Last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing Stacy London speak at the Historic Synagogue at Sixth and I in DC. Her book, The Truth About Style came out earlier this month and after seeing the book trailer, I knew I had to see her.
I wasn’t always a fan of Stacy’s but I’ve been watching her since What Not To Wear launched in the US. At first I thought she was a bit too snarky – like she was trying too hard to imitate Trinny and Suzanne (the original What Not To Wear team from the BBC) but eventually it dawned on me - That was what she was supposed to do. Now, I enjoy her sarcasm, but more importantly, I LOVE how she teaches, encourages and empowers the women that agree to be on the show.
And that’s what this book is about. It isn’t about telling you how to dress, it is not a primer on what to wear if your body looks like an apple, or a pear or some other horrible fruit comparison. It is about empowering women to develop style. Your style, for your body for your life your self – right now.
None of us are “perfect” but we can be the best version of who we are right now and that is the message Stacy tries to convey in this book. In The Truth About Style, Stacy tells the story of several women, and herself. She talks about dealing with imperfections, insecurities, self-consciousness and self sabotage. She also talks about how expressing ourselves through Style can help us overcome some of these challenges.
Following her hour long discussion on Thursday, Stacy opened the floor to questions from the audience. Lines quickly formed at the two microphones and there was a lot of chatter in the crowd. The noise dimmed slightly when each question was asked, but quickly rose again in between. The room was dead silent, however, when one person took the mic. A beautiful young woman, dressed in a black and white patterned dress with a hi-lo hem and a spectacular pair of black peep toe platform pumps spoke quietly in to the microphone. She told Stacy that she watches What Not To Wear and tries to apply the lessons to her own wardrobe. She tried to ask Stacy for advice on how to dress but instead she told Stacy and everyone in the room, that she hated her body, that no matter what she put on, she felt unattractive, not pretty. You could have heard a pin drop. Tears were streaming down the questioner’s face and Stacy looked crest fallen as she listened. Many in the audience were crying for this girl, and on some level, for themselves as most of us, one time or another, have felt exactly the same way.
What happened next was nothing short of inspirational. Stacy came down from the stage and embraced this young woman. She took the girl’s hand and led her back on to the stage. With the girl’s permission, Stacy began asking questions.
How old was she? 19
What area caused her the most angst? Everything
How does she normally dress? Trendy
Where does she normally shop? Depends – where ever she can find clothes that fit.
What makes her smile? ….
They talked one on one (with the rest of us listening aptly) about the questioner’s fears and insecurities. Stacy gave her some tips on how she could dress her body and how she could use clothing as armor to help her as she learned to love the body she was in right now. She tried to help the young woman understand that the she could use fashion as a tool. That when she dressed in clothing that reflected her personality, that fit her body, she would eventually begin to see herself differently. And seeing herself differently would allow her to feel differently. As Stacy said, in her own version of seeing is believing, “ Seeing can change feeling and feeling IS believing.”
Like she does each week on What Not To Wear, Stacy gave this girl the willingness to see past her imperfections. To see the good in herself. To find something positive to focus on instead of dwelling on those things she doesn’t like. In The Truth About Style, we get to watch women of all sizes, with various concerns and imperfections begin to see themselves differently as well. Each person featured has a unique set of issues but they reflect the problems of every woman.
In my years as an Image Consultant – a Style Coach if you will – I’ve learned that no matter what size, nearly every woman sees, even seeks, the flaws in their body. As a society we are bombarded with ads that tell us how to improve our skin, our hair, our weight. The images we see on the pages of our magazines, on the screens and in our films, are thin, willowy and beautiful. What we fail to remember is that these are the exceptions; that the images are often airbrushed and photoshopped to the point that they no longer reflect the true image of the woman in the picture. As strong, empowered women we need to recognize those images for what they are and embrace both our inner and outer selves. Own who we are, without apology. Clothing is simply a form of self enhancement and if it helps us see ourselves in a better light – clothing is indeed worthy armor.
Need help finding your armor? Schedule an appointment with the Confident Closet today. Working with you, we can help you identify what fits, what works and sort through the hangers to create a wardrobe that fits, from Blue Jeans to Black Tie!