Passion for fashion

Cindy Williams

Photo by Diane Nicole Photography

As long as she can remember, Cindy Williams has helped friends and colleagues dress to impress, picking out flattering outfits that fit their lifestyles. Upon retiring from her career in human resources for the county of Sonoma and moving to Chico two years ago, she found herself “floundering on what to do with the second half of my life.” So, on the advice of a local life coach, she decided to turn that knack for fashion into a full-time gig. With a master’s in public administration to guide her business-wise, she got certified as a consultant/stylist through the Fashion Stylist Institute. Then, earlier this month, she unveiled Cinfully Chic Fashionista and her new role as a professional personal stylist and image consultant. She recently took time to share her passion with the CN&R. Find out more at

How do you start with a new client?

The first thing I like to start with is a body shape analysis. I go to their house, or they come to my house. I take body measurements and … I get to know their lifestyle. Then I take that information and create a portfolio for them. I offer tips and tricks for their particular body shape, examples for clothing for their body shape. For some, that’s [all they need]—for others, I’ll go on a personal shopping trip for them.

What does that entail?

I go to the store first, I pick out items for them, and I set them up in a fitting room. As they try things on, I ask, “What do you like about this?” “What does or doesn’t work?” I also do closet organizing and editing. I have them go through and take out what they haven’t worn in a long time and organize it so they can go in in the morning and not [have to wonder], “What do I wear to work?”

How do you choose what stores you go to?

Based on the client and their budget. Some people don’t have that much money to shop with—and I understand that. I was a single mom for many years when I was younger, and I bought all my suits at Goodwill. There’s this misconception that “I need to have a lot of money to look good”—you really don’t. Chico also has a lot of boutiques I really like, like Fifth Street [Clothing Co.] and For Elyse.

Any success stories?

One example was a woman who worked with me at the county of Sonoma. She couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t getting promoted. I was brutally honest and I said, “You kind of dress like my grandma.” She laughed. Then we went out shopping and she spent about $1,000. She lit up—her confidence was so boosted. And she’s been promoted three times since then. When you put on something that fits well, and is the right color for you, it makes such a difference.