I'm always surprised at the number of people who read this blog. It's certainly not in the millions. But, does it need to be? I like to imagine that everyone who reads this is sitting in one room together. As time goes on, that's transitioned from a small room, to an apartment all the way to a building. That's pretty awesome. So, thanks, Dear Reader, for taking the time.
I also like to think that you, Dear Reader, are on your own journey to find your personal style. Perhaps you are at the beginning stages or much further down the path. Either way, you are not only aware that what you wear influences how you feel, it influences how other people feel about you. It's a powerful thing. With that in mind, it occurs to me that we all face challenges to harnessing our style. So, today, let's tackle a few of the biggest.
3 Very Real Obstacles to Embracing Your Personal Style (and how to overcome them)
1. I can't pull that off.
You are killing me. I can't tell you the number of times that I've heard a client describe a coworker or friend with great admiration for her personal style. (Love! After all, there's nothing like a friend, colleague or celebrity to inspire us.) What is less endearing is when the client seems to think that her friend or colleague has some special power that she does not possess. Of course, "she" can wear that. Dear Reader, read this one twice if you need to, you can do it, too. Here's how:
Baby steps and shameless confidence. Interested in expressing your edgier side via leather, but don't think you can "pull it off?" Start with motorcycle boots, black leggings and a chunky sweater. Once you are comfortable in that, transition to leggings with vegan leather panels on the front or soldier stripes down the side. Yes? A few weeks into those and you are ready for leather pants. Feeling more daring, fewer steps will get you there. The point is, YOU are entitled to wear what makes you feel good and expresses your creativity. At each step in the process, leave the house with a solid commitment to yourself: show no weakness. That means no self depreciating comments throughout the day. No asking friends during lunch how this looks after you've already worn it to work. You can't go home now and why risk shaking your confidence? Dive in. Embrace it.
2. If only I had X amount of money or lost X pounds. Then, I'd....
If Robin Williams managed to say it in the 90's with a straight face, you can, too. Seize the day. Wear what fits you and nothing else. Eradicate things that are too large or too small from your closet. Shop online and compare prices. Buy second hand, try fast fashion, borrow from friends for free or organize a clothing swap. My designer husband always reminds me that great design comes from having to work within boundaries that you may or may not care for. Here's your chance to embrace the great designer in you. Or ask for help.
3. Only shallow people care about how they look.
This one has always been a source of struggle for me. After all, my background is in philanthropy. I've always had a love of helping people feel good about what they are wearing, but is that the same as curing Cancer? No. It's not.
However, I will say what I told Bluemercury founder, Marla Malcolm Beck when we discussed her love of public private partnerships. Here goes: The feeling that you have when you know inherently that your outside appearance reflects who you really are cannot be underestimated. The power to feel confident enough to share your thoughts with people who intimidate you, to question someone you disagree with, to put yourself out there open to criticism. That comes from the ability to not be distracted by how you look. I can't imagine that on the brink of a world changing scientific discovery, the scientist should be thinking about her outfit when she is interviewed on national television. But, let's not pretend that doesn't occur to her. Success is when she is comfortable enough in her own skin, in her own personal style, that she is able to focus on something else. I may not be curing Cancer, but I like to think that I'm giving other people the power and self confidence to take on incredible challenges. Now, it's your turn.
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