Hey there. You. Yeah you. Don't be shy! I want to talk about a common reaction people have when they find out that I have a fashion blog. It's a reaction I've had to professionals in the fashion industry when I've had the pleasure of meeting them, so it's made me reflect on the reaction myself. That reaction is to immediately apologise for my appearance, to ask them not to judge what I'm wearing and to feel really small. When people do that in response to finding out I have a fashion blog, I want to stop them and stomp on those thoughts right away. Here are the wise thoughts of some professionals I respect, on this reaction...
I'm not someone who takes any pleasure in seeing people fail. I certainly don't need to have other people beneath me to feel like I'm successful or justified in being who I am. When I see other people being bold and confident and successful, it makes me feel that I too can be those things. I don't see fashion as an opportunity to measure what is in, what isn't, and use that as a device to stand on a pedestal of other people's shortcomings. I follow many bloggers who's taste in fashion is totally unlike my own, because I love their individuality and the confidence they have in their style.
Since having other people do this odd 'oh gosh, please don't judge me based on what I'm wearing' self conscious ritual I used to do, it's taught me a lot about me and how I have interacted with brilliant fashion identities in the past. Here are 3 things that I've learned in my day job from the magnificent minds around me, that apply to this and to the world around you.
Do not apologise. Your existence needs no apology.- Ellen, my uncompromising manager and mentor.
What does this mean? When you apologise for not being fashionable, you're apologising for not meeting the assumed standards of someone else. Legit. You've totally just handed yourself in a little bundle to someone else with a gift card that reads 'I don't even know what parameters you are going to judge me by but I'm going to tell you I will probably be found wanting, and I'm sorry in advance for that, please don't hurt me.'
You've just given them absolute control over you. No one needs that level of domination over another person. You are a strong, unique and brilliant individual (who probably doesn't spend enough time celebrating your victories), and you are worthy of the space you are standing in. Respect, like confidence, is earned through hard work. If you're working hard, you deserve to know what parameters other people are measuring you with. Why? Because small people will move goal posts and change parameters to keep you beneath their feet. You can absolutely call them out on that. You can even spot when someone's opinion is worth valuing by whether or not they want to keep you beneath them like this, or if they even measure up to their own standards. Someone else's opinion does not measure your value, so don't give them that power over you.
Do not ever feel like you have to justify yourself to other people.- Brian, my other powerful boss and mentor.
Just stop. When you start justifying what you are wearing (a big part of your identity) to anyone else, you're self sabotaging. Your intentionally diminishing yourself because you're terrified someone is judging you and small people make smaller targets. Refer back to point 1. Be brave enough to know yourself better than other people. You are the only authority on you. This brings me to the third point.
Do not be intimidated by the people in front of you, you know this better than they do.- Professor Marcia Devlin, my icon and current career crush.
How does this apply to fashion? There are no fashion secrets that other people might know better than you. Fashion is not some big practical joke where any moment someone is going to point you out and say 'there! That one doesn't belong! They clearly don't know this important rule we all do. Oh ha dee ha. Let's all scoff and sip cocktails made from the tears of unfashionable people.' That right there is called perceived fraudulence or the imposter phenomenon. You have a right to be you. You are attending your own party. No one can scoff at you for wearing a whole packet of party hats like a human technicolor cactus like their opinion even matters. You can't be an imposter at your own party. No one knows YOU and YOUR STYLE better than YOU. If anyone ever says anything judgemental about your personal fashion or style (no matter how understated your style is) they're trying to use you as a human stepping stone because they're terrified of the inadequacy they see inside their own self when someone else succeeds. They feel like a fraud themselves, because they can't feel successful without dragging you beneath themselves to prove it.
So what do you do when you meet someone and you think that their success greatly overshadows your own? Don't be small. Be eager. Supporting their success and being interested in their achievement is a great way to see how they have achieved what they have and to see how you can incorporate their knowledge into the hard work you are putting in yourself. Empower other people to empower yourself. Looking forward to the day people recognise you for your own hard work? Start supporting the people that you respect for their hard work now.
Hat: slightly modified, bought in France.
Read the ridiculous story of this hat came into my life here.
Top: sold out - Modcloth
Skirt: sold out - Review
Shoes: sold out - Modcloth
Photos: the Goldfields Girl
I hope you've enjoyed meeting my mentors! Be kind to yourself.