When I meet with my clients, the first thing I ask them is: What are you not comfortable with showing? This question could mean whatever they want it to mean. I have worked with several artists that didn't feel comfortable showing a lot of skin because their management wanted to brand them as wholesome. But, when I get a client that has a laundry list of what they consider "problem areas" then I know that we have bigger fish to fry.
When my clients hire me to style them, they really are hiring me to treat symptoms of a much bigger problem. I'm usually brought in to style someone who is just trying to address their style, not realizing that their personal style (or lack thereof) is a reflection on other things happening in their lives. One woman's "I need to know how to dress my new body." may very well be a cry out for "I need to learn how to accept my new body after losing weight, having kids, etc. etc." or "I want to dress more polished." usually ends up translating to "I can't control anything else about my life, so I at least want to control my closet." At the end of the day, it 99.9 percent of the time boils down to "I want to feel good about my body."
Everyone has their best features, and their not so great features. That statement rings true from everyone. I've had super models, Grammy winners, CEOs of successful companies, and moms all tell me the exact same thing. "I hate my arms." or "My boobs aren't big enough." and the list goes on and on. Notice, that they never really answered my question. They took "What are you not comfortable with showing?" and turned it into "What do you hate about yourself?"
I assure you that if you stand in front of the mirror naked long enough, you will find something to hate. I am so guilty of it. I did it this morning! My least favorite part about myself is my stomach. I have struggled with my weight as long as I can remember. My hips are covered in stretch marks. The skin on my entire body is so sensitive, that the slightest thing breaks me out. So, when I was looking in the mirror today, and pulling faces at my uneven skin tone, and the food baby from last night that I was convinced the rest of the world could see, I have to talk myself down, just like I've talked many of the most beautiful people down. Here is an example of what one of those conversations look like.
Oh, god, oh god! I'm so fat right now. I can't stand to look at myself.
What makes you say that?
I just have this awful food baby from last night. My husband and I went out and got Indian food, and I knew I ate too much! I should have just-
Oh! Your husband took you out? That's so thoughtful! How was the food?
It was SOOOO good, girl! I ate WAY too much! But we had such a great time!
I hear ya! Indian is my favorite! I can understand that you may FEEL bloated, but you certainly don't look it. Let's get you into this outfit, and we can take a quick photo so you can see what I see.
Are you sure?
Absolutely. You are beautiful.
It isn't phony, it's the truth! Sometimes we fall down the rabbit hole of nitpicking ourselves to death. Find what triggers you. Is it stress that causes you to binge eat, and in return, hate your bloat? Is it scrolling through Instagram and looking at someone else who's perfectly toned, living their dream life? I am SO guilty of doing so! But, I have managed to come up with a nice tool that I like to call DEFLECT AND APPRECIATE! Here's how it works.
What is something you don't like about yourself?
I don't like my stomach.
It is covered in stretch marks.
What made it that way?
I got stretch marks from losing weight.
Ask yourself who would I be without that negative thought?
I would be a happier person if I didn't focus so much on my stretch marks.
Turn it around. Appreciate your flaw.
I have stretch marks from losing weight. By losing weight, it was easier for me adapt to a healthier lifestyle, that will benefit me in the long run. I am grateful for my stretch marks, because they are a sign of how far I have come!
Do this with every thing you can not stand about yourselves. It may take you an hour, or it may take you days, but I want you to go through ever single little thing that you feel makes you less than worthy. Maybe you don't like your boobs because they lost their "oomph" after you had a few babies. You can be grateful that your body was strong enough to bring life in this world. Perhaps you aren't fond of your big feet. Your feet hold you up! And you've got them! Not everyone does! How lucky are you? Those big boats of yours keep you upright, and keep you mobile!
After you're done with your list, I want you to do something for me. Take a photo of what you don't like about yourself. Document what you don't like. I took nude photos on my phone (deleted them afterwards) and realized that even though I may not like my skin, and I might focus too much on my stomach that isn't "perfect", in the grand scheme of Payton, it's really not all that noticeable! Snap as many photos as it takes to learn to appreciate that part of your body. I then want you to hang up your hangups. Put them in the back of the closet that is your mind. We only want the most beautiful pieces to be front and center. Bad self talk is like the ratty old sweatpants you've had since college. They're a fact of life, and you may hold on to them, but we don't need that to be the first thing we see when it comes to selecting your thoughts for the day. You must learn to select your thoughts about yourself just as you would select what you are wearing for the day. Your thoughts will reflect how you feel about yourself outwardly, just as your clothes say who you are to the world.
So, hang up those hangups! You can't even begin to start figuring out your own personal style until you've addressed that first.
Self love is the foundation to finding your personal style, and rocking it.