I want to talk to you about confidence. Confidence and the importance of it for being fantastically stylish. It is supremely important. It is what fuels a woman’s fabulousness, and enables her to own her own style, not borrow or copy from others, and to dance to her own tune.
… when a confident woman walks into a room, it is entrancing. I’ll watch as she moves with poise and self-possession… Confidence is captivating, it is powerful, and it does not fade – and that is endlessly more interesting than beauty – Nina Garcia (from The Little Black Book of Style).
But to acquire it? How can I advise? I am no psychologist, therapist, life coach or self-help guru. Confidence is, after all, a matter concerning the relationship a woman has with herself. It is far more complex than the clothing she chooses to wear.
But there is one thing I do know. While confidence might come from within, and be something we think and feel within ourselves, we can boost it from the outside. And, like an upwardly spiralling staircase, little by little we can make our way up higher. Of that process of climbing there are some confidence boosting “rules” I try to live by.
1. Dress in a way that highlights your assets
This is a cornerstone of looking great in the eyes of others, but also to boosting our positive feelings about ourselves. Why would I wear something that reminds me of my chubby knees and chunky ankles, when I can hide these and show off fabulous shoulders and slim hips instead?
2. Dress for yourself, not your partner/sister/friends/mother/shop assistant.
Isn’t it funny how we often dress for others or situational expectations in our clothing choices, without pausing to ask ourselves what makes us feel great? While it is normal and in fact very good to consider these things, at the end of the day we can only be our most confident selves if we love what we are wearing. Dressing ourselves in a way that makes us feel good is what gives us a sparkle in our eyes and a swagger in our stride.
3. Prioritise good grooming.
Good grooming might seem to be all about external appearances, but that’s not the full picture. The act of looking after ourselves also boosts our self-esteem in a very basic way: Self care. It is a way of loving ourselves, investing in ourselves and in the belief that we matter. And these things contribute to confidence.
4. Take charge of your body, and how you think about it.
Love the way you are, or change something. Change the way you think about yourself. Or change your habits so as to change your body. Or change both. The consequence of not doing this is wasting years sitting about unhappily, uncommitted to what could bring you greater happiness and making excuses for maintaining the status quo. In this respect, it is better for your self-esteem and confidence to be actively striving towards a healthy realistic goal than to do nothing. Taking action fuels confidence
Speaking from my own experience, I never fully reached my potential (in many ways, not just stylishly) when I was unhappy with my body and thought badly of it. When I took action – got honest with myself, set realistic goals, and didn’t give up until I had reached them – my confidence grew exponentially. I was genuinely comfortable in my own skin and this was life-changing.
5. Wear comfortable things
Uncomfortable waistbands and sore feet be gone! But this message isn’t about resorting to track-pants and sneakers. No way! It’s about finding stylish yet physically liberating clothing and quality shoes that don’t make you feel awkward, unnecessarily constrained or self-conscious.
Women who can stride, bend and move in a way that enables them to perform their daily tasks easily, have a physical presence that is free of hindrance. They own their space in a way that enables them to feel and look more confident and in control.
Comfort in fashion is underrated. Physical comfort can help to boost psychological confidence.