I used to hate sweatpants. I mean, loathe. Mostly because of what they represent (defeat, apathy, a saggy butt). I hated that the one allowance to slack that most women give themselves is in their appearance—as if being a great student or successful boss were more important than feeling good about themselves.
I want(ed) to shake women who were running errands in sweatpants and say: You can do better! You are worth more!
How to Dress with Intention
I would bet real American dollars that the reason many women choose their version of sweatpants, whether it’s a baggy pullover, flip flops or ill-fitting slacks, is because the idea of dressing with intention is so dang intimidating. It’s easier to dress the way you always have, even if you know it’s unflattering, because change requires taking risk.
Change requires putting yourself out there and showing the world: I am worth feeling beautiful and powerful and I love exactly who I am.
My hope is that if you walk through these steps with me, you’ll see that dressing with intention could seep into other, bigger areas of your life—even your feelings self-worth. And if you read nothing else, please skip to number four right now.
1. Buy only clothes that you love
My personal rule is that if I don’t love it in the store, I certainly won’t love it at home. How many times have you bought a piece, only to let it sag on a hanger in a sad little corner of your closet? Not only are you wasting money, but you’re left with the guilt of buying something you didn’t need and an underlying feeling of inadequacy because “you don’t look good in it.”
There is something crucial I need you to understand about those clothes. You don’t have some crazy body that clothes just don’t look good on. It is the clothes that don’t fit, not you. Please don’t leave a dressing room believing that there is something wrong with you. Try a different size, style or fit than you’re comfortable with and see if you aren’t surprised.
Buying clothes you love can and should also mean buying clothes you feel good about wearing. By choosing ethically made options, we’re helping ensure that the workers who made our clothes were paid a fair wage in safe conditions. What’s not to love?
2. Dress your body as it is—not as you want it to be
How many pairs of jeans have you saved hoping they would one day fit again? How often do you avoid shopping because you don’t want to try on clothes in your size?
You will never feel good in your clothing if it doesn’t fit you properly. And you will continue to take forever to get ready if your clothes (that are the wrong size!) inevitably highlight each of your so-called flaws. This is the opposite of efficiency. Buy. your. size. today.
3. Spend intentional time defining your style
Defining your own style takes practice. I would truly encourage you to spend some time on Pinterest pinning anything you love onto a style board. It doesn’t have to be what your style is today—I’m talking what you want it to be.
Take some time to analyze what the images have in common. Are they more edgy? Feminine? Preppy? Vintage? Minimal? What are the specific elements that make up that style (e.g. a leather jacket, an A-line skirt, a slouchy V-neck)?
I think this is a key step many women never in their life take the time to think about. You are worth taking a moment to define your own style so you can feel confident in whatever you wear.
4. Value yourself enough to change
You were made on purpose for a purpose.
Does your personal style (or lack thereof) define you? Heck no! But if you wake up with enough confidence to pull something off of a hanger that truly makes you feel beautiful, maybe you can start believing that you have something of worth to contribute.
Perhaps if you believe you’re worth investing in on such a simple level as a wardrobe, you can start to understand why you are worth investing in as a person.
What is it that you need confidence to do? To ask for a raise? To quit the job you hate? To listen to the still small voice in your heart that whispers, “Yes, you were made for more!”
You were made for more
Hear me—every marathon starts with the first step. Will you run your race well?
Your first step could be cleaning out your closet because of the literal and emotional baggage it carries: T-shirts from exes, pants from when you were that size.
It is all holding you back. It may seem like just a pile of thread and grommets, but I guarantee there are some memories you haven’t yet dealt with hiding in those old sweaters and low-rise jeans.
So if your first step is a ruthless closet purge, please make the time. Like, now. And don’t look back.
Daniella is a full-time copywriter living in the Midwest with her husband and two dogs. She spends most of her time helping babes with big hearts use their personal style to do good in the world and feel good in their skin. You can find her at foxandbloom.co and @foxandbloomco.