It’s time to stop playing small. It’s time to end the Style Shame.
Like many women, I’ve been bullied and shamed.
Growing up, I was targeted by one of my best friends and ousted from our friend group. It turned out to be jealousy in part because of how I looked (let’s be clear — I was not one of the popular girls or even trying to stand out at that time). This does not help a young girl still developing her own identity and confidence. I learned it was safer NOT to stand out.
When I was in school, I didn’t like the unwelcome comments that I would get for my figure, so I was always very aware of not showing too much.
When I was at my first job out of college, in accounting for a major department store, I was often mistaken for a buyer by the way I dressed (for myself). This was a compliment.
Compare that to my second job, as a corporate merchandiser, when I was told by my boss that I needed to dress differently if I wanted to be promoted. This was about her judging my style as not trendy enough.
Now, to be clear, I was not dressing inappropriately — not too casual, not too much skin, not as if I wasn’t taking work and my presence seriously.
While I understood part of the point of the criticism from my boss to be ‘on brand, it still made me feel ashamed and uncool.
Still, I found a way play with what I had, update my wardrobe with what I could afford and find a way to honor MY style while recognizing that I worked for a brand. And it ultimately led to leaving to launch Ustyled.
So, it all works out in the end!
But, holy smokes it’s frustrating in the beginning!
If you’re looking at those perfectly curated Instagram posts and outfits and thinking that you should be able to do that, too … STOP!
First of all, those women LOVE clothes and style. This is a job for them (some a #sidehustle, some full time). This is NOT a job for you!
Additionally, while a lot of the clothes are gifted or on loan, they really do have giant wardrobes. It takes a lot of work to curate those photos and a lot of time (and money!) to invest in the clothes.
THAT IS NOT NECESSARY FOR MOST WOMEN!
Likely not necessary for you. (Quality wins over quantity … as well as mixing & matching!)
However, you can certainly use these women as inspiration — the colors, textures, shapes that you’re drawn to — those give you insight into what you love.
Anyway, FASHION does not equal STYLE.
(Also, the 90’s can can keep their overalls and choker necklaces, in my opinion!)
Style is all about YOU
Style is about how you can play with clothes and use them as a form of expression.
What I do love about trends is when you can use them to your advantage — a style or shape that works really well for your body type, a color that you LOVE finally getting some playtime in the stores, adding some PLAY to your style, etc.
Not to mention we already have enough to consider dressing professionally as women.
We don’t want to ‘distract’ with our looks, do we? Can you relate to this? I certainly can and it’s been a big part of my own #StylePower evolution (one that I continue to move through).
Ending Style Shame is just as much about OWNING your own style and not worrying about what others are doing as it is about ending the shame we feel around dressing as a WOMAN in a professional environment.
Yes, you can dress to honor your body and NOT distract from the immense value you’re bringing to your work.
I’ll be honest, I don’t love taking the pictures for our ‘Wear three Ways’ posts. (Here are some of the outtakes for our most recent Wear Three Ways post). I do it for YOU, my dear!
>> I mean, getting the footing, the hair, trying to get those walking photos that are somehow perfect? Clearly, I’m having fun, right?! But, eventually, we got the shot! (Mostly thanks to my patient friend!)
With what we share, my goal is to help you find your perfect new accessory, the work bag you’ve been looking for, the new blazer that will make ‘throw on and go style’ a reality.
I want to help you see yourself in these clothes.
As we move forward in 2017, I have a lot of plans for playing bigger with Ustyled, for YOU. So you can have fun and cultivate confidence in your style and OWN it.
We’ll continue to share designers we think you’ll love that offer great quality and value.
We’ll continue to highlight badass women leaders with our soon-to-launch Leadership Style Power podcast and #StylePower Instagram takeovers.
We’ll continue offer tools and resources to help you define, evolve and OWN your style, over time.
A request for you:
I am looking to bring the conversation of Leadership Style Power into more organizations and companies so we can change the conversation around style to empowering and effective, not shaming. If you know anyone, I’d love if you would share Ustyled with them and we can always connect!