Every so often I get comments saying, “I wish I could wear ___.” Sometime it’s lipstick. Sometimes it’s dresses. Sometimes it’s bright colors. On one hand I feel like if you want to wear something, wear it! On the other hand I know that it can be hard to make the leap from admiring something on other people to actually wearing it out in public. So here’s what I do when I want to introduce something a little out-there into my wardrobe.
1. Start off slow and subtle. When I started wearing lipstick all the time, I started off with a sheer, fairly natural color. It was a good way to learn how to apply lipstick well, how to eat and drink without getting lipstick everywhere, and get into the habit of re-applying without having it be super obvious when I failed. It was my training wheel stage. Similarly, when I started wearing pants with a super high waistline, I started off with a pair of black skinny jeans so I could get comfortable with the cut and style before moving on to something a bit more bold. Neither were flashy choices, and that allowed me to ease myself in so I was confident to try more new things.
2. Get used to things at home. Days when you’re planning to be home all day are the best days to try new looks out. I often find myself with pieces of clothing that I think are too wild to wear in public, so I just wear them around the house. After wearing them at home for a bit, I get really comfortable with them as pieces in my wardrobe, and I no longer have second thoughts about wearing them out and about. That’s what happened with croptops for me. I used to be uncomfortable with the idea of showing a bit of midriff outside of my house but I liked wearing them at home. Eventually they just seemed like a normal piece of my summer wardrobe, and I started wearing them everywhere.
3. Don’t assign extra meaning to comments. People have a tendency to make comments when something is different, but that doesn’t mean they think it’s a bad change– just different. It’s easier to understand this when you’re normally a dress wearer, have jeans on one day, and get jeans-wearers commenting that it’s unusual seeing you wearing them, too. Obviously those people don’t think wearing jeans is silly or bad. They’re only saying something because what you’re wearing is different from what they’re used to. If you’re feeling a little self-conscious, it can be easy to interpret that kind of comment as passive-aggressively negative, but that’s rarely the intent, in my experience.
4. Practice makes perfect. When it comes to some new things like hairstyling and makeup, there are actual skills to develop that require practice. It’s hard to skip straight from never wearing makeup to wearing lipstick without getting it on your chin or teeth! Clothing can require practice, too. Sometimes you need to practice walking in heels or the kind of posture that vintage lingerie requires to avoid getting jabbed by wires (that stuff was not built for slouching). You might not perfectly accomplish whatever you’re trying for the first time. That’s okay! That’s why point number 2 is so helpful. You don’t have to show the world something new you’re trying if you’re not comfortable yet. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my attempts at vintage hairstyles! I’ve been playing with it off and on since I was a sophomore in college and have only really started sharing it in the last few years. I’m still not horribly good at it, but I can see results from my practice.
5. Fake it ‘til you make it. If you act like you feel confident and amazing in what you’re wearing, other people will pick up on the attitude you’re projecting. No one will know that you’re a little unsure about your look if you pretend to be comfortable. They’ll just feel the good vibes you’re sending out, and that will bounce back to you so eventually you won’t have to act.