To be yourself in a world that is
constantly trying to make you something
else is the greatest accomplishment.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last week in yoga, mid-pose, I glanced up to check out the outrageously fit, gorgeous woman in front of me. And just like that, I abandoned my center and lost my focus. Timber! I was down…on top of the person next to me. I am five feet ten, so there is no subtle way to topple. Of course I was embarrassed, but that was followed by a reality check. I know better. I understand the importance of staying on one’s own mat, both in the figurative and literal sense. I know when I look through a lens of comparison, ego rears its head, followed by self-doubt, fear, and anxiety. I've found, however, if I look through a lens of genuine curiosity, I gain inspiration.
Curiosity versus comparison. Sounds so easy, but in practice, it's hard. And look, not everyone’s motivations and inspirations work for all of us. But we can definitely hunt, gather, and take heed of information and tips that work for us. This holds true in parenting, healthy life choices, relationships, and yes, our wardrobe. If the latest runway trend is flowing palazzo pants and you’re five feet two these may not be an ideal choice. My size 11 feet offer me good leverage, but the fashionable, white, pointed-toe boots (which I loved) didn't do me any favors.
The new trend is confidence, knowing one's body, and buying smart and personal. Try this. Head into your closet and pull out your favorites. Those things that, whether in style or not, fit well, compliment your body, and most of all make you feel comfortable and authentic. What shapes work best for you? What colors and styles do you love? Are you one for witty details? A sucker for cashmere? This is the heart of your style. Take a week and wear nothing but these favorites—playing with them and putting them into combinations you haven’t tried. And be you!
The good news is today’s “fashion” makes it easy to stay on one’s own mat. Anything goes. Some examples: a jean with a flare, a skinny, a boyfriend, a high or low waist. A leather jacket, a denim jacket, a belt, no belt. Midi, maxi, mini, floral, black, color…from what I can gather, there are no longer any rules. Today lends itself to wearing something from practically any decade (even, and especially, the once-ridiculed Eighties). Although I will pass on my previously coveted fe-mullet and layer upon layer of Ralph Lauren polo shirts, I will happily wear 501s and penny loafers.
Looking across the vast digital media, there are thousands of women writing for women, showcasing the latest trends, sharing recipes, diet and career advice. It’s overwhelming and frankly, draining. As Goodbye Crop Top grows, opinions, suggestions, and comments are thrown my way regularly. Some are useful, some inspirational. Some I let go. Now, more than ever, I work every day to keep my focus and stay true to myself and this endeavor. When the fear of comparison pushes its way into my mind, a reassuring voice reminds me my intentions are genuine, and that on my own mat is exactly where I want to be.