Calling yourself the Queen of Confidence is a big claim.
But it’s pretty apt for Erika Cramer, or “Erika from America” as she also calls herself.
This is no ordinary styling event.
Yes, you get a guide to your body shape and you can try on clothes. And there is plenty of food and champagne to go around.
But anyone feeling self-conscious or down about themselves would have left that behind by the end of this three-hour session.
Erika was sweary (“I fucking love my body”), she was witty (“we have to wear clothing, we can’t go naked unfortunately or we’d get arrested”), and she was honest.
This video set the tone of the day and Erika said she watches it every week and cries every time:
She is so passionate about making women feel and look good, that she does these events on the side.
She works full time at L’Oreal and is mum to 20-month-old son Raven.
“This is something I will do ’til I’m dead because I love doing this,” she told us.
And her mission is an important one.
She said 90 per cent of Australian women cancel plans or don’t show up in life at some point because they are unhappy with the way they look.
To me, that’s really sad. But I can totally relate, because that has been me at some point!
But Erika said women should take it easy on themselves, and that confidence is about the inner layer as well as the outer.
She encouraged women to keep an open mind and wanted to “mix mind with fashion because I think that’s how you feel fully beautiful and amazing”.
The Queen of Confidence was born a decade ago after Erika was in a car accident that left her with a broken back.
As she learned to walk again, she knew that part of feeling better about herself was to go and get her hair done.
“Which sounds really shallow, but it’s not because if I feel physically better it might give me some life to be able to walk and not use a walker,” she said.
“It took a near-death experience for me to give a shit about me as a woman… don’t wait… to take control and hold your own life.”
Before going through different body shapes, she prefaced that it had “no meaning”.
“You’re not a piece of fruit… there is no right way to dress for your shape, dress to what makes you feel good. But I also know women want to know guidelines, so when you feel confident and comfortable, break them all,” she said.
There was ample time to go through racks of clothes, supplied mostly by independent designers, with no obligation to buy anything.
There were also other interactive activities (that I won’t give away!) but suffice to say, it was all about making women feel good!
Also part of the event was bra fitter Regina Pascuzzi, who really deserves a story of her own because she was awesome.
She started her business Miss Scarlett Did It because she “couldn’t find a bra that wasn’t beige”, and because her first experience as a teen being fitted for a bra basically scarred her for life.
She was working in a law firm and while on a lunch break thought ” who would have a good bra?”.
She googled “where does the Queen buy her bras?” and ended up travelling to London to visit Rigby and Peller, and learned how to fit bras by eye.
Her advice for buying a good bra: get one that pulls you in, make sure the underwire is not sitting too far forward, and make sure the straps are not too loose or too tight.
When looking for a good sports bra, “do the bounce test” and she said women should also invest in a good strapless bra, everyday bra and “something for the bedroom”.
As for Erika’s tips for creating a fabulous wardrobe:
- if you haven’t worn it in six months, take it to the op shop (that’s one I need to take on board!)
- buy what fits you now, don’t say “I’ll wear this when…”
- don’t attach meaning to clothes sizes
And as the event ended with a gratitude exercise, I definitely left feeling good!
Erika runs the Styling Confidently three-hour workshops regularly and also has plans to expand into a two-day event and an online program.