Thursday, June 28, 2012

Style Clarity Workbook

Style clarity is something I definitely could use for my wardrobe, so I am really happy to welcome Bianca Chesimard, author of The Style Clarity Workbook, to Straight FromHel.  Bianca is also the creator of the Style Clarity website and blog.  She spent several years in the data analysis field, which, combined with a love for fashion and style, led her to develop the Style Clarity method and write the workbook.  She is a wife and mother, and enjoys a stylish life in Virginia.

Please welcome Bianca Chesimard.

Helen asked me a little about my process when writing The Style Clarity Workbook so I thought I would explain how the book came together as a whole.

At one point in my life, I really needed to start looking more "put together", and also needed a consistent and usable wardrobe. I spent plenty of cash, but wore the same couple of things all the time. After looking for some help on the topic, I discovered there were not many resources to turn to. Books covered body shapes or colors, but did not give insight into how being a fruit or a season helped you make your wardrobe into your own. TV gurus provided magic makeovers to people, but gave little advice to viewers at home about how to make the outfits personal. So, being a practical person, I decided to come up with my own methods. As a marketing analyst by trade, I knew how to collect and analyze data, why not run some "numbers" on myself? :)

I started by tracking what I actually wore, and discovered how little of my wardrobe I was wearing on a day to day basis. Many other activities and ideas followed, and I kept record of it all in journals, notebooks and a binder. Upon later reflection, I found a particular series of activities that helped me make the most strides in developing my style. When I shared these ideas with friends and family, they strongly encouraged me to share the methods with others. 

Because I seem to do most things backwards, I actually started the book by creating the worksheets and activities. In an early part of my career, I developed training materials, and used some of these skills to create the worksheets and instructions.  I scoured my books and refined not only the activities, but the intent behind them. I wanted to make sure each step was going to benefit the reader, and move them a step closer to their goal.  It was also important that it not feel like WORK. It had to be fun, and not complicated, or difficult.  A hard balance to strike!
After I was satisfied with the quality of the lessons I wanted to teach, I moved on to the narrative. I started explaining the Why of each activity. What was the reader going to get by completing each activity? When I felt the “What” and “Why” of the book was complete, I knew I still needed the “Who”. The voices of other women who were in the same place as those reading the book would be the final touch. I collected (and solicited) stories from friends, blog readers, co-workers, pretty much anyone who ever used any of my advice. This was the final step.

Once the words were together, I worked VERY closely with my book designer to make sure each worksheet looked, and flowed exactly as it needed to within the book. Since these are really the “heart” of the book, it was important we get them just right.

All in all, I think I probably wrote the book backwards, but it worked out just right for me. In the end, The Style Clarity Workbook is a step by step guide to developing style, and using that to create a wardrobe that represents your personality.  It’s pretty fun to think a collection of my thoughts, rambles and experiments turned into such a beautiful project. I hope you get a chance to check out The Style Clarity Workbook!

 Thank you Bianca.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I was born without much in the way of a Style gene. And I don't worry too much about style when I sit at my computer every day, but I do have occasions to dress up. I'm thinking I sorely need The Style Clarity Workbook.

You can follow Bianca on her blog tour for The Style Clarity Workbook. Any questions for Bianca?

(After leaving your comment, link over and visit Mary Montague Sikes' blog. This is the next to the last stop on the blog tour for The Corner Café and Mary has a great story, A Face in the Window, in the anthology.)


  1. I need to use the book several times, since I have several styles: meetings, lunches with friends, church, book signings, panels at conventions of different types and different levels of formality. LOVE the book, Bianca!

    Thanks for having her, Helen. :)

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

  2. This is the second time in about a week that I have impulsively visited a blog and run smack dab into Bianca's book. Maybe somebody is trying to tell me something. (smile)

    My daughter once told me I was hopeless when it came to style. She went through my closet and pointed out all the clothes that were at least 20 years outdated. Then she just had to mention that I tend to wear the same things over and over. Currently that is a pair of shorts and a tank top. This daughter is happy to dress me for a book signing or other event where I should not look like a farmer. So is my other daughter. But I am sure they would love it if I was to develop a style all on my own. LOL

    1. Awww, that is so sweet of your daughters! And there is nothing wrong with your shorts and tanks on a regular basis, just have a few things you love available for other occasions. Its all about having the right stuff when you need it! :D

    2. Maryann, I don't need to be told, although I'm sure my daughter would probably say the same thing about my wardrobe!

  3. Will definitely have to check this book out, since I am creating a whole new wardrobe now that I am so much thinner. Before, I never cared because I was so overweight. Now, clothes are fun. This sounds like a fun book as well.

    1. Congratulations on your weight loss! :)

  4. I thought I was the only one with a closet full of clothes I never wore. It sounds like a great book for making wiser clothes purchases!

    1. Oh my gosh Laura, I don't even want to talk about the first time I "edited" down my closet. Wow... I thought my husband was going to faint - he kept saying "Does THAT still have tags TOO?!!?" Sigh.

    2. You and me both, Laura. Problem with me is I'll donate stuff, then later wish I still had it.

  5. Helen,

    Thank you so much for hosting. I appreciate it! And I am pretty sure there was no sequence for style when they mapped the human genome. :D Just one of those fun things we have to deal with.


    1. Some people seem to be born with style. For the rest of us, there is your book.


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