The ‘This woman is beautiful’ Challenge

Sometimes, life has a way of bringing even the most confident people down. I’ve been continuing to re-examine what I talk about in this blog, as I want it to be a place of positivity and motivation for those who come to it. So this week I am going to tell you a story and follow it up with a pretty simple challenge.

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When I was in college I knew this absolutely fierce woman. When I look back, I often think I put her on a pedestal because she possessed many qualities that I was envious to have. She was cool and calm in almost all of the right situations. Cruel and calculated when the occasion called for it. But in the privacy of her home she was kind and unapologetic. I know her now to also be incredibly sensitive and just as damaged as the rest of us, maybe more, but her fervor enamored me. I would spend hours on the floor of her one bedroom apartment listening to her talk, listening to her music, listening for how I would somehow absorb some of this tenacity.

 

There are many things I remember well about her apartment, but the one I always like the most was the fact that she always wrote at the top of her mirrors in dry erase marker. Messages to herself, messages of things for her to remember. The mirror in the hallway, which was the mirror you saw last before you left her apartment, said, “this woman is beautiful.” It quite frankly offended me. I thought, that’s super conceded, but as I chewed on the idea it grew on me. As copying is the sincerest form of flattery, I decided to discretely go home and try it on my mirror in my bedroom. The difference those words make in the way you feel before you leave the house is astounding. I started changing the text a little:

“This woman is beautiful.” “This woman is smart.” “This woman is hilarious.” “This woman is not a door mat.” “This woman deserves to be loved” “This woman is a bad ass.”

I even annoyed my roommate by leaving these messages on our bathroom mirror with the collective, “these women.” Self positive talk doesn’t have to be as ridiculous as that old SNL skit.

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But sometimes we need to remind each other how awesome we are. So It isn’t a leap to where I am going with this weeks challenge and it’s certainly not a new concept. Get a dry erase marker and have at it! Mirrors, windows, shower doors. There is only one stipulation, it has to be something positive. Try it for the whole week. If you find it works, try it for a month. I find it helpful in those months where I’m having trouble motivating myself.

Keep positive my lovely readers,

❤ Evelynlouise

Stress Dressing: Dressing in a Pinch

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The reality of my world as far as stress dressing is concerned, and I confirmed this with my significant other, usually has two modes. The first is when I am just having a general day of being busy, frustrated, or down is usually improved by the ability to wear jeans (this can’t always happen with my job, but I have a nice pair of black dress slacks for those days. I have one pair of jeans, that no matter what kind of day I’m having fit like a glove (Thank you stretch denim). I usually always pair this with a comfortable cardigan or sweater. Sweaters to me look classy and they just feel really good on your body. The second mode is on the other end of the spectrum. When I am having a day of high stress or uncertainty and I am feeling really uncomfortable with myself, I will make sure to take the extra time to put in to my appearance. The simple task of putting on some mascara and eye shadow, a pair of earrings and a very nice dress will change my whole outlook on the day. I guess it’s that old “dress for success” concept.

Whatever your level of stress dressing, my basic advise is to simplify everything. Overthinking gets us all in trouble. To build off of last week’s entry about simplifying your wardrobe, I think it’s really about being more comfortable in your skin. I’ve said before and I will say it a million times, if you feel terrible about who you are, no amount of stuff is really going to make it better. It may temporarily relieve your feelings, but you’re looking to lighten your load over all. Stress is usually caused by this oppressive amount of stuff that has to be completed in a timely manner. It can be caused by a multitude of things you can’t control, and wouldn’t it be nice if looking your best wasn’t anywhere on those lists?

I was asked to elaborate a little about my personal go-to pieces for days when I’m not at the height of my game, so here are my best suggestions for on the go wear that makes the whole process a bit more streamlined. You may not like my choices, but that’s the glory of fashion. Find your own go to pieces that make you feel awesome! It is in the end you who has to wear it.

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Evelynlouise’s top go-to pieces.

  1. Shoes. Own at least one pair of classic black flats, that have enough arch support and padding that you can stand in them for hours or just slip on for a day of lounging. A pair of slip on flats will dress up an outfit more than a pair of sneakers, but they should be comfortable enough that you don’t mind doing a multitude of tasks in them. Some women feel this way about kitten heels. Personally, I say black leather flats.
  2.  A little black dress that fits like a glove. It is perfect for almost anything except for a rodeo or a formal event. You can dress it up with jewelry or sweaters. Color or go as simple as possible, just like Audrey Hepburn. If you’re not a dress person I would say a nice pair of black slacks is a good place to start and a well fitting black top. Why black? It’s slimming, it hides lumps and bumps, it creates an elongated and continuous line with your body, it matches anything including the aforementioned black flats, and it’s just classy!
  3. A cardigan that you just can’t stop wearing. In my not so humble opinion, the perfect cardigan sweater should feel like a hug on your bad days, a snuggle on your ‘sitting at home reading a book’ days and a professional asset on your work days. I suggest splurging on a good sweater, heathered or tweed to punch up the class, and something that has some shape (not just a sack). And you know what’s great about a cardigan? You can wear it with that Little Black dress and your flats and feel amazing.
  4. A pair of classy earrings. Single set diamond, pearls, something that you find beautiful. You would be amazed at how far a pair of earrings goes to class up your whole look and make you feel like you put more effort into your look than you really did.
  5. At least 1 blouse. I usually go with a color that compliments my eyes or black as it is slimming.  I love blouses that don’t cling to my midsection, I tend to also lean toward knits, and I like a blouse to have at least one interesting detail such as a lace neckline, or princess seams. If I can wear my cardigan with it, this is a bonus for me.
  6. A nice fitting pair of jeans or slacks. Again right now I have a pair of dark wash skinny jeans that just feel amazing on my body. I’ve discovered as I get older, nothing makes me crabbier about wearing pants than a waistband that digs in to my stomach. Buy a pair that fit. Hem them, and you are good to go.

