Swimsuit season is upon us! And contrary to what you see in the media, you don’t need to change a damn thing about your body before you hit the beach. Instead of focusing on changing your body, focus on changing your mind. Here I’m sharing my top tips for always putting my most confident self forward.
If you follow me on Instagram or are followers of the blog, you know I love fashion. I love bold colors and prints and I’ve never met a statement earring I didn’t love. But something I hear a lot from other women is that they love what I’m wearing but they could never wear it, because they don’t have my confidence.
Ask yourself how many times you have passed on an article of clothing, a pair of shoes, an interesting fabric because you didn’t think you could “pull it off”. Hey, I am even guilty of this. I remember when Alicia Keys decided she wasn’t going to wear makeup anymore and my first thought was hell, if I looked like Alicia Keys I wouldn’t wear makeup anymore either! I was guilty of feeling like I couldn’t “pull-off” a makeup free face.
I am a firm believer that any woman, can wear anything, as long as the fit is right and she wears it with confidence. And I realize so much of my blog focuses on fit—mainly because this is so super-tangible. I can look at a garment on the body and tell you exactly where it fits, exactly where it doesn’t and what can be done to fix it. Confidence on the other hand, isn’t an outfit you slip on, a way you style your hair or a new makeup trip. Confidence, I’m afraid, comes from hard, intentional work.
So what are my steps to building and maintaining my own body confidence? I’ve done my best to distill it down to the following:
- Get naked. Look at yourself naked in the mirror. Walk around your house in the buff. My neighbors are #blessed. Your body is allowing you as a human to be here today. Whether that means you were just able to get out of bed or you were able to climb a mountain. The sheer fact that your body is allowing you to be here, living, breathing, operating, contributing makes it beautiful—and that’s worth celebrating. Get to know your body, your curves, your cellulite, your rolls without judgement, just observe. Spend more time looking at it. Express gratitude towards your body. Thank it for what it’s done for you. The more and more you see it and the more and more you get to know it, the more and more you’ll fall in love.
- Carry yourself with confidence (even if you don’t feel it yet). Stand up straight. Shoulders back. Chin up. Chest out. Sometimes the old adage is true, you gotta fake it until you make it. If you carry yourself with confidence you’ll actually start to feel confident. When I was a little kid and an entire head taller than every other kid in my class I had a tendency to slouch. Every time my mother caught me she would holler, “shoulders back, chest out and walk like you own the block”. Now, at 13 I knew I did not own the block, but I’d like to imagine everyone in my neighborhood thought I thought I owned it.
- Challenge yourself to wear/do something that scares you a little every week. Maybe its a body con dress, horizontal stripes, super-high heels, or go Alicia Keys style sans makeup. Whatever it is that intimidates you, or whatever item of clothing you’ve said “I could never do that/ wear that” I want you to consciously do it. Even if you’re just going to the grocery store, or the coffee shop, or the park. There is no secret formula for getting out of your comfort zone. The only way to actually get out of that zone is to take that first step. Lately I’ve been leaving the house without makeup, which is a huge step for me! I was in a coffee shop the other day, with my daughter, not wearing a stitch of makeup, sleep deprived and frazzled when I saw a neighbor. Instinctively I reached for my sunglasses to cover my mascara-free, dark-ringed eyes, but stopped myself. I didn’t need to shield my neighbor from my face. Just that little instance of going out of the house, makeup-free, seeing a neighbor and the world kept turning, helped my confidence soar.
- Wear clothes that fit and detach yourself from whatever meaning is attributed to the size tag. I spent a year and a half after my daughter was born wearing maternity jeans because I was too prideful to admit that I no longer fit into my pre-baby jeans and needed to go up a size or two which meant going up to plus-size (oh the horror!). The first time I bought a pair of size 18 jeans (from Target no less!) I put them on and I realized how well they fit. No squeezing or pinching and a higher waist band all had me feeling damn sexy. Wearing a size or two smaller doesn’t actually help your confidence. It’s an illusion and a very real marketing tactic that big brands use to trick you into buying their product. Check the size chart and get the right size. Being comfortable in your clothes is what makes you feel good—not the size on the tag. Better yet, start sewing. Wearing clothes custom-made for my curves was an absolute game-changer. The first time I made and wore the Cashmerette Wrap dress I literally couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror.
- Get in front of the lens and be in more pictures. I get it, I used to be the person taking the pictures, hanging off to the side. But then I started taking my own pictures and a lot of them. And my whole mindset shifted. So get in front of the camera instead of behind it. Work the damn thing. Put some music on. Change up the lighting. Wear some lipstick. If the thought of allowing someone to take your picture like this makes you want to puke, grab a tripod and a handheld clicker and have your own self-portrait session. You don’t have to show anyone these pictures. These are for YOU. The more and more pictures you take the more comfortable you will become and the more you will see your authentic, beautiful self shining through.
- Take control of your media consumption. Magazines, TV shows, books, social media is HUGE. If whatever you’re reading, viewing, consuming makes you feel anything less than awesome about your body, disconnect. Unfollow those who make you feel less than beautiful. Focus on cultivating a tribe of women who build each other up instead of tearing others down. My Instagram feed is nothing but body-positivity. Find ways to make your media feeds representative of the diversity of body types that exist in the world, not just one “perfect” version.
- Reject labels such as “cocky”, “prideful”, “vain”. I give you permission to be confident, to love yourself, to think you are beautiful inside and out. When people label you with these words they are putting their stuff on you. They’re putting whatever baggage they have, whatever self-loathing, or lack of self-love they carry around, and dumping it on you. I live by Marianne Williamson’s words written here: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Being a truly confident woman is a rebellious act and can make people downright uncomfortable. But it’s not your job to make people comfortable. Being and staying confident requires a level of perseverance. It’s actual work. But it is work that is so rewarding and so worth it. So today I challenge you to be a rebel. Be confident. Be beautiful. Be you.
I’d love to hear from you, what makes you feel confident? Where do you need help feeling confident? Leave me a comment in the field below.
Happy sewing and styling,