I like fashion. I’m interested in clothing and the fashion industry in general. And at age 53 I’m not embarrassed to admit I enjoy playing dress up in my closet. But no matter how many great outfits I can put together, I know the most important fashion accessory is something I cannot buy in a store or find on Amazon.
That fashion accessory is confidence.
Someone who walks into the room wearing confidence gets your attention—no matter how boring or outrageous their outfit is. But, where does that confidence come from?
From my experience, I’d say a lot of things go into feeling confident. Here are four things that help me. They might help you, too.
1) Get comfortable
Clothes that fit you well – no matter your current shape, size, or weight—will be comfortable.
Comfortable clothes don’t have to be frumpy. Typically, something that skims your body—is not tight and clingy but also not so big that you get lost in it—will flatter you the most. Dress for the body you have now, not the one you wish you have—even if you’re planning on losing weight. When you lose the weight, you can get some new clothes.
Wear clothes that stay where they’re supposed to. There is nothing worse than someone dressed to the nines who is constantly adjusting everything because a bra strap is showing, or something keeps hiking up.
Clothes should not be itchy or irritating. Need I say more?
Your outfits should not weigh on you. As someone who manages chronic pain, I can attest to the fact that certain clothes make my neck hurt or my shoulders tense. If I get hood build-up or wear a scarf that’s just too bulky it will push on the back of my neck and cause issues. I have narrow shoulders. I was well past my 30s before I got properly fitted for a bra. If I have a bra that fits, it stays put. If I have a bra that doesn’t fit, the straps often slide off my shoulders and I’ll unconsciously hike my shoulders up to keep the straps in place. After a day of this, my shoulders will suffer. I love necklaces—but mostly on other people. A big chunky statement necklace is no friend of mine. Big earrings are my go-to statement pieces.
Besides poor clothing choices, another obstacle to being comfortable is unnecessary and habitual muscular tension. This does affect your posture over time. And your posture will affect how your clothes look on you. The Alexander Technique Constructive Rest practice is a great daily practice for working on releasing tension. And you don’t need any special equipment or know-how to start benefiting from doing it daily.
You’ll feel better if you move your body regularly. My number one piece of advice is to pick something you enjoy, no matter what it is. Because if you enjoy it, you’re more likely to do it. And try to change it up with a variety of activities. I have a client who in his early 60s decided to start lifting weights with a trainer. He loves it—which means he’ll most likely continue to do it. He says he feels 10—15 years younger just after six months. Does he come across as more confident in himself? You bet.
3) Slow Down
A person who is constantly rushing doesn’t exude an air of confidence. They just looked stressed. The person who appears to have all the time in the world looks confident. Put more space in your day by scheduling a bit more time between your activities. Be honest with yourself about how much you can get done in a single day. Most things can wait a day or two and don’t have to be completed in the next 24 hours. Pare down. Your body will thank you for it.
4) Take Up Space
“Good posture should be spready not squished” was the advice of my colleague’s nine-year-old daughter. I couldn’t have said it better myself. You live in three-dimensional space and your posture is three-dimensional. Most of us allow our bodies to tend forward, downward, and inward most of the time. That’s because your body tends to follow your attention. And most of what you’re paying attention to is in front of you. We look like we’re going through life squishing ourselves. But you can also tend backward, upward, and outward. Start practicing simply being aware of your three-dimensional space more often and allow yourself to gently take up space in all three dimensions.
Someone who’s got confidence can rock a dishcloth. Well, maybe that’s going a bit far. But you get my drift. And the best thing about it is it’s at a price you can afford.