I'd love for you to take a moment and remember who you were at 5 years old.
Maybe you played dress up and had a closet full of costumes. Or maybe you never noticed your clothes because you were too busy climbing trees. Whoever and however you were, I bet you were full of life and trusted yourself.
YOU BELIEVED YOU COULD BE ANYTHING.
You wore whatever you wanted.
But for most of us, by the time we become young women, we lose that sense of freedom. Instead of using clothing to express ourselves, we use it to hide.
We stop feeling like we can be ourselves because we start believing that we’re too much, not enough or BOTH.
We disconnect — not only from what we wear, but from who we are. Our uniqueness goes away, and we replace it with what the world wants us to be.
We dress to fit in.
As a young girl, I received lots of attention for my outfits. I LOVED clothes and getting dressed was an opportunity to show myself. I believed I was creative, forward thinking and had a sharp eye for interesting details. I had so much fun with fashion!
At 13, my [male] science teacher brought me up to the front of the class to show my classmates how fabulous I looked in my strong shouldered, purple jumpsuit combo. I liked getting noticed for what I wore. It affirmed I was doing something well.
Two years later my body changed from skinny minny to full-on hourglass. This had a big impact on the type of attention I received. It wasn’t my outfits I got noticed for anymore. It was my body. My desire to use clothes for my self expression came into sharp conflict with the discomfort I felt about my voluptuous shape.
In 9th grade before spring break, I begged my mom to buy me a “French bikini”. I loved how the ties created an “X” on my skin.
”So cool!”, I thought.
Until I put it on. Then I wanted to hide myself.
I was embarrassed by my body. And now almost 40 years later, I can still sense the shame I felt at age 15 when ripping up my photos.
I wanted to hide.
At 16, I started wearing a lot of black. I got piercings, dyed my hair and accessorized with skulls and silver studs.
I became a rebel.
By letting go of my need to fit in, I created space for reinvention which brought me back to my true identity.
By the time I was 17, I returned to using clothes for my self expression. I've been experimenting and having fun with fashion ever since.
Form a relationship with your style.
One powerful way to reclaim who you were before you wanted to hide, compromise and settle — isn’t just dressing well.
Use styling as a self care practice to lead the way back to your true identity.
Then your uncompromising, "I-won’t-settle-for-less", ready to be seen younger self is with you everyday.
So if you’re a career woman...
She’s there when you walk into the boardroom.
If you’re a divorced woman...
She’s there on your first date.
If you're a female entrepreneur...
She’s there as you step onto the stage.
Clothing isn’t just about covering yourself, it’s about uncovering your truth.
You can't be yourself when dressed as someone else.
MY MISSION IS TO HELP YOU HAVE HIGH LEVEL ALIGNMENT WITH WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU WEAR.
So that your style reflects your true identity, you get dressed effortlessly, and you move through life feeling comfortable, confident and free.
9 FUN FACTS ABOUT ME
I learned how to be a stylist on the job. This was back in the 90s when nobody knew what a stylist was. There was no instagram or #bts, and retail salespeople weren't yet calling themselves stylists. I had to figure out how to dress other people while working on set, with celebrities, under the hot lights! I've styled hundreds of different bodies.
I believe that Radiohead is the best band in the world. I speak Astrology (double Aquarius here!). And I eat avocado toast for breakfast Every. Single. Day.
My mornings are sacred. I wake at 5:30am to write in my journal. It's how I maintain a strong connection to myself and stay on track with my purpose.
I've lived in NYC since 1994 (always on the Lower East Side!) Before that it was Paris at 22, college in LA, and my childhood was spent in the Washington DC suburbs.
I met my husband on a yoga retreat on NYE Y2K. I had planned to celebrate the millennium in Venezuela, but circumstances brought me to Costa Rica where he was visiting. (No, he doesn't do yoga.)
In high school I won the "Most Changed since 10th grade" award. I entered school sporting a perm, and wearing a cheerleader uniform. I graduated as a bleached blonde decked out in all-black and skull buckled boots.
I am not like the other fashion girls who obsess over designers and brands. On my 1st stylist assisting job, my boss asked who my favorite designer was. I told her "no one" because I didn't know what to say. Her look of disdain told me that I didn’t belong there.
I'm a certified yoga teacher. When the fashion industry tanked after 9/11, I took a yoga teacher training. My evenings were then spent teaching yoga to help my students feel connected to their bodies while my days were spent styling shoots making models and celebrities look good. I then realized that I must combine my intentions and bring a more holistic approach to styling.
My style is simplified creativity with a punch. I love bold color, clean lines, mixing tailored with sporty, and a silk head scarf is the solution to my bad hair days.
You may have seen my work in:
Here's My Official Stylist Bio
Meet Elysha Lenkin, a sought-after personal fashion stylist who is dedicated to helping women create closet competence. With over 25 years of experience in the fashion industry, Elysha has styled shoots for some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Carrie Underwood, Serena Williams, Tina Fey, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Through her engaging style workshops and private client work, Elysha empowers women to make informed fashion choices, leading them to a noteworthy personal style and a wardrobe that makes getting dressed a breeze. Her thoughtful styling insights have been featured in numerous publications such as InStyle, The New York Times, and People, and she also shares her expertise in a weekly style blog.
When she's not helping women feel incredible about how they look, she's shopping vintage and spending time with her family in downtown Manhattan.
Looking for press and podcast interviews? Go here.
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