“It’s not an overstatement to say that style teaches me over and over how to live in my skin. It helps me find courage and confidence and control when I feel I have none. While I was drawn to the world of fashion as a little girl because of its sparkle, I love the world of style now because I understand its transformative power.” -Stacy London
Transformation…when I turned the big 5-0, transformation is exactly what I wanted. I did not want to feel defeated and frumpy any longer. There was a day I starred at my reflection for a very long time while sitting in my dressing area…who did I want to be? How did I want people to see me? What did I want to say with my clothing? I reached for a notebook and scribbled these words: strength, style, educated, joy, sophistication, elegance, in-charge, confident, chic, approachable, and creative. These were all of the messages which became goals for me to reach with my wardrobe.
As I transformed my style each day…tweaking, experimenting, learning… I gradually became stronger and more confident inside. People treated me differently…with more respect was most noticeable to me. Let’s just say…my mojo returned. The confidence grew and began to seep into other areas of my life.
I have studied many stylists’ versions of how to dress with strength or assertiveness. In a nutshell, here is what I gleaned from those conversations and what I practice today:
- Wear Garments Which Give You Confidence. If you feel confident predominately in pants, then go for it. If your confidence comes packaged in the color pink, then let it shine. Confident dressing grows as your own personal strength and confidence grows from the inside out. It is important to understand the messages you want to communicate with fashion choices and to know yourself…the styles which look best on your body shape, the colors you look best in. Understand that midlife and beyond is the time to invest in some classic pieces and make sure you own quality basic garments. Most strong women do not follow trends. They know what works best for them despite what fashion headlines say. Sometimes a trend is perfect for you and sometimes it is not. This is when taking time in a dressing room becomes very important.
- Wear Garments with Great Tailoring and Fit. A woman of strength is not hiding behind oversized garments. Jackets fit the shoulders. Dresses hug the curves. She knows the importance of a feminine fit and tailoring no matter her size. She doesn’t hide at all, but enters a room with head held high, great posture, and a smile.
- Wear Menswear Inspired Garments. A well fit structured jacket or suiting is a must to communicate strength when working or attending meetings… or many events. The addition of jackets with your jeans will take a casual look to a whole new level of strength. Yet, to be sure you are approachable, add color with blouses selected in softer fabrics.
- Wear artistic, statement accessories to add in a touch of creativity. Controlled creativity is where we can really develop personal style. This is the area, though, where I have made the most changes. As a woman now in my 60s, I do not want to be known as funny or cute. So, I have gone predominately neutral with controlled, quality accessories which express creativity and give me joy. I also find this keeps me youthful. If someone happens to tell me I am cute, I honestly go home and re-evaluate the outfit I wore that day. I am still in career-building mode, so I want to keep those messages of strength and professionalism out there.
I started today with a quote from stylist Stacy London. She also writes, “Experience is power. And power is alluring. Style is a source of strength when you are weak.” I tell my children often that confidence is attractive…because, it is.
What garments give you confidence when you wear them? Please add to the list!
Thanks for joining us in The Joy Boutique….have a gorgeous November week, all! See you next week with some ideas for holiday parties!