Hello m'dear! A little note to tell you about my heart behind Dean Street Society. 

We're a "negativity free zone".

I say "we", because that means both you and me.

I try very hard never to criticize someone else's style. Yes, now and then I'll tweet that I'm not sure what Anne Hathaway was thinking in choosing that shiny pale pink Prada number for the Oscars. {I'm still baffled.} Though I certainly wouldn't tweet her directly. And even my confusion is cushioned in cheekiness. {"Isn't that the same dress Gwyneth wore in 1993??"}

But I don't do "hot or not" posts, "who wore it best" or "fashion don'ts". I don't even do "before and after" photos of my clients, which are a fabulous and powerful marketing tool. But I don't want to show someone not at their best.


My own personal definition of online bullying is this: 

"When you say something through the veil of a computer screen that you wouldn't have the courage to say, or would have the wisdom not to say, in person."


I mentor new business owners and bloggers, so I write blog posts sharing how, say, what I think separates a pro vs amateur brand. You might find something I recommend didn't work for you, or think that something I feel looks amateur is a non-issue in your book. And so you leave it in the comments. "I don't think your Twitter handle should be your personal name, so that way you aren't temped to share anything too personal". We disagree. No big deal. Love hearing your thoughts. Surely there's more than one brilliant opinion out there. Let's chat!

Then of course I also work with style clients and use my style blog as a place to give education and inspiration about how you can create a style that represents you at your best. I share my personal style like a chalkboard I'm teaching on. And just like if I was a professor it would be disrespectful for you to yell out, "That's lame!", I don't find it appropriate to receive comments like, "Those pants aren't very flattering."

As of writing this, I am delighted to say I have never ever once received such a comment on Dean Street Society! It's just not becoming of a Dean St betty. But I've seen them on the blogs of my friends. And I thought, "If you saw her in Starbucks, would you have walked up and told her that? No. You feel the freedom to say online, what you would have the grace not to say in person to a stranger."

Now if I ask, "Which one do y'all like? Right or left?" Then chime on in! I do this on Instagram and love hearing feedback. But it's the difference between your friend asking in the dressing room, "Does this make me look wide?" and you taking it upon yourself to say when she walks into the bar, "Wow you look wide in that." You just wouldn't! It's not loving. It's not helpful. She's already at the bar!

This, is what Dean Street Society is about. We're here to encourage, not criticize; to affirm, not pick apart. We have the gumption to be honest only when it's helpful and requested, and always in the most graceful of ways.


Why does this matter?

1. I want to you feel safe to take risks; safe to be creative and step outside of your comfort zone a little. Whether that's in the #StyleMe Instagram Challenge or as my personal client or in group forum in my Style & Styleability class. And if you see people being critical of my style, it's going to make you afraid that they could say the same about you. So I don't welcome critical people into my home, to protect all my fabulous guests, you included.

2. I feel we're being desensitized by our computer screens. We've all been guilty of it. You text, tweet or email something with more bite than if you had to look the person in the eye. People called Kim Kardashian fat during her pregnancy and a blogger put out a poll about NBA cheerleader Kelsey Williams' weight. Yet I'm confident none of those writers would have approached Kim or Kelsey on the street to let them know their thoughts. Celebrity or small town girl, written words have the power to wound.


In short, we live our lives with the grace to know that if we can't say something nice, we shouldn't say anything at all. And moreover, we can almost always say something nice! Because you might not love the pants, but that shade of lipstick is to die for, right?

So welcome to Dean Street Society.

We might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if we're yours, then please pull up a cozy chair and stay awhile.

I can't wait to see how bright you shine and hear more of your story ...