Becoming braver in your style choices can have a positive effect on taking bolder steps in all areas of your life. I remember when many years ago I bought a pair of pink studded slingbacks on a trip to Milan, against my at-the-time husband's wishes. That bold style choice started a chain of events what led to me walking away from the marriage and down my own path, honouring who I am and finally learning to care less about what other people think.
I wanted to explore how personal style can positively affect you sense of self-worth and asked four fashion professionals about their views.
"Personal style is about who you are. We express it in many ways and forms; through what we wear, where and how we live, who we socialise with, how we talk and much more. Style is in us, it’s our DNA. Unfortunately, we’re living in an age where we get influenced or try to influence others. There is a danger that some of us can get sucked into the vicious circle of 'thinking who we are' rather than 'being who we are'." says Karolina Barnes, editor in chief of Estila magazine.
Why is personal style linked with self worth?
"Personal style states how you feel and how you see and define yourself. It takes confidence to select and express your personal preferences, standing out from the crowd, and wearing what you like, instead of wearing what you “should” in order to fit in. It is says a lot about you, what you wear and how you wear it! Having your individual style means, I love who I am, I choose what to wear depending on how I want to feel. It says, I’m worth looking beautiful and shine my own light , not being subdued! It says, I honour and respect myself, I love to look beautiful and I own who I am." concludes Victoria Von Stein, DrivenWoman member and founder of Victoria von Stein fine jewellery.
"Some people can be hesitant to bring their whole selves to the table. If they question their self-worth, they may be less forthcoming in how they present themselves and instead choose to blend in. It’s a tricky topic though as this can often go the other way – sometimes the most outwardly confident, draped in bold colours and prints and the most risqué trends, have the lowest perceived self-worth. Underneath it all, it’s how you feel you should present yourself to the world, and your self worth plays a large role in defining that" says Stephanie Fleming from London Design Collective.
Why are women shying away from fully embracing their personal style?
"There are a couple of reasons. The first is that there is a tendency to think that how you dress is a frivolous concern and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. The other is that many women, whether consciously or unconsciously, want to hide away and not show up" says Sally Smy founder of Queen Bee Styling.
Karolina says: "If you don’t know who you are, your self-esteem is probably going to suffer too. Without understanding your identity, it’s very hard to convince others about your capabilities and skills. You’ll probably find yourself stagnating and not making much progress. Sometimes you start drifting through life rather than living it. That’s why it’s so important to keep challenging yourself, to keep trying new things and keep growing."
What can you do to become braver?
"Give your current style and wardrobe an honest appraisal. Ask yourself how it makes you feel and if you really love every item in there. Declutter your wardrobe and look at the styles you have. If you are stuck in a rut of buying and wearing the same old thing then vow to buy something different next time you shop" says Sally.
And Karolina adds: "Becoming braver is a mindset shift. Sometimes we need that little push from the universe. In my case it was a life-changing event. I realised that I can no longer hide from myself. I have to stop drifting and start taking control. I wanted to find out my full potential. It was a conscious decision. In terms of my early steps, the best thing I did was that I started introducing more colour and pattern in my life. It all started with redecorating our home. Bold and graphic feature walls needed to be supported with strong colours so I stepped out of my comfort zone and went for it. The worse thing that could have happened is that I would have to repaint the walls and get rid of the wallpaper. Gradually I noticed that I was also injecting more of those colours and patterns into my wardrobe. Now I’m comfortable wearing red jacket with pink shirt and yellow jeans! Since discovering colours my personality just came through and now I can speak to people from all backgrounds and on many levels with confidence."
How does personal style build your self worth?
"Wearing clothes we love and feel fabulous in has a positive effect on our mood and behaviour. This will directly boost your confidence and you will approach things in a positive frame of mind. Being bold, showing and having belief in ourselves will build out self worth - it creates a positive cycle" Sally thinks.
"Just have a few seconds of blind faith and go for it! It might just work out and you realise you are far more capable than you thought" adds Stephanie.
Also Karolina encourages for bolder steps. "Once you start pushing yourself and challenging yourself, you’ll see that you grow in confidence. You become comfortable with stepping outside of your comfort zone. You start to act faster on your goals and therefore are able to discover your true potential."
"One day you‘ll look into the mirror and say ‘hey beautiful‘ because you have highlighted your existing beautiful features and what you stand for" concludes Victoria.
Talking to these beautiful ladies definitely gets me inspired! It's time to inject a little bit of boldness and dare to try out new things. Who knows where those small little steps will lead...