Hi there you guys,
So, I’ve made a commitment to myself. More ‘mindful’ blog posts each month that share a slightly more in-depth look at topics related to styling and fashion and of course my learning in that world! Hopefully I will be able to stick to it and I would love your feedback on any content I am creating so you can keep me on the straight and narrow! Is the direction I am going helpful for you, giving you something deeper to think about? Let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or post here!
Why Confidence is Just ALL their is in styling
It’s fair to say 10 years into my business this year, I have met (and styled) a fair few women. I’ve also had the pleasure of sharing the world of personal styling with women who want to explore the idea of becoming a personal stylist. There is one thing more than anything else I have taken from all of these interactions and work. Without confidence in yourself, I mean a deep down belief that you are enough and you like what you see in the mirror, it is very hard to achieve success in any other area of your style (or life for that matter). The heart and soul, that’s needed to connect with the things you love will be missing.
I have seen this first hand. The ladies whose style I admire the most and the ‘happiest’ women when it comes to their style are the ones that simply feel the most confident in themselves. They are not trying to be a lot skinnier or taller or to emulate someone else. They are just themselves and they therefore have given themselves the permission and the time to really connect with themselves – the things they like, the colours they know give them a glow, the routines they stick to for their wardrobes when the seasons are changing, the shops they keep an eye on. It sounds simple really but the thing is, it is a journey that we all go through everyday. This feeling doesn’t just decide to appear and decide to stay. We have to work at it, work on us, everyday.
Before I share some of my insights into how I have seen women (and how I myself) and gotten closer to their place of confidence, I also want to share something I always say to my personal styling students. Even though I have been running Stylefish for 10 years and I am now lucky enough that I get to share my knowledge and all that core content with my students, I don’t ever feel like I AM successful because I am one of the best personal stylists out there. I truly believe I am here, consistently growing, changing and evolving my business simply because I have always felt content with myself. I guess I have (with work) believed I am good enough to help others. Don’t get me wrong, I have worked really hard to maintain that belief but with experience my confidence grew and so one belief ultimately gives others a leg up.
So, what are my small insights into what I have done and continue to try do mindfully that I believe have had the biggest impact on my style, my confidence and my business?
Work hard on my cheering squad
You probably don’t really talk about your own awesomeness on a regular basis (or at all?). Many of us have learned to stifle our confidence, to make ourselves smaller and quieter. As a result, even when we do want to shine bright, we feel uncomfortable. We feel uncomfortable receiving and putting ourselves out in the world. We stop shining bright out of fear of what others might think. This is hard and oh so normal, trust me. I had it too when I started out. My biggest work has been in really looking at the circle of people who support me. It can be hard to admit the people who love you the most are the ones that want you to stay the same. Remember, we all need a troop! Sometimes I think this is why I love keeping my students and clients in the Stylefish loop and continue to try to bring us together! A troop of women who share your beliefs and help you to slowly see that it’s ok to be you and to be proud of what you are trying to do everyday is just everything. It’s absolutely everything.
Curate your world
We are living our lives in the middle of a huge amount of information and instagram, even though it’s amazing for discovering new brands and connecting with people, it can become all consuming and also it is hard not to compare yourself to others. I too went through this. I have recently culled a lot of pages I was following for this reason. Now, I try to follow only pages and people that inspire me and I feel connect with who I am – fashion brands I like, influencers who are more real, foodie pages (my fav – I get all my meal inspiration from instagram!). So, it’s not all about fashion. It’s about curating the things that inspire you.
Exercise & other stuff
I was recently chatting to my students about this topic. You know those evenings when you decide to trying on everything in your wardrobe?! You know the sessions I mean! Only, it’s the day that you literally feel crap in everything you own. Then you go back a week later and for some reason, things aren’t so bad. That dress you hated last week suddenly feels good with that white tee under it. This my friends is call mindset. For me, feeling good about my wardrobe, I mean consistently, involves me feeling that I am looking after my body and mind. For me this includes a few different things each week:
Running. I try to run 3 to 4 times a week. It could be anything from 3km to 10km depending but EVERYTIME I run, I feel my mind shifts into a much more positive place and my style follows this shift.
