Revelations in Style.
A little while back I was lucky enough to cross paths with Stasia of Thrift Me Pretty on Instagram. Completely smitten by her bright, positive, and bubbly approach to life we have been e-eco-style-sistas for some time now. In a recent online chat I asked Stasia if she would be interested in sharing some of her style stories and tips with the Sustainability in Style readers. I hope you agree that she has plenty to offer in regards to the importance of self empowerment and acceptance as integral parts of your personal style journey.
Stop Hiding. Start Shining!
For those readers out there that are being introduced to you for the first time would you kindly shed some light on the woman and the mission behind Thrift Me Pretty?
Hi! My name is Stasia Savasuk, and I’m a thrift shopping, kale eating, cloth diapering mama – often found wearing RED LIPSTICK + SEQUINS on a Tuesday – in her sweet little town of Brattleboro, Vermont.
My mission is simple: STOP HIDING. START SHINING!!
The obvious and inevitable consequence of hiding, is that you hold back in love, life and laughter. This is not a hypothesis. It is TRUTH. And it’s time to STOP. You deserve to be seen and heard and loved. And I’m here to support you.
Thrift Me Pretty came about as a personal style revolution? Has there been a key moment in your past where you have had a personal style revelation?
You know when you think you “get” something… but later realize that what you thought you “got” you didn’t REALLY GET because you discover some major thread of resistance that shines a light on your shallow interpretation of what you thought you got? Yeah? Well 3 years ago I was in for a major wake-up call. I had come up with this whole idea of Inside-Out Congruency, which is to say that who you are on the inside must match how you present yourself on the outside. And I thought I REALLY got it.
Until a few years ago, when I went shopping at a local thrift store with my daughter, Raisa, and she asked me to go to the kids section to help her find a “boy” shirt and necktie… and I said NO WAY.
You see, she had been trending toward “boy” stuff for a looooong time, but I was really good at shutting her down and getting her to wear what I wanted her to wear. She was 6 years old, had a pretty intensive medical history, and quite frankly, mama was tired and just wanted things to be easy.
Except this time, she didn’t accept NO. She walked up to the counter and asked the cashier to help her look in the kid’s section for a shirt and tie. The lady behind the counter obliged, and found Raisa the most dreadful looking shirt and tie combo I had ever seen. I was too embarrassed to say NO WAY, so I begrudgingly paid $3 for the combo, figuring I’d just re-donate it the following day.
As soon as we got home, Raisa zoomed to put on the shirt and tie. Moments later, she stood in front of the mirror, staring at her own reflection in disbelief, and said to me in a whisper, “Mama, look how handsome I look.” Seconds later she bolted across the dining room and said with conviction in her voice and knowing in her eyes, “Mama, Mama, look how fast I can run!”. And then she jumped up and down and said, “Mama, look how much higher I can jump when I’m wearing a shirt and tie!”
I stood there… ashamed, shocked and in disbelief. She could run faster and jump higher when she wore clothes that reflected who she was on the inside. I hadn’t really GOTTEN the depth and importance of Inside-Out Congruency, until that moment. The lesson was profound, and it changed the trajectory of my life.
What is your personal style motto?
Inside-Out Congruency. THAT to me is the ultimate style motto.
Who am I on the inside, and how do I present that on the outside?
In other words, my PROJECTION OF SELF (how I live, laugh and love) must match my PRESENTATION OF SELF (what you see). As I ask more questions and peel back the layers of my personality and become MORE of who I am, my style shifts and changes. It is a dynamic process, and it is never boring!
As a fellow thrift-a-holic what has been some of your memorable thrift shopping highlights?
Oh I have so many! Ninty-five percent of my closet is thrifted, and I LOVE all of it. One of my favorite thrift-store finds was a gorgeous fancy-pants Armani blazer that I scored for $1 on dollar day. It is by far my most favorite piece in my closet. It fits like a dream and feels like a whisper. Perfection!
