Many women seeking an authentic style can find themselves sometimes struggling with a few obstacles or barriers in this authentic style journey. They are seeking to strike the balance of finding their authentic style pathway – they want to be true to themselves and dress from that place of deep confidence.
They don’t want to be simply ‘dressing a mannequin‘ – they want to be wholly and beautifully themselves, deeply connected to themselves and expressing that using their style (amongst other ways they are expressing themselves).
And yet it’s possible to feel an internal sense of conflict with how you’re dressing and presenting yourself and how you feel inside. You may be receiving feedback from others that’s causing some questioning, or perhaps your situation has changed (you’ve moved from one type of environment to another entirely, or have retired or semi-retired from full time work), necessitating a change in your style that you’ve yet to fully manifest in a way that feels right to you.
Aligning how you would like to dress with your environment, with the people in your world, and with all the activities in your life can feel like a balancing act. Sometimes you feel off-kilter, teetering too far one way or the other, making you feel something needs to be ‘corrected’ for you to be at your stylish best.
In this video post, we’ll discuss some of the ways you can overcome obstacles to charting and travelling your unique and beautiful style pathway.
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What Happens When You Try Something New
The moment you change something about how you are expressing your style — whether that’s dressing up a little more, wearing more accessories, changing your hairstyle, wearing more of your flattering colors or styles — others may notice these changes.
When we do something different, it represents a change. And the way we dress is such a visual component to how we are showing up and ‘presenting’ in the world, it can be a point of observation others pick up on.
If how you are dressing is different — especially if it is very different — from how others have seen you before, it stands out and people notice. ‘People’ includes you — sometimes the change you are trying out can be uncomfortable for you, and you can feel overly conscious of how you are dressed, or accessorized.
This is where these strategies come into play. These strategies are all things you can try out to bring you back to a feeling of confidence in changes you are making in your style expression.
If the changes you are making in your style stem from a clearer understanding of and connection to your style essence, they will always bring you back to a feeling you at home with your most stylish self. These 5 strategies will make that journey easier.
Strategy #1: Put the feedback of others in its rightful place
Yes, others will notice when our style changes, and some will comment. Some of those comments may not feel entirely positive, whilst some will be very encouraging. Whatever the nature of the comments from others, they can still cause some consciousness about changes in our style.
Of course, not everybody will notice changes you make to your style. There is an interesting phenomenon called Change Blindness which indicates that our ability to grasp even staggering changes in our environment isn’t always as switched on as it could be.
E. Bruce Goldstein writes in his book Sensation and Perception:
“One reason people think they would see the changes may be that they know from past experiences that changes that occur in real life are usually easy to see. But there is an important difference between changes that occur in real life and those that occur in change detection experiments. Changes that occur in real life are often accompanied by a motion, which provides a clue that indicates a change is occurring.”
What this boils down to is that not everybody will notice changes in your style, and those that do may not be positive about it.
Not all style feedback you receive needs to be taken into consideration. If we consider feedback to be a gift, then it is our responsibility and right to accept or refuse any gifts offered to us. Not every ‘gift’ needs to be accepted, or even acknowledged.
Some of any feedback you receive about changes you are making in your style expression needs to be ignored. That is the simple truth of it.
You can smile and know that you are on your own pathway.
Make a conscious choice to balance the input from others with your own truth, your own experience of your style.
This can be a loving gift you give to those offering feedback, too – we don’t need to get into an argument or be in any way combative with others who offer feedback we decide to refuse. We just need to stand strong within ourselves, knowing the deep connection we feel to our style essence, and the confidence we feel in the style choices emanating from that strong connection.
Other people are entitled to their opinions, as you are to yours. Quietly yet firmly making decisions about the voices you will allow to be heard about your style journey is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself, and can be something that keeps you on track as you chart and travel your authentic style journey.
Your own voice is the most important voice to listen to when it comes to charting and travelling your beautiful, personal authentic style journey, including the choices you make about how your style is expressed.
Strategy #2: Take some smaller steps
Sometimes we need to leap a chasm in a single bound and make wholesale and large changes in our style. This is often where we get that gasp-out-loud makeover show type of response from others, when the After “reveal”introduces us to someone so staggeringly different from the Before that we barely recognize them.
There’s a place for radical transformation, for sure.
But when it comes to your style, many of us can benefit from a slower pace and a smaller scale of change. This gentler approach blends new elements with things you are already doing with your style. Change approached in this way can be easier to handle, and can be more ‘sticky’.
This is where the dressing styles can be helpful, such as the Classic dressing style. You can draw on any number of the 7 dressing styles to upstyle or downstyle, or change up your look in any number of stylish and fun ways. Simple things like accessories can move your look up or down the formality scale, as can shoes and handbags.
We’ve provided a number of examples of style elements you can weave into your look, depending on your Style Type.
