Sometimes you see a woman with a strong sense of style and you feel this mixed twinge of admiration and beguilement. A running monologue begins: She looks so good — how is she pulling off that sock and heel look? Man, I wish I could wear a pillbox hat like that. You look away, focusing on the coffee menu again. But then your eyes wander back, and you start checking her out all side-eyed. I’d probably just look silly. You know what would happen with me? It’d fall off my head and I’d have to keep on walking straight like nothing happened, leaving it behind on the sidewalk. Yeah, I’d never be able to handle that.
We’re weighed down with a lot of self doubt and a lot of nervousness over what fellow commuters and 7 a.m. coffee buyers might think. Even if what we really, really want to do is try out a trend and let ourselves play with something outside of our norm for a bit. Even if it's just for an afternoon. And by denying ourselves this moment to dabble, we’re really doing ourselves a big disservice.
Think about it: Taking risks, any kind of risks, leads to internal growth. Embracing risk-taking helps you overcome a fear of failure and will shape you to become more keen on grabbing those wonderful, incredibly intimidating opportunities that hang just outside your circle of comfort. It's amazing what feeling comfortable in a busy dress can do to you. You need to leave the safety of what’s familiar in order to achieve your potential, in all aspects of life.
Taking risks in fashion shows confidence and helps you stand out. And if you conquer your fear of standing out, you can silence that self doubt and become braver in other areas of your life, too! It can lead you to lose that nervousness over going for a position that just feels too big but one that you really, really want, or taking the first step towards a daunting goal that's been on hold for months (or years). You see yourself growing in one part of your life, and it’s hard not to let that bravery snowball. One minute you’re trying on a fur snood, and the next you’re a lady boss, killing it in everything. In said fur snood, even.
It sounds exciting to think about, but it can be daunting to execute. We usually need a role model or two to show us it's possible. So below are seven bloggers in some of their best risk taking moments, here to give you a kind nudge to just go for it, along with tips on how you can add some of their brave flair to your style! Ready to take the plunge?
1. Keiko From Keiko Lynn: All About That Quirk
With an impressive collection of cat eye sunglasses and wide-brimmed straw hats, Keiko is definitely a woman you'd notice crossing the street. She wears everything from velvet bow ties to heart patterned shift dresses, depending on what her mood calls for that day.
If you want to show the world just how playful you are, why don't you channel Keiko and try on a full, floral skirt with a chambray shirt, or a pair of sheer polka dot tights? If you're not quite ready to bring out the 50s silhouettes just yet, dip your toe in the water by swapping out your usual lipstick for a bold, fire engine red. Baby steps, amiright?
2. James From Bleubird: Quietly Groovy
James is all about the Southwestern charm, donning suspender bell bottom pants or frayed smock shirts. She always looks wonderfully effortless, with her blonde hair in mussed waves and her eyes hiding behind wide-brimmed hats.
Play Woodstock for a day and try on a maxi tent dress or a blouse with tassels. If you want to go a subtler route, try out some snake skin booties or a suede fringed purse.
3. Ashley From Southern California Belle: Vintage Bombshell
The vintage game is strong with this one, where she sets her purple hair into soft curls and wears a full skirt better than Doris Day herself. Ashley gravitates towards charming prints and rockabilly silhouettes, making us want to play in our dresses rather than just put them on and zip them up.
If you want to channel your inner vintage maven, try on a dress with a playful fruit print, or a frock with a sweetheart neckline. If dresses aren't really your thing, you can dabble in the style with a pair of t-strap heels or a large, romantic floral print.
4. Blair From Atlantic-Pacific: Evening-Wear Sporter
Blair is a woman who doesn't subscribe to the notion that an elegant gown belongs only underneath dimmed lights and midnight hours. She's all about breaking out beautiful dresses that most of us would only dream about wearing at night. She has a knack for taking silhouettes that look like they belong with champagne and dressing them down for afternoon hours, like pairing them with sweet cat-themed flats, or unassuming knee-highs.
Steal Blair's look by giving one of your fancier dresses some daytime action. Tone down the elegant vibes with some clever layering, like pairing it with sweaters and boots, or turtlenecks and ballet flats.
5. Elsie + Emma From A Beautiful Mess: Color Punch
Elsie and Emma are no strangers to colors. They dress themselves in happy popsicle hues, wrapping themselves in citrus yellows, electric pinks, sharp greens and tangerine oranges. They splash color on everything from their sweet dresses to their bright lipstick shades.
Don some loud color in your look by going for something in an electric, saturated hue. Go for vibrant summer colors in everything from your skirts to your sunnies. Or if you're not quite ready to go all out, at least start small and paint your nails in a charged pink or yellow.
6. Kendi From Kendi Everyday: Playful Prepster
Known for a well-tailored and no-fuss style, Kendi usually toes the line between minimalist and prepster. While she dabbles with bright colors and poppy prints, she also has a keen eye for mixing preppy pieces in fun and unexpected ways. Sometimes heels get paired with pompom beanies, or cotton candy pink coats get matched with watercolor-like blouses. She likes to experiment with eye-catching colors and bold patterns, but does it in a more subtle way.
Steal Kendi's look by incorporating a pattern into a preppy-based outfit. Try adding pearls to your plaid shirts, or tying a summer scarf to the side of your neck all French-like with your cardigan.
7. Natalia From Curious Natalia: Sugary Sweet
Natalia is one of those girls who can get away with wearing a heart print blouse and a pink dress and a bow and end up looking charming rather than childish. Which is probably what would make most of us hesitate from trying the look. With an infinite amount of two piece dresses and clog sandals, this girl looks like she just stepped out of a Modcloth lookbook and onto the street like it's no big deal.
Borrow from Natalia's look by trying out midi skirts or dresses, paired with straw hats or loose curls. If that's not so much your speed, try toeing the line with girlier prints or pastel colors. Maybe toe the line with granny chic style and add in a lace or frill detail here and there.
These ladies show that fashion isn't just about looking beautiful and put-together; it's also about playfulness. It isn't all about aesthetic and matching; it’s about creativity, having fun experimenting, and being a little vulnerable by showing how you look on the inside. It makes you stand out not because you look different, but because it's so clearly you. So don't cut yourself short — don't let the anxiety of drawing positive attention towards yourself stunt you!
Because when you’re not scared to stand out, who knows what you’ll be capable of?
Images: Instagram/Courtesy Users