Every gal knows: a sweatshirt is so much more than just another piece of clothing or fashion item when you come home exhausted from another scream-fest from a pompous client. It’s your safe haven, your slice of Zen, your comforting embrace. In much the same way, your power suit is adequately named in the spirit of zeal and perseverance every woman needs to overcome the many obstacles she will encounter on the road to success.
It would be shallow and narrow-minded of us to label fashion as a means of entertainment reserved for vapid people. Fashion is, at the very least, one channel of self-expression, one manner which we can use to proclaim our values to the world, to rebel, to love, to celebrate, and after all, to empower ourselves. Here’s how you can harness the power of fashion to fuel your self-love and acceptance.
Shape the impression you leave
Sometimes the “fake it ‘til you make it” idea can be a useful one when you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, or when you’re eager to land your greatest deal in your career. Not just for the sake of impressing the other participants in this exchange, which is a bonus, but to lift your own spirits and enable yourself to express your finest qualities when the time comes. If the right pair of heels and the right pencil skirt will help you keep your posture perfect and your gaze glistening with pride – don’t discourage yourself from using your wardrobe to shape the impression you leave.
Maybe this will help you discover that pencil skirts are not at all your style, that you feel more powerful wearing a classy dress or a pair of well-tailored pants and a button-down. Maybe you’re more of an ankle boots kind of gal, and not that much into high heels. Whatever gives you the inner edge will reflect on the impression you leave on those who observe you.
Express your selfhood through fashion
Upon discovering that you’re an absolute athleisure-freak or a lover of all things boho, maybe you’ll also discover your favorite tote bag that you’ll bring everywhere with you as a part of your signature look. Not just because it fits perfectly with your wardrobe, or because you can put everything you need inside, but because it has that “spark” that makes you feel ready to tackle anything when you walk out that door.
Some women feel naked without bold red lipstick, others without their favorite backpack or a pair of earrings. When you find those pieces that resonate with you, why not let them do the talking and let the world know who you are? Even if the world cannot for the life of it determine who you are based on your latest ingenious ensemble, what matters is how you feel when you wear your finest garments.
Boost your confidence
It seems that it all circles back to confidence. The self-expression, impressing others, and everything in between, it all comes back to the idea of feeling good in your own skin, and everything that covers it (or doesn’t). Maybe all a gloomy day at work needs is a colorful, comfortable knitted sweater, and you’ll find yourself more eager to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.
If you’re getting ready for your very first cocktail party with your new employer and colleagues, perhaps you’ll feel at your finest in a unique dress instead of the traditional little black one – although the latter is considered a must-have for all women out there.
Support what you believe in
We have finally reached that time in history when it’s not only appropriate to express your beliefs through your clothes, but it’s applauded. Wearing a slogan on your tee may be the first thing that comes to mind as a way to achieve this. However, you can do the same by doing a bit of homework and choosing brands that only support the causes you feel strongly about.
If you’re all about sustainability, green practices, and fair trade, then look for brands that epitomize those precise values. They might not advertise them directly on the apparel, but when you put on a Patagonia pullover, you know that you have made a deliberate choice to support an ethical cause. The same applies for brands that strive for diversity, empowering women and other modern-day issues that can be tackled and expressed through your fashion choices.
Make some beautiful noise
No matter how advanced we may seem as a society, we still have a long way to go in terms of gender equality. Some of the most high-end fashion brands of today use their position to inspire people to take action, and they enable their loyal followers to do the same.
As an example, Aerie launched an entire collection meant to raise awareness and raise money to make a difference for a range of charities, decorated with awesome and memorable quotes and hashtags that express their beliefs. What can be more empowering than making a purchase from a brand that supports young women and says it loud and proud on every garment they produce?
Life will always be so much more than fashion, but underestimating its many levels of relevance would be small-minded. Use it as one of many outlets for making a difference, and you’ll not only empower yourself but everyone around you who truly needs it.
Stella van Lane is a Sydney based mom and a passionate writer in love with coffee, chocolate, music, books and good vibes. Her top interests are health, yoga, meditation and interior design.
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