The Power of Wearing What You Want
Never say “I’m not _________ enough to wear that” again.
I am coming to find that there is incredible power in wearing what makes us happy even if it doesn’t fall in line with the status quo. More than ‘on-trend’ looks, I love when people capture their personality in the pieces that they wear. Personal style is such a meaningful representation of how we want to show up in the world. Don’t allow rules or what others think to stop you from wearing something you find interesting.
I shared more thoughts on this topic with Missy K. Black who is a contributing writer for Revue magazine here in Grand Rapids. She included them in the February issue in an article entitled “Love Yourself, Without Limits”…grateful to be able to share this message. Our full interview is below:
MB: We can discuss what it looks like in someone’s daily life to wear what they want, what they love and how to do that?
AW: One of the most transformative aspects of style is that it’s an open opportunity to share your personality, creativity, and perspective with the world. We often get lost in the narratives that others have written for us…or that we have written for ourselves about the clothes we wear. We feel like we need to dress or not dress in a certain way…that just isn’t the case. If you like something and it makes you feel beautiful, rock it.
We put ourselves into boxes and then get comfortable there. Telling ourselves that we are not tall enough, not thin enough, not glamorous enough etc. these are invisible boundaries we build for ourselves when we should be empowered to wear pieces that express who we are (and encouraging that in others as well).
MB: How does wearing what makes you happy help tell the story of who you are to the world?
AW: Wearing what makes you happy encourages confidence and self-expression. It gives you the permission to show up to the world in the form that you want. It’s also empowering…I remember I had this great kimono that I wore and someone made the comment to me, ‘Of course you would be wearing a kimono.’ That comment stung and stuck. That kimono hung in my closet for a long time until one day I stopped, put it on, and told myself I would not allow someone else to dictate what I wore. There was such power in that moment. I think most people have pieces in their closet they don’t wear because they’re afraid of what people will say about it. We have to stop doing that and instead allow who we are to shine.
MB: Flip the script on these phrases:
I’m not thin enough to wear this: My body is beautiful. My curves will look amazing in this______.
I’m not glam enough to wear this: I am fabulous and I am about to rock this ______.
I’m not cool enough (that’s another one I hear a lot): I have value to bring to the world. This _______ helps me tell the story of who I am.
MB: How can we combat the "I shouldn't wear this because..." feelings?
AW: Give yourself some grace: there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on women and men to dress a certain way…to fit into a mold that is unrealistically crafted. Giving yourself agency to choose what you want to wear (and loving yourself through it) is a great first step.
Allow yourself to forget categories: this used to be difficult for me. I would see pieces that I liked but think they weren’t ‘in-line’ with my personal style. Don’t make yourself fall into neat lines. Instead, allow your eye to choose what you like regardless of what categories they fall into. For me, this could mean jeans with a t-shirt one day and a tulle skirt and faux fur the next!
Dress for you: I think we often fall into dressing how we think we should vs. how we would like to. The reality is, if you dress in a way that expresses who you are, you will be much happier with how you are presenting yourself in all settings.
Be confident: confidence is vital when it comes to style. If you act uncomfortable or self-conscious in an outfit, it will show. You chose what your closet holds for a reason so lean in to that. Don’t show up to the world acting like you aren’t supposed to be there in what you’re wearing. Wear what you chose with confidence.
MB: Baby steps into having more confidence and control over how you see yourself and what you wear?
AW: Start small. Slowly incorporate pieces into your wardrobe that are a bit more edgy, androgynous, sassy-whatever space you want to venture into more. And then believe it. Dressing for you doesn’t mean that you have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe either. The clothing industry can be really wasteful, so one of my favorite activities is to go through people’s closets and help them identify new, fresh outfits from the pieces they already have. Grab some friends and make a night out of it! Bring pieces you can’t figure out how to wear and ask for ideas. Trade items. Create outfits and snap photos of them so you can have a pseudo-lookbook for the mornings where nothing seems to be coming together.
MB: Is there a local boutique that you love to shop at or work with that’s really empowering? You know sometimes you walk into a shop and some of your insecurities fall away or you get a little confidence boost.
AW: There are so many great local boutiques that encourage individuals of all shapes, sizes, and styles to walk out with clothing that makes them feel beautiful. The owners have curated well and cultivated relationships with their clientele that empower them to dress with conviction. To name a few: Gina’s Boutique, Found Cottage, Marie La Mode, Frances Jaye, Spring Sweet.
You can catch the feature here. Thanks to Missy and the team at Revue for including me in this month’s issue.