When Tracey Davis became a mum, her body shape changed. So did her budget for spending as she pleased on fashion, but that didn’t deter Tracey from rocking it in a cool hat or a sharp leather jacket when she stepped out of the house.
“It doesn’t take much to look stylish,” says Tracey. “And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You have to get dressed every day so why not take an extra five minutes to choose clothing that makes you look and feel great?”
When friends and others began asking what Tracey’s secret was, it inspired her to open Tracey Davis Styling. She formally studied styling at the Australian Style Institute (Melbourne) refining her knowledge on body shapes and the impact of human behaviour on why we buy and wear what we do.
Today Tracey is the resident stylist at the Canberra Outlet, Fyshwick, and the stylist behind many “everyday women” she has taught to look amazing regardless of shape, budget or lifestyle.
“Styling isn’t about chance or expensive price tags. It’s about making sure the clothes you wear reflect who you are and how you want to be perceived. It’s about being empowered to define and own your style,” Tracey says.
Gone are the days when styling was reserved for the rich and famous. Tracey says the market is growing quickly with everyday women seeing a professional styling session as essential.
“Our lives are busy and time and efficiency are at a premium,” says Tracey. “Not worrying about what to wear or what goes with what, saves mental energy.”
Using a professional stylist also eliminates having a wardrobe full of costly pieces bought on a whim that won’t be worn or worn only once. Buying staple pieces and pieces you won’t get bored with saves money.
Tracey teaches women how to create at least three looks out of each staple piece.
A styling session begins with a “get-to-know-you” consultation—over a coffee or by phone or Skype. Tracey tunnels down to learn what her client’s desired outcomes are, what their previous struggles with clothing have been, what personal branding they want and what their signature style is.
The next step typically involves a wardrobe review at the client’s home to discover what works and what doesn’t. “It can be quite emotional,” says Tracey. “People get attached to pieces that hold strong memories. I help women identify pieces to keep and build on.”
Tracey then develops a list for “smart” shopping, including pieces that fill clothing gaps.
Armed with the list, Tracey heads to the Canberra Outlet on her own to do a “pre-shop”, putting pieces aside she feels the client might like. “When the client arrives for our actual shop, they have items ready to try on,” says Tracey.
“It allows us to be more targeted, focused and efficient, while having fun and learning heaps.”
Tracey believes it’s important to be able to wear pieces several ways, to maximise spend. As such, she advised clients to concentrate on “style”, not “fashion”.
“Fashion is more about trends or fads that don’t last long. It’s about looking like everyone else. Style is personal. It’s about confidence and knowing what looks good regardless of what is fashionable at any time.”
Many everyday women find shopping challenging, especially with mega volumes of fast fashion up for grabs.
“It used to be that labels did four drops a year, one for each season, but now there’s new fashion every week. It’s tempting to be buying all the time, especially when online shopping is switched on 24-7,” says Tracey.
Tracey has fond memories of many women she’s delighted with her styling expertise and empowered with style knowledge.
“Many a client has presented with nothing but corporate clothes in their wardrobe and gym gear,” says Tracey. “Without stylish lifestyle clothes that can be dressed up or down, the client is in a bind for socialising.
“I help clients expand their wardrobe for all occasions, so they feel a million bucks.”
In addition to styling, Tracey works with other creatives on campaigns and editorials for the Canberra Outlet, which she also loves.
When not shopping for others, Tracey’s often spotted poking about op-shops for special vintage pieces. “I love ’70s clothing and it’s always great to uncover a unique piece,” she says.