Join us as we interview Traci Jeske, also known as Italy’s Style Maven on fashion over 40. We chatted about how to use style to catapult your professional confidence while not losing your sense of self-expression.
Our Interview with Traci Jeske
Can you tell us about what started your career as a stylist?
I have always had a passion and love for fashion and style for as long as I can remember. I just somehow knew from a very young age that this was something I would be doing when I got older.
I had been working in the fashion industry since the age of 17. I had struggled with an eating disorder for over two decades, and when I finally overcame it in my late 30’s, this is when I started my styling career.
I saw that women in their 40’s were struggling with feeling invisible. They felt not worthy to be seen, insecure; they thought were not as beautiful as they were in their 30’s. They were going through so many of the things I went through before overcoming my eating disorder. And this was my ah-ha moment when I connected the dots and realized why I went through what I did.
I made it my mission and still do today to help women be bold, stand out in a crowd looking and feeling absolutely fabulous, realizing that age is just a number and should never define how we dress, look or feel.
Do you feel that the way you view your own body has any impact on the way you develop looks for clients? Can you give us an example?
After having two children, aging, and having everything on the upper half of my body go south as it does after 50, it is more than normal that my body has changed over the years. And a huge part of overcoming my eating disorder was learning to love my body – not for the number on the scale or a dress size, but for all it does for me each and every day.
For so many years, I was so angry with and hated my body and how I looked that I was constantly punishing myself. Now that I am free of those voices, I want other women to feel the same way. I want them to get rid of those jeans that they wore when they were younger, before kids, that they just try so hard to squeeze themselves into – only to find that they can’t. THen they punish themselves, telling themselves that they are not worthy nor as beautiful as they once were – all because of a size!
These are energy vampires, and we need to let go of them and dress and love the body we have today. Most of the time we blame our bodies for how we look in our clothing, but it’s not our bodies that are the problems. It’s the clothing we choose to wear on our bodies. Having my digital body guide helps women understand what clothing style works best for their body shape and those that do not. It takes out so much of the guessing game when it comes to shopping and saves so much time for my clients as they know what to buy or not.
As a businesswomen, did you ever hesitate or pause when deciding to go with pink hair?
Absolutely not! The color of my hair is just like my size and my age. It has nothing to do with me as a person or the capabilities of doing what I do. That is the power of walking into your true self and being all you were meant to be.
I can honestly say that since I went pink, my business has boomed. I am noticed and recognized wherever I go. It is my brand, and it makes me stand out in a crowd of other stylists. People remember me, love what I do, and reach out wanting to work with me more than ever before.
Do you feel your personal image in the public eye has any impact on your ability to help those in the corporate world – Do you prefer to be vulnerable or more curated in what you share of yourself or let it all out?
Believe it or not, pink hair and all, the majority of my clients are corporate women. These are women who are great at wearing their uniform – a business suit – and being all business, but they struggle when they have to drop that look. They feel stuck with their style. They want to have more fun and be more creative out of the office. And many want to be more creative even in the office.
Covid has had a significant impact on this. Women want to have fun, and they want to express this more and more with their style. Speaking of Covid, I am also a big believer that you can not build a million-dollar business if you are in your pj’s and sweats all day. And being at home on zoom calls, some of the women I work with are struggling with this and need to understand that how we dress affects and attracts all we want in life. So if we don’t show up 100% as that woman who has a million-dollar business or that woman looking for her life partner, how can we expect to become her.
What is your best advice for the women out there reading this who dream of finding confidence in their looks?
I get asked over and over what is the secret to amazing style. It is so simple, and it has nothing to do with a brand name or the number of shoes or dresses you have in your wardrobe. Amazing style is all about confidence! Confidence is a killer above all when it comes to our style.
So how do we gain confidence? First of all, it’s about working on ourselves. We need to love all of our perfect imperfections, as that’s what makes us unique and beautiful. My clients gain that confidence as we work from the inside out. We work on our self-esteem, self-love, and changing those negative messages we tell ourselves every day. We stop picking apart what we don’t love about ourselves and start loving and honoring the beautiful woman we are today.
Can you tell us your top 5 tips for feeling sexy, comfortable, confident, and professional at work?
First of all, you need to become unapologetically you. And wear what empowers you and what you love. Dress to impress yourself, as you are the most important person of all!
Remember proportions, if you go short on the bottom, wear long sleeves on top and don’t show too much cleavage. And vice versa, if you wear something more revealing up top, wear longer on the bottom.
Many women do not realize the importance of underwear, make sure you are wearing the best size and fit bra. Get a bra fitting once a year, and do not forget your Spanx on the bottom. There is nothing worse than seeing panty lines! It’s one of my biggest pet peeves!!
Do not be afraid to add color to your look. As we age, our skin gets duller, and you need color somewhere to brighten up our skin tone. It could be a scarf, your blouse, or your earrings. There is more than black and navy blue to wear to the office, looking professional and polished.
Don’t forget about your hair and your skin. So many of us get so caught up with what we wear that we forget about our hair and skin, which is just as important! It’s the total look from head to toe! So make sure you go to your hairdressers at least twice a month. I go twice a week! If you are not sure about your makeup, book an appointment at a beauty counter and have a makeup consultation from a professional. And just as we take care of our bodies and our hair, we must take care of our skin. Get some good skin creams and products to help your skin glow and look fresh.
What can we expect from you next?
I have just finished writing a book which should be out in mid-September. I am working on my La Dolce Vita Shopping Retreats all over the world. My first is on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast here in Italy from September the 22nd to the 26th.
In November, there will be one in Dubai. And then New York before Christmas, so keep your eyes open for them.
I am also working on Public Speaking gigs, getting my message out, and inspiring women to show up as the best version of themselves no matter their age! And of course, helping women across the globe working 1-1 with them – having them create their dream wardrobe, becoming their own style icon, and stepping into who they were destined to be!
Where can you find more style advice from Traci Jeske?
Internationally published and multi-award-winning photographer, including First Place Professional Boudoir for RangeFinders first Celebrate the Body, Lindsay owns and operates Self Love Experience out of Troy, NY. Lindsay's work has been published in The Times Union, Shutterbug Magazine, Period Magazine, Voltron Magazine, Philosophie Magazine, Surreal Beauty Magazine, Ellements Magazine and LiBAREator Magazine, and many more. With a focus on helping women overcome negative body image and body insecurity, her sessions are as much about the experience she gives her clients as the final art they receive. Lindsay believes in the power of print and has a mission to provide all of her clients with large art pieces to hang in their homes.
Stemming from a very difficult upbringing with a family on welfare to building a multiple six-figure business selling her art in NY, Lindsay's focus is self-love, self-confrontation, overcoming body insecurity, and seeing yourself as more than scars of your past.
Society tells women that we have to fit into this tiny narrow-minded mold of what is considered beautiful.
Lindsay believes confidence in the skin you are in trickles into every aspect and relationship in your life and she gives women permission to feel beautiful exactly as they are.