Leslie had called me because she was feeling unsettled with her personal style … actually, she felt like she had no personal style and wanted to find out if she could change that. As we chatted, she shared, “I never paid much attention to fashion or style. In fact, I poo-poo’ed it. I tried to be invisible or neutral and was purposefully indifferent about my appearance.”
With this admission, Leslie precisely verbalized how so many women approach their image and express themselves through their wardrobes — they don’t! When she reached a point that she felt so unsettled about how she looked that she didn’t know how to address it effectively any more (or maybe she never did and was just exhausted from trying), she gave up and resorted to blending in as much as possible. While feeling invisible was not her (or any other woman’s) preference, she didn’t know what else to do.
While, yes, a lot of women have succumbed to indifference about how they look, not everyone ignores fashion or style for the same reason.
Here are stories women have shared with me:
- Meredith never used to pay attention to fashion or style because she felt comfortable with herself and how she looked. Then things changed! Her body started to shift, she was getting older and her effortless beauty no longer felt effortless. Not knowing how to adjust to the changes, she poo-poo’d “fashion” and convinced herself (rather ineffectively) that how she looked was not important to her. She resorted to wearing a lot of black and gray because it was easy and spent as little time as possible fussing. Meanwhile, she readily admits that if she were truly honest with herself, the fact that she doesn’t feel good about how she looks weighs on her psyche and distracts her (if only sporadically) from the things she really wants to focus on.
- Andrea never felt like she fit the prescribed definition of beautiful: she felt a little too short, a little heavier in her middle, her hair had a mind of its own and her feet often hurt. As a result, she always felt like her efforts to look good were in vain. She could never measure up to her own expectations and suspected others were equally as judgmental. So, instead of trying to fit in, she dismissed all efforts at feeling beautiful and developed a ‘take me as I am’ attitude. Meanwhile, on the inside she felt less empowered than the message she was projecting and it was exhausting to keep her insecurity undercover.
Whether one of these stories rings true for you or your history is somewhat different, here are two steps you can take to elevate your indifference to hope and positive anticipation.
- Infuse Your Wardrobe with Color. “Sure,” you say,“That’s easy for you to do. You know about color. But, I can’t tell what looks good and what doesn’t so I stick with neutrals.”You’re right. It isn’t always easy for us to know exactly what colors look good on us. There is conflicting information everywhere and the colors in the stores change constantly. So, what’s the answer? Ideally, you will want to have your colors analyzed by a professional. Choose your expert wisely since you are relying on his or her eye to guide you. If that is not an option, here are three colors I talk about in my book, That’s So You! that work on many people. Even if you just take these colors and mix them with your favorite neutral, you will be way ahead of many people: deep teal, watermelon and periwinkle blue.
Deep Teal. You can make it a bit more blue teal or green teal depending on your preference. Visit this Pinterest board for more examples of teal. Watermelon. A beautiful red that is between a pink and coral so it works on many, many people. Periwinkle Blue. Visit this Pinterest board for more examples of periwinkle. BONUS! Forest green is another great option.
When colors flatter you they have the potential to elevate your look from ho-hum to striking all on their own. It’s an easy fix!
- Elevate Your Tops. So many women get stuck in a top rut. They gravitate towards button down shirts or basic T-shirts because they are “classic,” but they feel bored or feel like these tops now accentuate fit issues. What can you wear on top that will make you smile?
Phew, that’s a lot! Remember, do not try to do it all at once — change doesn’t happen overnight. And, if you do try to do it all at once there is a good chance you will feel overwhelmed and throw in the towel before you see any results. Instead, take it easy and have fun with it. Choose one possibility from above and explore. See what happens and leave me a comment below!