We welcome our guest blogger to the ELC community Claire Jensen.
With over 10 years extensive experience in fashion retail and Visual Merchandising, Claire is now an accredited 1:1 personal stylist, workshop facilitator and Australian Style Institute Trainer.
Claire's message is around empowering and building confidence for her clients. With a focus on creating a positive dialogue around body image and educating our clients about how the clothes we wear can impact the way we see ourselves and how we feel.
Author: Claire Jensen, Stylist
If I was to kick this article off by asking you to write down 3 things you didn't like about your appearance, I imagine for most of you, your list would come to you relatively quickly.
But what if I asked you to write down 3 things you liked about your appearance?
If you’re now sitting here trying to figure out what would make your list - but are struggling to come up with things to write, you’re not alone.
The Butterfly Foundation’s Insights in Body Esteem Report found that 54% of people rarely, or never speak about their appearance positively. And an overwhelming 73% of people wish they could change the way they look.
As a Stylist, one of the main things my client’s tell me is that they want to feel more confident. When I ask them what confidence looks like to them, it’s different every time. But the feeling they want to have, that feeling of true confidence, is very much the same.
Confidence by definition is a feeling of self-assurance, the ability to appreciate one's own abilities or qualities. Not in an arrogant way, but that inner knowledge that you’re capable, worthy and secure.
As humans, we have 3 core fears:
- The fear of not being good enough
- The fear of not belonging
- The fear of not being loved
Feeling confident in our skin, our abilities and our interactions with others is what helps conquer those fears.
Throughout my teenage years I lived in a self-loathing world as a result of what I saw in the media and bullying. In my mind, nothing I wore, said, or did would make me pretty enough, clever enough or popular enough. To the outside world, I hid behind a constant reply of “I’m fine… really…” when friends and family were suspicious of my mood. I got really good at it too. But I definitely wasn’t fine. I was truly and deeply unhappy with what I saw in the mirror. When your self-esteem and self-confidence are so low that your closest friends and employer start to question your mental health and safety, you know this facade has gone too far.
Now, my journey to where I am now as a 32 year old woman is not one where I simply got a whole new wardrobe and was magically cured from years of seeing only one type of woman advertised and being bullied about my appearance and weight. But fashion and style did play a big part. At 23, my mum gifted me a Personal Styling session with a Stylist, to give me a confidence boost. It was through this session that I truly saw the power in what we wear and how it can help transform our confidence.
The power of dressing for your shape, knowing your style and understanding how to create looks that really reflect your personality was a game changer.
I have always had a keen interest in fashion and always thought that due to being a size 14 to 16, the fashion industry wouldn’t accept me and take me seriously (the fear of not belonging and the fear of not being good enough). But it turns out that my experience, my own battle with finding confidence is exactly what empowers my clients to fight to find their own.
Confidence is said to be one of the most attractive qualities in a person. Imagine your group of friends - I bet there is someone in the group who stands out in your mind. That person who people seem to be drawn to. Who always looks put together and effortless. Who leads a conversation with ease and stands out in a crowd. The only difference between them and anyone else, is their level of confidence.
As women, we put so much pressure on ourselves to fit a particular mould of what we think society deems as worthy. With more and more companies using “real life” models of all shapes and sizes, saying no to photoshop and movements like Taryn Brumfit’s Body Image Movement, we are finally seeing a shift to a more inclusive world. If you are someone who isn’t feeling like your most confident self and isn’t sure how to actually get there - it starts within. It starts by taking a first step towards making a change to the way you talk to yourself. That could be talking to a professional, updating your style to learn how to dress your shape better and be a reflection of how you want to be perceived, it could be buying some new underwear that makes you feel sexy and desirable - even though no one has to see it.
The journey to confidence should never end. You should look to do everything in your power to achieve it every day. Challenge yourself to build on that list of things you like about yourself. I guarantee that when you start to change your perspective on your own worth and appearance, confidence will come, and with it, the power to let go of the fears that hold us back.