We receive a lot of mixed messages when it comes to the way we look.
On the one hand, we feel as though we’re supposed to look a certain way. It’s no secret that specific body types are favored by the beauty and fashion world, leaving those of us who don’t fit that description feeling… less than attractive (to put it nicely). People, especially women, who put less effort into their appearance are told they should “try harder,” with really little reason beyond the fact that others will like their appearance more. That is complete and utter nonsense.
We are also told, sometimes from the very same sources, that physical appearance doesn’t matter. People will say that we shouldn’t care about what we put on our bodies, because “it’s what’s inside that counts.” People, especially women, who put more effort into their appearance are told they “don’t need that stuff,” as if the opinion of anyone other than the person actually wearing it matters. That is also complete and utter nonsense.
Working in an image-based field makes this constant back-and-forth difficult. As an analyst, I am literally picking apart other people’s appearances, so I think about it quite a bit.
And after all that thinking, I’ve come to a conclusion:
It’s okay to care.
It’s also okay to not care.
Caring about your appearance just. does. not. matter. It has zero bearing on who you are as a person. Liking makeup or clothing is no different than liking cars or clarinet. It’s a facet of who you are, not the whole of it. The most important thing is that whether or not you choose to care, YOU DO IT FOR YOURSELF.
I wholeheartedly believe that nobody gets to tell you what you can or can’t wear. Even me, and people pay me money to tell them what to wear. My goal is to help you find the most authentic version of you, but at the end of the day, you are the only one who gets to decide what that means.
For some, that means finding the perfect lip shade or tie color. I fall strongly into this category (I’ll give you a moment to recover from the extreme shock you are obviously now feeling). I love the way I feel when I’m wearing something that makes me happy. I love the way my entire face is energized and alive when I’m wearing my favorite lipstick. And I love watching others experience that same joy when they find the colors that best suit them. The best part of what I do is helping people love themselves and their appearance. Caring does not make you vain. It does not make you stupid, shallow, or anything else. It’s just you.
Unless it’s not you. Some people care less than others, and a good many of my clients fall into this category. Maybe you just want to know your undertone to make buying makeup easier. Maybe you’d like to learn your best colors to make a capsule wardrobe so you can stop buying clothes and spend your time (and money) elsewhere. Maybe you just want to pamper yourself and see what all the fuss is about. The point is, your level of caring can be different from someone else’s. It does not make you better or worse than them. It makes you unique, and that is beautiful.
You might also not care about the way you look at all. That’s completely cool too. We can talk about cats, or Doctor Who, or camping. You don’t need to “try” to be anything other than exactly who you are. Just know that I might still ask to drape you, like my high-contrast True Summer brother who doesn’t give a hill of beans about color analysis.
Your level of caring makes no difference to me, nor should it to anyone else. However you choose to present yourself, the most important thing is that you remain true to who you are.
I understand how hard it is to shut out the messages we are constantly bombarded with. I lived in a really dark place of self-hatred for a long time, and it took a lot of therapy (and medication) to come out of it. Color and body line analysis will NOT solve any deep-rooted body image issues, and if this is something you are struggling with, I urge you to seek help.