I’m also a big fan of saying OUT LOUD what I want before I walk into a thrift store (or the swap shop at my local dump). The first time it worked I almost fell over. I was in the middle of a kitchen renovation, and decided I wanted a vintage white porcelain chicken added to my kitschy kitchen decor. I looked and looked, and could never find one that I liked. Then one day, I walked into a thrift store and told the lady at the counter, “I’m here for a white porcelain vintage chicken – do you have one for me?”. She smiled that you’re-crazy kind of smile, and went back to her business. I left the store an hour later, feeling completely let down. I got in my car, started to drive away, and holy jumpin’ there she was, running toward my car with a WHITE VINTAGE PORCELAIN CHICKEN in her hand! I handed her $2, gave her a hug, and brought my chicken home.
Since that day, I’ve declared my wishes BEFORE heading into a store, and I can’t believe how many times I’ve gotten exactly what I want.
It’s magic. Try it!
You offer Stasia’s Style School as an online styling program along with in-home style coaching for locals. Can you tell us a little more about how that works and what some of the highlights of your style coaching experience have been?
TRANSFORMATION. That is the highlight of my work with women, every single time. My focus is always from the inside-out. NOT from the outside-in. I’m especially in love with the format of Stasia’s Style School because it is a platform for women to flex their brave muscle in a community of women who are doing the same damn thing.
It’s vulnerability and bravery, confidence and congruency, all wrapped up into one powerful transformative 5-week course, where we use STYLE as our vehicle to unyielding self expression and confidence. When a woman is able to STOP HIDING and START SHINING, there is no limit to what she can achieve! New jobs. Better health. Deeper love. Anything is possible when you let your light shine!
A little birdie told me that you are a scientist? Can you tell us more about your work in this field?
Ha! Well, I’m not sure I’d call myself a scientist, but yes, my degree is in Spatial Ecology. When I graduated from college, I did water quality work for a statewide volunteer lake monitoring program. I thought for sure I’d spend my life working in Limnology or Conservation Biology, but life’s twists and turns led me in other directions. First the Peace Corps, then social services, and then my own business as a Style Coach. My nature-gal roots are deep seeded however, and heavily influence my relationship with style. It’s why I thrift!! Fast-fashion makes me gag, and thrifting is my way of participating in fashion, on MY terms.
What is your favourite sustainable styling/shopping tip?
Good Q! Well, the #1 shopping tip I have for anybody is to set your expectations straight BEFORE you step foot in a store! We tend to think we should be able to walk into a store and find something that fits. Today. And when we don’t, we take it out on our bodies for being TOO-something. Too fat. Too short. Too pointy. Too low. Too saggy. But let me ask you… when you look around a room FILLED with women, how many of them have the SAME EXACT body shape? Probably none. Yet somehow we expect to walk into a store with 7 different jean styles and think one should fit us like a dream. The math doesn’t work. Don’t buy those jeans that give you muffin top, assuming that your body is so imperfect that there is nothing better for you. NO NO NO. Figure out what jean style works for you body, and then set out on a denim expedition and find that perfect jean (dress/skirt/shirt/bathsuit). It’s not easy, but with a little knowledge and know-how, you’ll find the RIGHT thing, and you’ll stop wasting time, money and resources on something that’s either going to make you mad when you wear it, or sit idly in your closet taking up space. If something doesn’t work, it’s not your body that’s the problem – it just means YOU BOUGHT THE WRONG THING FOR YOUR BODY!
If there was one ‘ultimate thrift’ item you would like to find waiting for you in a thrift store what would it be?
Yes. Frye boots. If I saw a like-new pair of Fryes in my size for under $20, I’d likely faint. Or cry a river of happy-tears.
Any final thoughts?
Style is about BELONGING. It is never about “fitting in”. It’s about being SEEN for who you are. In fact, style is an INSIDE job. You must know who you are, and have the courage to present that on the outside. You must shift the way you look at, and speak about your body. You must know what you know. And you must LET GO of what no longer serves you. This is the ESSENCE of our work in Stasia’s Style School, which is why it’s transformative.