It's in my nature to make things beautiful...homes, events, artworks, words, feelings, outfits and this bod I'm doing life in. Now, I know I already am beautiful just the way I am and most things are inherently good, but there's no harm in saving myself from becoming quite dull and leveling up myself and my personal style to the potential I've always known I can fulfill. IMO. It makes me happy, keeps me mentally and physically fit, teaches me a ton, boosts my confidence, and hey, maybe even inspires someone - and that's good and nice and a worthwhile bonus.
So as I've been on this journey for quite some time, and lately much more intentionally, I thought it the perfect time to share a few ideas and practices that are helping me considerably. Transformation never really ends, and that's the best news, because it's rarely an overnight process and everybody starts somewhere! So feel free to borrow any of these if they so serve you to look and feel your best.
Start with Your Surroudnings
Have you ever walked into a wealthy persons home and felt underwhelmed in a half-empty space where it's obvious they have no clue about decoration? Yeah, this could be any of us, lets' be real, but the idea is that money doesn't buy taste or the instant ability to style a comfortable and classy space. If home comfort and entertaining are important to you, take pride in your home. Clean up, de-clutter and invest in learning how to do this or call in professional interior or exterior design help.
I start with your space and home because that's where raising my standards started for me even in my first solo bedroom as a child. My home is my haven and I've always found it fun and easy to level up my surroundings. But it's also such a good way to kick off the whole process in general for the mental clarity it gives you to feel organised and tidy. And a big part of arranging your space is streamlining your wardrobe!
"Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it."
—Diane von Furstenberg
Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life
One you get started on your space and your wardrobe you will begin to notice that your mindset has shaped the position you are in right now and it's adjusting that mindset that can change everything from here on out. It might sound basic but it's a key to transformation that even the most successful entrepreneurs the world over will advocate - what you think about you bring about and what you focus on you will get more of. Call it the secret, or call it mental strength or self-awareness, but just know that coming to terms with some of the narratives that have been potentially holding you back in uplifting your life can be adjusted starting now and, in fact, could be the catalyst for realising you have a lot more abundance that perhaps you ever acknowledged or took advantage of before.
A great example of this is my own story that "I couldn't afford or justify" getting my nails professionally manicured "until..." Until what or when exactly, I'm not quite sure what I was waiting for - permission maybe, a title that deemed me suddenly worthy?! Having beautiful nails was something I'd always wanted as the nervous habit of ripping my quicks left my fingers looking battered and swollen. They made me self conscious and lowered my opinion of the standard I deserved in life. (Not as ridiculous as it sounds when you remember a lot of us have a program of lies like this running about ourselves that can be so damaging to one's growth.)
Interestingly, when my mum came to visit recently, I thought it'd be a treat to get mani's together because she deserved it and I wanted her to feel good. (Where are you thinking this for others but not yourself?) I got a gorgeous dark brown shellac and my hands suddenly looked healthy and "rich!" I enjoyed them so much over the next few weeks I've gone back ever since, because that small investment has such a ripple effect on my self worth and elevated my look so much that I realised how essential it was in this process.
Sometimes the seemingly smallest things can have the biggest improvement on the way we view and value ourselves - leveling up our mindset so we can take even more action in the direction of our highest potential.
Leveling Up Isn't About Being Boring
In case you're thinking it, this is not about becoming a boring beige nobody with nothing to say and no personality. Upgrading your life isn't one size fits all. You can be you, but the best you - it's simply a matter of define your limits and set some boundaries for your expression. That might be a weird thing for an artist to say, but it's essentially dressing your truth, living your truth and being on purpose. It's knowing who you are and allowing your bandwidth to expand to the style you desire.
For me, it's about polishing the rough edges or bad habits I know I have developed and honestly dislike about myself - things that don't actually feel like 'me' anymore. And it's keeping a few things (that others in high society or elite circles might disagree with) like my very small piercings and tattoos, my wit, curiosity and sense of adventure. I've learnt that:
- You can wear colour and wear it stylishly
- You can be comfortable, but that doesn't equal sloppy
- You can be chic on a budget - or even an outfit repeater - and still be sophisticated
- You can indulge in some trends, but you simply avoid combining all of them at once and be aware of what really suits you
- You can clear out the clutter and start with a blank canvas, or you can bring only your favourite fits into your next level
- And you will probably take a few missteps along the way but you're prepared to learn and grow, on-sell and reinvest wiser
It Might Not Happen Overnight, But It Will Happen with Effort!
