What Not to Wear
Lately I've been thinking about style and why it matters.
One of my favorite shows, which sadly no longer airs, is What Not to Wear.
If you're unfamiliar, Stacy and Clinton would approach a poorly dressed person who had been nominated by family and friends to be on the show and give them a complete makeover and offer them tips for how to best present themselves. Of course it's all done in an entertaining way and fits into an hour of TV. You may think this is shallow, stupid, and unimportant, but I TOTALLY disagree.
You see, most often the people picked out were people who didn't think they were good enough to look nice. People who saw no value in themselves. People who forgot to take care of themselves. People who had no confidence and a host of insecurities. The show took on men as well as women, but most often I saw women so insecure that they sought for attention by dressing like tacky strippers or mothers who got so lost taking care of others they forgot about themselves.
At the beginning of each show, contributors were often angry, hurt, and/or defiant. But because Stacy and Clinton do this to help rather than to embarrass, by the end, they were always happier, including the people who would, in the beginning, say things like "Well, I like how I dress, and if you don't I don't care." After they were forced to make a change, they realized they liked it. They felt stronger, empowered, and beautiful, and it changed them from the outside in, therefore changing and influencing the people around them for the better as well.
Confidence brings change
Yes, that's right. An outward physical change can bring joyful inner change. When you're actually happy with your look, you can suddenly take on the world. Your new-found confidence can change and influence not only you but the people around you. Especially those moms out there. Man, the influence you have on your children is unrivaled. Show them what it's like to have a confident, beautiful, sassy, and successful woman in their life. They NEED that.
Work with whatcha got
This show was not focused on changing your personality or your weight. Big bust? Big tummy? Big thighs? No curves? It's all good. Just look for clothes that fit and flatter your figure. Everyone can look good. Tons of people buy clothes that are way too large (because they can't stand people actually seeing them) or way too small (because they can't accept that they are a bigger size) or way too young (because they are desperately clinging to their youth) or way too weird (because they're afraid to come out from behind their chosen identity, e.g. "the crazy turtle lady").
So many people on the show said they didn't want to buy clothes until they lost weight. You are good enough to look good even if you're not at the weight you want to be! Style is not about changing your body; it's about making what you have look its best for a happier and better you.
Making an effort makes you attractive
But it's not just about clothes. Style includes hair and makeup too.
People are attracted to confidence and beauty. And that doesn't mean you have to look perfect, but someone who puts effort into their appearance is attractive. Take a look at this before and after of makeup/hair.
Obviously, this is one pretty lady before and after, but which of the two would you rather see every day? If you ran into the woman on the left, what are some quick assumptions you might make about her? What about the woman on the right? Guys, which girl would you rather date?
And now for a guy.
Which of the two would you rather see every day? If you ran into the man on the left, what are some quick assumptions you might make about him? What about the man on the right? Ladies, which guy would you rather date?
Just think about that for a moment, please. I'll give you white space for it.
Someone who knows how to enhance their own appearance and does is attractive. Guys and girls alike.
To the dudes
It is so refreshing when I see a guy putting effort into his appearance. Guys, you always want the attractive girl, right? But what are you doing to be more physically attractive yourself? I hope you realize that most girls spend a lot of time to look nice. Hair alone is pretty much the bane of our existence, but we do it, and it looks pretty amazing most of the time because we take the time. You appreciate that, don't you? Surprise! We appreciate it too. So I recommend taking the 2 minutes it takes to do your hair. It's worth it. (Bonus: if you're in a relationship, taking the time to look nice shows that you honor and respect your partner and want to look good for him/her.)
Don't know where to start when it comes to clothes or even hair? You have lots of online resources, especially Pinterest. Experiment with different looks. Be patient and take time in the store to buy things that work for you—not just something that simply covers you. I know how you fellas are. You think shopping is the worst! But please, take the time. It's worth it. (Bonus tip: A well-tailored and modern suit is HECKA attractive.)
And I'm sure if you're really lost, you have a stylish friend or two who would be absolutely delighted to help.
Your dress tells people how to treat you
When I was in high school my mom told me that when she went into the school office, she was treated differently depending on what she was wearing. Frumpy clothes = she wasn't treated well. A nice dress = she was acknowledged promptly and with respect. People make subconscious assumptions all the time, so people treat you differently depending on what you wear. And I know that we all like to think this isn't the case and that it shouldn't be the case, but the fact remains that it is. If you want to be treated well, dress well.
A great article is like a beautiful person
Since I'm an editor, I'm totally making this connection. It's happening.
I liken personal style to grammatical style. You can write a fantastic article with an interesting perspective and great points linked together perfectly, but if you have grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, your article loses its power and its art for something that could have been fixed fairly easily with a little extra time and attention to detail. (It makes me so sad!) It's the same with style. You can be a gorgeous, wonderful, magnificent person on the inside, but if you dress like a box, it will take a lot of time and effort for someone to see that. Make yourself look good and you'll make yourself and other people realize that you're worth it!
Want to enhance your style? Find great tips from What Not to Wear here! There are also hilarious clips over there.
Style is about looking your best so you can take on the world confidently. And so, it matters!!! Go forth and style yourselves!