I’m Sue Mallen, the face behind Designed 2b You. I started Designed 2b You because I have a passion for helping people realise that looking good and feeling great is more about design than it is about what size or shape they are.
I have always had an interest in design, in houses/gardens and interiors and have an eye for recognising balance and harmony. I was always fascinated with how design can be used to create illusions but I never really thought that this applied to clothing as well.
This started as early teenager. I knew something was amiss with my body (I have a very short waist) but instead of realising it was an imbalance I just felt unattractive. I have a florid complexion (pink skin). The kind that turns beetroot red when I run. My skin has a very cool undertone and any warm colours just inflame the red colouring in my skin. Unfortunately my school uniform was brown and yellow and didn’t suit me at all but at the time I just blamed my skin and felt ugly.
I continued along in my twenties, never really appreciating my body, I tended to hide in baggy clothes. Occasionally, something I bought worked and looked good, sometimes it didn’t, it was all a bit hit and miss. I felt I had to try everything on in the store to tell if it suited me or not. I never really liked shopping for clothes.
One day I was wearing a top that was blue red in colour. I had a friend tell me how good I looked in it and that it was “one of my colours”. I was a child when the Colour Me Beautiful craze was about and I was vaguely aware of the concept but didn’t know much about it. Another of my friends suddenly started wearing colours that looked great on her she told me she had just had a colour consultation and she was now wearing her best colours. I had also stumbled across a book whilst on holidays in the USA entitled “Does this make me look fat” it was the first book I had seen on style and covered several design techniques for using clothes to look thinner, I absorbed every word.
All this mild interest never really led to any action until after the birth of my first child.
My body changed shape, the clothes I usually wore didn’t look the same. I had no time for myself any more. I found it hard to find time to have a shower let alone go shopping, especially my old shopping that consisted of trying everything on in the store. I felt frumpy but I was going back to work and I needed new clothes. I decided have a colour consultation. This was wonderful, I received 50 swatches of fabric that were my best colours. The colours that made my skin look clear and healthy and not as red!! I now felt I had some control over this clothes shopping process!
The colour consultation was great but it didn’t tell me why some clothing shapes suited me and others didn’t. Trinny and Susannah had just started on the television and again I was fascinated with how different someone could look wearing the right shaped clothes. I decided I wanted to know everything I could about the subject.
I sought out every book I could on style. By now had 2 wonderful little boys. Trips to the library would consist of borrowing Thomas the Tank engine for the them and style books for me. I slowly started to understand my body shape. I began buying clothing recommended for my shape and received lots of positive comments on how I looked. I started feeling good about myself. Now when I looked in the mirror instead of seeing my body flaws I saw my body assets. This was empowering and I was really enjoying clothes. Shopping was much faster, I could walk into a store and quickly work out what few items to try on. When I did try them on, more of them looked good than bad. For the first time in my life I didn’t leave the change room feeling disheartened about my body shape. I started being able to buy clothes off the internet, which is a blessing with young boys who hated shopping.
I started thinking that this was something everyone should know about. We should be taught this in school! No longer did anyone have to believe the fashion industry, telling them they had to wear a particular item of clothing or be a particular size to look good. I felt for all women out there who were looking in the mirror and being critical of their bodies. They didn’t have to do this if they knew what I now knew.
I decided I wanted to share the knowledge I had built up over the last 8 years with others and went about getting formal qualifications in Personal Styling through the Academy of Professional Image Melbourne.
I love working with people and helping them learn more about their bodies. If you have ever felt critical of your body and disheartened about the shopping process I want to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. You too can learn the skills to dress your body in a way that shows who you designed to be.
Yours in style