Hey everybody, welcome to another edition of slumber party. I invite you to my slumber party, except unlike the ones you attended in the 90s. This one actually includes sleep for you, your children, and the entire family. Every week I have any unique guests or I answer a fun question about sleep to get you in your family, the sleep that you need. Today I am talking with Suzanne Colmer who was seriously such a breath of fresh air. Suzanne Colmer is the founder of Your Shop Girl, that’s @your_shop_girl and your shop girl aims at styling you in clothes that you actually like in a budget that you can afford without the shame that we all think we’re gonna get like Pretty Women style. Remember that scene in pretty women. I actually reference it in our interview together. Suzanne is great. We talk a lot about how to dress yourself after having a baby. Suzanne is part of my, ‘After the Sleep’ edition of all the things that you can do once you are sleeping. And, you know, I know that after I had both of my girls, my body changed so much. I basically shopped exclusively online late at night and I didn’t care what it looked like. I just wanted it to fit my body. So Suzanne and I talk a lot about that. Your top tips on how to pick clothes for yourself. I, I am convinced I’m gonna hire Suzanne. I think you’ll really, really enjoy our conversation. She’s real, she’s refreshing and you’ll absolutely love it. This is a judgment free zone. All types of sleep are encouraged. So put on your headphones, walk round for the duration of a crap nap and just enjoy yourself.
How are you?
Good. I’m really good. I just ate a bowl of pasta, actually I shouldn’t say a bowl of pasta, like pot of pasta. It didn’t even make it even make it out of the pot into a bowl to make sure that my brain was going to be like alive and well for this podcast. So I’m, yeah, I’m good.
Wow, I am honoured. I am honoured. You’ve made me think of something when you said that because I’ve noticed a weird behaviour I have of mine that is I have, like a famine mentality towards dishes. So sometimes I’ll be like, why would I ever use another bowl if I could just eat it out of this pot, like I’m wasting the ball and I always do this. Do you do that?
Oh, I fully do that. I fully do that. I hate, I just, I hate unpacking the dishwasher. I hate everything about dishes. I’m, yeah, I’m, I’m definitely not a housekeeper. Um, and dishes are my least favourite. I need to be on the phone basically. If I’m going to do dishes, like that’s, I need to call someone to get through it with me.
Yes, agreed. Agreed. I am. I am with you 100%. We could talk all day about that, but we are not going to continue with that, *laughter* famine mentality but dishes. I bet there’s a subculture where this, this does well. But we’re, today we’re with Suzanne Colmer, founder of Your Shop Girl. I’m really excited to talk to Suzanne because actually you approached me and I think the universe works in such funny ways, but, I have been percolating in my brain an idea, something called ‘After The Sleep’ edition. So because a lot of my clients will come to me when their life stops working right where they are. They can’t get dressed in the morning, they can’t work out, they can’t go to see that physio they’ve been meaning to see because they’re so tired and they’re just hanging out in bed and we’ve all been there. So I, I’m going to start a, a little new subsection of my podcast called After The Sleep, because people start doing things again, like once you’re sleeping, you started doing things like thinking about what you’re going to wear on that date because you can have a date now, which is pretty exciting. And so Suzanne, tell me a little bit about you, about your business about, you know, you’re a mom as well. Just, just jump in!
So that’s a big, I feel like that’s a big topic!
No pressure, just very broad.
Tell me everything about you! I started, I started, Your Shop Girl about 11 years ago now. And that was after graduating from UFT. I took a double major in gender studies and sociology. And then I had a minor in philosophy. So basically I graduated thinking like I didn’t want to be a philosopher or a sociologist, so I had to figure out what I was going to do with my life. And I had originally thought I was going to be a teacher, which I, I did I, you know, I do kind of do with my, with my clients. But I, I discovered image consulting at George Brown and didn’t have any idea what it was about, what, where it was gonna lead me. But after the first class, I was like, this is like, this is what I was meant to do. So I went to George Brown, I went to FIT in New York as well, just because I’m competitive and I wanted to make sure that I had a leg up on any competition in Toronto. And…
Good for you! I get that. I am totally that way. It’s like if I’m going to be a sleep consultant, I’m going to do the best training in the best place.
