Nurturing Your Personal Style

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When people find out that I’m a stylist, they usually inquire about my business and what it entails, and proceed to let me in a bit on their wardrobe dilemma, "I need your styling advice…you should see my closet…it needs updates!" Then these words, "But I have to lose the weight first." Depending on my relationship with the person, I tend to inquire a bit more by asking what they mean by that, but my general response usually goes something like: “When you're ready, let me know, I'll be here." I happily share my business card and we move on to discuss other topics. It would be an understatement to say that I hear it from a few people, when in fact this scenario plays out with the majority of women I encounter in my daily life. And I can relate. Before motherhood, I was an exercise fanatic; I enjoyed working out and challenging my body both mentally and physically. It was and had always been a part of my lifestyle as I grew up with parents who themselves led very active lives. However, after giving birth to my son, getting back to some sort of exercise routine became a challenge, extra pounds began to accumulate and linger and the last thing I wanted to do that first year was to try on and buy new clothes. Plus I wasn’t ready to let go of designer dresses that had been investments and were still in very good condition.

But one problem with holding on to clothes that aren’t serving a purpose is the fact that they hang in our closets for months, taking up both physical and mental space. Something else I had failed to recognize was the fact that I was focusing on the wrong goal. Being healthy, fit, and feeling confident, whether I had lost the weight in my middle area or not, should have mattered the most. To aim for my body to be exactly the same that it was in my 20s was simply unrealistic.

When it comes to our style and the way we represent ourselves professionally, I have learned that this same unrealistic goal affects us even more because we deny ourselves the possibility of feeling our best in the present and live our best lives now, with clothes that actually fit and are a much improved reflection of ourselves.

Style helps distinguish you ... It's a great potential opportunity that people tend to leave by the wayside.

-Michelle Obama

Instead we wait for things to be perfectly aligned because somehow we are convinced that we’ll be happy and deserving then. However, the only self-serving element of this is that it helps up cope with and rationalize the fear that presents itself when real action needs to be taken. Instead we suppress the want as currently undeserving or unworthy of because we haven’t reached the number on that scale or just plain number (certain amount of time, certain amount of money). When we do that to ourselves, we delay experiences that could bring joy or perhaps get us one step closer to achieving bigger goals.

It’s a good thing to strive to be healthy and fit, and perhaps shed unwanted pounds along the way. We know that regular exercise boosts confidence; can lead to a longer and healthier life and helps fight against diseases and illnesses. While we are adapting/re-adjusting to new habits, it’s also fine to be just as intentional about your personal style as you are with your health and wellness.

Personal style and professional image are all essential components of your brand, in addition to your talent and skills. Your personal brand is not something to aspire to; it’s happening right now as you’re reading this. So why postpone being and feeling confident in the present?

[Tweet "Why not choose to be comfortable in your skin + nurture your authentic style and brand today?"]

Next time, rather than opening your closet in the morning and remorsefully picking an outfit you kind of like, or that pair of trousers that look okay except for that funny thing it does when you're walking, how about making a commitment to a style you will actually enjoy and feel comfortable in. Forget about holding on to what you used to be! Instead, learn to style your new size and to love everything about you now and see how your body likes it.

One first (brave) step would be to tackle the culprit head on, that is the clothes of your past, and ask yourself these questions:

  • When was the last time you wore it?
  • Did you keep it for sentimental value?
  • Are you comfortable when you wear it?
  • Will you miss it when it’s gone?
  • Does it reflect where you are now and where you want to go?

Remember that what we wear does tell a bit of our story. What do you want yours to say?