One of the current buzzwords is authenticity. Being authentic in the way we act, we communicate and do business. Hurrah! – I’m all for it! I want to do business with people that I believe are genuine, have similar core values and the same kind of integrity that I hold dear.
Equally I want my clients to feel that they are getting the real me. For me being authentic is a whole lot easier than masquerading as a version of me! Afterall it’s so liberating to just be oneself?
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than you – Dr Seuss
OMG don’t you just love Dr Seuss?
As a child every Saturday we’d visit the local library as a family. On arrival I’d rush to the children’s section, scouring the shelves for Dr Seuss books. It didn’t matter that I’d borrowed every one of them multiple times!
Now back to being authentic. Authenticity is something that we need to feel both internally and externally. So naturally this extends to the way we dress.
If we don’t feel authentic and true to ourselves with our style, we’re likely to feel uncomfortable. If we’re not comfortable with the way we dress and appear to the outside world this will show up and we will not be confident. This impacts our life in many ways as I explained in my post last week Clothing Choices: How To Have A Great Day.
So how can we ensure that we are being authentic when it comes to our wardrobe?
Stop People Pleasing
Hands up if you remember as teenager being told: ‘You’re not going out dressed like that!’ What was your reaction?
Having spent hours getting ready you were probably pleased with the outcome. So how did you react to that onslaught? No doubt you were angry or upset? You may have stormed upstairs to change or just rushed out slamming the door behind you. Neither option being a positive outcome! Our early wardrobe influencers often have a lot to answer for!
My father hated green. Result was that neither my mother nor I owned a single green garment between us. Before I had my colours done and appreciated which shades of green really suit me, I’d acquired every type of green in my wardrobe after my father died! I’m still in a bit of a rebellious phase wearing the odd splash of lime green, which is not in my palette!
But seriously it’s about dressing for you and not for others. If you are being authentic in your style you will feel more confident.
Accept Your Ugly Bits
Being authentic is about accepting yourself for who you are. It’s about accepting yourself and loving the good bits about your body.
Stop being so critical and really look at your body. Embrace the positives about your body. Even if seems insignificant use it as a starting point.
Take for example the colour of your eyes. You can really highlight this by wearing colours that make your eyes stand out.
Recently when I was working with a client I asked her to tell me which parts of her body she loved. She told me that she really embraced her curves, how she felt sexy and feminine. She told me how she hated her thighs and wished her legs were thinner. Then she stopped and started to laugh.
An ‘aha moment’ as she realised that if her legs were skinny she’d look out of proportion.
Live Your Truth
As your life changes you may feel that to be authentic your wardrobe needs a makeover.
If you are going through a major life change, it can be a catalyst for seeking help with your style. I refer to this as the Chrysalis stage, as the butterfly starts to emerge and spread its beautiful wings. You want them to shine out and be authentic to you.
Working with one client recently, she proudly showed me her recent purchase, a biker jacket. This was a statement piece that she wanted to embrace a new phase in her life. But to be authentic she wanted to embrace her soft feminine style.
We worked with the jacket pairing it with various accessories and in addition to the jeans/boots and soft blouse look, we created outfits with jersey dresses to create a gentle rock chic style.
Listen To Your Body
Sometimes being authentic is simply about listening to the messages your body is giving you.
There are some days when I want to feel nurtured. All I want are soft natural fibres close to my skin. I want to be in touch with nature and feel its healing powers. I find it difficult to do this if I’m wearing man made fabrics.
Equally to be authentic to the way I’m feeling I want bright bold colours and fabrics that cling to my body in the right places. I want to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes I’m drawn to certain colours and other days where the same colour won’t look the same.
Your subconscious is often more in tune with your wardrobe than you give it credit for! Don’t fight it and let it guide you.
Don’t Always Speak The Truth
You are asked by a friend what you think about her new dress. Believing it to be awful how do you handle it?
Do you feel it is better to just state your opinion and would you expect that from your friends in return?
Many of us do feel it’s important to be honest with our friends but equally we don’t want to upset them.
But remember that often when we are asking for someone’s opinion it’s because we don’t trust our own judgment. We feel that something’s not right or we want our decision to be ratified.
So why not ask your friend what she likes about the dress. Ask her how does it make her feel? You may draw out of her what she’s uncertain about so that she then makes a decision on the dress.
BTW from a professional point of view I would then expand on what worked with the dress and what doesn’t work. As I see my role as a style coach and educator.
I want to leave you with one more thought about being authentic