- by Kerrie Ellis, personal stylist and wardrobe consultant
Choosing what to wear each morning can be a confidence boosting experience, but it can equally be quite the opposite if you are putting on clothes that don’t make you feel good. You only have to catch sight of yourself in a mirror and if the image you see reflecting back at you isn’t one you like it can hugely zap your confidence.
There are plenty of studies that have made the link between mindset and what we choose to wear. If it’s a topic that interests you, I’d highly recommend the book by Dawnn Karen called “Dress Your Best Life” in which she talks about the emotional connection we have with clothes and the concepts of ‘mood illustration dressing’ and ‘mood enhancement dressing’.
Having a positive body image and starting each day with a smile on your face is definitely preferable in my opinion. So how can you achieve this? Here are my thoughts on how to dress with confidence:
1. Be thankful for all the things your body allows you to do and be kind to yourself when looking in the mirror. Forget what you looked like when you were 18, 20, 30, 40 or even last week and appreciate the body you have. It keeps you alive and enables you to go places, see people, do things etc., all of which enrich your life.
2. Accept that our bodies often change. There are very normal hormonal changes that happen to the majority of women's bodies during puberty, the menopause and as we age, eg. fullness at the waist, less firmness (boobs, bottoms, cellulite), weight gain etc.
3. Prioritise yourself and make sure that you make time for some self-care. As women, we are very good at putting everyone else above us on the priority list. If we're not feeling positive about the way we look, clothes buying and choosing what to wear can go to the bottom of the list. You effectively write yourself off and may start just reaching for 'any old thing' because you feel that you don't look good in anything anymore and anyway other things/people are more important. Clients tell me that they often end up buying clothes just because 'they'll do' - perhaps grabbing them along with the supermarket shop because it's easy. All this does, however, is feed those negative voices in your head as you then see yourself in the perhaps shapeless and unflattering clothing each day and so the negativity becomes more engrained. You wouldn't do this same thing to your children or those you love - you'd want them to have clothes that they at least like - so why do this to yourself? As the L'Oreal advert says we should instead spend our money on things that help us to feel good ... "because you're worth it"! 4. Don't put off feeling good. I often hear clients say to me that they'll think about the styling side of things 'once they've lost weight' or ‘once they’ve dropped a dress size’. Whilst I understand that you perhaps don't want to invest serious amounts of money in a whole new wardrobe only to find that it no longer fits x weeks/months down the line, it's often the case that this '100% ideal time' never comes for lots of reasons and so you end up wearing clothes day in day out that simply zap your confidence. Buying just a few things that fit and flatter you now will not only boost your confidence but can also spur you on your journey to reaching a certain goal. (Oh, and please, please, please don't get hung up on size labels - there is such a huge variation in sizes, not only between brands but even within the same brand - that they are almost irrelevant. It is much better to focus on the fit and the way something looks than worry about the number on the label).
5. Invest some time understanding how to dress in a way that boosts your confidence and enables people to see the real YOU:
understand your style personality - what you really like and dislike. Dressing well is simply about showcasing the person you are on the inside by choosing clothes that reflect that on the outside. You can absolutely dress who YOU are no matter what shape or size you are.
use colour to help you to look vibrant and healthy - some colours throw light on to your face and literally take years off you and others can wash you out and make you look like you need to see a Doctor! A colour consultation will show you which palette of colours harmonises with your natural colouring. Even if you don't want to invest in new clothes, you can simply pop on a scarf in a 'good' colour and it will immediately enhance the way you look.
understand your body characteristics - your body shape, height, scale and proportions. It may be that your weight fluctuates but your basic bone structure, height and proportions won't change, so you can absolutely learn how to choose clothes that work. Once you understand your body characteristics, you'll literally know which necklines, shoulder lines, sleeve lines, tops, trousers, skirts, dresses, jackets, coats, accessories, fabrics and patterns to choose and will be able to build a wardrobe you feel comfortable and confident in.
6. Make life easy with a capsule wardrobe - a wardrobe which contains less clothes but combined can create lots of outfits. You can check out the many examples I've created in my blogs. But essentially this means you have less choice and therefore it should be easier to choose foolproof outfits! To make it even easier, my Stylist at Hand service might help you - all your clothes photographed on an app and me there to find your new clothes and create new outfit options using both your existing and new clothes, all accessible from your phone, tablet or laptop, 24/7!
Above all, celebrate the wonderful woman you are by choosing clothes that you like and enjoy wearing. If you wear something that you feel comfortable in and like, it radiates to others around you and feeds your own self esteem too. You deserve it!
I’d love to help you, so please do feel free to give me a call or jot me an email if you’d like to fall back in love with your wardrobe:
Kerrie Ellis: 07917 663330 or firstname.lastname@example.org