I initially had a different post in mind for today. But then something exciting happened.
I was pleased with how I looked today.
This happens less frequently than I would like. I don’t think I’m alone here. More days than I care to admit, I feel too [insert negative adjective] to even try to look put together, and on the days I do try, I spend the whole day worried people will think I’m trying too hard. I put so much pressure on myself to present myself in a “just right” sort of way. Not too sloppy, but not too pristine. Not too young, but not too old. Not too made up, but not too bare. And always, ALWAYS, perfectly Dark Winter and perfectly styled to my body lines.
It’s utterly exhausting.
But today was different, for reasons I can’t really nail down.
I just had a baby, so my closet options are rather limited. I’m in that lovely stage where my maternity clothes are too big, but my pre-pregnancy clothes don’t fit yet. I’m also nursing, which means the boob access factor limits me even further. Most of the items I’m wearing now aren’t perfectly DW, nor are they always the most flattering cuts, because I’m in this awkward “making do” time.
For example, today I had on a pair of True Winter purple leggings, a long gray cardigan, and a black swingy tank top that has that perfect combination of being not too clingy while still allowing me to easily breastfeed. My mom bought me a few sets of beautiful opal earrings for Christmas, and I chose the Light Spring turquoise. I applied sunscreen, mascara, and brow gel.
And I felt friggin gorgeous.
Despite not really following my “rules” in terms of what colors or shapes look good on me, I was happy with myself. I know there are truths in those rules- cropped cardigans don’t overpower my frame the way long ones do, and the Light Spring palette can’t really stand up to my high-contrast, extremely Wintery coloring. But Wisconsin is essentially the ice planet Hoth right now, and a long, cozy cardigan was as close as I was getting to actually wearing a blanket in public today. Opals are beautiful and make me ridiculously happy, and my mom knew that when she gave them to me. I was going to be enjoying a meal with friends, and I didn’t feel like applying lipstick only to have to worry about it getting everywhere while eating, laughing, and kissing my kids.
The point is, today I chose the parts of the rules that made me happy, and chucked the ones that didn’t. Those rules are extremely helpful – they’ve helped me to curate a closet that’s much more cohesive than it used to be, and they’ve caused me to become much more intentional about my shopping and spending habits. But I’ve gotten to the point in my journey where I’m realizing the rules don’t have to keep me from wearing things I love.
I hear similar things from my clients all the time.
“I’m not wearing my colors today – but this dress is so comfortable!”
“I know gold isn’t my best, but this was my grandfather’s watch.”
“I love the way this nail polish catches the light, but it’s not Bright Spring.”
For the love of doughnuts, stop justifying things that make you happy! (I’m talking to myself here, too)
People can tell when you’re happy. You radiate positive energy when you feel good, and for a lot of us, feeling pleased with how we look helps us feel good. This is okay (in fact, I wrote a whole post about it).
Having a color analysis or a styling session does not mean I’m going to tell you to stop wearing things you love. It means we’re going to find out some information about you. What you decide to do with that information is entirely up to you. For me, it means I am more aware of the effects certain pieces and colors have on my face and body (exs. beige makes me look sickly, and maxi dresses take away every hint of my body having any sort of shape). Sometimes I care, like when I had to buy a maternity cocktail dress for the six weddings I attended last year. Sometimes I don’t care, like when I found the perfect squishy, kitten soft, 100% merino wool sweater that fell all the way to my knees – in Soft Autumn beige. Both of those items made me happy, but only one of them followed my rules.
So the next time you feel really happy in what you’re wearing, pay attention to why. Does the color make your eye color pop? Is the fabric crazy comfortable? Does it remind you of a fabulous time in your life? Is it perfectly tailored and feels like it was made for you? Keep it. Wear it. Stop apologizing to me and everyone else, and be true to yourself.
Does it sound like I’m projecting here? Because I totally am. I’m a serial overapologizer, just ask literally everyone who has spent any time with me. I’m working on it too, but today, I pulled it off. I was pleased with how I looked today, and I took a selfie to remember it.
I’ll be back next week with some more specifically color related content. Today’s feelings were just too good not to write about. It’s a new year, and it’s a great time to remember to kind to ourselves.