Exactly. Yeah. And, and why not go to New York to do that? It’s not like I was like, you know, going Detroit or something. Nothing against Detroit, but it’s, you know, New York is a fun place to visit. Any excuse.
And then I went and I ate a lot of croissants in, uh, in Paris for a summer and came back and started my business. So, it’s been, it’s been a long and wild ride and, and I’ve learned a ton, but you know, what remains the same is that we are really focused on ensuring that we’re not just handing over fish to people, that we’re really teaching them how, how to dress, why things work, why things don’t, because that’s where the real change happens. It’s one thing to just dress someone up and send them off. It’s another thing to actually give them the tools and, and formulas and kind of break it down almost into a science. So, so they can feel as put together as possible on a daily basis.
I love that. I love the learn to fish. It’s very much my philosophy as well that, you know, people will often write me to ask if I come to houses just to do the sleep training for parents. And I say like, I could do that and your baby would be a champion for me. But the, the reality is that I’m going to leave and then that baby’s yours. So you really need to be able to have those skills and that baseline as well. That’s amazing. So, so I guess, you know, I would like to know, a lot of, a lot of my listeners are, are moms, a lot of them are new moms, and I say young moms, meaning they have young children, don’t mean young in age. But, and I feel like you have, you have a child as well. You have a daughter, right?
Yes she’s five! She just started grade one.
Oh, congratulations. How’s it going?
It was awesome! She didn’t look back. Yeah, she didn’t even blink. Basically. She was totally ready for it.
Oh, I love that. I love that. I feel like *cough* excuse me. But I was a teacher for, for 10 years and I, you know, I would, uh, all these moms would be like, Oh, I’m so worried about school. I’m like, I am not worried about school. School’s awesome for kids. They will love it. It’ll be great. And then I dropped my daughter off in the first day of JK last year and I was sobbing. I was like, *crying noises* I can’t believe it… So good for you! Okay. So, you know, going back to that mom, I’m sure you can identify, you know, you’re a young lung, you have a young family. Like quite honestly, clothing is the last thing you’re thinking about, right? Like you’re just thinking about making it out the door. What are some of the common things you’re hearing from your, your mom clients?
I think there’s a couple of them. I think one, we have a very difficult time investing in ourselves as our size changes. Like it’s so hard after you have a baby because you know, you, you end up going through almost like three different phases with your body, with all the hormones and everything else and you’re not really feeling like yourself and, and you’re sleep deprived and every molecule of your body is basically, you know, working to just keep this little person like alive and happy. So thinking about clothes is like the last thing that you want to possibly invest in or spend any time on. But at the end of the day, I feel like when you are feeling that strange in your body and you’re feeling that self-conscious, that’s actually the best time to put on an outfit that’s going to make you feel like yourself again. And I don’t think that that we do that. I, I know that we don’t do it because I have many clients who contact me kind of after the year point. But they’d been, they’d been struggling throughout that whole year just to, just to put on clothes that, you know, smell clean and kind of fit. So I think that I think that one is, is investing in themselves and two is just even finding the time to, to get dressed and to feel put together and, and to have those pieces available in their, in their closet. Because realistically it’s, once we have kids, all of those clothes in our closet are from almost a past life. Like the chances of us feeling like that person and wanting to put those clothes back on are almost slim to none. Like I looked at my closet after my daughter was born and I was like, who lives here. Like this is, this is not who I am anymore and I don’t want to wear any of this. So I, you know, then had to be a, you know, image and style consultant for myself. I had to take myself through this process that I had been taking people through for the prior 6 years.
