January is upon us which means you’re probably already sick of the phrase “new year, new you”.
But no matter how much of a cliché it is, it does encapsulate the fact that it’s a great time for self reflection, and to consider if and what forms of self improvement we’d like for 2018.
In doing so, we tend to concentrate on what we consider to be the most important factors in life: health, family, friends, work and recreation. But have you thought about style?
Style plays an important role in feeling good and being the best versions of ourselves, but too often it’s dismissed as something frivolous.
A love for fashion can be met with an eye roll, or looked down upon as trivial and superficial. Take the film Legally Blonde – the protagonist has a Fashion Major but is laughed at and only taken seriously when she becomes a lawyer (ironically my life in reverse, I studied law and then chose to go into fashion!).
But in truth, style is so much more than just being about clothes: it’s about reflecting who you are on the inside and making you shine on the outside.
So many women in their 40s and 50s feel invisible. And while there are a number of factors that contribute to this, a major one is how we dress.
A couple of years ago I was talking to a lady in her 50s who told me she wished she could wear beautiful, colourful clothes, but felt lost as to how to go about it and subsequently resigned herself to safe black and navy pieces.
Unfortunately this attitude creates a vicious cycle of feeling inadequate.
When you put on clothes you are telling yourself that this is how you should be seen. So, by not allowing yourself to wear what you really want, you’re reinforcing the self belief that you don’t deserve to look and feel better, crushing your self esteem further – and subsequently fuelling the feeling of being invisible.
When you put on something you love, you feel good
You hold yourself differently and ooze confidence. Moreover, as much as we might try to deny it, we do subconsciously judge a book by its cover. You wouldn’t turn up to an interview in a jumper and jogging bottoms. First impressions count. What you’re wearing really can make a difference.
So while you may feel somewhat guilty for dedicating time and energy to your wardrobe right now, you shouldn’t. It will help your confidence grow and you to feel less invisible.
If you don’t know where to start, just think about someone whose style you admire. Don’t compare yourself to them, just think about what aspects you like – for example, that they wear a certain colour, or that they like to try different silhouettes.
Next time you go shopping or put together a look, keep that in mind as inspiration, and gradually you’ll find your style confidence evolve. And others will start to notice too.
Additionally, try to stop using negative phrases such as “I could never wear that” and “she can pull it off, but I can’t”. Even be careful with “that’s not me” because you may have unfairly put yourself in a restrictive box. If something left field catches your eye, just give it a go, you could end up pleasantly surprised and if not, you can just take it off again – no harm done!
Essentially by investing time into caring about what you’re wearing, you’re actually investing in yourself. It’s no different than taking up a yoga class, or treating yourself to an amazing meal out.