Dress Well

Just Right

Confidence is not something you put on. It is a kind of resting in yourself.

Sometimes I feel like I’m not enough. Not as pretty as the girl in the magazine. Not as driven as the writer getting published. Not as courageous as the activist putting themselves on the line. When I want to be so many things other than who I am, when I desire so much more than what I have, I return to these simple words.

You, as you are, you are just right

your face, body, name

for you, they are just right.

Whether poor or rich

your parents, your children

your daughter-in-law, your grandchildren

they are, all for you, just right.

Happiness, unhappiness, joy and even sorrow

for you, they are just right.

by Goromatsu Mayekawa

A man once told me that confidence is not something you put on; it is a kind of resting in yourself. Instead of wishing I was more ambitious, popular, privileged, I can be grateful for having exactly what I have and for being exactly who I am in this moment. Those things I want to change – my straight hair, my un-Jennifer-Aniston-like arms, my tiny abode, my crazy relatives, my quiet moods, they are all just right for me.

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Dress It Up

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Repurpose what’s already in your closet.

I used to buy outfits for special occasions only to find that after the party, I rarely used them. Before splurging for that upcoming wedding or “Dirty 30” bash, check out these tips to repurpose what’s already in your closet.

Solid Statement. Find solid-colored items with a nice cut and mix in key accessories. A casual jersey dress or a fitted tee and skirt can be elevated with statement pieces like a bold necklace, an elegant pair of shoes and a swanky clutch. For the gents, try some quirky socks, a fun watch or tie to stand out in a sea of suits.

Work Wear. The last thing we want to think about are our day jobs, but hear me out. Work attire is sexy! Pairing black pants with a silk blouse and stilettos or a wrap dress with chandelier earrings is boss. One day I’m going to wear pants to a wedding and it is going to be awesome.

The Understatement. There are a few pieces in my closet (a bridesmaid dress from my parents’ wedding, a vintage disco gown from this Austin gem) that seem a little too specific or over-the-top for most occasions. But, by turning down the volume on accessories and primping – think gladiator sandals, undone hair and minimal makeup, it totally works! I wore the bridesmaid dress to a fundraiser once and people loved the story behind it.

I find when I repurpose items from my closet, I have more fun. Perhaps I’m more comfortable in my tried and true clothes or maybe I’m secretly satisfied that nobody realizes they’re 10 years old.

P.S. I’m wearing an old homecoming dress in the photo on the right.

Makeup Free

In that moment, I discovered life can be much more fun without perfectly done makeup and high heels.

One sociology experiment in college changed the way I think about beauty. Each week we challenged one social expectation such as standing in an elevator backwards or simply being in a crowded space without moving. The most intense of these was one full day without looking at our reflection (for a girl in her heyday of makeup and frat parties, this was asking a lot).

I totally committed to the assignment, avoiding my reflection in bathroom faucets and windows. It was the first time I went without makeup in probably, years. I was driving around my old neighborhood and a car full of boys were making crazy noises. I remember thinking, “What’s going on?” The whole day I felt invisible without my “face on.” I was beginning to revel in the anonymity of it. It never occurred to me that their cat calls were directed at me.

Their hooting and hollering woke me up and I realized, I’m still here even without all that extra stuff. It was a wonderful revelation. I could stop trying so hard. I could feel the wind on my face and forget about smudging or retouching. The less I manufacture my image to the world, the more free I am in it.

Those teenage boys taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. Life can be much more fun without perfectly done makeup and high heels.

If you’re game, I invite you to try it – one day without looking at your reflection. I’d love to hear about your experiences below.