You may remember that I received an email from Rosina from Middle Ageless about her lack of confidence in her style, which sparked a series of posts about finding your style. I received this email from her, and she’s been generous in letting me publish it.
I thought I’d update you on what has happened since I wrote to you in September of last year. If you recall, I was completely at sea as to why I felt so “visibly wrong” much of the time, and imagined that, if someone looked at me on the street, it was because they thought me weird/ugly/too tall/too much mutton-dressed-as-lamb. This feeling has plagued me since childhood, when I was the “ugly kid” and still am learning to live this down.
These feelings of inadequacy were intensified when family, friends or neighbours commented positively on something I was wearing – usually something unusual for me, such as a brighter colour or bold design. I felt that they were making these remarks because they felt sorry for me in some way. Bright pink suits meand I always get compliments when I wear it but I always feel like a lady of the night.
Your assessment that some of my clothing choices, even though they looked great to others, weren’t a true reflection of the inner me were spot on, Imogen.
I live, breathe and resonate in every way with the sea and seashore. It is a huge part of my soul. When I am wearing the colours of the stones and rocks, or of the sea in all its moods, I am at some sort of peace. Creams, beiges, taupes, greys, a soft grey pink or dusky aqua are all colours that inspire me, even deep navy/black like the ocean at night. Flowing, wave-like shapes with tightly fitting lines are the shapes I feel most comfortable in both literally and in an aesthetic sense. I have never liked shiny, fake looking fabrics or sequins. My jewellery is nearly always silver and incorporates sea themes like sea glass, shells and the exquisite silver etching of our coastal native people. I wear these gorgeous “seaweed” scarves from a lady on Etsy. I am found!
So back to my original letter to you, this all came to a head when I was wearing a burgundy/green/grey plaid dress top with a big bow at the back. No wonder I felt every compliment was actually mocking me. My choice of clothing was mocking the inner me and my conscious was picking up on this in a big way.
You also mentioned which personality trait did I want people to pick up? I always hope it is the fact that I am not as snooty as I look, that I love helping people to achieve their desires in life, to be a facilitator, but a gentle, kindly one. I feel the softer colours and designs/textures reflect this well.
The third part of your exercise was to determine how these choices fit with my lifestyle – that is easy to answer. Layers, lots of the same hue in different shades and textures… I am West Coast casual with a touch of edginess and elegance, so layering over leggings or tight faded jeans and ending up with a long flowing scarf, artfully knotted, suites my home office/run to the shops/ walk along the seashore lifestyle perfectly.
Your final point was that, when the previous points converge, then confidence grows. And it has. I no longer wear anything that fails to fit on with the sea and shoreline in some way. (When I wear pure white, I tell myself it’s seagull poop…) Thank you, thank you for helping me find the inner me and to better reflect that to the outside world. One final note: When someone compliments me now, I smile and say, “Thank you.” I am even beginning to believe them!
Rosina before – in clothes she is complimented on but doesn’t feel comfortable wearing.
Rosina today – in clothes that she enjoys wearing and make her feel confident.