9 Ways to boost your style confidence and have more fun with fashion this year
When it comes to having great style, knowing what types of colors, silhouettes and pieces you love and how they all fit together, is only part of the equation. The other part is having the confidence to actually wear those things.
On this blog, I’ve talked a lot about that first part and I even wrote a whole book about it. These days, I find myself thinking more and more about topics related to confidence, beauty ideals and body image, because judging from all of your comments and emails it seems like that’s a hugely important, yet commonly neglected piece of the whole story. You need confidence to be creative, express your personal style and have fun with fashion. Unfortunately, those same sources that you and I turn to for style inspiration (think magazines, blogs and runway shows) are also prime offenders when it comes to propagating unrealistic beauty ideals that are taking confidence away from women.
But I think there can be a different way. I believe you can be into clothes and have fun with fashion without getting sucked into that vortex of societal pressure to fit in, follow current trends, look like a fitness model and wear perfectly polished outfits 24/7 like a fashion blogger. The key is to slowly work towards shifting both your mindset towards fashion and your style.
Here are nine principles to help get you started:
1| Stop waiting – dress your best right now
This one is so important! Whether it’s losing weight, moving, graduating or something else: Your life is not on hold just because you haven't achieved all of your goals yet! Never wait until some arbitrary point in the future to embrace your style and dress exactly how you want to dress.
2 | Separate your body hang-ups from your style
Don’t allow body hang-ups to keep you from embracing your personal style. Because regardless of whether they are valid (probably not), they are beside the point. Being mega beautiful is not a pre-requisite to having great style, plus dressing in tune with your own personal style will improve your overall confidence and thereby also how you feel about your appearance.
3 | Forget about “flattering”
If something is your style, I believe you should wear it - regardless of whether it supposedly “flatters” your body shape, makes you look two pounds thinner or draws attention to “flaws”. Because it’s not your job to look as close as possible to what’s currently considered ideal. Read this post if you want to know more about why I'm not a fan of the idea of "dressing for your body type".
4| Don't emulate others – develop your own look
Obviously it's fine to get inspired by others, I'm all for that. But I believe that as women we are already way too often encouraged to emulate other "prettier, more successful" women rather than think for ourselves and make our own decisions about what to wear and what to look like. When you are trying to emulate someone else you are also falling into the comparison trap. Comparing yourself is never a good idea if you care about your self-esteem, but when your point of comparison is a celebritiy who had a whole team of professionals working on her look, you can only lose.
5 | Get rid of clothes that make you feel bad
If your closet makes you feel bad about yourself whenever you open it, it’s time to do something about that: Throw out clothes that are too tight, don’t fit or that you wear to cover up or blend in. Be ruthless! And reserve your closet space for pieces that make you happy from now on. Need advice on how to detox your closet? Here you go.
6 | Rewrite your inner monologue
Pay attention to the things you say to yourself all-day in your head. Do you talk to yourself with respect and compassion, like you do with your closest friends? Or can you be a real bully? Notice what negative phrases you repeat all the time and train yourself to replace them with more positive and respectful self-talk.
7 | Expand your fashion comfort zone piece by piece
Think of your comfort zone as a muscle. You can train yourself to become more confident when it comes to fashion, by taking baby steps. Pair a single bolder piece with your basics for example, or wear a toned-down version of your goal look for a while. Take it step by step, until your comfort zone is big enough to cover all of the colors, silhouettes and looks that you love - no matter how daring they seem to you right now. For more tips on how to expand your comfort zone, check out this post.
8 | Find a style confidence role model
We are always our own worst critic, that’s why it can help to see things from another perspective. Pick a person in the public eye or even someone you know, who shares some of the attributes you are self-conscious about and has great style and confidence. Whenever you are not sure about your look from now on, ask yourself: Would XYZ wear this?
9 | Don’t let insecurities taint your true personal style
It’s likely that you have already internalised many of your self-imposed fashion-rules (like “don’t wear skinny jeans”) and automatically ignore certain things while looking for style inspiration. To get a more accurate picture of your personal style, imagine your fairy godmother gave you total confidence. What would you wear? Check out this post if you need a little creative inspiration.
30-day confidence challenge
If you are serious about boosting your style confidence this year, check out the 30-Day Closet Confidence Challenge. It's totally free and features thirty mini assignments that will help you expand your comfort zone and figure out what type of clothes make you feel your best.