We caught up with the Birmingham-born personal stylist Sabrina Cheema. After teaching Spanish, she decided to pursue her lifelong passion for fashion and turned into a fashionista stylist. She now uses her knowledge of trends and style to help women feel their best. "I want my clients to feel confident and fabulous," she says. "I love seeing the transformation that takes place when someone feels good about themselves."
Describe the development of your personal style.
Do you have a signature style?
My style has always been up to date and 'on trend' because my head has always been in fashion. Still, I have phases throughout the year - usually according to the season - where I'm more feminine and floral and then other phases where I'm tomboyish and biker chic, but generally, I have a pretty simple style, plain block colours, and I'd more likely go for a different texture than a print or pattern. I would say my signature style until now has been my leather jacket, but I think it's changing this year to my puffa coat; I feel like I haven't taken it off since October!
What jewellery do you wear every day?
I always go for yellow gold jewellery as it compliments my skin tone perfectly. My daily go-to jewellery includes my Auric Small Gold Huggies and some chunky gold hoops in my ears, a dainty gold chain necklace with a personalised pendant – I have one with H (my husband's initial) engraved on it to go for – and of course, my wedding rings.
How do you express yourself through jewellery and clothing?
I think clothing, jewellery and other accessories represent who you are and how you're feeling on a particular day, so how I express myself depends on what I'm doing or feeling that day. So, for example, if the weather is good, I'm more likely to feel vibrant, so I'll probably avoid darker colours, but if it's a date night and I'm feeling a little, I might wear something that reflects that.
When You Pave Your Own Path, Who Comes To Mind?
I don't think I ever really had any individuals in mind, to be honest, but I suppose on reflection, my business is very personal, my clients have to connect with me for them to trust me enough to discuss highly emotional issues, so it had to be my face. But I think other stylists, mainly Gok Wan were great sources of inspiration, and I suppose they made me realize that it had to be my face, personality and spirit at the forefront.
What are some of the challenges you've faced in your industry?
The biggest challenge I've faced in this industry is the lack of awareness of what a Personal Stylist is, how I can help people and whether it's something that's accessible for everyday people. Although stylists have been exclusively for celebrities and the rich and famous for a long time, it's not really been a standard service for women like us, so it was vital for me to focus here. For me, when I was setting up my business, I felt aggrieved that there wasn't something available to everyday women like me and my friends and family to make us feel good in our clothes, and so I've spent the last two years trying to show my followers and women around me, what services are available to them.
What are the biggest challenges you face when styling your clients?
The biggest challenge for me is hearing women speak negatively about themselves. It's a habit we all have, but it's really upsetting to see some incredible people feeling less than great about themselves. Having said that, it's always a massive drive of motivation for me, too, to help a woman come out of that feeling, see how wonderful they are and fall back in love with themselves.
How do you stay up-to-date on the latest styles?
Social media keeps me up to date, but regularly looking on websites and in-store when shopping for clients also helps a lot.
What is your favourite styling trick?
Cropping a jumper using a belt. It's simple but effective and means you can get so much more wear out of not just the jumpers but skirts and dresses too.
What are your tips for accessorising an outfit?
Less is more. Ensure your accessories act as accents to the outfit and go together well. They don't need to be matchy-matchy, but a similar tone of colour works really well.