Meet Tilly the Tailors Dummy

Updated: Oct 6, 2018

As you have probably realised, I am not one of those personal stylists who posts daily pictures of themselves in their outfit of the day. I've not yet found a pose I'm really comfortable making in pics, can be as self conscious as the next person and more importantly, it's not about me. It's about you.

You matter, what you're wearing and how it makes you feel. You don't need me looking smug in the trend of the season, delivered daily to your social media feed! However I do recognise that as a stylist who loves putting outfits together, has an eye for what goes with what and making your wardrobe work hard for you, then demonstrating what I do visually is important. So meet my chum.......

Tailors Dummy, personal styling, outfit
Tilly today

This is Tilly the tailors dummy. I've known Tilly all my life but we lost touch when I left home and we have only just been reunited. And oh my goodness,  she hasn't changed a bit -  Still looks fabulous at 40!

My mum Elyse had been making her own clothes from when she was very young, and sent off for Tilly through a magazine, Woman's Weekly. Mum is a petite lady - only just 5ft and a size 8, and in the 1960s and 1970s she found it really difficult to find clothes in shops that fitted properly. There was no such thing as petite ranges and there was no certainly no size 8s.  The style of the day mean that clothes were very fitted and everything Mum bought had to be altered. Mum had learnt dressmaking skills from her own mother and grandmother, so made the majority of her own clothes, and then in due course, those of my sister and I.

Prom dress, tailors dummy, outfit, personal styling
Made by Mum. My Prom Dress - 1993

There were ball gowns, full length dresses, skirt and jacket suits, flares, cords, scratchy skirts and anything matching for my brunette sister and I so we looked like we belonged together!

The last time I remember Tilly being used was for my prom dress in 1993. Purple taffeta - get me! Now I know that this is NOT one of my best colours but that was then! Alloa Town Hall though - ah the memories....

Mum and dad married in 1969, and until then mum had used Gran's treadle wheel Singer sewing machine. Gran said that had they not been getting married and without the expense of a wedding, that she would have bought Mum her own electric sewing machine. Dad promised Mum that as soon as they could afford it, he would get her a sewing machine. So in the early 70s, they saved up first for a washing machine, then the Frister-Rossman sewing machine, which I still remember as a mega machine on the dining room table!

And then along came Tilly! 

She has seen fashions come and go (both Tilly and Mum!) and now here is Tilly in Exeter, having her wheels twiddled with, being inelegantly carried from room to room and frightening the life out of me when I catch sight of her standing in the spare room in the dark! But I'm hoping you'll see a lot of her. I can't get her to quite the proportions that I am, but that's OK, we are all beautifully unique. Tilly is there to say that fashion fades but style will stand the test of time. My mum is proof of this. She says that the details matter. She says stand up straight and tall. She says you don't have to become invisible as you get older, you can be a new you, an awesome you. 

What would you like Tilly to help you with? What styles and looks should she showcase? What should Tilly do next?

Shelley & Tilly x

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