Yeah, that’s…Well, I love, I have so many things that I want to say about that. You know, I actually, I trained with a trainer for a long time. Someone who I love, Dara Bergeron. I don’t know if you know Dara. She created, her handle now is @mom.bod.love, but she created a belly bootcamp. She wrote this article a few years ago called, you know, screw getting back into your old jeans, just buy new jeans. Like you’re, you’re body is different now. And I feel like we’re starting to see this wave is pretty new. But this wave of like, no, you’re not going to fit into those old jeans and maybe you will and that’s great. But if you aren’t, you’re joining a large population of women who aren’t. Not because you’re fat or overweight, it’s, your body has completely changed and maybe you did gain some weight and maybe that’s okay. Like maybe that’s where your body needs to be right now, cause you’re nourishing a human and you’re, you know, working so much harder. So I love, I love this perspective that, you know, don’t worry about your old clothes. Maybe we think about, we think about some new clothes and a new style. Like I think about all the pictures I, like I just got a new computer and I transferred over some photos and I was looking at pictures of me. Like literally a year before I had my first daughter and I was like, I can’t believe I wore that. I’ve wore that dress. Like my ass was so close to the edge of that dress. I did that! And like, I couldn’t imagine doing that now.
And like, you may have felt amazing in that dress then. Right. But it’s, it’s really, I think acknowledging the fact that we grow and we change as people and our style is also going to grow and change and evolve and our body is going to grow and change and evolve and, and we need to, we really need to work on accepting that and, and kind of moving forward with it. I think asking a new mom whether she feels like the same person as she did before she had the baby. It’s like, it’s such an obvious answer. They’re going to say no. Like no, no mom, you know, doesn’t feel that kind of transformation. Like all of a sudden you have this, this little human that that you would do absolutely anything for. And yet you ask them like if they should still wear the same clothes or if they have the same style and they’re like, well, I don’t but maybe I do want to fit back into those or, or, I don’t really know what my style is anymore. Like it’s a much more difficult, it’s a much more difficult conversation.
Totally. And I think that, you know, just to, to flick people to some great follows, obviously you yourself, what’s your handle on social media?
Perfect, and then like @thebirdspapaya is another great one about body acceptance.
I love her by, you know, I, I’m trying to think of myself, our people, like I, I admitted to you before this that I had actually looked into your services a little while ago in chicken down, not because of you, but because I was sort of like, I was nervous about going in there and you know, like that Pretty Woman scene are, they’re like, please leave. And then she comes back and she’s like, big mistake. And like that’s what you envision, right? So I just didn’t want that. And clearly that’s not what happens, but talk me through what the process would look like so I can, you know, engage in your services.
Well, and I think it’s so common, like it, it is very common as we had kind of talked about before for people to, to follow us for years and, and then finally get the courage to invest in themselves. And usually it’s because, you know, they get to a point just like with sleep training where they realise that, you know, they just can’t do it themselves and it’s worth spending the money because time is money. And it’s, it’s so much nicer to just have an expert, have an expert, just handle it. And because we teach them, they’re not just walking away with the value of getting new clothes that actually look great on them, but they’re understanding where to shop afterwards, what to look for, what not to look for. Once you understand that formula of style, it is so much easier to get dressed. I think we assume that style is an art and that we have to be born with it. Some people are just stylish, whereas I, I think that’s total bull. Like I, I think that, I think that anyone can be taught to be stylish. It’s, we’re not necessarily all gonna look alike. And I think that’s amazing. That is, you know, part of what I love about my job is that I get to dress a million different bodies in a million different styles and a million different colours.
So that’s a good question because I think, I mean, I, we don’t have to get into my body story and I feel like this is where it’s going and it’s because of me. But I, I feel like I avoided other people styling me for a long time because I felt for a long time I would go into a store and they didn’t have my size and I wouldn’t, like, I would be too big for the sizes and I would just walk out, like I wouldn’t ask for the bigger size. There’s a lot of shame that comes with that. I, you know, since having my second child, I’ve lost weight kind of, not unintentionally, I’ve just changed a lot of my nutrition, but it was never about losing weight. The, the outcome has been lost weight. I can go to most stores, it’s fine. But that is a big barrier. Like, so when someone comes to you.
Its a huge barrier!
