If you are a lady who happens to like getting frocked up regularly, you get very used to a lot of comments. Sideways glances, questionable stares. Quizzical looks wondering why you aren’t wearing jeans and a t-shirt like the rest of the crowd. Did I not get the memo that it was bad form to look like you were trying too hard? As it happens, I did get that memo. But, I soon realized that there are a lot worse things that I could do than try.
Ladies and gents, I’m overdressed and I like it. True, some days I don’t get out of my loungewear. But, most days I get that fission of excitement when I make my way into my wardrobe and start the process of feeling my best and dressing for me. And then I will have no shame marching out the door, straight into the world to exclaim : I spent time on myself! I put myself first this morning! And I think I look good!
I read a very interesting thread about a woman who started replying with “I know” or “I agree” every time someone gave her a compliment. And it was astounding the negative feedback she received, as if a woman wasn’t supposed to know her own beauty. As if by appreciating herself and feeling confident, she somehow became less. Compliments were retracted. Men became outwardly aggressive, accusing her of vanity and conceit. As if you reply with anything other than a blush and a coquettish giggle, you are not fulfilling your role in the exchange: which is to be there for someone else’s admiration, but not your own.
And I couldn’t help but think: compliments aren’t validation. Shouldn’t they just affirm what we already know about ourselves?
I no longer have any issue being the most dressed up person in the room. I rarely worry if anyone likes what I’m wearing, so long as I like it. I like putting effort in – and I’m not scared who knows it. But, it took me awhile to get here.
Because, oh how I used to care what everyone else thought. I used to worry and fret and take the once-over some ladies would give me to heart. I used to worry about wearing just the right thing to fit in. Nothing over the top. Nothing that might make me different. Nothing that might make people think I was trying to get attention. Or that I was vain enough to care about my appearance.
To be honest, there are days when I still worry about some of these things. I worry whether someone won’t take me seriously at work if I’m dressed the way that brings me joy. I worry other women might think I’m showing off. And I worry about a culture that perpetuates the idea that self love is somehow a negative thing. But, I worry more about the women who absorb it and internalize it and let it run their lives. Those for whom this is a daily struggle. Those of us who don’t respond to a compliment with “I agree” (at least inside). Or base our self worth off of someone’s else’s expectations rather than our own.
But on days when I find the self doubt creeping in, I remind myself it’s actually empowering to care about your appearance, when the person you care about impressing, is you.
Claim your beauty. Own it. Revel in it. And then march out and share it with the world.
It is a pretty exciting day around here in the Dressed Aesthetic household, which is the perfect reason for dressing up (not that I need one). My mom arrives in town today! It is still such a novelty to live close enough to our families to have regular visitors, and I couldn’t be more excited to have my mom here and get to show her this amazing town of ours. Things are never real for me until my family shares in them.
Sometimes I look back and wonder where I got my confidence from. But I have no doubt my mom will deplane and it’ll immediately be apparent. It is certainly no surprise when you see the strong stock I came from. She’s here briefly for the night before heading out to a wedding, but she comes back on the weekend and we can paint the town vintage, as it were. She’s very excited to visit some of my favorite haunts, try some of our favorite restaurants, and see the lab. Who knows, maybe I can convince her to make a cameo appearance in a blog photoshoot.
It’s all about claiming your beauty, after all…
Dress: The Sweet Life Vintage (similar modern or vintage here, here & here)
Wrap: Gift (similar)
Gloves: Bettina Darling (similar)
Belt: Alannah Hill (similar)
Crinolines: Vivian of Holloway and Malco Modes
Handbag: Gift (similar)
Shoes: WHBM, sold out (similar here & here)