A comment on a photo on LinkedIn that sparked this week’s blog. I posted a photo of a red dress to illustrate my post. One person remarked they loved the dress but were not brave enough to wear that colour.
What does not brave enough really mean in this context and how do we overcome that fear?
Very often our feelings of fear about wearing a particular colour, garment or accessory stem from our beliefs around other people
We may have been teased or bullied by our peers. Especially when we were teenagers, and started to establish our own identity. This can have a massive impact on our confidence.
I was about 13 and due out with some friends. In a rush I was heavy handed with my eyeshadow. One of my friends said something and another piped up “I would never apply eye make-up if I didn’t have time to do it properly” – I can still remember that 45 years later!
“You’re not going out in that!” when you go downstairs having spent hours getting ready will either send you scurrying back to your room to change or will provoke a teenage outburst!
For less confident teenagers this remark may result in you never being brave enough to wear a particular colour or type of clothing again as you worry you might be judged as a failure.
You may recall walking into a room and catching someone looking at you. You interpret their expression as to be one of negative judgement about your appearance.
In truth they may have formed an opinion, or they may simply be reacting or responding to something else in the room. But if you’re feeling self- conscious or lacking confidence, you’re going to decide that they’re being critical of your appearance.
Our fear of not being brave enough in our style choices doesn’t always come others. Or more correctly what we believe others are thinking!
We are quite capable of convincing ourselves we don’t have the courage to dress a certain way, reasons for this may include:
- We are struggling with body confidence
- We worry that something is ‘too young for us’
- We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves
Conversely, we may say we’re bored with our clothes. Ask yourself how much of that is because you’re not brave enough to step outside your comfort zone?
Other People Look So Put Together
We worry that other people appear to be able to pull off a certain style or look so put together and radiate confidence. Hey – that’s just another example of us telling ourselves what other people are thinking and feeling!
How do you know that they are feeling 100% confident about their outfit – they might just have good poker faces!
You have no idea how many items of clothing are strewn across their bedroom as they put the outfit you’re seeing together. But we convince ourselves they’ve just effortlessly put something together.
Also you don’t know how many combinations of outfits they’ve tried before finding ‘the one’. Their bedroom most likely resembles a war zone of discarded items of clothing. But we convince ourselves that they’ve just effortlessly put something together.
The truth is we all suffer from those niggles of self-doubt at some point. Even those people who appear really confident.
So How Do You Get Brave Enough?
I’m all about not pushing someone so far out of their comfort zone that they feel intimidated. No one should feel like that especially about their appearance. So my advice is to take baby steps at first until you feel brave enough to take bigger ones. Here are some suggestions you can try:
- Try a different colour combination – it’s all too easy to associate a particular top with a certain pair of trousers for example. You’re short of time and you know it goes. Swap the top for a different colour. Mix it up.
- You always wear a particular necklace with a certain outfit. Again try something different or add a scarf instead of or as well as your necklace.
- If you always wear heels with a certain skirt, try flats. I warn you this one does take a bit more courage if you’re used to wearing heels to finish an outfit.
- Want to try a brighter colour but you’re really worried it will be too much? Look for a scarf in that brighter colour or a pattern that picks up the colour. Give it a try and see how that makes you feel.
- Give yourself time to practise. Don’t expect to put a brave new outfit together at a moment’s notice when you’re short of time and feeling rushed.
I hope these tips have helped you to feel brave enough to try something new?
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