How a Christmas present helped me become a stylist - what were you given as a child?

In the 70's, when I was nine, my family went to Te Puke for Christmas.

Te Puke is about three hours from Auckland, where I lived and back then, I think it was famous for kiwifruit. Yes, it is kiwifruit, they are not called Kiwis - that what you call people from NZ, FYI. 

My auntie Jeannie lived there and it was her turn to host. I got to sleep in the caravan parked by the house, which was super cool, though I probably had to share with my younger brother.

It was a really good year for Christmas presents. I got a hand-puppet based on a character from The Muppets, which, like The Fonz, was huge back then (I think we can all agree the remake was terrible, a bummer). I also got blue nail polish from my trendy Auntie Raewyn and a Daisy doll. She came in an ice skating costume with tiny little ice skates. In NZ, Christmas is in summer, but she was a British doll and I had wanted her badly. Like I said, a good year. 

I also got a game called Mystery Date. Before you say anything, it was of it's time, just like Enid Blyton. In the game, you got four pretty girls as the pieces you played with and a magical plastic door, behind which your "Mystery Date" waited. You rolled dice to win cards with items of clothing drawn on them for various dates like a trip to the beach, a picnic (apparently you provided the food as you needed to score the picnic basket), a Prom-like evening out and a ski trip. When you had assembled the entire outfit, you could turn a knob on the tiny door and if it opened to the boy who matched your outfit (he was dressed appropriately) you won the game. If you got the wrong boy, you had to keep trying, and if you got the "nerd," you were out. Yes, there was a nerd, who, let's face it, would have been a much better bet, especially if he had stock in Tesla. 

In hindsight, what I really liked about it was assembling the outfits. The only boy I was interested in was The Man From Atlantis and he wasn't behind any plastic door.

I also adored cutout dolls and got a book of those, too. There's awesome ones for adults now, by the way, it's a great alternative to the soothing world of coloring in. I used to make my own, clothes and all. Sometimes I’d glue on wrappers from Cadbury’s chocolates or small beads, or anything else. Even back then, I was trying to add visual interest, which is when you create an outfit that creates a great first impression utilizing things like pattern, color, texture and shine. 

Around that time a friend and I would stand on stools in her living room, while lip syncing and dancing to 'Waterloo,' 'Money, Money, Money,' or 'Dancing Queen.' We were always fighting over who got to be Agnetha. My friend was blonde and I wasn't, but that didn’t stop me from arguing. What I resonated with, apart from being in the spotlight, were the costumes. 

The point of this memory lane is: what we were given as Christmas presents when we were children (assuming we liked them) is a wonderful insight into what we could do as a career when we grow up.

What did you love to do? Are you doing any of it now? If not, why not? What is one way you can add it to your life? Or your wardrobe?

I still have a touch of Abba in my wardrobe and I did learn to ice skate. As for my Muppet, she was purple and green - diversity at its finest and a great color combo.

Whether you got Twister, a bike, a baby doll, crayons, roller skates, a Tonka truck or a toy piano, if it was what you asked Santa (or a grown up) for, it holds clues to who you are.

Call me anytime to talk about it, I've never met a dream I can't find a pathway to. I'll help you find the outfit to go with it as well.

Back when I was a child I wasn’t aware there was a world of possibilities. Now, I happily brainstorm with clients on what would be their ideal career to go with their ideal wardrobe.

If you go to my website, you'll find a link to a free consult. We can talk about anything you want. Or be a guest on my podcast. Females only - don't know if I can legally say that, but hey, I'll "wait to worry."

Aroha, Erin.


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