And you’re like, like, I just want to know how to get over that barrier. Like I’m, I’m feeling that shame right now. Like, I wouldn’t want to come into your store and be like, sorry, we don’t have your size. Or like, I don’t know where to shop for you.
Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s, I think it’s horrible. And I think that in Canada we unfortunately are not nearly as good with, with human sizing as in the US or even the UK. So when I’m shopping for my above average clients, which is a huge percentage of my clients are above average or they are tall, or they’re petite because these are all going to be people that are going to have a difficult time finding sizes. My clients are not, the people that we’re seeing on Pinterest, they are, they are not size zero and 25 and like five foot eight. Those people can dress, you know, they can dress themselves.
That is such a good point! I wish I, Oh my God, you should write this on your website. Hey FYI, my clients are not on Pinterest. They don’t need me. You need me.
Yeah, exactly. But it’s true that when we think about it, right. And I think one of the most liberating things is really just discovering some brands and some stores that you could be the muse for. You know, where you walk in and you’re like, I don’t even need to think about whether my size is here. I know my size is going to be here and I love this style like this. This really feels like me. Like we settle too often with it’s fine or it fits. Especially new moms like it’s fine and it fits and I’m grocery shopping and I’m just going to pick up a couple pieces like, no that is not, it’s not okay. And I think when I’m thinking about the process with our clients, like that is a, is a big message that we’d like to, that we like to make sure that they understand like it has, it’s not about settling and it has nothing to do with your body. It’s all about the clothes. Like we can’t possibly blame our body for things that are really the clothes fault. Like if I put on one dress and it looks like crap on me and then I put on another dress and it looks amazing, it wasn’t my fault that that first one didn’t look great, it was the dresses fault. Right? So we need to, we need to shift that mentality and, and not worry about fitting into our old skinny jeans, but just find a pair of jeans that works for us because that’s not my fault that those jeans don’t fit. It’s about the jeans. It’s not about, me.
Totally. And it’s funny because I remember, um, my best friend is, is European. She moved to Canada when she was 14. And I remember her walking, So like I was, I grew up in Niagara falls, like at a, like the wrong side of the tracks, high school in Niagara falls. She walks in like dressed to the nines and we’re all like, okay. And eventually, I mean we did not like each other cause clearly I was jealous of her. We’re now best friends and inseparable. But I remember later on in our friendship, her telling me, you know, you should never wear something that isn’t tailored for your body. Like don’t just buy something in the store and then not tailor it. And that was such a like light bulb for me. I was like, do you tailor all your clothes? And she’s like, “usually” and I was like, Oh this, this is all making so much sense. What do you feel like, how do you feel about that? Like finding a great piece and then maybe trying to find a way to make it work for you?
Oh I tailor my t-shirts. Like I tailor absolutely everything. But’s about understanding! Like it’s understanding the clothing process, right? Like if I, if, if I were to take you behind the scenes into factories, you would see that that there is one fit model and there are pieces of papers that are patterns and they are grading those patterns based on sizes into potentially like four different sizes, small, medium, large and extra large. And then adding a bunch of stretch into it. Like there is no way that those pieces are going to fit all the different bodies that I see on a daily basis. Like, we, we need to understand that it is okay that those pieces don’t fit as long as I have certain seams or, we love them enough that we feel like we want to invest more money into them. It’s like, this is such an amazing jacket. I love this so much that I’m willing to invest the $20 that it’s going to take to, you know, take up the sleeve and move this button basically. And I always put that cost in as well.
I had, my husband’s Christmas party for his work, uh, last year and I went to Nordstrom and I found a shirt and I was like, I have to have the shirt, I must wear it. I love it so much. And then I put it on and the, the V was so deep and I’m big busted. I was like, well, that’s not the message I want to be sending to my husband’s work partners. I will not wear this. And then I like tried it with like seven different bras and then finally I turned it around and had this like high neck shirt. I took a seam ripper. I took off the tag so you couldn’t see anything. It looked amazing. It looked amazing and you couldn’t see the bra. And it’s like my favourite shirt in the whole world. And it took me like I was in the dressing room for like a good 30 minutes. And I’m like, are you gonna buy this? I’m like, I don’t know. I’m trying to make it work.
