Our wardrobe speaks volumes about us – whether we want it to or not.

Here is our interview with Mary and how she turned a passion for fashion into a part time career.

Mary Ciancibello headshot

Mary Ciancibello
Professional Wardrobe Consultant

Facebook: Mary Ciancibello – Professional Wardrobe Consultant
Twitter: @maryciancibello
Website: MaryCiancibello.com

Where did your interest in fashion come from?

My mom is my biggest inspiration. Not only is she a terribly hard worker with high standards, she has a love for all things pretty. As a little girl, I remember sitting on the edge of her bed playing in her jewelry box while she tried on outfits.

It wasn’t long before I started dressing my family. For family gatherings, my mom would ask me to put everyone’s outfits together (we are a family of 7, this was quite the process). Then my aunt Janet (a former seamstress for Holt Renfrew) taught me to sew, and I made outfits for myself and my little sister. The rest, as they say, is history.

You offer a unique approach as a consultant, because of your education. How does your marketing and communications background help you with your clients?

There is actually a story behind this…

After graduating University, I set my sights on conquering the corporate world. I landed a job as a Corporate Trainer at a bank’s head office, and worked hard to earn the respect of my peers.

Not long after starting, I was summoned into the director’s office. She wanted me to file her documents, get her coffee, and order a bunch of office supplies. When she saw the confused look on my face, she asked: “well aren’t you the summer student?” When I replied no and told her my title, her jaw dropped. She quickly turned our little office supply meeting into a 20 min lecture about how inappropriate my attire was. Feeling hurt, insulted, and belittled (I mean, I thought I was rocking the trendy cute girl look), I had my “ah-ha” moment. My wardrobe was sending a message to the world (including to my Devil in Prada boss) long before I even opened my mouth. Clothing, and how we pull ourselves together, forms a large part of our non-verbal communication. Our wardrobe speaks volumes about us – whether we want it to or not.

Turns out that nasty director actually did me a favor. She taught me a lesson that I carry with me until this day. I vowed to apply my formal education and background in Communications in the way I present myself to the world. I use the same expertise when helping my clients. I want them to present the best version of themselves, using wardrobe as their powerful communication tool.

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What services do you offer as a wardrobe consultant?

My angle is a slightly different from what some might expect. Most people want to jump straight into the closet cleanse or shopping phase. I believe that is putting the cart before the horse.

I want my clients to feel like this process is the best investment they have ever made in themselves. I do everything possible to get to know my clients, and ensure the end goal will blow their mind – you will be able to find out more on my website.

I also offer customize group seminars, with various wardrobe related topics. I have worked with both the Public Sector, and the Private industry. Sometime the hardest lesson is just to convince my audiences is how NOT to wear flip-flops in the workplace.

I also do style photoshoots, which can range from corporate to family photo sessions and vision/inspiration boards.

How long does it take you to prepare for your television appearances?

Most people don’t realize how much work goes into a 5 minute TV spot. Between coordinating with stores, models, producers, scheduling fittings, and preparing notes, it can take a couple of days of preparation. Every single time I do a segment, there is always a whole ton of stuff I didn’t get to say, but I always find it best to over prepare than under.

Here are some of Mary’s past appearance on CTV Morning Live:

CTV Morning Live: Wedding looks for Men
Image consultant Mary Ciancibello shows us the top wedding looks for men.
Monday, Apr. 27, 2015

CTV Morning Live: How to Wear a Jumpsuit
Image consultant Mary Ciancibello shows us how to wear a jumpsuit.
Monday, Mar. 30, 2015

CTV Morning Live: Spring Trends
Image consultant Mary Ciancibello looks at spring fashion trends to watch.
Monday, Feb. 23, 2015

You have said that you don’t consider yourself a slave to fashion, but believe that looking your best leads to greater confidence. Can you elaborate a bit on that?

Looking your best does not translate into wearing the last fashion trends or designer duds. Looking your best means manipulating clothing in a way that will best suit and flatter you as an individual.

Presenting the best version of yourself will give you a confidence within that you didn’t even know existed. And this confidence will translate into many other positives in your life, I guarantee it. I hear time and time again from my clients that our time together has lead to many positive aspects in their lives (that far exceed an awesome wardrobe – but that’s a HUGE bonus :)).

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Mary emceeing a charity fashion event.

You are a strong believer in promoting brands that you believe in – why is that so important to you?

I have always been taught to put moral standards above anything else. I love working with stores and brands that believe in enhancing a positive self-image, and create clothing that deliver value for money.

I also love working with local stores. It’s fabulous that Ottawa has awesome selection with the bigger brands and stores that have graced our beautiful city, but shopping local is SO important to our local economy.

Another one of my big beliefs is to recycle fashion. I am a huge fan of consignment stores…they are not only great for the environment and our budget, shopping consignment is a fabulous way to find key pieces that are not available in mainstream stores.

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Mary co-hosting Daytime Ottawa with Derick Fage.

Since we are fashion and beauty blog, would you mind answering a few personal questions?
Do you have a daily beauty routine?

Yes. I wash my face with soap and then rub some organic oil on it, just like my mom and grandmother used to. Since I have 3 kids and work, my make-up routine is down to 3 minutes – eye-shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip stick. If I’m having a good day, I play with some bronzer/blush to contour. I inherited the middle-Eastern dry, curly hair, so I only have to blow it out twice a week.

Let’s hear some of your favorites…
Piece of clothing you own: right now? My torn faded jeans
Place to shop for clothes: SO MANY! Banana Republic, BGBG, Winners, Roadtrip, Toxic, RW & Co…
Hair product: coconut oil
Make up must haves: eyeliner, mascara, and a bold lip colour (the more fabulous shades the better)

How would you describe your personal style?
By day: Office chic
By night/weekends: stylish mom-on-the-go
Always: Put together

If money was no object – what designers would be in your dream closet?

Burburry (j’adore)!!!! Roberto Cavali, Kate Spade, DVF

What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?

With a mani-pedi. With my busy schedule, I don’t treat myself to that as much as I would like.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

Either on a white-sand beach with my babes, or on a patio in Venice with the love of my life.

What is your favorite quote?

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier”
Mother Teresa

Finally give us three words that describe you best.

Grateful
Happy
Passionate