can’t count the number of times people have said things to me like, “you have such a unique style” or “I wish I could pull off what you do” or, my favorite, “How can you afford to wear something different all the time?” It’s as if I’m some kind of strange fashion anomaly that people can’t quite put their finger on. Most days, I choose to take their comments as a compliment but then there are the moments when those words cause me to second guess myself.
The fact is I’m a fairly shy person. I work hard every day to maintain a strong sense of who I am and who I want to be. Courage and fearlessness aren’t qualities I was born with; they’re things I have to cultivate and protect in my life. And hurt feelings are something I refuse to have. So when people say things that could be off-putting, I choose to toss them up on a high shelf and move along. Or, even better, find good in their words and use them to strengthen who I am.
There is one thing that gets to me, however. It may sound a bit silly, but I wish people could truly understand the value in developing their own sense of style. It bothers me that we have become a society which in one way or other demands people conform to what is “normal”. For some, that means always having to wear designer labels and surround themselves with elite circles of friends. For others, it is the exact opposite. They adopt an almost “holier than thou” mentality and wouldn’t step foot into a 5th Avenue shop if only to visit the ladies room. In my opinion, both extremes stem from fear and insecurity. And in both cases there is a sense of self-discovery that is lost.
Personal style is exactly that. Personal. That means not everyone has to love what you wear or how you wear it. But you do. And if you feel the most you when you’re wearing 3 inch heels then I say go for it. That’s you. But if you’re only wearing those heels because that’s what you think people expect from you, then it may be time to re-evaluate.
I wear what I wear because I truly love and appreciate those things. They’re the things that look best on me and that I can most be myself in. They are the things that allow me to forget about being self-conscious and worry about being others-focused. They don’t cost much – I enjoy being thrifty – but they do mean something to me. They’re a means of showing other women that they can enjoy being who they are. They don’t have to worry about “pulling off a look” – they can simply be themselves.
Honestly evaluate your personal style. Are you being true on the outside to who you really are or want to be? What are the things you most appreciate about your look/style? What are the things you admire most about the style of others? Have you told them?