Defining Your Style – Rosina’s Story


You may remember that I received an email from Rosina about her lack of confidence in her style, which sparked a series of posts about finding your style.  I received this email from her, and she’s been generous in letting me publish it.

Defining Your Style - Rosina's Story

Defining Your Style – Rosina’s Story continues …
Hi Imogen,

I thought I’d update you on what has happened since I wrote to you in September of last year. If you recall, I was completely at sea as to why I felt so “visibly wrong” much of the time and imagined that, if someone looked at me on the street, it was because they thought me weird/ugly/too tall/too much mutton-dressed-as-lamb. This feeling has plagued me since childhood, when I was the “ugly kid” and still am learning to live this down.

These feelings of inadequacy were intensified when family, friends or neighbours commented positively on something I was wearing – usually something unusual for me, such as a brighter colour or bold design. I felt that they were making these remarks because they felt sorry for me in some way. Bright pink suits me and I always get compliments when I wear it but I always feel like a lady of the night.

Your assessment that some of my clothing choices, even though they looked great to others, weren’t a true reflection of the inner me were spot on, Imogen.

I live, breathe and resonate in every way with the sea and seashore. It is a huge part of my soul. When I am wearing the colours of the stones and rocks, or of the sea in all its moods, I am at some sort of peace. Creams, beiges, taupes, greys, a soft grey pink or dusky aqua are all colours that inspire me, even deep navy/black like the ocean at night.  Flowing, wave-like shapes with tightly fitting lines are the shapes I feel most comfortable in both literally and in an aesthetic sense. I have never liked shiny, fake looking fabrics or sequins. My jewellery is nearly always silver and incorporates sea themes like sea glass, shells and the exquisite silver etching of our coastal native people.  I wear these gorgeous “seaweed” scarves from a lady on Etsy. I am found!

So back to my original letter to you, this all came to a head when I was wearing a burgundy/green/grey plaid dress top with a big bow at the back. No wonder I felt every compliment was actually mocking me. My choice of clothing was mocking the inner me and my conscious was picking up on this in a big way.

You also mentioned which personality trait did I want people to pick up? I always hope it is the fact that I am not as snooty as I look, that I love helping people to achieve their desires in life, to be a facilitator, but a gentle, kindly one. I feel the softer colours and designs/textures reflect this well.

The third part of your exercise was to determine how these choices fit with my lifestyle – that is easy to answer. Layers, lots of the same hue in different shades and textures…  I am West Coast casual with a touch of edginess and elegance, so layering over leggings or tight faded jeans and ending up with a long flowing scarf, artfully knotted, suites my home office/run to the shops/ walk along the seashore lifestyle perfectly.

Your final point was that, when the previous points converge, then confidence grows. And it has. I no longer wear anything that fails to fit on with the sea and shoreline in some way. (When I wear pure white, I tell myself it’s seagull poop…) Thank you, thank you for helping me find the inner me and to better reflect that to the outside world. One final note: When someone compliments me now, I smile and say, “Thank you.” I am even beginning to believe them!

Hugs, Rosina. 

Rosina before – in clothes she is complimented on but doesn’t feel comfortable wearing.


Rosina today - in clothes that she enjoys wearing and make her feel confident.
Rosina today – in clothes that she enjoys wearing and make her feel confident.

Thank you, Rosina, for sharing your story – this story has resonated with me and is one that I remember distinctly over the years.  It has had a lasting impact on me and my approach to style and image as it’s a great example of just how personality is the most important step in discovering your style and feeling that your style is an extension of your personality.
 7 steps to Style - discover your style once and for all


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • …and the hair has to go Imogen! It's being lowlighted and cut into a less aging, more perky long bob. Thanks again for working miracles.

  • Oh I can so relate to this. I used to be dressed by some family members who were known to have great taste in clothes; trouble is their choices didn't match my style and soul. So I also hated getting compliments!!

    It took me a while to get out of that but I too now feel a lot more comfortable, have way less trouble getting dressed in the morning, and actually enjoy compliments!

    I am going to read Rosina's letter again and think through each exercise.


  • What a fantastic post and what a difference a wonderful expert and a few well posed questions can make. Rosina, I LOVE your new look. I feel sure you will get LOADS of compliments. Bravo!

