I recently attended a Mad Women of Toronto event (hosted by the ICA and Microsoft Canada) and one of the primary topics was how women dress. A panel of women, which included one of the authors of the new bestseller Women In Clothes, Sheila Heti, engaged our group of 75 young professional women on the topic of dressing for success.
I don’t consider myself to be without style but, personally, I feel I could do better. A snag in my tights, an undone manicure, I felt I was always short of the finish line in terms of looking ‘my best’. When Q&A time began, I raised my hand and asked my question to this panel of women whose collective experience with style would no doubt shed light on this.
“Is it normal to always feel like I’m only 85% there with my style?” I asked. I went on to explain how a touch of Shellac remained on my nails and how my Canadian winter boots didn’t necessarily match my outfit, with my white sock visible around my ankle. The question seemed to raise a stir with the panel and the audience.
“Is it normal to always feel like I’m only 85% there with my style?”
“I don’t think you should ever be 100% there. That last 15% is subjective. Who’s to say you aren’t already reaching your full style potential?” Answered Heather Mallick, Toronto Star Columnist and one of the day’s panelists.
It struck a chord. So many dialogues and commentaries nowadays talk about dressing for success and for the job you want, not the job you have. The requirement to dress well is more prominent than ever. Is that why I felt inadequate? My Chelsea boots from The Gap were this season’s, I wore a dress I ADORE and which has been in my collection for years, and my hair and makeup were tasteful. Why did I only feel like I was meeting the standard and not exceeding it? The learning was clear: maybe I just had to rethink the standard.
The requirement to dress well is more prominent than ever. Is that why I felt inadequate?
Sheila Heti further answe red my question with a personal story. Isabella Rossellini, daughter of Ingrid Bergman and overall fashionista/stunner, was once at a meeting with Heti’s friend. Her friend recalled the flawless Rossellini to be all but perfect, save for the fact she was wearing thick gym socks with a fancy outfit – the kind of socks that pulled up past her ankles. But no one even blinked. Rossellini pulled off the look with the utmost confidence.
And confidence is what it’s all about. That is the secret to the last 15%. The learning was clear: maybe I just had to rethink the standard. And it has stuck. Own whatever style you are wearing with confidence and others will feel like you are at your 100%, even if you have doubts.
You can read Melanie’s blog at http://www.ademoiselle.com or follow her on Twitter. Add your comments below – how does confidence affect your personal style?