YODA WAS WRONG

“Do or do not do. There is no try.”

Probably true in Jedi circles; I never applied to Jedi school and probably would not get in if I did. But in my book, trying is everything. Nobody is really expecting perfection; the best we can do in any situation is to simply give it a try.

Three words: Ear Hair Trimmer

Three words: Ear Hair Trimmer

Yesterday I wrote an article about some of my personal fashion pet peeves, and they all have the same bottom line: it upsets me when people don’t try. I’m not talking about spending hours on hair & makeup to prepare for a trip to Target, I know you’re busy and I suspect you don’t give much of a rat’s ass what I think anyway. However, I do think it’s good for the soul to put some thought into how you present yourself to the world. I want you to give a rat’s ass what YOU think.

"I know all about art. I just don't know what I like."

“I know all about art. I just don’t know what I like.”

And I don’t mean spending lots of money, following the latest trends, emulating your favorite icon, or dressing for the job you want vs the job you have – UNLESS these are things that make you happy. What I’m really talking about is dusting off that old freak flag and flying it high.

Don't forget to use the Lord & Taylor Accessory Wall...thoughtfully.

Don’t forget to use the Lord & Taylor Accessory Wall…thoughtfully.

I personally spent the decades between ages 13 and 39 trying to figure out what kind of clothes would best represent me and look halfway decent on my figure. I did a neon 80’s phase, a preppy phase, a goth phase, a dressy phase, a punky phase, a business phase…I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. My inability to either fit in or stand out continued into adulthood. I wore pink vinyl go-go boots with boxy sweaters & frumpy homemade skirts, long shapeless knit maxi-dresses with sequined flip-flops…to the OFFICE. I’m surprised they didn’t drug-test me.

If only I'd had the confidence to rock it with attitude.

If only I’d had the confidence to rock it     with attitude.

The thing was, I thought about fashion all the time, I just didn’t know what to do about it. I’ve always walked the size line between “Misses” and “Plus” so my options always felt limited. So, I bought whatever fit, regardless of style, and the result was either hopelessly boring or borderline mental patient.

You bore me, baby.

I’m bored, baby.

But at least I was trying. I tried and tried and tried until one day, I stumbled upon a look that worked for me. I was too nervous to fully embrace it at first, but eventually became comfortable enough to lean into it and embrace my newfound personal style. Then I began looking around, to see how other people embrace or ignore their personal style. It’s actually pretty fascinating to see not just how people want the world to perceive them, but how they perceive themselves.

Lord have mercy, I am fabulous!

Lord have mercy, I am fabulous!

I may have sounded a little negative yesterday, but the truth is that all kinds of fashions make me happy. In my hometown, there are a lot of very stylish people who dress on-trend, having lunch with artists who can make a fabulous ensemble out of thrift store finds. We have men who dress like women, women who dress like construction workers, people who dress for nightclubs on a weekday morning and people who go to nightclubs looking like they’re about to clean the garage. Folks here know a little bit about flying their freak flag, but it doesn’t always have to be so extreme. If a tailored, designer suit makes you happy, then maybe your freak flag is subtle and tasteful. My personal flag has polka dots and red lipstick and hair flowers. What makes YOU happy??

I said, polka dots make me HAPPY, dammit!!

I said, polka dots make me HAPPY, dammit!!

Think about how little kids would dress, when left to their own devices. Would you ever see a 6-year-old girl opt throw on an old pair of jeans and a faded sweatshirt? I don’t know that many kids, maybe they would. But my perception is that dressing wild and crazy is fun. They don’t know a lot about New York Fashion Week, they just know what makes them happy.

Cape NOT optional.

Cape NOT optional.

My objection to “the lazy look” is that it just isn’t making anybody happy, especially yourself. If you don’t already do this on a regular basis, give in to your inner child sometime and see how it makes you feel. Wear lime-colored tights and a pink tutu with a leather biker jacket and saddle shoes. Or wear a designer suit if that’s how you feel inside. Copy the latest “Who Wore It Best” ensemble from a gossip mag, or wear rubber boots & a prom dress. Just put some thought into how you’re addressing the world with your appearance. Wrap yourself in your freak flag and rock it like you mean it. It might not turn out the way you wanted at first, but all that matters is that you gave it a shot. Will people stare? Maybe. Most of them are just wishing they had the guts to have a little fun with their own clothes.

Feeling nervous about your style? Try "beer" for instant confidence!

Feeling nervous about your style? Try “beer” for instant confidence!

And don’t tell me how hard it is to find cute clothes because you’re not a certain dress size. I KNOW this one, very very well. I’ve never been small and there are still fashions I covet that simply aren’t available in my size. It takes more work to find flattering clothes that fit me, it really does. But it’s worth it. Is it more “comfortable” to just wear soft yoga pants and baggy tops when I leave the house? No, it’s lazy. It’s comfortable to feel good inside, knowing that I look sharp and feel happy, knowing that I could still turn heads and have strangers ask me where I shop. That makes me feel good. Feeling good about yourself is more comfortable than feeling bad. Don’t take my word for it. TRY IT!

Stay pretty, my friends.

XOXO,

Jean

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