Don’t Worry About It

if you like it wear it

I’ve been trying to incorporate the phrase, “don’t worry about it,” into my advice posts as often as I can.  I’m happy to give my two cents on just about any topic, but I always want to emphasize that style rules are really just guidelines, that they can be helpful but should never cause self-doubt, that they can offer structure but should never feel oppressive. I never want any of you to feel that fashion-related advice is dragging you down, so I’ve started capping off many tutorials with a bullet point that simply says, “don’t worry about it.”

And I really mean it. I mean that you can examine style and figure-flattery advice and decide if it’s relevant to you, and if it’s not, you can and should dismiss it. In fact, even if it IS relevant to you you should feel free to dismiss it – wholly or partially. Because style should be fun and empowering and engaging, and crafting a wardrobe that makes you feel powerful should bring you joy and pleasure. And if the pressure to cultivate a defined personal style makes you feel miserable or inadequate, if fashion distracts you and belittles you and detracts from what you love in your life, then screw it. Worrying about how you look should never overtake your life. Worrying about your style should never cause you to doubt your worth. Worrying about your appearance should never stop you from chasing your dreams.

To be clear, I mean “worry” in the literal sense: Torment yourself, suffer from upsetting thoughts, fret. Thinking about, exploring, experimenting with, caring about, and refining your style can all be constructive and rewarding. But worrying about style, worrying about how good or bad you may look at all times, worrying if you’re fashionable/young/thin enough can serve as powerful distractors. Pouring energy and worry into these matters can sap you of confidence, even derail you from your life’s work.

There are forces in this world that manipulate women into believing that our primary source of power is our looks. We are made to feel that we must conform to a certain beauty-body standard, lest we become invisible, irrelevant, even targets of scorn. And it is damned hard to fight against those forces, to stare them down and remember that women are not placed on this earth merely to decorate it, women are not required to make themselves as pretty as possible every minute of every day, women are not objects. But we are not. We are are powerful and capable and creative and innovative and strong, and we will not be driven to distraction by manufactured messages stating that our worth is contingent upon our beauty. Giving into those messages can prevent us from making progress, listening to those lies can keep us down, worrying incessantly about how beautiful we may or may not be can halt us in our tracks.

If you are inclined to explore, enjoy, and feel empowered by style, by all means do so. But try not to worry about it.

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  • Amen, sister. Thank you.

  • “We are made to feel that we must conform to a certain beauty-body standard, lest we become invisible, irrelevant, even targets of scorn.” Ah, Sal, this is what we are fighting against in our blogs, and every day on the street too. It can get discouraging but we aren’t giving up/giving in. I for one still have a lot to say, even though my “beauty time” has expired, by media standards.

  • Sally, I think this is such an important point. To the extent that focusing on your exterior brings you joy, GREAT; but if it’s to your detriment to focus on it, or if it causes you worry, then it’s more than fine to put your attention on other things and … not worry about it at all. xo, I love your blog! L.

  • Stephani

    Fantastic post, Sal, as always! And a perfect way to put it all in perspective on a Monday morning.

  • Love it! Very well stated- thanks for sharing this!

  • Anne

    Amen Sally, and thank you for letting us all off the hook.

  • Lynn

    Especially important for older women to hear. We are told that our time has expired, and we should gracefully “fade away.” Or, on the other hand, we should botox and sculpt to remain attractive.

  • Well said! Thank you.

  • You are talking to me……Thank you Sal!!!!
    xoxo

  • rb

    Worry and stress cause your body to produce cortisol. Cortisol can make you break out, among other things. So don’t worry! It’s bad for your looks. 🙂

  • This post really spoke to me. I grew up in a household where even though I was told that I was a “pretty girl” I was surrounded by mixed messages. All of the women in my life were always dieting, comparing themselves to all of the wealthier, skinnier, prettier, smarter, etc. women in town. So, it was so engrained in me that I just did not measure up. It took the love and encouragement of a wonderful man to show me that all of the self doubt was only in my head. So no matter if it’s a good or bad hair day, I’m a beautiful person inside and out.

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