“My biggest challenge at the moment when it comes to my style is finding clothing and colors that I’m comfortable in and my lack of confidence in trying new styles.”
This was some feedback I received from a reader when asked about her style struggles, and I know that she is not alone!
What’s Your Style Comfort Zone?
When it comes to personal style, we all have our own individual comfort zone. Some people feel at home in floral maxi dresses with booties while others feel dressed up in anything other than jeans and a t-shirt.
The problem is that your comfort zones can prevent you from expressing your personal style. There may be times when you would really like to try wearing statement heels, a patterned blouse or a bright lipstick colour but you are too self-conscious to give it a go.
When you think “I’d love to be able to pull off that look, but I know I would just look ridiculous”. This feeling of being conspicuous is when your comfort zone is getting in the way between you and great style.
Sometimes when you are trying new things you will get a few comments. They are usually positive, where people are being supportive when you are trying something different. Are you worried that if you change your style or dress more stylishly you will get ‘the look’ or comments from friends family and co-workers? Check out my blog post on getting compliments…
If a big jump from t-shirt and jeans one day to a stylish dress the next day makes you feel conspicuous, I would recommend you take very small baby steps out of the t-shirt and jeans.
Check out Instagram or Pinterest (check out this post with tips on how to use Pinterest to get outfit inspiration) and have a look for the outfit you’ve been wearing regularly and then choose an element to just tweak it a little. Adding an accessory such as a scarf or statement necklace or to my t-shirt and jeans outfit is a relatively small change. You can also add a jacket as one extra piece to invoke the power of the third piece to actually make your outfit a little bit more interesting. If you tend to wear sneakers, consider changing into a boot or ballet flat.
Step-By-Step is the Way Out of Your Style Comfort Zone
Think of your comfort zone as a muscle. You can train yourself to become more confident when it comes to style by going step-by-step, making small subtle differences to your style. This is why I created my Evolve Your Style 31 day style challenge because it’s just one little thing every day. It’s not about making broad, sweeping changes but small, incremental changes over the course of a month. You will find that you have tried out a lot of different things. You’ll really learn what works for you.
I’ve done this challenge myself just to see what the course what it was like. I put things in there that made me feel uncomfortable. What’ I’ve learned is that one person’s uncomfortable is somebody else is comfortable. Many people wear skirts all the time. For one person that will be so far out of their comfort zone and they may feel like a fraud. I have a friend who wears hats every single day and she’s known for her hats. She probably feels naked without a hat. For her, wearing a hat feel natural but for someone else it may feel like they are wearing a neon light on their head.
My Evolve Your Style challenge leads you by the hand and little by little you try something different – expanding your comfort zone and growing your confidence. After a month of tiny style experiments using items already in your wardrobe, you will have begun to understand what you enjoyed wearing, where you’ve received positive compliments and give you a much better understanding of your personal style. Just take it one day at a time… The more you experiment, the easier it will be to incorporate changes into your outfits, moving from discomfort to refreshing.
Self-talk and Style Confidence
As the old saying goes – there are 8 billion women in the world and only 8 of them are supermodels. You need to give yourself more credit and understand that you are beautiful as yourselves, no matter your shape or age.
Pay attention to the things you say to yourself all-day in your head. Do you talk to yourself with respect and compassion, like you do with your closest friends? If you don’t value who you are as a person and how amazing your body is and what it has done for you during your life so far, then it’s hard not to let that negative self-talk not take hold. Notice what negative phrases you repeat all the time and train yourself to replace them with more positive and respectful self-talk.
Remember, your style is never done forever
Over the years I’ve been working as an image consultant I’ve realised that style is a journey, not a destination. I’ve learned style is not static – it’s not a “set and forget” process, it is constantly evolving and growing as you move through different stages of your life. We all learn and grow over our lifetime. Your style muscle will continue to develop and strengthen if you just take a little time out each day to work on it.
Finding the clothes that will get you out of your style comfort zone when you lack confidence is so much less about shopping and more about expanding your style little by little so that you understand what is you, and what isn’t so that you choose the clothes that reflect who you are and leave what will never work for you.