I think for me the elements of stress dressing come down to having those interchangeable wardrobe pieces. I hope this was helpful fashionistas!

❤ Evelynlouise

 

Being a more effortless dresser

When I was in college I had this ugly long sleeve grey converse t-shirt that had 5 navy blue stars down one of the sleeves and a giant navy blue star on the front. It was oversized, the sleeves were too long and generally I wore it on days when I had spent the night before crying and I woke up feeling bloated and ugly. The biggest problem with this shirt? It made me look bloated and ugly.

We all have days where confidence, piece of mind, or ample time are at our disposal. On those days you don’t have time to stand in front of a mirror and grab hold of any roll you can to jiggle it and berate yourself. Quite frankly, if I could get rid of this in any woman’s daily ritual I would.

In learning how to better dress myself and not go for the long sleeve shirt that was easy for wiping tears off my face, it took me years to find pieces that made me feel comfortable and beautiful (and were flattering on my body. My ultimate Ah-ha moment came when I was watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Have you seen the scene where Paul and she are talking and she is getting ready to go visit her friend in jail? The effortless ease in which she slips in to her little black dress, puts in some earrings, slips on some kitten heels, adds a hat and leaves the house looking marvelous! I mean common! She didn’t even do her hair! But, to me dressing for your everyday should be this effortless!

I was asked to elaborate on what my stress pieces were, what I go to now when I’m in a pinch or on the go, and I feel that before I even get into my go to’s it is important to talk about how to simplify your wardrobe so that being a nicely dressed individual is over all a less stressful task. So this week I’m focusing in on effortless dressing.

Evelynlouise’s Steps to being a more effortless dresser:

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1. Get a haircut you love and love to do. Have you seen the new Aussie hair product commercial? the motto is “ditch the hair drama.” It’s a truth though. If you hate standing in front of the mirror with a straightener, then stop doing it! There is no reason to spend as much time on your hair as the girls from Jersey Shore, every time you leave the house. Go to a real stylist have them help you find a haircut that is right for you, that frames your face well, that you love and has a level of maintenance that you are comfortable to upkeep.

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2. Think ahead to the event you are dressing for. Last minute stress over whether or not you can find that one pair of shoes for that job interview the next day can be avoided by laying out your outfit the night before. Think through your whole look for a special event, especially if it’s one where appearance is important.

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3. Stop buying clothes that you’re never going to wear. I don’t care if you are standing in Goodwill and it’s only $3. If you don’t fall in love with it on your body the minute you put it on. PUT IT BACK! It lessens the clutter in your closet. That mountain of stuff you have to wade through to find the clothes you actually want to wear.

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4. You don’t need an apothecary’s equivalent to skin care. Sunscreen, lotion, foundation, mascara, 2 good pallets of eye shadow (one for evening, one for day), and chapstick. When I wear make-up this is about it. I own 2 shades of lipstick that I wear about 3 times a year. Again, it goes back to my advice with the hair. If you love a high maintenance routine, then power to you, but you have a face under there, it is beautiful stop filling it with crap. It takes me 10 minutes from beginning to end to put on make-up. Unless you’re headed for a photo-shoot or a wedding, I don’t see why it should ever take more time than this.

Tune in Next week for my personal go-to’s for a more comfortable and simplified wardrobe.

In the meant time keep building yourself up!

❤ Evelynlouise

 

 

It really is them, not you.

To my dearest readers plus size and otherwise,

I am choosing to use this week as a “think-it-over” week for all of you out there who like myself have difficulties in the fashion world. It really doesn’t matter what size you are. Size 0-32, we all have difficulty finding comfort in our own skin. The fashion industry is a weird place. Some of it wrecks our self-image unintentionally and some of it purposefully puts before us unobtainable standards in order to get us to buy more stuff. It’s a constant push toward something we will never attain. Why? Because we keep giving them our money.

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I don’t want to completely soap box you, but with the photo shop machine it’s hard for some to accept that Barbie sets an incredible high standard for human beings. She’s just a doll after all. I myself have been feeling rather bummed lately, and I think it’s time to have a nice reminder that there really are people working against you and we should all learn to embrace our bodies and encourage each other. I’m not saying let’s all go get bikini’s and bare all, I’m just saying give yourself a little body love!

You only have one remember?

My very good friend in Colorado sent me this great article about someone who has been studying in-depth the issues of plus size women and the fashion industry. It’s a good thought-provoking read, maybe a bit subversive, but it gets the wheels turning.

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Keep your heads up! We all have something awesome to bring to the table. The fashion industry is too big to let one faction of it get us down.

❤ Evelynlouise