That’s amazing! But you wanting, you wanting it to work that much, like that’s a good sign. And I think, you know, what we need to do is keep our favourite outfit in mind when we are shopping. If I don’t love something as much as much or, or you know, close to as much as I as I love my favorite outfit, then I’m not going to buy it. Like, I like to have a very small wardrobe. I definitely recommend, you know, capsule wardrobes for my new moms because we don’t have, you know, we just don’t have the time!
What is that?
So it’s basically a wardrobe. It’s allowing us to have a small amount of clothes that really multitask. So every piece that we’re buying, we’re ensuring that it goes with three other pieces in our wardrobe. I usually break things down into six pieces for four, eight, like, you know, post-baby post-baby body and it would be like one piece, two bottoms, three tops, and then you have your four accessories along the bottom. But all of those go together. So the, you know, the two tops both go with the layering pieces. All three tops go with both pairs of pants like, or skirt or whatever it is. And not just, it allows you to have like a couple of core pieces that you love that you didn’t need to spend like a ton of money on, but at least you know, you can get, there’s like 12 outfits basically that you could, that you could do with those six pieces. And that, it’s just a nice little core to have. You can basically close your eyes and look in the closet, choose two pieces and you know they’re going to match.
Okay. So I am definitely going to hire you because I need this in my life so bad because I, the other part of me is I love clothes so much. I love clothes and I love shopping for clothes and I love them. But I’m also very aware of the environmental impact that buying all of these like throwaway clothes is having. And I want to reduce that. But I also like playing with clothes. So I’m in this like bit of a pickle and I that that is what I don’t have. I cannot look at clothes and be like, “Oh, there are seven different outfits.” I’m like, I’m going to wear this this night and I couldn’t possibly repeat this. Like I need someone to train me on how to stop doing that essentially. And that sounds exactly like what I need.
Yeah. I think that we, I think we all do. I think it’s why I can have a team of women and we all work full time doing this. Like there are enough people out there that don’t know how to do this, that we, we all kind of need help. I say even, you know, even image consultants need image consultants sometimes. So, I have definitely have to talk to myself some late nights when I’m like online shopping where I just, I put things in carts and then just walk away from them. I’m like, “why did I just spend half an hour like shopping for this [inaudible] life? And then, and then I just closed down the computer. So, there’s always room for improvement.
Totally! There’s, I have a team of people that I have like a three other consultants that, you know, we all kind of chat with and talk about, you know, tricky cases or, or things like that. And there are times with my own children where I’m like, guys set me straight. I’m not right. And they’re like, this is, this is what you do. I’m like, thank you. I just needed you to say that.
It’s totally true. But I do think it do think having the education and understanding the why behind it does help so much because then you can look at your clothes right now and actually make a huge amount of outfits out of them or understand what anchoring pieces you need to be able to actually have them multitask. Right. Which a lot of times we just, couple of t-shirts or a few accessories and for you accessories are probably going to be a big thing because it’ll let you play around with things a lot and make them totally different. But you don’t necessarily have to have like a ton of a ton of pieces because I think we’re all trying to meet this more sustainable and supporting local is a great thing for us to do as well. It’s just, it’s hard and it’s expensive. So we need to have a real plan in terms of finding that balance.
So I, you know, as we talked about before, I like to keep this podcast to the length of what I like to call a crap nap. So that’s about 25 to 35 minutes. You know, something that a mom while she’s doing those crappy dishes, I don’t know if we talked about that online or offline where they can put on something and just listen to it while they go. We have this same, I think, mission and motivation, which is to help mom. Well, mine is moms. Yours are women feel like themselves again. That’s literally I think all over my website. It’s just, I really want women to feel like, ‘Hey, there’s a person in there and I’m sleeping and I’m human again.’ Could you give me your, like top two, three tips on how a mom can feel like herself again in shopping it, you know, whether that’s, you know, hiring you or something that she can be looking out for when she shopping. What’s like an easy like way to inch into yourself again, when shopping?
