Why The Obsession With Perfection Needs To Be Abandoned When Cultivating Your Style
Many of us want to be that one girl everyone is side-eyeing on the train to work: The one with the immaculate pair of wide leg trousers and the shoes that aren't scuffed up by the bullying hands of city blocks. If you're such a person, maybe you want everyone to glance at you over the paper rims of their coffee cups and think, "How can I feel perfect, like she seems to?"
Perhaps it would be amazing to look like we're that pulled together — to look like we just hopped off of a magazine page and are on our way to our second gig at the office. Imagine the happy life you would lead if only your wardrobe had its act together. The thing is, that takes a lot of work and an open mind. An open mind not necessarily to try on new trends or put on styles that are outside of our comfort zones, but an open mind to learn more about ourselves. You'll have moments when you'll try on something you thought would look ace on you, and be shocked to see it's completely wrong. Or you'll try something on as a lark and be semi-horrified you really, really like it. There will be trial and error, and an overwhelming amount of it.
But the trouble with making the decision to buckle down and create a cultivated, cohesive wardrobe is that it can be absolutely paralyzing. Where do you start? What do you even like? What if you buy things only to discover that you abhor them later?
There’s just so much that can go awry! There are so many mistakes you can make, and because of that, many of us put the job off. No one likes going through failure, in any form. So instead of sitting down and creating a style game plan, we continue to buy what we like to buy and hope it all just somehow fits together. Does that sound familiar? You come across a cute skirt here, and interesting wrap dress there. Maybe pick up a patterned spring blazer a week later, and suede pair of sandals shortly after. While all of those pieces sound great in theory, you're left in an awkward situation when it's time to get dressed and you notice a lot of your purchases don't have partners. You have no top that would work well with that skirt, no shoes that will do your new dress justice. And so you have to go shopping again, and the cycle continues. When you piece together your look so ad hoc, you're not necessarily thinking of the holes you're creating.
When I talk with other women about "creating their style," the number one thing they say that stresses them out is they just don’t know what works. They know what the enjoy, but that doesn't necessarily mean they know quite how to put it all together. They buy trends or create outfits because they think they’re supposed to — it’s not necessarily a look they are over the moon with, but it’s something they feel should be copied.
The idea of creating an ideal wardrobe is just too much; perfection is way too intimidating. But if we’re being honest, cleaning up our style shouldn’t be the source of such stress.
So rather than approaching the task as a search for perfection and creating that new and improved version of yourself (because that’s rather a tall order, don’t you think?) reframe the idea and see it as a grand experiment instead.
You’ll make mistakes — accept the fact and don’t try to dodge it. You don't learn unless you trip up a bit along the way. And instead of fearing it, reframe the inevitable as a way to learn something new about yourself. If you make a mistake and buy something completely wrong and wear it for a week, great! Perfect. You now learned you don’t like it or it isn't for you and can move on. It turns out that, nope, culottes aren’t for you after all. Even though you gave it a solid effort and walked around with flood-warning pants for a solid week. Or maybe, yup, yes, you still hate wearing heels, even though you gave it another spin with that strappy sandal pair. It’s back to ballet flats for you.
And that’s not a bad thing! You wouldn’t have known for sure unless you tried. And now that you have your answer you can change directions and try again. Perfection doesn't exist. You're always growing and you'll always be creating a better version of yourself. Just as you reach your peek you'll notice that you could be even better. So let yourself grow. Don't put a ceiling on how much you could change. Finding your style is just as much about the mistakes as the pretty dresses — let go of that paralyzing fear and try it!
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