I just finished reading Rachel Hollis' most recent book "Girl, Stop Apologizing" this morning, and closer to the end of the book she writes, "Confidence comes from you liking the way you look, not from you looking any certain way." and "Gaining confidence from the way you look is about having a personal style.".
Read that again, because I think a lot of us, as women, think we need to "look a certain way", to feel good, to look good", and that simply isn't true. We all have our own unique personal tastes, feelings, and features, and learning how to actually be yourself through your wardrobe, or your beauty routine is a great way to find personal growth and gain confidence!
Like anything else worth having though, it's a learning process. It requires you to be deeply honest with yourself. So, of course it can be hard and uncomfortable, but working at it is how you get to a point where you truly do feel amazing, and it's how you stay there.
That's why, today I wanted to share a starting point or the first step for building your confidence into your wardrobe. I am sharing 5 wardrobe essentials that I have found complete confidence, trust, and reliability in. These are pieces that can be worn over and over again, and can make getting ready and truly liking the way you look a reality.
No. 1 The "Perfect" Pair of Jeans.
Okay, first of all, I am pretty sure there will never be a "perfect" pair of jeans, thus the quotes around perfect, but unicorns of the denim world do exist. So it is possible to find jeans you love that love you right back, in all the right places. The reason jeans are a top 5 essential is because they are extremely versatile, can be worn casually, or even in a business casual setting, and pair well with almost any kind of top you can imagine.
My main suggestion would be to pick up a solid dark wash blue jean or even a black pair, with absolutely no distressing, holes, or whiskering (the lines created to look like natural worn-in creases). I have found this particular style to be the most versatile within my wardrobe and other women's. However, if this doesn't feel like you, then go with your gut and choose your "perfect" pair of jeans. That might be the complete opposite of mine, but it's not about me it's about you.
My top three places to shop for jeans, that are great places for you to start are, hands down, with no comparison: American Eagle Outfitters, Levi's, and AG (Nordstrom). AEO has an amazing size range, and price point. The quality and comfort at that price also make their jeans an all time favourite. Levi's are classic, they are comfortable, reasonably priced, come in many different styles and will last you years. AG is a recent new favourite of mine (I purchased the pair in the middle below at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale), with a dangerously high price tag. However, they have absolutely amazing quality, comfort, and attention to detail (they make me feel like $1,000,000).
No. 2 Classic Blouse
I know, how vague, a classic blouse could be anything! But that's the point, it could be anything, but what is it for you? When you are trying to figure out your personal style you have to start asking yourself questions about what you actually like outside of other's influence.
To me a classic blouse is lightweight, neutral coloured to pair with lots of other pieces, and is work appropriate, while also being versatile enough to go about wearing it on a casual day off. This makes it clear what I want so I won't go buying just any top. It has to fit my personal style. A personal style tendency of mine is towards floral blouses too, but florals are not everyone's cup of tea, and they don't need to be.
My top 3 favourite places to shop for blouses of almost any kind currently are Dynamite Clothing, Nordstrom, and American Eagle Outfitters. I gravitate towards American Eagle Outfitters for the boho, feminine, you guessed it floral vibe that I personally love, but they also make affordable quality pieces that pair amazingly well with their jeans! Dynamite clothing hits the bullseye when it comes to versatile work wear pieces and they are highly underrated in my opinion. If you really don't know where to start this is an amazing place to do so, especially for any other kind of well priced work wear. Lastly Nordstrom, and more specifically within Nordstrom: Halogen, Caslon, All In Favour, Free People, and Socialite all balance work and casual style very well, while maintaining comfort and quality.
No. 3 Wear All Day Dress
Again, I know you're probably thinking this could be anything. Part of that just comes from not knowing what this particular dress is to you yet. Rest assured though, you will find ones that do work for you, just keep trying.
When I talk about "Wear All Day" dresses though, I am talking about the kind of dress that goes day to night to weekend; it can be dressed up or dressed down.
My specific style suggestion for this would be to pick something that can pair with many different over pieces: a cardigan, blazer, kimono, or jacket. So, avoid the puffy sleeves and the like, and focus on dresses that are classic and simple in design. Look for style like: wrap dresses, shift, sheath, shirt dresses, and of course the classic black dress.
My store suggestions for you to start browsing would be Francesca's (my absolute favourite), Nordstrom, and Anthropologie. They all carry unique yet versatile dresses that can be worn to work, over the weekend, or to a special event. My golden yellow wrap dress that I talk about a lot on Instagram is from Francesca's.
No. 4 Classic Outer Layer
If you want something that is going to pair well with everything, is timeless, not a trend, and elevates your look, you need to own classic outerwear. What are these magical outer layers that are defined as classics? They are pieces that have stood the test of time and are considered to be always in fashion. Classic outwear includes: trench coats, denim jackets, (faux) leather jackets, blazers, cardigans, and long line winter coats (usually wool or cashmere blends), or parkas if you live in winter climates that make you want to jet off to some island that is hot all year round and never come home, like me.
The problem with classic outerwear though, is that rarely do affordable prices and high quality meet. My advice to you truthfully, is to save for one of these at a time, I don't have them all, and most people don't. BUT, the ones I do own, have made getting ready infinitely easier, and they don't give me that feeling of a ruined outfit when I put on an outer layer to go out the door. What I have now matches the level of energy and attention to detail that I put into the rest of my outfit, so I feel confident all day long.
My second piece of advice is to avoid buying the really cheap versions of these pieces, I can promise you that you will get what you pay for, and it will not last you very long.
I personally have saved and own a parka, long-line winter coat, and as some of you may know plenty of cardigans, and a few blazers that are boyfriend style. I have a denim jacket too, but it was cheap, so I don't enjoy wearing it, and regret buying it. I purchased the majority of these pieces at Nordstrom (Parka and Cardigans) and Dynamite Clothing (Coat and Blazers).
No. 5 Chic Lounge Wear
Take the word "Chic" however you'd like. The point of it right here and right now is to talk about how important it is to not let our lounge wear become sloppy, or worse, part of your wardrobe that sucks away our confidence. Ladies! We shouldn't be willing to put something on our bodies that immediately gives us feelings of looking like we couldn't care less, while simultaneously lowering our self esteem and opinion of ourselves, when all we are really seeking is comfort and relaxation. You can have comfort and relaxation and still look and feel great!
My advice would be to pick out lounge wear that matches and wear it together. This is by far the easiest thing to do, and so many stores sell lounge wear sets for that reason. My favourite stores currently are Nordstrom, Aerie, and Barefoot Dreams. Next, take the necessary steps to take care of your lounge wear the same way you do your regular wardrobe, don't let it get ratty and gross. Nobody feels good in old tattered clothing.
Choose pieces that are comfortable, but avoid ones that hide you and your body. You might be thinking, "I like, and feel sexy in oversized things" after I said that, and thats great! Please keep doing your thing, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking to the women that come home and change into clothing that they purposely bought to hide themselves in.
I know this is hard, and I know that this is what many of us are used to and comfortable with. But if you choose to change, or start with even one essential from this post, let it be your lounge wear. Lounge wear is something we typically wear in private so on some level it feels okay because almost nobody else sees it. However, you see it and you feel it, and in order to learn and grow your confidence and love for yourself without taking a step back every time you come home and change, your lounge wear needs to level up. Changing your loungewear to pieces that make you look and feel amazing will allow you to step up and show up confidently in the rest of your wardrobe. This is one simple yet big step that could very well change how you see and value yourself. So, start treating yourself like a queen, because it's time, and you know you're worth it. You don't have to let your clothes make you feel less than, you can start making changes that lift you up and could change your life for the better now.
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