an amazing place to start the conversation and guide the communication and get your messages across. Right? If I wear some really fun earrings and they’re playful and they’re funky, it sets the tone for how this meeting is gonna go or what my personality is or what my brand is and what you can expect working with me.
[00:14:25] If I show up on a call and I have on, you know, my bright pink, red lipstick, then you know like I’m here and I’m ready to party and have fun and like do all the things. And if I didn’t show up like that, you’d might be a little confused about like what that energy is.
[00:14:39] Another thing I like to remind people is it is a really good tool for us to communicate. And like one of my favorite hot tips to share, like the little secret tips and no one talks about, is that when we match our clothing or anything on our body to our natural color of our eyes or hair or our lips, that it actually makes us appear more approachable and more friendly.
[00:15:00] That’s something I think that’s really fun. So like, if you have brown eyes and you’re wearing a brown bag or a brown coat or something like that, I just think that’s a really fun tip to play with.
[00:15:10] And a lot of time we mimic our environment as well. That also makes us appear, friendly and approachable. And I just think those are some of the really cool things that we could think about and tap into when we’re getting ready to do something scary.
[00:15:24] Like, I don’t know about you, but like running a business for me feels like it’s constantly an up-level. It’s constantly a journey. So using my style to master my energy and master my mood is such a big piece of this for me. So I’m always looking at it as like the fun way to show up in this space and up-level all the time. And that’s what I like to tell my clients is “Use this to feel good.” Right? Use this to show up. Use your style as a conversation starter to lay the ground on what we’re going to be working on, what we’re communicating, what the message is, that we really want to share with our audience, our clients, whatever that is.
[00:16:04] Caterina Rando: Katie, this is so much good insight on style. I want to ask this very important question. As entrepreneurs, are there any don’ts or mistakes that you see frequently with women entrepreneurs that we want to shine the spotlight on?
[00:16:22] Katie Allen: I think the biggest thing I see with women entrepreneurs that are don’ts is when they wear something that they’re uncomfortable with or something that doesn’t fit, because then they’re so hyper-aware of that, that when they’re showing up to meet new women or giving a presentation or whatever that is, that they can’t communicate as well as they want to because they’re physically uncomfortable.
[00:16:46] My favorite examples are when we wear like a dress or something that maybe is too tight or the buttons are opening at the top and things like that. So I always tell people, make sure that –yes, I want you to look amazing– but make sure you are comfortable in that fabric or that cut or that style.
…make sure you are comfortable in that fabric or that cut or that style…’you were not made to fit clothes, clothes were made to fit you.’ It’s really important to focus on your body shape and what really works for you. -Katie Allen
[00:17:03] Another thing I really like to remind my ladies is that “you were not made to fit clothes, clothes were made to fit you.” It’s really important to focus on your body shape and what really works for you. Because inches can make the world of a difference when we’re talking about where shirts hit or where pants hit on our waist and our hips. And just knowing those little tips and tricks just builds so much confidence.
[00:17:28] And again, it’s about feeling comfortable so we can show up and communicate. Obviously I’m a big communicator, so everything about style for me is about how I feel, because I know if I feel good then I’m communicating and connecting. And when I think of communicating, I think of connecting with the person that I’m talking to and with the person I’m interacting with. And to me, that’s the lifeblood of everything.
[00:17:49] Caterina Rando: Katie I love what you said about “clothes are meant to fit you, you were not meant to fit the clothes”. I remember when I hired an image professional years ago, the first thing she did was she took me to the seamstress and most of my jackets needed to be pulled in at the waist. All the cuffs needed to be pulled up. There were jackets that needed to be pulled in at the shoulders. I mean, everything needed a little nip or a tuck or an alteration.
[00:18:21] And that was very eye-opening because when I was done with the seamstress and the alterations, everything I wore, I felt like a million bucks, because a little nip or tuck here or there made it fit me better.
[00:18:38] Because most of us buy off the rack, we think “oh, I’m supposed to fit off the rack.” But just because it came off the rack doesn’t mean it’s perfectly styled for you. And when you do get things personally styled for you, you will be wearing them a lot more because you will look phenomenal.
[00:18:58] Katie Allen: Yes. And they will last a long time and you will love them and you will take care of them and those will be the things that we don’t release out of our closets. And I like to tell people that all the time, around like brands and different sizes and, you know, every brand has their own vision in their head of who they’re making these clothes for. And even when you take the same pair of jeans from the same company, a 12 is not always a 12. Like one 12 can fit tighter than another 12.
[00:19:24] This is not about you. It’s always the clothes. Like, this is not about you and your body. Like, how do you feel? Like physically not just emotionally, like how does it feel and how does it fit you?
[00:19:35] And that’s such an important piece and that’s a part I always try to drive home and share some of those industry things about like fit models. Because if you haven’t heard those terms before –why would you, if you’re not in the industry?– then you’re thinking like “oh, what’s wrong with me? How come those pants don’t fit me?” And everybody’s so radically different.
[00:19:53] Caterina Rando: And for us to not get hung up on our size.
[00:19:56] Katie Allen: Yes, absolutely.
