Although I am a terrible liar, a crappy actress, and a dreadful poker player, I do believe in the “fake it ’til you make it” philosophy. Or, as Neil Gaiman so eloquently rephrased it, “Pretend you’re good at it.” Especially as it applies to personal style. Life is tiring, difficult, and constantly in flux. Virtually no one will feel cheerful, energetic, and serene at all times, and if a lack of cheerfulness, energy, and serenity continues for an extended period, it becomes harder and harder to tap back into that positivity. Sometimes, you’ve gotta generate it yourself by any means necessary.
And dressing the part can help. A ton.
- If you’ve fallen into a tee-shirts-and-jeans rut and are starting to feel sad and slovenly, start by dressing up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you find you feel better on those days, start adding more dressy days in until it becomes routine.
- If lack of social interaction is dampening your spirits and cramping your personal style, make some excuses to go out! Start researching new restaurants or free events in your hometown, check out a new band or take the kids to a family-friendly theater event. Make everyone in attendance get dolled up to lend festivity to the occasion.
- Along those same lines, throw a party or two. Yes, I know, parties are loads of work, but I’m not talking black-tie, here. Have two or three friends over for dinner, and tell them it’ll be “quasi-fancy.” Throw a Mad Men-themed party with your nearest and dearest. Or just invite over a newish acquaintance; Spending time with new friends tends to force us to dust off our manners and our sassiest duds.
- Get organized. One of the primary reasons that women fall into stylistic ruts is lack of planning. Make a list of outfits you’d like to wear, from the clothing and shoes right down to the accessories. A pre-made list of outfits counteracts the dreaded Early Morning Apathy; Once you’ve got ’em planned, it’s easier to throw ’em on. Less thinking, more doing.
- Force yourself to wear something sparkly, brightly colored, or sentimentally significant every day for a week. You will be AMAZED by how such items will impact your mood, and change your dressing trajectory.
- Start an inspiration Pin board or binder. Find images of outfits, items, and color or garment combinations that appeal to you. Simply exposing yourself to photos of looks you love may rekindle your interest in dressing up.
- Pair up. Find a style buddy who is feeling similarly sapped, and make a pact to cheer each other on. You can collaborate on themed dressing days, or just offer stylistic moral support in the form of feedback, compliments, and clothing and accessory swapping. Everything is easier when you’ve got a buddy.
The goal is to use these tricks to tide yourself over until that mojo starts working again. Your natural juices should start flowing again after a period of faking it.
“Should” being the key word. If your deep blue funk just keeps getting deeper and bluer, you might need to spend some time thinking about what’s going on internally, emotionally and personally. Do you really want to dress up, or just feel like you ought to? How are you feeling about your body? Your overall style? What do you wish you could change? What already HAS changed that might have caused you to downshift to constant casual? You may have an internal conflict that needs some TLC, and you may not even know what that conflict is. Contemplate, discuss with close friends, journal, reflect. See if you can’t find the root of the problem.
One of the roots that turns up after many such soul-searches is self-worth. In a world that often fails to reward us for our efforts – be they style-related, work-related, or personal – it can be hard to stay motivated. You wonder if you’re worth the effort, if maybe being invisible and innocuous is a better route since it sucks up less energy and generates less disappointment. And sometimes invisible feels best, which is valid and important – you are under no obligation to dress up or be traditionally pretty. Ever. But if you aren’t in a mental space where blending in is top priority but instead just feel stuck or sad or disappointed in yourself, I’m here to tell you that YOU are 100% worth the effort it takes to get glammed up, the effort it takes to show the world your inner glow, the effort it takes to keep on trying. You’re worth it. You’re awesome. And you deserve to look and feel awesome about yourself every single day.
So if this is an issue of self-worth, take it from me: YOU ARE WORTH IT.
And if you don’t believe me quite yet, try faking it a while. Chances are, it’ll all come back to you in time.
Image courtesy meddygarnet.