Leopard Print for the 16 Style Types
Discover your Shoe Style Based on Your Personality Type
How to Use Thrift Shopping to Find Your Style Expression
Which Perfumes to Wear for Your Personality and Dressing Style
The Little Black Dressing and 16 Style Types
Try out any of the style strategies included in the above Articles that are aligned with your Style Type, and any more that you come across (or devise yourself) that feel right to you.
Strategy #3: Develop a new consistency in your style
It is when you are inconsistent in your style that it becomes most obvious — and something others may comment on. And during times of style experimentation, your style probably is inconsistent — after all, you’re trying new things and doing things (sometimes many things) differently to how and what you did before.
But as you find your new style direction and feel confident in your style choices, a new consistency will emerge. There is huge value to be gained in your style journey when you use consistency as a guiding principle.
If you are getting tripped up with the word and concept of consistency, perhaps making it synonymous with predictability or too much unwanted or unneeded stability, then try reframing it. Consistency in process (how you do things) is not the same as consistency in output or content. You can have a consistently creative process that results in a different look each day if that’s what you choose, and consistency is still in play.
Expressing your style, based on your style essence, should be an exercise in playfulness as well as authenticity. Find your new ‘consistent’ in a way that is true and right for you, and find your style blossoming!
A style pathway that’s right for you
If you want to learn more about finding a ‘consistent’ that works for your Style Type, go to our Articles page, and using the magnifying glass icon, search for “style pathway” using your four-letter Style Type — eg: “INFP style pathway”, “ESTJ style pathway”, and so on. We’ve 16 articles on the style pathways for each of the 16 Style Types – including yours!
Strategy #4: Awareness precedes choice
This is one of the most powerful concepts to grasp when you are undertaking any kind of change. Whether that change is in your location (moving house or from one part of the country to another), in relationship (starting a new one, bringing to an end an existing relationship), losing weight, learning a new skill – or changing your style.
If you have no awareness of what is happening for you, around you, and inside of you, then true choice is impossible. You are simply reacting all of the time – not making deliberate choices.
This where the ‘charting’ of your authentic style journey can be so important — you map out what you want your style journey to be like, and you mark on it where you are now and where you are headed, and include on it all the places you want to visit (to continue with the journey metaphor). This is so important to getting where you want to go — to where you have chosen to go… rather than striking out randomly without any sense of direction.
Without awareness, change does not ‘stick’. Everything seems random, including your results, and how you feel about those results. Your style can seem continuously shaky, the ground under your feet anything but solid and secure. You don’t know who or where you are, and making style choices from such an uncertain place leaves you feeling that true and authentic style is not possible for you.
True and authentic style is possible for you. It’s possible for every woman.
But you need to start with some awareness, then expand on that awareness. This is where your Style Type Report comes in, and is something we expand on in the 12 Modules of our 12-Month online style program, Your Type of Style. The resources we provide on this website, including our free Articles, are all designed to expand your sphere of awareness about yourself, and your style.
Strategy #5: What to do when triggered
Sometimes despite our best efforts to engage Strategy #1 (to put the feedback from others into their proper place), we can become triggered by the comments of others about our style, especially changes to our style expression.
This can be a tough spot to be in – trying to balance the feedback of others, perhaps those most close to us, with our own style voice that we are trying to listen to more closely and more often. We can be hurt by comments of others, especially if they don’t seem to understand how much care and attention we are now placing on our authentic style journey, and how powerful it is to stand from that place of confidence and personal power when your style expression flows from your style essence.
This is where some self-examination and reflection on your style messages that you are carrying can be worth getting into. When we have some strong emotions triggered by outside input (such as comments from others), it can be a signal that there’s some important work to be done in understanding what’s going on for us – why would a comment from someone cause us to feel so badly about ourselves?
If we are using the above four (4) strategies, then we know that finding our own ‘consistency’, and developing greater awareness are keys to coming home to our most stylish self. So we know that we are in the driver’s seat of our authentic style pathway — nobody but us can find or travel our unique style journey for us!
You may find that shining the gentle light of awareness onto any triggered emotions will help you start to explore and understand any sensitive points around your style for you. Our three-part series on self-awareness and style may be a great input to you, too.
Start reading here:
What Does Self Awareness Have to Do With Personal Style?
It’s also possible that your style journey itself is causing some triggered emotions. This is more common than you might realize, so learning more about how and why this happens, and what you can do about it, can be useful to you.
Read more here:
Embracing Your Style Type Journey and Dealing with Potential Triggers
Another great source of input is your Style Type Report. It is chock full of style-essence information that brings you home to your most stylish self. On Page 5 we detail the Style Pillars for a woman of your Style Type — this information is the most helpful foundation on which to start developing a strong sense of your style core.
Your style pillars can also help get you back on track if you find yourself losing your way, or become disoriented in your authentic style journey. Your style pillars can help you start your authentic style journey afresh, and bring you home to your most stylish self.
Remember always that charting and travelling your authentic style pathway is a lifelong journey, and be kind and patient with yourself as you go about finding your true style pathway!