[00:19:58] Caterina Rando: Because our size could be six different sizes with six different brands.
[00:20:02] Katie Allen: Absolutely. And then, you know, like Target sizes are always going to run higher because it’s a value brand. And then if you start shopping designer brands, your size is going to be way lower, because the experience they want you to have is a super good one.
[00:20:18] Caterina Rando: Katie, I remember the first time I hired an image professional. This is still when I was owning my cafe. And I can’t even remember how much money I spent. One of the things we did was that we did investment dressing.
[00:20:32] Katie Allen: Yes. Love that.
[00:20:33] Caterina Rando: I bought a Donna Karan skirt. It must’ve cost me –I can’t even remember now– but it was probably five times more than I had ever spent on a skirt. However, that skirt was in my closet and it looked fabulous for at least 15 years.
[00:20:49] And every time I put it on it wasn’t because it was Donna Karen, it was just the fit and the fabric and the way it hung and it never seemed to get scrunched up or anything. I loved that skirt for as long as I could wear it.
[00:21:07] And I mention that because I think a lot of women don’t want to spend money, but they don’t recognize that investment dressing is smart. And when you spend a little bit more on a brand that is right for you, you’re going to feel more fabulous than ever. And it’s good for your business.
[00:21:27] This is what I say, Katie. And you have to tell me what you think. I say, run your business for where you’re going, not where you are.
[00:21:36] Katie Allen: Absolutely.
[00:21:37] Caterina Rando: And then with your style, you want to have the style of the woman entrepreneur, where you’re going, not the style of the woman entrepreneur that you were last year and previously, would you concur?
[00:21:52] Katie Allen: Absolutely. And I love what you were saying about investment dressing. It’s so true.
[00:21:58] Another thing I like to remind my clients of is when you invest in something like your image is your brand is your business… it’s a tax write-off. You can write off hiring an image consultant or a personal stylist, whatever you choose to go with. It is part of your business. It’s a business expense. It’s professional services.
I like to remind my clients of is when you invest in something like your image is your brand is your business… it’s a tax write-off. You can write off hiring an image consultant or a personal stylist, whatever you choose to go with. It is part of your business. It’s a business expense. It’s professional services. -Katie Allen
[00:22:17] And it is going to generate revenue in your business. It is going to help you get there.
[00:22:23] But investment dressing is a game-changer and that’s kind of what I was hinting at earlier about less is more. Because when you have that Donna Karan skirt, and maybe you have two skirts and five shirts, whoa, now we can get in there and like come up with so many different fun combos off of those investment pieces. And you hit the nail on the head when you said you can wear it for 15 years.
[00:22:42] So if you take that skirt and you say “okay It’s $500 skirt” but then you maximize how long you can wear, for 10 years, 15 years, you start to see. It’s easier, especially if you think about it like in a business transaction, you know, I invest in courses or invest in training. Years from now, I’ll still be using this and giving me the foundation to build on.
[00:23:02] Caterina Rando: Katie, I love that you’ve said this because I always tell everyone investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make in your life.
[00:23:12] I mean, rather than investing in a fancy couch or a fancy car, start with investing in yourself, in your personal style, in your professional image, because it will also make you feel more confident and really more yourself. And when you do dress for where you’re going, not where you are, then you’re going to attract those clients where you’re going a little bit sooner.
[00:23:44] Katie Allen: I call it an easy button. I think when we’ve developed our personal style, it becomes our easy button to life. Like everything you just said becomes easier.
[00:23:53] Caterina Rando: I like that. Easy button for life bing bing. Katie any final words for the ladies before we wrap up?
[00:24:00] Katie Allen: I would say, just connect to yourself. Don’t be afraid to shine and stop playing small. And when we lean into this, it’s okay to take up the space with our personalities, with our outfits, and it’s okay to be who we are.
[00:24:14] And wear those amazing clothes that you do have in your closet that you’re saving for a special occasion. You don’t need permission to feel good. You can feel good now.
[00:24:22] Caterina Rando: I love that you can feel good. Now, Katie let’s tell everyone how they can connect with you.
[00:24:28] Katie Allen: Yes. You can follow me over on Instagram at Katie Allen Stylist. I also run a podcast that we will be connecting on soon. It’s called Just Realized. It’s literally like our just realized moments as we’re navigating life and doing and being everything that we want to be. And those are my two favorite places to hang out. I do have a website, katiejuststyled.com and I would love to connect.
[00:24:53] Caterina Rando: Katie. Thank you so much. I’ve so enjoyed our conversation today. As I mentioned when we started I’m an image enthusiast, I can talk about all this for days and days and days.
[00:25:03] Listeners, I want to encourage you: open your closet, take a look, do what Katie said. Take a look. Pull everything out. Look at it. If it doesn’t feel good when you look at it, it’s not going to feel good when you wear it.
[00:25:17] Remember my friends, you have massive value to bring. There’s a lifetime supply of people to serve. Make sure you look great, then you’re going to feel great because then you’re going to uplift more lives. This is Caterina Rando. Cannot wait to be with you again for another episode of the Expand Your Fempire Podcast.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando.