Meet Sharon Billingham

I am a Sydney based personal stylist,  fashion coach and author.  I am also a wife, mother, Sagittarian, online window shopping addict, collector of vintage necklaces and clandestine shoe hoarder.

Many people approach a wardrobe consultant with a degree of trepidation but my clients say that I am not in the least bit intimidating and that I make their style journey uplifting and fun.  I tell people to think of me as their outspoken, stylish, shopping partner and fairy godmother rolled into one.  You’ll get impartial advice from me – I promise to tell you there’s nothing wrong with your bum, it’s those jeans that are magnifying your assets! Of course, you’ll be in full control of acting on my suggestions but I’ve been told my friendly nudges have changed lives.

Why I started Coach Me Beautiful

I know how it feels to want to look good, but not know how to, or where to buy clothes that make you feel “right”.  I spent half my life in Hong Kong where shopping is a sport.  I’ve done my share of buying stuff that never got worn.  I’ve had those mornings where I’ve stared at a packed wardrobe, sighed and then picked out the same old outfit.  Amazing isn’t it?  You may be successful in other areas of your life, but when you don’t know how to dress for the day, you feel frustrated, confused, dowdy, boring and uninspired.

Several years ago, I was given a wardrobe assessment as a gift.  For three hours, a personal fashion stylist came to my house and helped me divide all my belongings into three piles – things that flattered me, things that weren’t right for my shape or colour and “orphans” that I just didn’t know how to wear.

I was thrilled with the experience because it gave me insight into why I kept making the same mistakes.

The key thing I took away from that experience is that it takes time for your look to evolve.  You need guidance on what suits you and what doesn’t, and encouragement once you start trying different things.  It’s this idea of learning over time, trying new ideas and getting feedback from someone your trust that led me to test out a new styling approach with clients. The result is Coach Me Beautiful.

How I differ from other personal fashion stylists and personal shoppers

I have over 17 years experience working with large corporations and small businesses in professional training and development. During that time I coached over 1800 people in diverse areas of sales, communication, presentation and leadership.   I know from first hand experience that it takes time to change.   If you’re really serious about lasting change, you need to change your mindset,  practice, get feedback and encouragement so the new ways “stick”.  I’ve incorporated all these proven techniques from personal development into my personal styling approach. And my clients love how this process helps them grow and achieve things they never thought they could.

My style inspirations

Fit, cut and shape are important to me, so I’m drawn to the styles of Audrey Hepburn, Victoria Beckham and Miranda Kerr.  That’s an interesting mix of differing body shapes but each of them has a style that is well suited and flattering to her silhouette.

How I stay on trend

My take is that not all trends are suitable for every body shape, lifestyle, age or personality.  It’s one thing to be inspired by the models in magazines; it’s another to know yourself and to say no to trends that won’t last, won’t fit or won’t be a good use of your money.

I prefer to build mywardrobe foundation on items that I love and know will last, although I’m not adverse to buying an inexpensive accessory to pep up my items and for bit of fun.  I don’t subscribe to strict rules by body type.  There are creative ways to adapt what’s popular in magazines to all body types, ages or occasions.   Just because you don’t look identical to the model in the magazine, doesn’t mean you can’t adapt certain elements of a trend that appeal to you in a way that works for you.

My favourite purchase to date

I love my no brand denim cropped jean jacket that I found at Vinnie’s (thrift shop) and I wear it almost every weekend.  It fits perfectly, nips in my waist and paying just $5 for it made the jacket an even sweeter purchase.  I believe that good style doesn’t necessarily have to come with a high price tag.  If you are knowledgeable about how to choose items that work for you, you can shop anywhere and in any price range.

My worst purchase to-date

I’m still learning not to succumb to my shoe fetish. My wardrobe consists of too many pairs of shoes that I can only wear for an hour at a time.  Yes, comfortable heels is an oxymoron even if they have Nike engineering inside them.  I have learnt the hard way that if it doesn’t feel good, it probably isn’t going to make you look good either!