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Meet the Belfast personal stylist hosting Zoom styling parties during lockdown

A Belfast stylist, who took the brave decision to start her own personal styling company just months ago, has found a new niche during lockdownhosting Zoom styling parties with women from across Northern Ireland.

Nuala McMenamin, who first registered Adorn Bespoke Styling back in January, has found herself inundated with work, even as lockdown has continued for months.

As part of our #InThisTogether campaign to champion the work that businesses and creatives have been doing to adapt to lockdown, we wanted to highlight Nuala’s achievement.

Speaking to Belfast Live, the business owner said: “I’ve wanted to be a personal stylist for as long as I remember, but I didn’t think there was even a career in it.

“The personal stylists that we would tend to think of currently, they tend to be Instagrammers or girls in their 20s or those who have small figures. But that’s not representative of me at all.”

Having toyed with the idea for years, Nuala was convinced that there was a market for personal styling from someone who didn’t have a small figure, but who was confident in their body.

“I did a personal development course and a few other things, but I kept going back to fashion and styling.

“I thought that because I was a fuller figure, I couldn’t give convincing style advice. But then I was told – that’s your USP, there’s a need for fashion advice for that type of woman.

“My weight fluctuates all the time. I’ve gone from a Size 8 to a Size 22. But I think that that’s played in my favour, because my clients feel really comfortable with me. These are people who maybe use to think of fashion as a barrier or people who have lost confidence. I’m trying to give them that back.”

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Despite not having come from either a fashion or retail background, Nuala quickly found that clients appreciated and trusted her honest advice – as well as her creativity with sourcing out great outfits from their wardrobes.

Despite all this, Nuala was faced with a potentially disastrous situation when Coronavirus measures were announced and everyone was put on lockdown.

“Whenever the Coronavirus situation arose and it became apparent that it was going to be a serious issue for businesses, I really did panic. I started looking up marketing roles and trying to think of what I could do. I thought, ‘Who ne style advice right now? What am I gonna do? Explain 101 ways to wear a germ mask?’ That was the type of content that I was imagining!”

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After consulting with friends and mentors, Nuala decided she’d try out some ‘Zoom styling parties‘ – which quickly became a massive hit, with groups of women taking part in order to have fun, learn some styling advice, and do something different during lockdown.

“I really started looking at resources that could help me at this time. A lot of them made me realise that the styling parties that I do would completely lend themselves to the Zoom format.

“I floated it to a couple of friends and did an initial tester – and the feedback was phenomenal. It was really good fun, really good craic. It’s all done over zoom and, in that initial challenge, there were 20 other people on the call. They were all told to bring one item with them and bring a scarf. Then I have a dress maker’s dummy, called ‘Queenie’, which I’ll use during the parties.

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“So the format is, I’ll firstly ask ladies how they normally dress. And then I’ll ask them to tell me about a time when they felt amazing in what they were wearing. It just gives me insight into what they like wearing and what they find interesting. And then I’ll show people how many variations of looks you can get, just out of what’s hidden in your wardrobes.”

With people joining these parties donned in everything from evening wear to their PJs, and with people coming back for one-on-one consultations or turning to Adorn for bespoke shopping advice, Nuala says that these events have been the perfect way for women to find their confidence in what they’re wearing.

Adorn’s Zoom styling parties are £15 per person with a minimum of 4 people. You can find out full details atadornbespokestyling.com or on their Facebook page.