Things can get a little cringe-inducing when you're thinking about changing your style, but keep remembering your former self. A lot of "whys" tend to come to mind: Why did I ever think this was cute; why did I think I could pull off this bold out-of-the-box trend; why did I even like that to begin with? When looking back, it's actually pretty easy to become a little mean. But tearing yourself down is the opposite of building yourself up, which is what change should be all about, right?
When you're ready to shift styles, it means you've grown. It doesn't mean that "past you" is a worse version of yourself. "Past you" is just a different one. It's important to keep in mind that "different" does not equate to bad, so give yourself a break. Enjoy the weird era you had, remember the memories that those outfits were connected with, and look ahead to what this new chapter will bring.
Of course, learning how to be confident and how to build yourself up are tasks that take practice and self-awareness. It takes genuine willpower to bite back the cruel thoughts that all-too-easily pop into our heads. Below are several signs that you're moving away from your old "look" and why that's not such a scary thing.
1. You Want to Put Your Head Down On Your Desk Every Time You See An Old Picture Of Yourself
Two years back, I was very into a 1950s housewife style. Full skirts, long hems, and anything that looked modest and hinted at a pie cooling on a windowsill were right up my alley. While I still love that look, I'll be the first to admit that my dabble-ment in it was a little... amateur. I had a tendency to lean towards the frumpy rather than the retro, which was something I only noticed with hindsight. But that’s OK!
As with anything, there’s a learning curve to style. Although now you might notice ways you could have expressed the style differently, you should feel rather impressed that you sharpened your styling skills to the point where you could spot the difference.
2. You Want to Bite Down On Your Fist When You Think Back To An Experimental Hair Phase
Every now and then, we get a rush of blind courage and request a pair of scissors. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. Take my pixie cut look, for example. Loving the short crop on women for years and wanting to give myself an edge, I finally decided to buck up and join the group of short-tressed-femme-fatales.
One problem, though: I have insanely thick hair. Which means my crop didn’t lie all pixie-ish and sharp around my face like it did for the rest of the ladies. Oh no, it sprung into a stubborn bowl haircut and stayed that way until it grew itself into an Edna Mode bob.
But that blind courage — what a fun moment that was! I always want to do a mental fist pump with myself when I gather enough confidence to do something completely out of character and completely exciting. With risk comes an opportunity for growth, and a chance to leave your insecurities behind.
3. You Wonder Why You Were So Outlandish Before
When you grow your style, there’s usually some refinement and polish involved. You become a little more sophisticated in what you like. This means it can be easy to cringe at what you were into just a few short months back. Maybe you had a penchant for pattern on pattern looks, but the ones you threw together ended up looking messy rather than playful. Or maybe you loved trying out unconventional makeup shades, opting for pink eyeshadow or giving blue frosted lips a go.
At the time, it felt so right. Now, it looks a bit clumsy. But the nice thing about those feelings? In the span of a short amount of time, you’ve changed. And when a person changes in one area, they usually don’t stay stagnant in others. Take this as an opportunity to — first — high five yourself for learning more about your style and evolving and — second — to see if you’ve grown in other areas, too. Maybe you’ve become more ambitious, more adventurous, more curious? It’s up to you to pin it down.
4. You Wish Someone Told You Those Were the Ugliest Shoes Ever
Oy vey, why did you ever think those shoes were your answer to a prayer? Why were you obsessed with that cardigan with the elbow patches, or that frumpy tent dress with the floral panels? We’ve all had some questionable pieces in our sordid past, but man, didn’t the love feel good when you had it? There’s nothing quite like slipping on a well-worn, beloved piece and feeling that instant confidence and comfort in one’s own skin.
So be kind to yourself and keep in mind that while, yes, maybe now it seems a little cringe-y that everyone you’ve ever known has seen you in that semi-contentious piece, you felt amazing and a 100 percent like yourself while wearing it. Now that's a beautiful thing.
5. You Can’t Quite Believe You Were Ever Into That Style
With each new stage in our lives, we often decide to express ourselves differently. Some of us go through a boho hippie phase, living life in a set of stacked silver rings and fringe galore. Others go through a normcore period, feeling most comfortable blending in and letting their voice be the thing that makes them stand out. Whatever the look you decided to subscribe to, chances are it matched your personality during that time. If you ended up trading that style in for a new one, well, chances are it’s for a reason.
A couple of years back, I loved dressing up in serious Doris Day vintage. I had an apartment with my cute boyfriend, we lived in a cozy neighborhood in Seattle, and I was obsessed with putting on old black and white films in the background as I worked from home in my sunny kitchen. Then me and the boy split, I moved back home to bustling Chicago, and all of a sudden, those dresses and prim cardigans felt like they belonged to another girl.
That's OK, though. I was in a different phase back then, and those clothes reflected how I felt on the inside. I felt homey and sweet and craved everything feminine and classic. Newly single in a big city, though — that calls for completely different feelings altogether, which translated to a new look I felt confident in.
The point is, don't ever beat yourself up over change. Instead, get excited when you find yourself pulling away from an old style or wishing you never left your house looking a certain way. It means you, my friend, are growing.