Image Consultant, Anna Spreckley suffered from low self-esteem and struggled with her body-image. Here she explains how finding the right colours and styles for her body, changed so much more than her outside appearance, but her relationship with herself
When I was a little girl I’d sit on the floor of my mum’s dressing room and play with something she called a fan book. I didn’t know what it was at the time but I used to open it up and look at all the colour swatches and place them against her clothes and pick out outfits for her. Inside that little girl was a broken and lost person who never felt good enough and never knew why. It was as if, although I could appreciate beauty on other people, I would refuse and reject beauty in myself.
A few decades passed and having chosen bad relationships where I never felt good enough, I spent my emotions on countless items of clothing and make-up, and still had nothing to wear. Self-esteem and my relationship with myself could be an exhausting battle, especially when the media is constantly selling us endless new styles, colours and expectations.
I found myself in a relationship where my partner’s behaviour towards me caused me to be ashamed of my body and personality - so I hid. I wore black and baggy clothes and didn’t know how to communicate who I was beneath it all; buried in shame, self doubt and self hatred.
My relationship with myself could be an exhausting battle, especially when the media is constantly selling us endless new styles, colours and expectations.
My mum had her colours and style done years ago - when someone advises you about what suits you best. I saw the positive experience it was to her. So, I researched the best company to use for the service and found House of Colour. They are the world-leaders in colour and style - the best in the industry. After spending the best part of 30 years criticising my body, I decided to embrace myself and have my colours and style done. It was like a light was being switched on. I was sat in the consultants chair having drapes swished in front of me determining what brought the best out of my skin tone, and for the first time in a long time I felt beautiful in my own skin. I remember standing in front of the mirror during my style analysis in tears - because I finally felt like my body was enough as it was.
I learned how to dress in proportion and in clothes that suited by body architecture as well as my personality. And I remember thinking: "I can’t believe how cruel I’ve been to myself, I deserve to treat myself better." I learned how to communicate exactly who I was, without saying a word. The little girl who used to sit playing with colour swatches, came alive again. I felt good enough - I was already good enough I just didn’t see it before.
My spending habits began to change because I wasn’t buying clothes to fix an emotional need; I was buying what was right for me, and what I felt good in. I was even able to help the planet and mindfully buy pre-loved because I knew exactly what colours and style to look for, rather than filling a void on the high street to get a quick fix and still not feeling like it suited me.
I remember standing in front of the mirror during my style analysis in tears - because I finally felt like my body was enough as it was.
When I had my style done, I was suffering from burnout from training to go into ordained ministry. I was so busy with planning "events" I didn’t feel like I was actually being able to be "with" the people I cared the most about (helping women with their identity). I stepped down from training, and talked to my husband, who is my biggest cheerleader. He said I need to do the one thing that I have always dreamed of, and train with House of Colour to be an image consultant.
I followed my dreams and trained! I can honestly say, this feels more like "me" than any job I’ve done because it’s combining my passion for empowering women, with my passion for style and colour. Because I've been on a journey with my own self-acceptance, I’ve always had a heart for helping women feel incredible about themselves. I knew the difference colour and style analysis had on me, and I knew more women could benefit from it. I want to empower those who have felt like I used to feel as a little girl. Colour and style isn’t about vanity; it’s about pulling you into focus to show the world who you were made to be; seen, known, loved, heard and wanted.
Psalm 139 says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made". I remember sitting in church hearing that scripture so much it became like white noise. The word "fearful" in the scripture is translated from Hebrew meaning "great reverence", in other words there’s this great reverence, this awesomeness to how we are made because the one who made us is awesome. Who we are, our bodies, are awesome! We are wonderfully made - and I have the privilege of showing clients they are awesome.