While helping my friend Amanda clean and organize her wardrobe, she was raving about something called Intuitive Eating. Now I must tell you, when Amanda (owner of the awesome blogcakeandcarrots.com) talks about nutrition and eating, I listen. If you aren’t familiar with Intuitive Eating, it’s an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, body, and mind. Amanda told me that through Intuitive Eating, she has learned how to trust herself with food and is heaps happier as a result.
After our session together, the word intuitive stuck in my mind. I love that word, intuitive—using what feels to be true even without conscious reasoning. Intuition is the emotion of the gut, that feeling you get when something is right, and you just know it. Few work with their intuition or know that they even have it.
Of course, I immediately related this thought to getting dressed realizing that, just like my friend Amanda could learn how to intuitively eat, we can all learn how to intuitively dress. “What an amazing idea!” I thought, “Intuitive dressing!”
Since intuition is rarely used by most, especially around clothing, I’m going to share some thoughts that can help you become an intuitive dresser in no time:
1. Stop thinking so much.
The biggest problem most people have is that they think too much, especially women. Personally speaking, I can over-think something until the fun is almost completely drained and all I have left is what looks like a deflated balloon of an awesome idea. That said, the first thing I want you all to do is to devote one day a week, for the next month, where you let go and wear what you want. I don’t really care what your intuitive self wants to wear, listen to it, and have some fun. Wear rain boots with an evening gown, glitter in your hair with a cape and sexy underwear, a flannel shirt with a tutu, it doesn’t matter, just do it. I don’t care if you sit in your house on a Sunday and practice this intuitive dressing exercise while emptying your TiVo queue. Just give one day a week for the next month to loosen up and listen to something other than your brain.
Can’t hear anything? Well, intuition is one of those “use it, or lose it,” types of senses, and the longer you’ve been ignoring your intuition, the less “loud and proud” you’ll hear it. Don’t worry, it’s not gone forever, it just needs you to pay attention to it.
Oh, and by the way, if you’re reading this and you think this exercise is silly, then you’re someone who really needs to do it.
In time, you’ll balance out and you may find that tapping into the more intuitive side of yourself will actually help you get dressed and create a little more trust in yourself. So many women are desperately trying to find their style, yet look outside of themselves to find it. Let me be clear, your style is not found in a magazine. This leads me perfectly to my next suggestion ...
2. STOP reading fashion magazines!
I’m not suggesting that you give them up forever. To some, Vogue is the bible. I get it. However, if you are one of those slaves to magazines, or to television shows telling you what’s hot, all while finding yourself concerned about being “acceptably trendy,” then YOU need to put yourself on a magazine diet for the next month!
Fashion magazines are fine. I’m not insinuating that they’re written by the devil, or anything. Nevertheless, you need the proper perspective on how a magazine can serve you, so that you’re not serving it. We draw inspiration from a magazine, shop a bit, and may even learn a thing or two. Having said that, finding your style by having a magazine tell you what to wear is going to keep you running in circles forever. Fashion changes rapidly and the best way to keep up is to know your style first and then use a magazine as a tool to help you choose what will and won’t work for you and your style.
It’s true, I do use magazines while trying to unearth a client’s style, and I do recommend magazine exercises to my clients. Yet, when I suggest this exercise to women who hire me, the rule is that they look at an image in a magazine for no longer than five to ten seconds, and if their gut (a.k.a. intuition) tells them to rip it out, they do. This exercise of discovery helps my clients find and trust their intuitions while exploring their own personal style.
Why are we so afraid of our feelings? Heck, I didn’t know what a feeling was until after I spent a year on a therapist’s couch. Often, if a feeling does come bubbling to the surface, many of us push it back down, never to be heard from again.
The only way to know yourself is to feel your way through it. Knowing yourself is not a cerebral experience. There is nothing that your brain can tell you about yourself, I promise you. Finding yourself and your style is found through the way of feeling.
So what does that mean in a practical sense? Well, it means that when you get dressed, you take a moment to ask yourself how you feel in what you’re wearing. Look, if you feel like an unfeminine schlep when you get dressed then it’s important to pay attention to that, and do something about. It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks your uninspired, unfeminine, schlep-y outfit is fabulous, or that a magazine says it’s the best thing to wear. All that matters is what you feel. When you go shopping, go for emotion, ask yourself how you feel when you put something on and take note of things like your body language and the way you carry yourself.
This is not to say that you abandon all practicality and reason from your clothing choices. It means finding emotion within the realm of what’s acceptable in your life. So, please don’t go to work wearing a G-string, a denim jacket, and a firefighter’s hat claiming me as the reason for your outfit.
Intuitive Dressing is as easy as you let it be. The success of it has more to do with what you don’t do than what you do, do. It’s not something that money can buy, the right earrings will solve, or the perfect skinny jean will rectify. Intuition is like the best accessory that’s just sitting back there in the closet waiting for you to discover it.