If I had a dime for every time a woman told me that she had declined an offer because she didn’t feel like she knew what to wear and it felt too hard and overwhelming to figure it out (and, what if she was wrong and what she wore was inappropriate!), I would be rich. It is a shame to pass up amazing opportunities because you feel overwhelmed and insecure about how you look. You cannot go through life like this and I am going to make sure you don’t have to!
Sally is a perfect example. She once stood in front of her closet for two hours wringing her hands and sighing as she tried desperately to figure out what to wear to a dinner with her husband’s colleagues. A half hour before they were supposed to leave, her husband found her half dressed sobbing on the closet floor. She felt discouraged and embarrassed because she couldn’t figure it out on her own. She ultimately wore something she didn’t feel great in because she didn’t want to let her husband down. Not surprisingly, the whole time they were out, she couldn’t wait to get back home.
Then there was Catherine who wanted to put her name in for a job promotion, but she knew that the new position meant much more personal interaction with clients and she realized her existing wardrobe wouldn’t fit the bill. Her heart said yes, but one look in her closet said no way. Her existing job was relatively solitary and she wore jeans and a casual shirt every day. She felt torn about the possible promotion, but couldn’t make herself take that step without the confidence of knowing she would feel comfortable in how she presented herself. She felt discouraged but didn’t know what to do next so she did nothing and stayed where she was.
What have you said no to that, if getting dressed for it were easy, you would have said yes in a heartbeat?
What opportunities in life have you missed either because you declined an invitation, never took the steps toward your goal or did step out but were distracted the entire time because you didn’t feel comfortable in your clothes?
How is your wardrobe holding you back?
This is not about fitting into someone else’s expectations about how you should look. This is about not living up to your own expectations and even more to the point, it is about not feeling like you express yourself authentically in a way that honestly reflects your true inner beauty. While it’s easy to get dressed (anyone can throw on a T-shirt and jeans), it is not as easy (but, oh, so critical) to express your inner essence in your wardrobe choices. Sally wasn’t looking for just something to clothe her body. She was looking for something that made her feel beautiful and special. But, no matter how hard she looked, she couldn’t find it in her existing wardrobe.
If you try to make your life fit into your wardrobe instead of your wardrobe into your life, you are missing out on a powerful form of self-expression — one that impacts all areas of your life.
This concept is expressed beautifully by L.V. who said:
“I want to share some news that results from the investment I made when I first started working with you: I have a new job — one that I wouldn’t have gotten without the personal growth that came from thinking about clothes, and identity, and how I wanted to put myself out in the world. By making the investment in good clothes for myself, I was really sending an internal message that I was valued, and that in turn shaped how I set a professional path to work with a remarkable group of women.”
Wow! She says it all there. Was she trying to be someone she’s not? No! In fact, she has been practicing expressing her inner essence in her wardrobe choices as she shares here:
“For my first interview I wore a dress and shrug from Max Mara (bought on sale and where I was smart enough to buy the matching sweater on the spot, even though it wasn’t). I’ve gotten so much value out of that one dress! Dare I say, it was sagacious and poetic. This summer, in the casual realm, I also found myself in a deep blue top and turquoise shorts, and green shorts and a blue shirt—the shorts were actually a steal from, of all places, Kohls. (Who knew?).”
Was she using the tools we had worked on together (both inner (she’s sagacious and poetic) and outer (focusing on color and fit)) to create a wardrobe that felt authentically her? Yes!
Does this kind of transformation happen overnight? No. As L.V. shares:
“I remember you said more than once that this would be a slow process, and sometimes that frustrated me, but it’s really unfolded just the right way, and I have stronger shopping skills and a better sense of myself to make me more comfortable in my new realm.”
You can have this kind of transformation, too. Whether you are sobbing on your closet floor or just throwing your hands up in despair, resigning yourself to wearing the same thing over and over, the results are the same: lost opportunity to tap into what makes you special and share that with others. The only way this won’t happen for you is if you give up and just keep doing what you’re doing. The transformation begins by taking the first step.
So, how do you begin to make the changes L.V. made in her wardrobe that supported powerful changes in her life?
Every time you get dressed, ask yourself these four questions about what you are wearing:
- Do you love it and think it is beautiful? (This is the first step in identifying things that you feel great wearing and that capture your inner essence.)
- Does the color look great on you? (You’re not going for OK, decent or just good enough.)
- Does it fit you right now? (If it doesn’t fit you right now, move it out of your existing closet. Why take up space with something that you can’t wear now.)
- Is it comfortable? (If it’s not comfortable and the cause of discomfort cannot be remedied, it goes away.)
Do you love it and think it is beautiful is first because without that none of the rest of it matters!
Here’s the bottom line: If you apply this one day at a time, within a short amount of time you will have analyzed every garment in your closet, learned a lot about what makes you happy and eliminated a lot from your closet that doesn’t. If you don’t do it, you will stay stuck in a wardrobe that is not making you happy or supporting your life.
Imagine what a freeing experience it is to love getting dressed every day. This is your chance to take the very first step in claiming your personal essence and purposely designing your wardrobe to express that brilliantly.
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Need help? You don’t have to do it alone. If you are local or excited about traveling, register for my next “Your Style, Your Way” workshop coming up on Saturday, October 19 — www.YourStyleYourWayWorkshop.com. If you are not in the Boston area and can’t travel all is not lost! Women are experiencing amazing successes as part of the”‘Who Taught You How to Dress?” community. Learn more here: www.WhoTaughtYouHowToDress.com