Although you can make the decision to improve your mindset right away, allow this transformation time to evolve as you do. Here's some starting points for the process so as not to break the bank or have it feel a chore. Your transformation is yours and isn't something you need to declare publicly or get anyone else's approval for. Enjoy the process and make it your own.
- If you haven't already, define your leveled up style in as many ways as you can - colour palette, overall vibe, hair styles, handbag, brands you like the look or ethics of, textures, shapes and patterns. Pinterest and Instagram can help, as too can a physical vision board or mood-board stuck on your wardrobe door as a constant clear reminder about the look you're honing.
- Stocktake your wardrobe and make a list of what's missing as well as doing a savage cull - giveaway, donate, sell, throw. This is when having that clear vision in sight is essential.
- Start making smarter buying decisions - you don't have to buy everything on your list straight away, but be on the lookout for the right items at the right price at the right time. Shopping seasonal sales for classics can make your budget stretch even further. Choosing excellence isn't always about the most expensive brands or flashing labels, it's more about fit, style, and necessity.
- Choose higher quality, more natural fabrics that don't sweat, itch, stretch unreasonably quickly or pill. Linen, silk, cashmere and cotton blends are good go-to's, however you can get some poly, rayon, viscose blends that look and feel expensive too. Avoid anything that looks or feels cheap even on the hanger - there's no way to make that work.
- If you are going to buy something of cheaper quality to wear a few times (because it measures up on the looks and feels attractive test), then prepare to gift to another or send it to a goodwill store. Don't hold onto something until it stains and is even less useful to others - let clothes have their #bigmagic with you and pass it on to someone else with its magic intact!
- Get properly fit for underwear, professionally styled with your haircut, and start paying attention to what works for your body type. If you have the funds, book a personalised shopping and styling experience to learn directly from an expert and get a great visual of each concept in the stores that best cater to your needs.
- Take care of what you do have in terms of storage, cleaning, mending, steaming, and be prepared to replace items when they become damaged or scuffed beyond reasonable repair. Clothing, accessories, home and even car - you personal style can be everything you present yourself with.
- Begin wearing what you once thought were your best outfits as your casual attire. It's an instant way to utilise what superior items you have left in your closet after the clean-out and boost your confidence to a 'this item is special/I feel special' kind of vibration.
- Invest in items because you love them, they serve a purpose in your wardrobe, and they suit you, but also consider the re-sale value if you know it's something you could part with in the near future. You don't need to own it forever to still enjoy the quality of a well-made and beautiful piece - same goes with furniture, art and decor!
- Study, practice, reflect on how far you've come, and set new goals to consistently improve. Don't move on too far without actioning what you've learnt.
- Anything you can't afford to improve just yet add it to your 'in 6 months time or 12 months time' list - set a goal timeline for when you would like to afford it and use yourself as your only competition to stay focused and un-bothered!
"Fashion is what you're offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose."
Playfully Polished - My Own Style Transformation
When you inject more of you into your life and style, and you assess where those expressions are best directed, you're on the right track to stepping into elegance and poise authentically.
I now know that a bold mani or a touch of sparkle on my polish can still be, well, polished and I will probably always wear bright colours - but I've worn enough now to know which shades and tones suit me best, and the same goes for my hair colour. I know that a desire to be playful is best directed towards more easily changeable items such as cushions and throws, the colour of my shoes, and maybe even a wig or two, rather than towards big investments that can be hard to reverse!
I'll always be a white sneakers kind of gal - but they won't be the moon-boot trend type and I you can bet I'll always obsessively clean them - coz that's just the way I like it. And I love prints and patterns but I'm also learning how to style them more 'successful artist' than 'starving artist' and how to shop for them with restraint and careful consideration, which is also budgeting and conscious shopping, so it's win-win.
Even compiling this blog post has shown me just how long I have been on this journey, how far I have come, and defined even more where I'm yet to go and grow. Raising the bar on your own life and undergoing a style transformation is not on everyone's radar,
but I do hope this has inspired those of you who having been feeling in a funk or desiring a change to do so.
You do not need a wealthy spouse, a certain kind of job or status,
or anyone's permission to start dressing your truth and leveling up.
Do what makes you feel good, do what makes you feel YOU!
And let me know what resonated with you in the comments below.