  • I love your story; I can definitely relate to it myself! I am still learning my personal style, and you are a big inspiration — and proof that attention to clothing/style is NOT shallow, but an expression of the inner self.

  • Thank you… Yes, Rank. I was surprised how something so exterior can both impact the inside person (make them feel secure or insecure about themselves), and also be impacted by the inner person. It's a beautiful two-way journey and I would never have known this had Imogen not used her expertise to read between the lines of what sounded like a superficial whine!

  • This was a lovely story, Rosina. Thank you for sharing it! Perhaps white could be more the colour of the waves as they break rather than seagull poop!

  • wow and aren't you doubly gorgeous now! I loved reading how you thought this through and it all came together for you. It is so easy to see how beautiful *you* are now.

  • Thank you again…

    Virago. So funny…yes, white is the colour of seafoam… a much prettier thought!

  • Wow, will I be as beautiful if I use Imogen's guide? It's worth a try for sure!!! So glad you "found" yourself, Rosina.

  • Love the newer look! As a recent reader of this blog, I didn't (yet) read the original letter, but just from these 2 photos, the softer colors are wonderful on Rosina, as are the "simpler" cuts of the clothing.

    I've seen/read(?) in the past that as we get older, *most* of us should move to softer colors and stop with the ruffles (or at least use fewer/softer ruffles). As someone who never did do bright colors or ruffles, I'm debating what to do. I know I should replace the sweatshirts with something else, but exactly what is unknown at this point.

  • Wow Rosinna you look more…grounded! You are adorably natural.
    Have you read these so beautifull posts on perls from Duchesse's blog: "Passage des perles"?
    …White as sea foam at night under the moon light, salt cristals…

  • This post has really struck a cord with me. I am inspired by the idea of using the sea & beach as the colour scheme of choice. I have never tried to think in terms of a landscape.

  • What a difference, and such a compelling inner shift, as well as outer. Rosina, you make a point that is *so* important: we can be complimented on something we wear but at the same time it is not right for US. It's someone else's taste, their projection of what they like.

    JustGail, there is a LOT of room between sweatshirts and ruffles and I just know Inogen is going to help with that.

  • I *love* the change. You look so much more approachable, friendly, and comfortable with yourself now. I'm so glad you found a style and inspiration that makes you happy!

  • What a gorgeous transformation! Mostly because your outside now accurately reflects your inside. (Imogen is definitely one of the good fairies working magic!)
    I also was thinking the sea foam of breaking waves instead of seagull poop for the white!
    Hope we get to see your new hair style!

  • Rosina, the new look seems completely at home on you and is very flattering. You're wearing the colors and styles instead of the other way around.

    I think the upcoming hair change will be the proverbial cherry on top. Sounds like the planned color might be a little like the golden tips ones sees on dune grass. 😉

  • I just read through this morning's comments and am very touched. Thank you everyone for your generosity of spirit and words. I was kidding a bit about the seagull poop 😉 I will read Duchesse's Perles. One more thing I wanted to mention is that, when I open my closet now, I see all the sea and seashore colours and it instantly elevates my spirits. My daughter on Etsy (kilaueadawn) makes seashore jewellery and is in a number of stores (I'm so prouid of her) and she is making me some pieces to go with my clothes. We love to go seaglass hunting together. Thanks to Imogen, It's all tying together in the most wonderful way!
    I loved that remark about how I now wear the colours, they don't wear me. So very, very true! R. x

  • Great post and the changes on Rosina so flattering. And I agree with you Rosina about the hair. Can't wait to see what you and Imogen come up with there 🙂

  • Thank you for this very inspiring story. I love the new look, it speaks of sophistication, elegance and has a certain softness even though the clothes aren't in the romantic (i.e. laces and ruffles) category – guess must be the overall colour combination.

    It's great that when we open up our wardrobe, everything in there resonates who we are inside. This is something I'm aspiring towards.

    Thank you once again for sharing!

  • This is one of my favorite fashion posts ever! Thanks for sharing your journey, and thanks to Imogen for leading the way. I'm off to contemplate my own style essence!

  • Lovely to read about Rosina’s inner feelings and how they were met in her style advice. She looks lovely. This is a good blog post for anyone looking to understand why they feel ugly inside even when everyone around sees them as beautiful. A lovely pure hearted expression of her inner life coming into harmony with gentle help.

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