Updated: May 24, 2020
On 18 February 2019, my dad passed away. He was 69 years old. After 5 months of hospitalization due to complications after a heart surgery, he eventually left us too soon. Right after the loss, my priorities shifted and posting on my Instagram account felt so unimportant, superficial and totally out of place. It was generating an additional negative stress to my life.
My father has always been the central pillar in our family. He was kind, generous and supportive. He always had a solution for everything. With his departure, I felt like I had lost my family and inner compass - left alone with my mother who suffers from dementia, a complicated relationship with my sister and an overweight dog with a heart condition.
I was very lucky that my boss was extremely supportive and compassionate with my personal situation. She gave me the flexibility to work #remotely which allowed me to be there for him and with him until his last breath.
Those last months with him were the most precious gift that one could have ever given me. For that, I am eternally grateful to her.
Going back to the office felt strange. I didn’t really have the patience anymore to deal with all the usual unhealthy office drama. Colleagues don’t really know what to say or how to be around you anymore. A year later, I still feel completely heartbroken about this loss. Not having a family of my own, my dad was the most important person in my life. The last year wasn’t easy, right after having said our goodbyes at my dad’s funeral, we had to place my mom in a nursing home and I had to say goodbye to my childhood home. I was literally unable to empty the house I grew up in. It took us seven months and it was a total disaster with my sister and I hardly agreeing on any fronts. This space was filled with so many memories and whenever I would go back to visit my parents it gave me this sense of home and family. Right after the loss, my #priorities shifted and posting on my Instagram account felt so unimportant, superficial and totally out of place. It was generating an additional negative stress to my life. So that’s why I took a break from Instagram. But why did I start in the first place? I always wanted to work in the fashion industry. I knew it even when I was in high school - but for a reason I cannot explain, I felt like it was out of reach - so I studied hospitality management. It seemed to be the less daunting choice from the school pamphlet at that time. My dad sacrificed so much for me, my sister and my mom. He cared deeply about our happiness and worked tirelessly to provide for our family. Today, I’m sure that if I would have had the courage to voice my desire to study fashion, he would have been supportive and would have found a way to finance my studies. Looking back, he eventually did finance my two bachelor’s degrees and my master for seven years. I started my #officestyle Instagram account because I wanted to understand what women like to wear to work. I firmly believe in the power of clothing, the right attire can help women to feel strong and confident. It can help them realize their fullest potential and contribute to their “#personalbrand”. I understand that looks aren’t everything but the power of image can influence how people perceive you and impact your success and career advancement, whether we like it or not.
My higher purpose with all of this is to help women feel beautiful, confident and smart no matter what the color of her skin, her age, the shape of her body or her cultural background. To design a qualitative #workwear brand that helps women to feel confident, authentic while staying true to their personality.
Moreover, I want to empower women to reshape the conversation about gender gap, equal pay, diversity and inclusion. I believe that by giving women a chance to turn their business attire into their ally and confidence builder so they feel and look their best.
The loss helped me to place things into perspective and get clarity on what was really important to me: my friends, my health and time. #TIME is really the most precious commodity and we take it far too often for granted. Our time on this earth is limited, we better make it count. I will continue to share my inspirations once or twice a week, why not daily and even multiple times per day? I’m not looking to beat the Instagram algorithm, nor am I looking to become an Insta celebrity. I honestly dislike taking pictures of myself. Out of twenty pictures, I will only find one that I like. I hate to pose, I never quite know what to do with my body. My purpose is to share helpful/insightful content, to #inspirewomen on how to maximize their business wardrobe and to help them make their business attire work at their best advantage. Because we need more women who have the confidence to claim their seat in the boardroom, to ask for that pay raise or promotion. If you share my vision, follow my account and share my profile with other women you think will enjoy my content. We all deserve an #equalchance and the opportunity to make our dreams happen!