an interview with my wardrobe consultant

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an interview with @TrinaHolden, author of #MomsEmbracingBeauty

Today I’m honored to be interviewing my friend Trina as part of the blog tour celebrating the release of her second book, Embracing Beauty. The first time I met Trina in person, we were roommates at Relevant (now Allume). Before the weekend was over, she was loaning me shirts and gently encouraging me to embrace my own personal style. I may or may not have had a fashion consult with Trina via Skype before last year’s Allume conference! We weren’t roommates this last year, but that didn’t stop her from loaning me clothes (including the wrap I’m wearing in the photo above, where Trina and I are posing with our friend Christin).

Trina’s passion for beauty and fashion has finally spilled out into a book — and it’s one I’m so very excited about! She speaks right to where I’m at as a mom: struggling to find something to wear on Sunday morning, while trying to raise my daughters to understand true beauty

Gretchen: You’ve been telling me what to wear and how to wear it since the first day I met you, Trina. How long have you been interested in fashion and beauty?

Trina: I’ve had an awareness of and appreciation for fashion since a young age, thanks to the example of my mother’s solid sense of style. But my own passion for beauty was ignited after a season of neglect and the resulting hunger for beauty during the busy season of 3 little ones joining our family in 5 years.

Embracing BeautyYour first book (which I love) was about food. Your second book that’s just out, Embracing Beautyis about clothes. I love that you write about what you’re passionate about, but has it been difficult to change directions?

Because both my books are based on personal passions, I really couldn’t help myself from writing on either topic! But style is much more personal and subjective than a recipe for soup stock, so this second book definitely took much more time and effort in order to share what I’ve learned in a way that {hopefully!} inspires others.

So what’s your best tip for people like me who have no sense of style?

Realize that defining one’s personal style is a journey, and though some of us start out further along, having a solid idea of what we love from a young age, we can all make progress if we’re willing to invest a little effort. I was definitely a late-bloomer in this area, only in the last two years finding joy and satisfaction in wearing something I know is my style.

Look at it as a skill to be developed, just like writing, sewing, or growing a garden. Learn from those who are further along on the journey. Let yourself experiment and even make a few ‘mistakes’. Celebrate your progress, and don’t give up. You can grow in this area, and you will experience joy and satisfaction along the way.

How do you think our husband’s personal preferences should affect our wardrobe choices?

I share story in my book from one of my friends who has always found her husband to be a helpful voice in style decisions, thanks to a moment in the early years of her marriage when she took an unsolicited critique from him without becoming offended. As someone who has committed to loving you unconditionally, I think husbands can be a great place to bounce ideas off.

Keep in mind, this is your personal style you’re defining, so his opinions can be part of the decision process, but shouldn’t comprise the whole of your choices. That being said, because our men our so visual, we can bless them significantly when we choose a style, cut, or accessory that delights them.

What’s one accessory that anyone can wear, regardless of body type?

Oh, my goodness! I think that fact that accessories are usually one-size-fits-all and come in so many styles means any body type can experiment with any variety of accessories. I think an area of the body that anyone would be comfortable accenting would be the neck. Whether a necklace or a scarf, the beauty of putting something around our neck is that it draws the eye up toward the face and away from any part of our body we may feel is in need of redemption.

I realized in reading your book that I don’t have very much in my closet that stretches to multiple sizes. The only time I wear tunic style shirts is when I’m expecting — how do you keep from looking pregnant when wearing longer shirts? 

Heal your diastisis! If you’ve given birth, there’s a very high chance your abdominal muscles, which separate during pregnancy, haven’t joined back together, resulting in a suspicous-looking pooch no matter how much weight you lose. I healed my diastisis with the wonderful, mommy-friendly workouts over at Fit2B.

While you’re working on healing your core, begin to keep a look-out for the flexible styles I list in the book: things like long vests and sweaters which draw slimming, vertical lines on your figure, and any top that fits without being skin-tight to your belly. Try highly patterned shirts and darker colors to ‘camouflage’ that belly while it gets back in shape.

What is your one-size-fits-all best tip for the fat days and the bad hair days?

Wear your favorite color! It always helps me feel better to put on a purple shirt.

And remember that just because you don’t look your best doesn’t mean you are a failure. There will always be beauty to celebrate if you make it a priority. Maybe it’s not your body that makes you smile today, but you can turn your attention to your children, the outdoors, the meal you’re cooking or even the beauty of neatly folded piles of laundry. Beauty doesn’t begin or end with our personal appearance, and the opportunity to embrace beauty goes way beyond what we wear.

There will always be beauty to celebrate...

You and I are both contributors to the new Kindred Grace sister site called Adornabelle. How does the vision of this new site excite you?

I love that this site will give us an opportunity to share practical ways to embrace beauty with our readers! I love to help women, especially busy moms, with tips for defining style, doing hair, or building their wardrobe on a budget. Adornabelle is going to be a great resource for all hair types, body types, ages, and style preferences, all from a balanced, God-glorifying angle.

One of my favorite stories in your book is how you remember the sound of your mom’s bangles as she came down the hallway. Tell me about your passion for the way we represent beauty to our children.

My mother embraced beauty like a true artist. Although she was certainly kept busy raising and homeschooling 7 children, especially after we moved to a primitive homestead and her workload was doubled, she still made time to weave baskets, arrange flowers, shape a loaf of bread, or tie a scarf around her neck before she went out. Because of her example of making beauty a priority, each one of my siblings has learned to find an area of their lives they can give God glory through their art. One paints, one plays guitar, another builds unique, hand-crafted furniture. And because we’ve found these passions, we’ve each experienced more joy and satisfaction as individuals. I hope to do the same for my children.

You inspire me, friend. Thank you for sharing your heart for beauty. I know moms everywhere are going to love your new book!

Embracing Beauty

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  1. I love the ‘wear you favorite color on a bad day’ tip 🙂 I’ll have to try that. I do often put in earrings when I have a bad hair (or mood) day.

    1. By the way Gretchen, I adore your curls, they are so pretty in the picture! My sister and I are big fans of red hair. And curls just seem to complete it. When my sister was little she once asked mom if she’ld have red hair like Pipi Longstocking in heaven 😉