I was looking through your blog & I noticed how you were always dressed in something cute and you wore it with a certain flare & confidence. I’m just wondering how I can acquire some (any) confidence to wear some bold/cute/notice-me-I’m-not-just-a-piece-of-wallpaper ensemble.
As you’ve probably already guessed, feeling confident about your outer appearance comes from not only wearing something that makes you feel good, but also from accepting yourself for who you are. Some people can throw on jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers and still exude an air of confidence because that simplicity suits them. I’m not one of those people; I feel my best when I’m wearing a coordinated outfit.
A tiny sampling of my outfit photos
On the topic of fashion and confidence, I was just reading an interview with Nancy Pelosi (the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives) and though she wears mostly pantsuits, her outlook is right on key. She says:
Fashion and all it implies—hair, makeup—is an art form. If you look organized and well presented, people think you’re organized in your mind and you take pride in yourself. And besides, it’s fun.
If you feel great about what you’re wearing, it will naturally show in your body language and people will take notice. It really is like a chain reaction!
MY PERSONAL MANTRAS
Stylistically, most of us have certain rules and boundaries whether we realize it or not. It’s a good idea to keep these in mind when trying out new looks, but to not let them stop you from branching out. Some of my personal rules regarding style are:
1. If you feel uncomfortable in something, don’t wear it.
Have you impulsively worn shoes that hurt your feet just because they looked great? Have you thrown on a dress that looked perfect on the hanger but shifted and bunched all night? I’ve done these things too many times to recall. I’ve worn skirts that felt too short and subsequently yanked and pulled on them as I walked down the street. I’ve worn stilettos that looked impressive sitting in my closet, but after a night of standing at a club, they weren’t worth the pain.
Pretty in pictures, not for a night of standing!
No matter how beautiful something looks or how much you think it will impress the company you keep, it really isn’t worth it. It’s hard to carry yourself in a self-assured, confident manner if your clothing makes you feel awkward.
2. It’s better to have 10 amazing pieces of clothing than 100 that are mediocre.
The next time you impulsively pick up a piece of clothing, ask yourself if it’s going to last and if it’s worth the investment. Granted, it’s not just about the cost (or whether the item is on sale). Does it deserve to take up space in your closet? Is it overly trendy? Will the material pill and snag after only a few wears? Is the fabric a cheap feeling synthetic?
Confession: some of my most favorite dresses were purchased for under $30.00 at Forever 21, but for every great steal, I have a pile of clothing castoffs that later seemed too gaudy or just felt shoddy and cheaply made. I’d rather pass on the bargains and save up for one quality item that will last me for years.
3. Embrace the concept of ‘everyday luxury.’
Two of the items I use almost daily were astoundingly expensive (to me). My Dries Van Noten boots and Miu Miu purse both made me pause before I handed over my credit card, but months later, I can honestly say that I’ve already gotten my use out of them.
When I was trying to decide whether to splurge on the Dries boots, the shop assistant relayed the brilliant message of ‘everyday luxury.’ If you buy something notable, there’s no reason to hide it away for only special occasions. There’s something really refreshing about a designer purse or shoes that show obvious wear. Everyday luxury is about breaking in the things you love most and enjoying them constantly!
4. Define your style icons and take visual cues from them.
If you’re lacking in confidence, there’s nothing wrong with adopting a handful of icons who have style that you admire. By choosing to embrace their confidence and elements of their style, your level of comfort will begin to grow. Over time, the emulation will start to shed and your own methodology will begin to emerge.
When I was around 16, I admired Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson and Boy George. At that time, I’d show obvious indicators through band shirts, pins, patches and jewelry. Over time though, I learned to take small elements from each of my icons (striped tights from Manson, vintage dresses from Courtney, bright makeup and layers from Boy George) and added in my own. Pretty soon, I didn’t need those distinct signifiers (like shirts with my idol’s name splashed across them) to spell out my alliances. I was just fine being myself and expressing my own identity.
CURRENT STYLE ICONS
A handful of personalities have helped mold my style into what it is today. Here are a few deserving shout outs!
1. Michael Jackson: I have always loved his attention to details and funky yet streamlined looks. He has an amazing flair in the way he takes the basics (white v-neck tees, slim black pants, button-up shirts, tailored blasers and bowler hats) and adds dashes of sequins, armbands and jewelry to make the look completely his own. Stylistically, I can relate to his sleek black hair, very pale skin and unisex clothing elements and I owe my love of vintage marching band jackets and skinny black pants to him!
Emulating MJ, 2003
2. Steve Perry: Growing up, my parents were totally obsessed with this man and it rubbed off on me. It’s true that I went as Steve last Halloween (and it’s the only time I’ve ever impersonated a man)! His unfussy staples of the late 70s that included Levi’s 501 jeans paired with a t-shirt still inspire me today. And, he rocked a white tailcoat like nobody’s business.
3. Mickey Mouse: The original icon of red, black and white, Mickey has always had a hold on me. Putting on Gala’s Mickey ears in NYC a few weeks ago only reminded me of how much I dig Mickey’s classic, unchanging style!
1984 and 2008, respectively.
Feeling confident comes with self-discovery. Experimenting and figuring out what makes you feel great will boost your courage. Not all of us have been blessed with enough funds for a major shopping spree, so why don’t you give the digital equivalent (Polyvore) a try? Now you can try out all the latest designer gear without the guilt!
Never forget to have fun when exploring your style. Nothing is set in stone. Style is something that is impossible to pin down; it is constantly morphing and growing, ebbing and flowing. It’s an adventure based on self-expression.
Do you have any mantras that define your style?