Monthly Inspiration

July – The Importance of Confidence

In my introduction under the About page, I highlight from the outset the importance of confidence and the role it plays in how we see ourselves. Our level of confidence will ultimately influence the way in which we communicate and interact with the external world. 

Like a mirror, the internal image we hold about ourselves will reflect and manifest externally. However, we can influence these emotions and begin to build a more positive image about ourselves from the outside in. We are not born with confidence but develop it over time and it is never too late to build a greater level of self-confidence or to rediscover lost confidence. 

The internal work in developing a greater sense of confidence involves becoming aware of the internal comments, statements and truths we make about ourselves on a daily basis. These will be personal to each one of us, but they are likely to include statements such as: “I’m no good at that” (whatever “that” means to you), “I can’t do that”, “I’m too old to wear that, begin that”, etc.”. Fill in your own negative truths. We need to remember that the thoughts we hold about ourselves will manifest our experiences and lived lives. The external has to reflect the internal.

Looking and behaving as though we are confident will eventually result in us feeling more confident. Our posture and body language communicate to the world how confident we feel about ourselves. We can look confident even though we may not always feel it, and the care we take with our appearance will go a very long way in communicating confidence both to ourselves as well as others. 

Our appearance starts with our personal grooming and the first thing to create and maintain is a skin care regime. So many older women give up on themselves and reduce or stop using makeup altogether. Applying makeup is even more important now than what it was in our younger days. 

Makeup is a great way to enhance our attributes and reduce or hide areas we are not too happy with, such as blemishes or age spots. Makeup goes a long way in giving us confidence in our appearance. By giving up on makeup we collude with the external world that we become invisible as we get older. This is not true, and we should not behave as though it is! 

We also hugely underestimate the power of colour on our moods and emotions, whether that is reflected in the makeup we use to enhance and add to our skin colour or the colour of the garments we wear. If you feel you have become invisible, take a long hard look at your wardrobe and the colours, or lack of it, that is reflected back to you. 

Just one accessory, whether it is a piece of jewellery, a scarf or a lovely colour lipstick that blends with your skin tone, will go a long way in boosting your confidence and how you feel about yourself. This is not frivolous indulgence but a wonderful source of personal expression!

August – Express Your Personal Style

Our clothes communicate our personalities and is the visual narrative of who we are. We may not be conscious of the choices we make when it comes to clothes or even how they express our personal style, but I guarantee it is there, you just have to go and find it. 

You won’t invite just anyone into the privacy of your home. Why therefore do you allow garments into your wardrobe that you don’t love or get excited at the thought of putting them on. As a minimum they have to earn their keep by complementing the other garments in the exclusive club that makes up your wardrobe. Yet most women’s wardrobes are bulging with the wrong clothes. 

It takes time to discover or update what our style might look like, especially if we have never consciously been aware of it. However, discovering your personal style has many benefits. It boosts your confidence, gives joy when you open your wardrobe, it makes financial sense and above all it is kind to the planet. 

You will not waste money and natural resources by making the wrong purchasing decisions and have garments that languish in your wardrobe for years. Putting the effort into crafting a wardrobe that expresses your unique personal style is worth it in the long run. As with anything in life, we get out what we put in. 

Irrespective of your personal style, always invest in quality that will serve you loyally over time. Always buy the best you can afford. Not only do we need to love the clothes we wear, but they should also be durable, comfortable and earn their keep. 

Remember fashion is not style. By all means, add some fashion items from the latest trends, if and only if it complements your style, but avoid becoming a slave to fashion. Make your own rules as to what you will and won’t wear. Being fashionable does not equal being well dressed. 

We only achieve the latter when it expresses our own personal style. It takes practice, experimentation and tuning into what feels right to you, not obeying the rules of others or society. Above all, it is also creative and fun! 

Begin the journey by removing garments that do not blend and complement each other nor give you pleasure when wearing them. It is not about being minimalist and owning as little as you possibly can get away with, but instead it is about being selective with what is suitable to you, your life and contributing to the rest of your wardrobe. 

In time your style will emerge and take shape, but don’t give up if it doesn’t appear fully formed right away. It is all part of the journey of self-discovery. You may very well change your mind a number of times along the way and that is the only way to discover your own unique style. 

Remember, it is not just about what you wear, but how you wear it. So, wear it with confidence!

September – Your Silhouette

Like a fingerprint, style is a personal and unique and communicates our individual identities. The choices we make regarding the type of clothes, the fabrics, accessories, the colours we are attracted to and the way we combine these ingredients all reflect our unique personality and styling preferences. We may have certain tastes in common with others, but each one of us will express it in a combination that reflects our own individual silhouette. 

If we wear something that doesn’t match our internal self, it jars and creates what psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Whether others are aware of it or not, they will pick up that something is amiss. In order to communicate congruence with our personalities, our clothes have to feel right, whatever right means to us as individuals.

We spend a considerable amount of money on clothes over the years and it makes sense to buy the ‘right’ clothes. What I mean by ‘right’ is the colour that suits us, clothes that fit us properly, garments that give us pleasure when wearing them and above all, an ensemble that reflects our unique style thumb print. So, where do we start?

By all means we can find inspiration from various style typologies, such as the classic, bohemian, romantic, casual, etc. They will give us some insight into what we are attracted to and where to start looking for our unique silhouette. However, our personal style is custom made and building a generic wardrobe will be as ill-fitting as the clothes with which we fill it. 

Alas, there is no quick solution or ready-made checklist to express your unique silhouette. It takes time, patience, effort and perseverance. I can hear the comments that it is not worth it, but if you want to discover your personal style, that is what it requires. 

The result is a wardrobe that you will love and one that will express your unique likes and dislikes and which will evolve with you over the years. Above all, it is also an enjoyable journey of discovery!

Taking the time to reflect on the outfits that have been your favourites over the years, will give you an insight into what you are attracted to and why. Are there certain silhouettes or combinations of silhouettes that appeal to you? What do you like about your present style? Which aspects of your wardrobe needs changing and why?

Think of any artist you care to name and you will immediately call to mind their unique style. From a fashion point of view, think of Channel, Vivienne Westwood and Carolina Herrera or any other artist from any discipline you care to mention. Their unique style is the thread that runs through all of their creations and makes it instantly recognisable as theirs. 

The same is true of you. You too are an artist and once you find your unique style it too will instantly be associated with who you are. Draw inspiration from different colours, fabrics and silhouettes that you are attracted to and start shaping your personal style narrative.

Inspiration is everywhere we look, from nature and the seasons through to the endless variety of blogs, magazines and websites at our fingertips. Become aware of what you are drawn to from colours to shapes to certain looks. How can these inform and create your personal and unique wardrobe? Collect ideas that inspire and create a mood or fashion board and in time you will begin to identify a particular emerging style. 

Is there an overall name or label that describes your emerging style? What would a typical outfit look like for it to reflect this style? What fabrics work with it? What does it say about you? It may very well be that you already have some of those garments in your wardrobe that you can build on.

Once you find what you love, search and experiment with different ways to wear it and what to pair it with. Be brave, be creative and don’t confuse your comfort zone with being comfortable!