As the year draws to a close, we find ourselves in a middle ground. Between frantically finishing up year-end work projects, saying yes to events, and last minute shopping, taking the odd weekend out to visit family can be a bit of a task. We might dull down the wardrobe and make our appearances a little less edgy, try to curse less. And now, your partner decides they want to meet the parents this winter. SOS?
How can our style make us more confident going moving into the future?
Personal style is a journey for everyone. I’ve usually found myself a little left of center from a very young age. Eyeliner was always a little heavy-handed and had a laundry list of “non-school appropriate” accessories taken by teachers that I swore I’d steal back. Standing out and being an example is always a little jarring at first, it can make you feel a little insecure. Trying to wear new things or experimenting with fashion is daunting. Our first memories of learning how to style ourselves inform our fashion choices as adults in the present day, especially in a woman’s case. What we like and what we’re told to like might be two different things.
Maybe you’re standing in the dressing room for ten minutes. You’ve got something that’s new and fantastic that just might work. You try different poses, sucking in, pulling and poking and prodding to make an argument that this new look is working. But is it? Do you feel confident yet? Is this how you want to express yourself? It’s hard to know. We see ourselves differently than how others see us, and our physical appearance (whether we want it to or not) is an impression that we give to others constantly and subconsciously. Do we reflect a version of ourselves that is true, or do we hide behind a style that we think others want to see? Do we dress for us, or for everyone else?
Part of it is taking the leap and buying a piece of clothing you think you’d never wear. It sounds like backwards logic offhand, but this tactic might allow you to branch out your style and build a tremendous amount of confidence in your look. Walking out of the store and wondering, “What on earth am I going to do with this?” does wonders for brainstorming. If you can be picky with your purchases, it can be fun to find a way to Make It Work in some capacity. Maybe shove it in the back of your closet for a few weeks first. Then it hangs there, like a ghost, asking you when you’re going to wear it every time you open my closet door. Buzz and brainstorm - what else do you own that could go with it? Think of colors, textures, and shapes. Finally, the pressure to make good on the purchase gets you and you have to try and wear it out and about. Maybe just to the grocery store. Low stakes. Catch a reflection in the refrigerated section. What do we think? We’re starting to feel better about it. Maybe next time you wear it out to meet friends for drinks. Your friends love it! What??? We didn’t expect this response. That’s a confidence boost! The weeks go by, it’s suddenly your new favorite wardrobe staple.
It’s a wonderful cycle. To feel so nervous about how we dress affects how others perceive us is a universal feeling, but it’s truly a game of confidence. If the people around you see how joyful and confident you are in your look, it’s a nonfactor. Wearing something colorful should bring us a smile. Wearing something edgy should make us feel powerful. Getting dressed to go out after a long day at work helps us loosen up and take ourselves a little less seriously. Style is autonomy and is something in our reach to help us truly feel free. Feel like wearing hot pink from head to toe? Do it. Wanna cut your hair to look like Leonardo DiCaprio circa 1996 in Romeo and Juliet? We love it.
Dressing to impress yourself is a step in a self-love direction, and the empowerment is contagious. We can build each other up and influence others to dress more confidently in themselves. Something to keep in our back pockets as we make our final appearances of 2022 is that we are our own biggest critics - if we impress ourselves, we are sure to leave our mark on others.