Have you ever stood in front of a shop window, marvelling at the clothes on display, wishing you had the confidence to wear it? You are not alone, I’ve been there too.
If you have read my weight loss and body confidence story, you will be aware that there was a time in my life that I severely lacked self-confidence. I would refuse to leave my flat for days, during my studies at university, driven by crippling feelings of worthlessness and self-hate. Whilst this was predominantly due to an unhealthy lifestyle combined with negative childhood experiences and a lack of self-care, my perception on personal style was very warped. I would tell myself constantly that I wasn’t allowed to wear certain clothing because I didn’t look a certain way. These deeper issues resulted in a non-existent measure of style confidence. Fortunately, I found one vital piece of advice that was repeated by many that helped me on my self-care journey: if you don’t work on your mentality and perception of yourself, those negative thoughts and feelings will never change regardless of what the girl in the mirror looks like.
I took this wisdom very seriously because I had prime examples of people in
my life that hadn’t worked on their self-perceptions alongside getting healthy. This resulted in a lot of self-growth and self-care and fortunately, I was successful. If Eternally Elle is anything, it’s first and foremost a celebration and strong form of evidence that I have achieved true style confidence.
Although a lot of lacking in style confidence is rooted to something much deeper, there are some very effective ways to help you on your personal journey. Whilst walking down my own path, I took four very powerful sartorial steps that elevated my style confidence to no avail. I want to be clear, however, that I am not claiming my own personal process will work for the masses nor will everyone achieve ultimate style confidence if they neglect to address the root cause of why they are feeling a particular way. Self-growth is a long and complicated process unique to the individual. Despite this, I highly recommend to take on the challenges in this post and understand that you deserve to wear the clothes that make you feel your best without being concerned for society’s standards.
Here is my best advice on how to increase your style confidence and finally find the courage to where you what you want.
Accept your past style credentials
We’re all guilty of cringing at foetus photos of ourselves and regretting a particular style moment of our past. This usually comes with a statement riddled with sheer embarrassment; “I went through a terrible fashion faux pas but I am totally different now!” Perhaps this may also bring forth memories of people sniggering behind your back because you were wearing something a little different. The problem with this thought process is that it is brought on by a fear of judgement and a detrimental drive to eliminate that “bad fashion” moment. As a result, you stick to mainstream trends attempting to blend in with the crowd.
The reality is that we have all worn something that we now we wish we hadn’t. Experimenting with personal style and discovering what you like and dislike wearing is a huge part of youth culture because it is the biggest forms of self-expression. Self-discovery is unanimous with being young and as such, it is important to respect and accept the process. Yes, you may have taken a risk when you were younger and it may have caused some embarrassment, however, this is in the past and cowering behind a negative experience is only going to eradicate your authentic self. It is time to accept your past style credentials and hold your head up high. Don’t look at those “fashion mistakes” in regretful dismay but as a life lesson learnt. You have experience. Give yourself a gold star for having the courage to wear something different and stop letting your fears control the way you dress! People are always going to find a reason to laugh; you might as well let them whilst you’re strutting away in 5 inch designer heels holding a bag full of confidence.
Besides, what style icon doesn’t have hilarious faux pas’ hidden in the abyss of Google images? Seriously, just own it.
Stand tall in those Giuseppe Zanotti heels
One of the worst fashion travesties isn’t double denim and a pair of crocs; it’s purchasing a beautiful pair of shoes and then never wearing them because you are too worried about strangers on the street looking your way. You need to start practicing the art of pure ignorance. Ignore everyone. Let them look. Most of the time, these people aren’t even looking at you. They are too involved in their own lives, wondering about what they will have for dinner, when it’s acceptable to text their love interest or what to see at the cinema next week. Rarely are they spending their time and energy dissecting your outfit and questioning what drove you to wear those Chanel cap-toe pumps.
It’s important to remember that Clothes are meant to be worn and coveting a personal style is a joyful experience that you should not deny yourself from. Life is too short not to wear that cute tweed two piece you adore so much.
If you are guilty of the above then I have a challenge for you: resist the urge to put on those worn-out yoga pants (unless, they are your one true love, then go for it) and finally wear that flawless outfit you secretly planned 3 months ago. Treat that fifteen minute walk to the grocery store as your catwalk in Milan. Does this still cause worry about what others are thinking of you? Then wear a bold lip too. That will really capture everyone’s attention.
I’m not going to lie to you, the first few times you do this; it is likely that you will feel very exposed. This is actually a positive sign as it means you are finally in touch with your authentic self. Fortunately, that strange feeling that you are walking around naked will fade over time and all of those worries you currently feel will disappear too, becoming a part of your past alongside those ‘bad fashion moments’. Trust me, I speak from personal experience.
Wear historically empowering pieces
Armed with the knowledge that I have a multitude of strong women standing behind me when I wear certain clothing boosts my fashion confidence to no avail. Clothes do not just simply appear one day- they evolve over time and become a part of certain cultures and inspiring movements. A blouse is not just a blouse and a dress is not just a dress.
To elaborate; when I started to develop a keen interest into fashion and my personal style evolved, I began to research (in true Gemini behaviour) how certain pieces have found themselves at the forefront of the fashion field. Through my obsession with Coco Chanel, I discovered an array of great wardrobe staples that had a rich history of female empowerment. From trench coats to berets to oxford shoes, stories behind every day wardrobe essentials actually hold significant symbolism beneath their superficial superiority. When worn, you not only look the part but you also stand alongside centuries of brave women fighting for equality. This was the final key ingredient to building my fashion confidence. Although I have already shared my personal compilation of empowering pieces, most timeless clothing garners an unprecedented story that will alter your perception and boost your confidence. Therefore, I highly recommend that before you mindlessly put on that white button-up shirt in the morning- take some time to read up on its history. You may just find a new sense of dignified admiration for such a plain piece of clothing.
The Ultimate Sartorial Challenge
Now that you’ve read up on my top tips for achieving style confidence, you are ready to put that altered perception to the test.
Your quest, should you choose to accept it, is as follows:
❧ Go to your wardrobe, this instant. Open it and find that one garment your invested in, that’s been screaming at you to take it for a spin. If you haven’t plucked up the courage to purchase your desired style pieces, treat yourself to a special something that you’ve always wanted to buy.
❧ With little time to spend on second thoughts, wear it. Style it up and use the sartorial knowledge from all your favourite fashion icons.
❧ Finally, walk up to the mirror. Smile at yourself and admit that you’re looking as flawless as Beyonce at the Met Gala and giving Blair Waldorf a run for her money.
It’s time to stop wearing the insecurities others are trying to dress you in and start living for yourself.
* in collaboration with Chicwish. This dress was gifted to me by the company.
Please note that I will always share my honest, genuine thoughts no matter what. I wanted to collaborate with this brand to see how the quality of their products measured up to my high standards. Whilst the garments I have featured on this brand are good quality I found that their quality was overall, very unpredictable. As such I wouldn’t recommend the brand as you could very easily end up with a poorly made garment that will fall apart in a few wears. Very unsustainable for the planet!
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