I often see an interesting phenomenon when working with clients. This often happens when I work with clients virtually and they show me images of their current outfits. I take a look at what they are wearing and I’m surprised they even thought they needed to call on me for help in the first place.
I was recently working with a client where this happened. Not only is this client stunning, her wardrobe looked like what someone else would select as their inspirational photos. She looked tailored, well pulled together, her clothes fit well and her style seemed well established. At first glance, I had no idea what I was going to tell her needed improvement. After some closer looks, being nit picky, there were some small changes I suggested she make, but, truthfully, she could have continued on exactly as she had been and looked just fine.
This got me wondering about why we often feel we need to change our style or ask for help from someone, like myself, who is an expert. Here are five reasons why many women feel like they need to change their style even though there is nothing wrong with it.
Women don’t trust themselves with their style
I know for a fact that many women don’t feel they know enough about what is right to wear without getting some sort of external validation from someone they think knows better. The issue isn’t that many women feel they need to change as much they want to be certain their selections are right.
If you don’t trust yourself internally it’s easy to shy away. You can avoid situations where you don’t feel confident, you can be quiet and listen if you feel you are out of your depths and you can play small on the sidelines if you aren’t feeling confident. Yet, when it comes to clothing, there is no running and hiding. What you wear is always out there for the world to see. And, for many women, this can make them feel incredibly vulnerable. Therefore, even if a woman feels good in what she is wearing, it’s not until she knows for sure it’s okay will she not wonder if she should be trying something else.
What I know for sure is this: You know way better about what works for you than you think you do. I have given external validation to more women than I can count who have known when something was wrong with their wardrobe. Trust this. Trust me.
Women are their own harshest critics
Nobody in the world sees you the same way as you see yourself. And I can guarantee you that nobody judges you as harshly as you judge yourself either. Many women look outside themselves for how they should dress and, for some reason, other women often look like they have it more together style-wise than we feel we do. If you feel this way, it’s not you, it’s everyone.
Whenever I see a well dressed women and I don’t feel nearly as stylish as she does, I remind myself first that I am seeing this woman for all of a split second as I pass her down the street, for few minutes as I engage with her, or as a pretty Pinterest image I stumble upon. I didn’t see this woman as she wrangled on her Spanx or spent that grueling time trying to work out her look for the day. I have no idea if this just happens to be her one good outfit and the rest of her wardrobe is a disaster. Instead of that split second of interaction spent with this more stylish woman, I remind myself that I have not spent enough time with her to judge her, or myself for that matter. Plus, I have no idea what is going on inside her head. Do you not think she is wondering or unsure of herself entirely? Think again.
Even if I know someone well who I consider to be stylish and see regularly, I still make it a point to remind myself that there is no way her internal dialogue is as confident as I think it is. I assure myself that she has her own insecurities floating around in her head, doesn’t see herself the way I see her and, most importantly, is likely seeing me in a much more positive light than I am currently judging myself.
The next time you think the rest of the world has their personal styles all figured out and you don’t, take a step back and remind yourself this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Most of us are basically throwing spaghetti against the wall with hopes that something will stick
The fundamental problem with women and style is that when a woman gets something right about her style she has no idea what she did to make it that way. As a result, most women don’t know how to repeat their successes and avoid their failures. It’s basically the equivalent of throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping something will stick. Add the fact that women don’t often trust themselves when it comes to their style, and a hotbed of insecurity from a lack of confidence is created. Sure, we like something, but is it right? Does something need to be different? It can be very anxiety producing. This is why consulting a stylist can be helpful, but, often it’s not because you need a complete makeover as much as it is to get validation from someone you trust you are making the right choices.
We seem terribly uncomfortable with sticking with what works
For some reason, women see wearing what works as being in a rut or having a stagnant style. I don’t think this could be farther from the truth. Certainly, if a repetitive look does feel stagnant or boring, changes can be made, but in cases where it works, why change? Due to the pace of fashion and trends being so quick, many women feel they need to evolve their style just as fast. Yet, look at some of the most iconically stylish women in the world, many were known for having a certain look that rarely strayed from its core.
I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a woman make a poor fashion choice only because she felt she needed to. It wasn’t because something was wrong and it wasn’t even because she didn’t like what she was currently wearing. It was simply a feeling that because she had been successfully wearing X for a set amount of time that she had to change it. This is hardly rational, but it is common.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the mental bandwidth to get bogged down with changing something that isn’t broken and I have certainly gotten to an age where I just can’t be bothered. I have too many things in my life that do require my attention. If I have a style that works, I check that box off and focus on other things until I get to the point where I do feel I need some fine tuning with my looks.
There is honor in not caring what anyone else thinks
I appreciate anyone who is comfortable with their style and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about it. How do you judge someone for something like this? I may not like what they wear, but I respect the hell out of them for being so comfortable with their choices. If you have felt like you just can’t settle on your style and what you wear, ask yourself how much this has to do with what you like or how much this desire has come from external pressure that you need to change?
Basically, it all boils down an unsettled feeling that causes us to change what we wear, not because there is anything wrong with it. As my wise friend Wendy Shanker said in her book, The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life: Nobody ever made any money telling you you are good enough just the way you are. Don’t fall victim to the idea that a. there is something wrong when there isn’t, and, b. you have to change it. If you feel you have been going around in this loop of never finding your look, it’s quite likely that your style is right there and you just haven’t allowed yourself to trust or embrace it.
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