What goes through your mind when you’re getting dressed? To go to work? To hang out with your girlfriends? To go on date night?
Let me guess…
“I don’t have anything to wear” (despite the fact you have a closet bursting at its hinges!)
“I wish that my bum / boobs / tummy was smaller / bigger / flatter”
“What will I look young enough (but not too young!) in that outfit?”
There’s a monologue running through your head and most of it isn’t positive.
As women we’re constantly bombarded with messages from the media - in order to be attractive you need to be thin / blonde / tall; in order to be fashionable you need to buy the latest designer shoes / jeans / handbag; in order to be loveable you have to be smiley, cute and keep your intelligence and opinions to yourself.
This makes it hard for us to be who we really are - and if you’re not able to be your true authentic self, then that’s when that negative monologue starts.
British feminist writer, Caitlin Moran, said “When a woman says, 'I have nothing to wear!', what she really means is, 'There's nothing here for who I'm supposed to be today.”
So how about if you claim who you really are - decided to work on self-love for your height or boobs or natural hair color or whatever aspect of you that you are currently not accepting? Because once you start to accept who you are and embrace the things you love and value, then the answer to the question of “what shall I wear today” will start to become simpler.
The subject of “fashion” can make even the most confident of women feel insecure and vulnerable, which is why, as a Style Coach & Image Consultant, my focus is on style rather than fashion & trends.
Style is what results when a woman knows who she is, steps into her power, understands what suits her and what does not, and dresses to be the best version of herself. True style is empowering - and empowered women empower other women.
The great style icons of the 20th century - Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe - can hardly be described as being currently “fashionable”, however there is rarely an article written about style which does not mention at least one of them! In fact Mme Chanel said herself, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same”.
Even as grown women it’s still important to experiment with clothes and fashion - to have fun and get a feel for the things you like and don’t like.
When you know which colors, shapes and styles look good on you and - more importantly make you feel good - you can start to build a wardrobe of clothes which you love and make you feel excited to get dressed each morning!
Clothes have an immense power - both to influence how we feel about ourselves and to influence how others see us. It really is true that first impressions count.
The way you feel about yourself is translated into energy which you send out to the world. Think about a time when you didn’t like the way you looked - maybe you were having a bad hair day or hadn’t had a chance to launder the top you wanted to wear. You didn’t feel great and your were bad tempered. How did your environment respond to you? Did you have a row with your husband? Did you miss your train?
Now think about an occasion when you went out knowing that you looked a million dollars. Did amazing things happen to you? I bet that’s when the barista upgraded your tall latte to a venti for free, or when you got a seat on your crowded commuter train.
I have some surprising news for you - those things didn’t happen just because you looked good. They happened because you felt good and were radiating positive energy.
No matter what your style is, what your favourite colors are, or even whether or not you want to be completely “on trend”, everyone can create outfits that make them feel the very best - but we have to remember that the point of finding them is not to look great to be accepted or show off how attractive we can be, but to help us bring out our inner beauty.
If we start to consider fashion as a tool to communicate the “real” us - a reflection of our personality - then we can start having more fun with it. And fashion should be fun!
As with most things in life - practice makes perfect, so a day spent trying on clothes in shops is never wasted!!
And don’t forget, your style will evolve over time - the plaid shirts and cropped tops you rocked in your twenties aren’t likely to be something you’d wear now, and it’s possible that the skinny jeans and stripey breton tops that you love now aren’t going to be what you want to wear 20 years from now.
And when you find the kind of pieces that “switch on” your inner confidence, that’s when the magic happens! It might be smart tailoring, or maybe high heels, a signature neck scarf or the colour red - whatever it is, when you step into those heels or when you knot that scarf, you’ll feel centred and powerful.
You immediately step up your game, straighten your posture, pay attention to your gestures (consciously and unconsciously) and generally start behaving as someone who deserves respect - and in turn the world will perceive you in that way!
When you’ve determined your “style”, that’s when you can start to play around with fashion. For example tailoring trends change - boot cut / straight leg, big lapels / mandarin collars - but the overall concept is still the same. One season you might wear a gorgeous flowing bo-ho red dress, the next a body-con shift in the same color! It’s your style - do with it what you want!!
But remember - everyone is entitled to have their own unique style. Don’t feel that because women are “supposed” to wear high heels that you have to too. If you truly feel more confident and powerful in your sneakers or DMs, then fantastic - as Marilyn Monroe said "Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she will conquer the world" (although don’t just dismiss heels as being too “girly” without trying them out first - slipping your feet into a beautiful pair of sandals can be a truly transformational experience!)
Aligning your style with how you want the world to see you takes a lot of pressure off you. Dressing as you want to be seen impacts how you feel about yourself and it puts others at ease by letting them know what they can expect. It instantly boosts your self-confidence and allows your personality to shine.
If you want to shut off that nasty voice in your head, the one that’s stopping you being the best you, take some time to think about your true desires - where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? In those answers lies the key to your authentic style - and dressing in a way that reflects the real you is a fantastic step to gaining the confidence to follow - and achieve - your dreams.
I’ve created a free guide to help you find your authentic style, so if you’d like to learn more about this topic and uncover your unique look, please download it here.