In my last post I introduced Tannya, my favorite personal stylist and game-changer for anybody needing help choosing clothes for their online dating photography session (and for their life in general).
I'm a huge fan of Tannya's and basically adopting her onto my previously one-woman professional dating photography dream team. The dozens of clients who have combined Tannya's styling with my professional dating photography have all reported not only ridiculously great results (more matches with people they're excited about dating!), but also a more holistic experience of boosted confidence and positive self image.
To make it a little easier for you to imagine how it might go if you hire Tannya to style you for your online dating photography session, here's a look at how it went for Harsh.
When Harsh and I first spoke about dating photography he confessed that he did not feel great about his wardrobe in general, let alone putting together 9+ killer outfits for his new dating app photos.
I told Harsh what I tell everybody who needs help with their wardrobe-- "don't worry, I know someone who can help!" and then I introduced him to Tannya. I caught up with the two of them after Harsh's photoshoot to get the scoop on the styling process. Here's what they had to say...
Andrea: Harsh, what was the main reason you wanted help shopping? What were you struggling with when it came to your personal style in general and prepping for your dating photography session specifically?
Harsh: Oh, I just didn't know where to begin. Over the years, I had a collected a few pieces of clothing which looked nice at the store, but once I brought them home, I had no idea how to wear them. This caused me to put on the traditional Software Engineer look of wearing an oversized hoodie with washed out jeans. Co-ordinating outfits always felt overwhelming, be it wearing the correct fit, or arranging different pieces together.
These were some of the dating photos Harsh had been using on his Hinge and Bumble profiles before hiring me:
Andrea: Tannya, you told me Harsh was pretty typical in terms of what he had in his closet to start and what wasn't working. Tell me about that.
Tannya: When I work with new clients, I always start in their closet. The shopping process is not about ignoring your past and wiping the slate clean, it’s about learning from your past to make better decisions moving forward. Your closet is key to identifying what your style is right now, and what you need to update to take it to the next level.
With men, there’s usually a similar style story. Their clothing is either way too casual with a lot of old graphic tees, levis jeans and overly worn athletic tennis shoes or they try to dress up way too much with dated button downs that are overflowing on their body and using an old suit jacket as a blazer to pair with jeans.
That sweet spot, the in-between style of knowing how to dress up your casual wear or feel put together for an evening date without wearing a suit is the common problem.
After our initial Zoom call, I met Harsh at his condo in Seattle for an in-person Closet Edit. He had a walk-in closet with a few go-to button downs and a mix of polos and tees. He had some clothes from Armani, Express, and Ralph Lauren but they didn’t really mix together well. Harsh loves color so his casual wear looked like summer clothes with yellows, pinks, and bright blue. In contrast, his evening wear was very dark and mysterious. He really didn't have much he could mix and match.
Harsh also had a total lack of layering pieces (think jackets, blazers, hoodies, etc.) which is important for men to create more depth in their wardrobe and be able to pull together a variety of looks.
Andrea: Ok I have to interject here on the topic of layering. During a dating photoshoot, I work to get photos of my client in as many different outfits as possible so it feels like their dating photos were shot on different days and so we can give off a sense of them as a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.
Layering is clutch during a dating photoshoot because it lets us get what feels like multiple outfits out of the same basic outfit – throwing on a jacket takes just a second and turns one outfit into two! People who incorporate layering into their dating photoshoot wardrobe end up with more variety in their new online dating photos than people who don’t layer.
Ok back to you, Tannya! Harsh needed to step up his layer game...
Tannya: Yes! Layering is a wonderful thing. Harsh did actually have one blazer he never wore because it was an old suit blazer. This is super common– a lot of my male clients hold onto an old suit blazer that they haven’t worn for years. It's too dressy to wear with jeans and more often than not, it's not a great fit.
PSA for the men out there--if you ever interview for a new job again, you’ll want a new modern jacket, shirt, or suit to reflect the times right now and not when you last bought that piece. It’s ok to let go of an expensive suit and get an up to date version when you need it.
Andrea: Love it! Harsh, what was the most helpful thing during this part of the styling experience for you?
Harsh: The whole process of working with Tannya was amazing. During the first Zoom call, it was easy to express my concerns and Tannya's immense experience was obvious not only in her answers to my questions but in the questions she asked me.
When the time came to sort out what was already in my wardrobe, Tannya patiently explained why some pieces needed to go. A lot of clutter in my closet was cleaned up in one afternoon, Clothes which did not fit well. Pants which were too short. Pants which were too square. Colors which did not suit me. Patterns which did nothing for my style. They all went into the donation bin.
Andrea: Ok so first, figure out what's working and purge what's not. Tannya, what happened next?
Tannya: Next came shopping for new items! My shopping list for Harsh looked like this:
Here’s a sneak peek of some of the outfits we put together for Harsh- notice that everything can be mixed and matched for multiple outfits from the same pieces.
Our plan was to build upon the items that were already working in Harsh’s current wardrobe by adding pieces to round out a versatile and super easy-to-wear spring/summer wardrobe. You’d be surprised that you only need about 15 - 20 pieces including shoes to create 30+ unique head-to-toe looks. When I’m shopping for a client I make sure sure everything they purchase:
For Harsh's shopping trip we had two hours together at Bellevue Square. I showed up to the mall an hour before Harsh and put clothing on hold at 4 stores: Nordstrom, Ted Baker, Seattle Thread Company, and Banana Republic. At that point, Harsh showed up and we went to each store where a dressing room was waiting for him with all of the items I had picked out for him. Harsh picked out his favorite pieces at each store and took them home to blend with his existing wardrobe.
Andrea: Harsh, how was the shopping trip for you?
Harsh: I loved how Tannya was able to pick out clothes which fit perfectly no matter which store we were at. My shirt size varies from Medium to Large depending on the brand, and for the most part, she knew which brand's medium and which brand's large would fit me best.
One highlight is that now I have a sports jacket which fits so well and goes with jeans so it's really easy to dress up or dress down throughout the day or night.
Overall, the most amazing thing about the shopping experience was how easy putting together outfits and matching things became. Tannya provided an initial list of outfits, but as time went on, I've been able to mix and match without much thought.
Andrea: I love this--Tannya for the mix-and-match win! 🙌🏻 So, how did you feel wearing your new outfits (during your dating photography session but also in your day-to-day life after the photoshoot)? What's changed in how you feel when you get dressed and go out (whether it's with your friends or on a date or just to grab a bite to eat)?
Harsh: The most amazing part of having the outfits styled to my needs is how my body language has changed. My posture has drastically improved, and has given me motivation to work out more.
It's also amazing that Tannya was able to pick outfits which worked so well for the shoot. I never felt uncomfortable during the process, and Andrea made it feel natural with her conversation style. At one point, I even forgot that there's a camera in front of me.
Andrea: At this point if Tannya were here in person we would be attempting a jumping double high-five, lol! This makes me so happy 🥰
Folks, if you're like Harsh and your wardrobe is getting in the way of you having a kick-ass high-converting set of super authentic, intentional dating profile photos, hit me up and get Tannya in the mix--we've got you covered.
I'll leave you with a couple sporty shots of Harsh because he's just too cute and handsome and he looks great in workout clothes too. Thanks for sharing your experience Harsh! And for being completely delightful in general 💕
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