Not everyone possesses an innate sense of style, but I do believe that every women has the ability to be stylish. Whilst it can take years to cultivate your own personal style; one of the most important aspects is confidence. But this is also the most challenging. Many women reach out to me to say that they would love to have more confidence to wear the clothes they really want to wear. Personally, I am still on my own style journey… I flit from frivolous, colourful clothing to modernist, minimalist outfits depending on my mood. But importantly, I enjoy clothes and I have the confidence to try different things and really own what I choose to wear. So I thought I’d share my top 10 tips to help boost your style confidence:
The most alluring thing a women can have is confidence, Beyoncé
- Stop waiting
Procrastinating about reaching a target weight or getting a dream job; going back to work or the gym… whatever you use as an excuse, is just not valid. Don’t put your style on hold. Invest the time now. You will feel so much better about yourself which will in turn help you reach whatever goal you are trying to achieve. You can make some relatively instant changes that can have a huge impact on how you look and how you feel about yourself. The saying goes: if you look good, you feel good and if you feel good, you do good. So push yourself to wear clothes that make you feel more confident NOW.
- Separate your body issues from your style
A great body is not a pre-requisite to great style. Style is not limited to a certain shape or size. Accept parts of your body you dislike and don’t let them hinder your style development. So whether it’s your arms, your thighs or your bum… don’t worry about it. You can work with your (perceived) flaws and still be stylish. There are so many tricks to help disguise and detract from problem areas and show off your best assets. For example, I have horrible vein-y, lumpy legs – I never expose them, so I accept that shorts or short skirts are not for me and I focus on the areas I feel more confident about. Play up your best features.
- Get rid of clothes that make you feel bad
Ditch clothes that are too tight, or don’t flatter you. Same with baggy clothes that you tend to hide behind. Lots of people hang on to clothes that fitted them in their younger, slimmer days in the hope that one day they’ll fit into them again. This does nothing but reinforce a sense of failure. If you must keep items, whether for sentimental or incentive reasons – pack them away in the loft. Take inspiration from Marie Kondo – keep a wardrobe full of clothes that ‘spark joy’.
- Practice self-style-appraisal
Take some time to think about which clothes make you happy and why. Whether it’s a particular colour, a dress or outfit that you really enjoy wearing – what is it about this piece or ensemble that you enjoy? Does it make you feel confident? And if so, why? Use this as a starting block to embrace and hone your style. Plus, compliment yourself – tell yourself “I look good in this!” Make a note of how you feel and aim to replicate that feeling with other outfits. Wear clothes that make you feel great more often – don’t save anything for best.
- Step out of your comfort zone
Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t going to be comfortable! Take baby steps. Try wearing a bolder item with clothes that are within your comfort zone. For example; if you really want to embrace a new colour or pattern, don’t step out in it head-to-toe – add it to your favourite jeans outfit first. See how it feels… and when you are more comfortable with it, add more bolder pieces. Chances are; if it’s the right colour or shape for you you’ll not only feel great because it will really boost your mood and enhance your skin tone… but you’ll get lots of compliments too!
- Get comfortable with compliments
One of the scariest aspects of taking your style out of your comfort zone is drawing attention to yourself – whether negative or positive. On the one hand, you worry that people will think ‘What is she wearing’ and on the other hand, you’ll get compliments that you are not used to. One great way to learn to accept compliments is to give compliments. Be generous. If you see someone wearing something that they look great it – tell them. People can be stingy with compliments, don’t be. When you compliment someone, it can positively impact their day. Plus getting into the habit of giving compliments will help you to better receive compliments yourself. And when you get a compliment – accept it. Don’t negate it or deflect it. Accept it. Own it.
- Take inspiration from others, but don’t copy
Your style has to be about you – your personality, your figure, your colouring and your lifestyle. So don’t copy others. Curate a Pinterest Board or save Instagram Posts of women whose style your admire and think about how you can incorporate and adapt elements of their style into your own style. Style authenticity is incredibly important for making you feel great about yourself. If you copy others, then not only will you stump your own style journey, you’ll also risk falling into the comparison trap.
- Start with good foundations
Good underwear is key. In this day and age we can get so much help in terms of smoothing lumps and bumps with underwear. Like the corsets of yesteryear, but so much more forgiving, control underwear can improve your silhouette immensely! I swear by cycling-short-style briefs to hold me in and create smooth lines under trousers/jumpsuits/dresses. The right fitting bra can totally improve your shape and your clothes will hang so much better. 80% of women wear the wrong size bra.
- Fake it ’til you make it
Act confident. The more you outwardly appear confident, you’ll eventually start to own it. Don’t worry about feeling overdressed, whether it be at the office or at the school gate. Everyone is judging us regardless. People make assumptions about our appearance. Get over it. Stop over-thinking it. The more you get used to stepping out of your comfort zone and using outfits as a form of self-expression, you’ll feel so good about yourself and your confidence will blossom. Eventually you’ll get to a place where you don’t give a toss about what others think…
- Hire a personal stylist
So if all of the above tips still aren’t working for you and you don’t feel that you are going anywhere or need more help to reach your style potential – hire help! Outsourcing aspects of our personal development is nothing to be ashamed of. A good personal style coach, such as myself, will not only assist you in honing your individual tastes, but will find flattering pieces to help take your confidence to the next level. Think of it as an investment. For details of my personal styling services, click here.
These tips are not rocket science and are easy to start implementing straight away. I hope they have inspired you to take some action if you are feeling less than confident about your style. Please do let me know.
This post is a summary of the talk I gave at the recent Club Forty Workshop, to receive notifications about the next workshop and all other Club Forty events – please make sure you are signed-up to my website.