Stylist Fiona Colwell hopes to empower women through her business Simply Style by Fi.

A passion for fashion!

A Virginia based stylist has turned her passion for fashion into a business and is on a mission to empower women of all ages by helping them build a wardrobe with clothes for all occasions to suit their style and shape.

Fiona Colwell was over 50 years of age when she decided to follow her true passion in life - fashion.

“I loved style all my life. I was always that ‘go-to’ person with family and friends on ‘Does it suit me?’, ‘What shoes would you put with this?, ‘Do you like this dress on me?’

“People were always saying - ‘You really should do this professionally’.”

After Covid lockdown restrictions were lifted, Fiona took stock of her life. Her three sons had grown up, her husband was working a full-time job, and she felt the time was right for her to pursue her own path.

Fiona returned to college as a mature student and qualified in Image Consultancy and Personal Styling through the Dublin Institute of Design.

“I didn’t even know you could do a course on it and, like everyone after Covid, we all had time to think about what we were doing at home.

“I did the course and then I said ‘Well there’s no point in doing the course if I don’t set myself up and try and do it!’ So I set it up last year and the response has been really really good. I absolutely love it. I love the difference it’s making to people’s lives. It was very scary but I didn’t want to have any regrets that I didn’t give it a go.”

Since setting up her business, Simply Style by Fi, Fiona has realised the impact proper styling can have on a woman.

“There’s a massive link between clothes and self esteem and confidence. People think it’s just clothes but it really is much more than that. You’re creating this positive feeling. They’re happier women, they’re happier mothers, they’re happier wives.

“I have clients who aren’t going out with their husbands because they don’t have the right clothes in their wardrobe. I have women that aren’t going out with their girlfriends because they feel under pressure with what to wear,” she explained.

Fiona offers two services, which are available to women of all ages - a styling consultation and a personal shopping assistant.

Explaining the options, Fiona says: “During our styling consultation, I will give you guidance on what style of clothes suit your body shape.

“Once we’ve completed this, we will review your wardrobe, discard unsuitable items and concentrate on restyling and reusing the items that you already have. We will also determine what shapes, styles and colours work best for you. This is a service that will last you a lifetime and avoid you making costly style mistakes in the future.”

Fiona then explains the benefits of having a personal shopping assistant.

“If you really feel that you don’t like, or want to wear anything in your wardrobe, a personal shopping service is the most cost effective method for developing a capsule wardrobe or clothes that mix and match together. Prior to your personal shopping appointment, we will discuss your style questionnaire and talk through what you want to achieve. It is important that our time spent together is both focused and productive,” outlined Fiona.

The Virginia woman explains there are some important factors, which should come into play when buying clothing.

These include your body shape, colour palette and clothing basics.

“When I do a consultation, the majority of people are missing the basics out of their wardrobe and that’s what you need to make your other clothes work. They’re not very exciting but we’re all attracted to the nice things in the shop - the going out dress, blouse or outfit, but we’re not attracted to the things that will work hard for us.

“So the leather jacket, the fine knit, the white shirt, a plain t-shirt, your denim jacket, denim shirt, a good-fitting blazer, a plain black dress and your good fitting jeans and black trousers. Prior to that, your underwear is one of the most important things. Your plain white runner is another basic and your nude shoe because they will go with every single thing in your wardrobe,” detailed Fiona of some of the basics.

She explains underwear can also make or break your outfit. “Without a good foundation, your clothes will not look well.”

While a personal stylist has become quite a popular profession in recent years, Fiona believes her age gives her an edge over other competitors.

“I’m a mother; I know what it’s like juggling a house and kids and all of that so I feel like I’m more relatable given the fact that I’m older.”

Fiona also understands many factors that have affected women’s sense of style including Covid restrictions, menopause and having children.

“When you have kids or go through menopause, it definitely changes your body shape and women can be a bit lost on how to dress for this new shape that they have,” she says.

Fiona concludes by advising anyone with a dream to pursue it, no matter what age they are.

“I’m 52, so I just felt what I want to say to people is that ‘It’s never ever too late to start something that you love doing!’”