I think think one of the, one of the best things to do is find some inspiration. So I do suggest Pinterest. Think about Pinterest the same way as you would think about it for like designing your house. My house doesn’t look like a Scandinavian, you know, glass castle, but I’m taking inspiration from houses that are these like beautiful Scandinavian houses. I’m, I’m putting them because I want the inspiration from them. So ignore the fact that we don’t look like Pinterest models because none of us will. That’s just… they’re models. Like that feeling of, you know, the, the way that the clothing, maybe it’s the way it, it, it feels or how we would describe it. Have a couple of those outfits I suggest like 10 to 12 and use one of them as your recipe for when you are shopping. So you’re going into a store when some 16 year old girl comes up to you and asks if she can help you, you show them the picture and you say, I want to do this. Like I want to put together this outfit, and try it on and see how it feels. Because the first thing that you need to do when you are rediscovering yourself is to actually figure out what you want to look like and how you want people to describe you. And we don’t do that enough. We think about it with our home. We do not think about it with ourselves. So figuring out what your style words are and try it out to try an outfit out that feels a little bit edgy or maybe it, it feels a little bit more elegant than what you, that what you’ve done before. But I want you to try that all on, a full outfit, not just it, not just one piece. I want it to be head, top, bottom, and a layering piece, some accessories on there, and see how you feel in it. I think that’s probably, it’s, that’s, you know, three steps in one. But I think if you’re going to…
I love that!
It’s, it won’t take a lot of time. You can take your kid with you if you really need to, but ideally, find some babysitting for an hour and just do that for yourself. And if it doesn’t work out, who cares! Go to Godiva. Get some chocolates. And because you know nothing is, nothing is better than going home with, you know, some little treats. So if you didn’t find clothes, who cares? Like, it’s better to buy nothing than to buy something that isn’t perfect for you.
I, yes, I love that. And I, I liken this to my fear of Sephora for a really long time because everyone is so gorgeous and put together her. And I would walk in and be like, and I’d walk out, but the, I was doing a TV segment and I was like, okay, I’m going to do this. I’m going to walk in and I’m going to ask them to teach me how to put on my makeup. I have to do this. Because it was like paying people to come to my house at five o’clock in the morning to put makeup on. And I was like, this is not sustainable. I should just learn. And then I did it and it was the best experience. I just had to ask for help. And I feel like we’ve really, I mean the retail industry has really gotten away I think from shaming people and like, like everyone in Sephora has been amazing. And I mean, it’s not an ad for Sephora but it’s a metaphor for, I think so many people are worried about asking for help because they’re writing about shaming. And if you go in there with your Pinterest pics and you’re like, make me look like this person, they’re gonna really want to do that. That’s motivation for the other person as well.
Totally. And I, and I would say that, Sephora to me is like a department store. It’s going to be really overwhelming and I might not suggest a department store for your, like your first step back into shopping. But even if you can, even if you could go into like a local boutique around you or, or one shop where you’ve seen some of their stuff online and it feels like it’s, it’s your style, concentrate on that. Like don’t try and do too much, but if you can go into one store, one that’s not that overwhelming, that, that’s probably the best way to start.
Totally. Well, Suzanne, I could talk to you for a really long time, but I think we have to shut it down. Where can people find you?
Yourshopgirl.com is probably the best place. You can also find us on Instagram @your_shop_girl, or call me, email me. All of my information is online as well. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid. Like, I think there’s a lot of stigma around style and fashion with people just being, and that is like so far from who we are and what we do. And we wanna make sure that you are just as, as comfortable and happy as possible. That’s, that’s really all that matters. So if you have any questions, like you won’t get some weird invoice after, just, just let me know.
Amazing. Well, I will also link to all of this in the podcast notes, so if anyone’s wanting to go and click through, go ahead. Thank you so much for your time today, Suzanne.
Thank you Amanda, that was awesome! We got to do this again.
For sure! See you later.