From a very young age, my outfits always mirrored how I felt. I remember being super carefree about clothes. Some days I wore platform leopard tie-up ankle boots and other days I wore vans. Some days I wore all black from head to toe and other days I wore rolled up soccer shorts and a backwards Adidas cap. I loved that self-expression and personal style went hand-in-hand and I considered my choices as a reflection of me, never considering what anyone thought. All of that changed the day I entered boarding school (by choice, haha).
There I was surrounded by collared shirts, Longchamp totes, and ribbon belts. As a new sophomore, I felt like I had to fit in by having these things. It took me five minutes to call my mom and to ask if she had any Polo shirts to send me, and then it took me about a week to get over the whole “be like everyone else” thing. Talk about a learning experience. Ever since I’ve been dead set on dressing for myself. Side note: my best friends from high school still wear ribbon belts and I love them for it.
Now that it’s spring and all of the super fun clothes are out to play, I felt compelled to give you all a little boost of confidence, which was prompted by a really funny experience I had last week.
Here’s the back story: I was on vacation when two older women made fun of my outfit, loudly enough for me to hear. We were shopping at a really nice store in one of the more conservative (but amazing) destinations I’ve ever visited. I felt like I was experiencing some edgy version of Pretty Woman. You know, the part when Julia Roberts isn’t waited on at a boutique, except these women were patrons and I was wearing biker shorts and heels. I quickly reminded myself that with personal style comes an “owning it” attitude and it occasionally comes with backlash.
This was me sending a selfie to my mom saying “I love this outfit so much” — an hour before getting made fun of, ha.
Let me be clear, having your own personal style isn’t always easy. Over the years it has dawned on me that most women base their personal style on where they live, what they do, and who they surround themselves with. I am convinced that this is why most women are left feeling completely confused when it comes to deciding what to wear! I firmly believe that with the proper tools you can have your own personal style and own it!
Don’t get me wrong, there are dress codes to abide by and I am a firm believer in respecting rules, but for goodness sake, have some fun with it! What matters most is you love yourself in what you’re wearing! Here’s to hoping you can take away one or two nuggets of advice that will help you keep your head held high in all fashion-related moments, especially when you’re faced with times of self-doubt. You got this, ladies!
ALH Style is a local personal styling business offering closet clean outs, look books, style consults, shopping appointments and consignment drop offs to women of all shapes and sizes in the DMV! Work one-on-one with owner and lead stylist, Ali Hellmuth, to find your most confident self!