I listen to podcasts or a book on audible. Usually when I’m running but lately I also listen when walking Polo (my doggie!), I usually turn off the tv if I’m making lunch or dinner and listen to something uplifting. I am a big fan of Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations but I also make a note when i hear people recommending something I will download it there and then so I don’t forget. I have been enjoying podcasts like Georgie Crawford’s ‘The Good Glow’ and recently I am enjoying lots of beauty podcasts, like The Emma Guns Show and The Glow up from Stellar Magazine. I also love business podcasts like Amy Porterfield’s ‘Online Marketing Made Easy’. Choose to fill your day with snippets of what makes you feel uplifted and whole!
Have some style rituals that work for you
Little things like instead of waiting to do a big ‘cull’, I prefer to keep my wardrobe moving! If I buy something new, I try to see what can go. Also, if I haven’t been wearing certain skirts or dresses or tops, I move my clothes around. I have two layers to my wardrobe so the back (hidden) layer I put Winter clothes now for example and to the front I will have what I am currently wearing for Spring but in this I also move those items I have not been giving an outing too closer to the eye line and I make a conscious effort to get wear from it, push myself to try it out with different things I own and basically feel I am ‘shopping my wardrobe’ rather than buying new. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me when I create an unexpected look with an item I haven’t worn in ages and also in just getting lots of wear from the things I own.
It’s not for everyone, this meditation lark but it’s something I am slowly and in my own way getting into. I read a book called ‘Mindfulness for Beginners’ given to me by my step daughter and I really enjoyed it. I have been trying to meditate and don’t get me wrong, it’s hard. Really hard (at the moment I only trying to do it once a week). But I kind of know that’s the point! Hard to sit still, impossible to turn off my busy mind but when I do sit for a 10 minute meditation (I like to do it in the morning), I never fail to have a calmer mind on that day. So although I am far from an expert, I recognise there is something in it and I am willing to explore it further and put the time into it for myself It’s also true that in our culture we prize external markers of success: the job title, the designer wardrobe, the fairy-tale wedding, whatever it may be. I like to remind myself that life can and should be simple. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve only realised all of this having put myself on the treadmill for many work years!
I also always love to have a self help book on the go. I might only read a chapter a week but I enjoy the reflection. My current book of choice is Louise Hay’s ‘You Can Heal your Life’.
Get real about your own quirks
Own your quirks and your passions! Really like the fact that you love to wear black because it’s the inner goth in you. Aslong as your reasons for these things are reasons that make you feel good, isn’t that the point? I also tell my personal styling students to be true to what they want to offer. What is the styling service they connect most with and how are they making this experience unique for their client? Creating inspiring colour boards, incorporating online shopping or whatever makes you excited to share your passion. Your client will connect with what YOU have to offer and how you offer it.
When I started Stylefish I just knew two things, my passion was for teaching and my teaching style and my personality was very much to help people learn by showing my own realness and vulnerability. I have built a business about being true to those two things.
Make time for the things you love
For me, this is two things. Getting a doggie, who has changed my life. He helps me to be more mindful everyday. What other species in the world lives as in the moment as a puppy? None! We could all learn a thing or two from our doggies. Secondly for me, it’s cooking (hard to pick between this and running). Both relax me and make me feel happier in my own skin. Maybe you love to take photographs or dance or yoga? It’s so important to consciously set aside some time to be able to get into the things you love. This is where you will find the true you and recalibrate how you feel. It’s also where hidden passions have room to grow inside you!
Lastly, remember that when you are kind to yourself you give others permission to do the same and to also be themselves. The more you embrace your real personality, including the quirks and silliness and all the elements of who you are, the more confident you become. And as you let your truth shine, you’ll feel more connected to others. They’ll drop their pretenses and get real with you. Surely, that’s the greatest foundation with which to start a fresh journey towards a style you love?