How I Achieved Style Nirvana: A Testimonial


When I tell people that I work in fashion, I usually get the same reaction—my new acquaintance will discretely look down to make sure that their outfit isn’t too embarrassing to be talking to a “fashion person.”

My favorite part is watching their intimidation transform into excitement as I explain to them what it is that I actually do. “It’s not your average fashion styling company,” I explain. “What we do is use personal style to empower people, helping them to become the best version of themselves. We style their looks for every event in their social calendar so that they can look and feel amazing. With my company’s guidance, clients can focus on more important things in life and never feel as though they have nothing to wear.

Sounds enticing, right?

For 5 years, I had the dream job of any girl who grew up reading fashion magazines and fantasizing about being part of the ever-changing and exciting world of high fashion. I was the voice behind every social media message at Visual Therapy, New York City’s top image consulting and personal styling firm. I used my knowledge of the internet, social media, and marketing to spread the inspiring principles that have been the basis of VT’s business for over 20 years.

Having started as an intern, I soon got promoted to styling assistant and later became the social media & PR director. I was able to see every side of the business, from the Birkin bag-stocked private client closet edits to style makeovers on national TV shows. I blogged daily on behalf of VT about empowerment through style, smart shopping, and closet clarity—way before Mari Kondo’s method took over the world!

Ksenia Avdulova

Ksenia Avdulova | Photo by Diana Wang @zhours

But the truth is, even though my personal style had evolved throughout those 5 years, and I had learned to think about my clothing in terms of looks instead of separate pieces—I still somehow hadn’t experienced that style a-ha moment.

It’s always been easy with my personal life and work project decisions—I know exactly what yoga and meditation practices to do to get to those satisfying moments of clarity. But style… somehow it was still a mystery. I like to compare it to a foreign language that is still very much your second language even when you’ve spent years becoming fluent. And, despite the general “style gene” and love of fashion that I had inherited from my mom, there was still something missing when it was time to get dressed.

I’d stare blankly into my tiny New York City-sized closet and wonder, why haven’t I figured this out yet?

Ksenia Avdulova

There’s a Russian saying, “a shoemaker without the shoes.” That’s exactly how I was feeling when I reached out to Jesse Garza, one of Visual Therapy’s co-founders.

My side business, Breakfast Criminals, was growing and I needed outfits for various speaking engagements and events. Jesse was kind enough to take me under his generous fashion wing. He guided me, inspiring me to create style boards every season, and helping me style the “uniforms” I would wear for these public appearances.

While I was getting incredible styling and shopping guidance from Jesse, it still wasn’t enough because I had yet to complete the most important step in the Visual Therapy process, the one that any work with private clients always starts with—the closet edit. During the edit, every piece in your closet is analyzed while you decide what to keep, what to toss, what to archive, and what to restyle. I kept shopping and piling things up in my closet without first editing and organizing. If I kept going like this, my closet would never be a “zen space”, as Jesse would say.

Ksenia Avdulova

But then a young stylist, Gabriela Rocha joined the VT team in New York, and my life changed.

You may be thinking, “yeah, right—as if a piece of fabric can change your life.” But trust me, I’ve experienced it and I can attest that when done right, finding clarity in your personal style can uplift you, elevate your career, boost your personal life, and even bring success to other areas of your life.

Doing the closet edit with Gabriela left me with 5 huge trash bags of giveaways, space to breathe, and the opportunity to craft the most powerful version of myself.

It gave me the confidence to truly reach for my dreams—from taking the professional leap of reducing my social media consulting work to focus on my true passion, to signing up for a program that will allow me to travel and work across 12 countries in 12 months. I’m confident that finding clarity and peace in my personal style played a huge role in this manifestation.

RELATED: Creative Visualization: Create a Style File

Ksenia Avdulova

Thanks to VT, I’m now convinced that fashion is not only a way to creatively express yourself, but also a form of self-love that can be practiced every day. With Jesse and Gabriela’s help, I now have less and love more, with looks lined up for every event in my life—from business chic outfits for motivational speaking gigs in NYC to hippie glam looks for leading yoga retreats on Brazilian beaches. Thanks to an extra set of eyes in my style life, I know exactly what works the best for my body type and style type, and have formulas that I can rely on every time I shop.

Thank you, Visual Therapy for giving me the best fashion education I could have ever received—one that merges creativity, spirit, and self-love with timeless style, and one that touches and empowers everyone who ever gets a chance to experience VT’s brilliant 5-step process.

written by Ksenia Avdulova @mynomadicyear

ksenia avdulova