I was recently asked to speak to a group of local women about style, fashion, and all things good and holy. And while I love talking about personal style and flattering silhouettes and time-tested fabrics, I just couldn’t accept the gig. Because blanket fashion advice to a crowd of women who have different needs, budgets, sizes, shapes, wants, and desires? It’s futile. Instead, here’s the advice I sent:
Go to your favorite store — the one that doesn’t make you feel guilty because it’s beyond your budget, or old because it’s beyond your demographic. Grab a handful of pieces that you love — ones that speak to you. The textured sweater that reminds you of your honeymoon in Aspen. The pencil skirt whose color so magically resembles your daughter’s eyes. The shoes that make a clickety-clack sound that celebrates power or success or passion and everything you are or aspire to be.
Head to the dressing room with a few different sizes of your favorite pieces and try them on, one by one. Pay no attention to the sales girl offering you additional outfits or recommending trendy counterparts. Instead, watch yourself in the mirror. Look closely and intently at the woman staring back at you. Say hello. Be kind. Pay attention.
Watch your smile as you zip up that patterned dress. Your eyes as you adjust the collar. Your posture as you button those pants.
Ignore the fit or the fabric or the form. Because the real predictor of whether or not you look amazing in your clothes has nothing to do with silhouette and everything to do with your mind.
Do your eyes light up in the jeweled mini skirt? Buy it. Does your smile widen in that ill-flattering blouse? Grab it. Do you feel beautiful and stunning and confident and compassionate and comfortable and yourself in that loud, obnoxious blazer? WEAR IT.
Be your own full-length mirror. Because at the end of the day, that’s the one you’ll learn to love.