Is your wardrobe a reflection of your self-esteem?

I recently attended the New York City Fashion & Design conference which focused on the meaning and importance of the color white. It was one of the best conferences I have attended in a long time with panelists such as Jason Wu & Zac Posen. Each of these designers shared powerful messages. More importantly, both of them were such kind individuals. They shared with us incredible information about their background, how they got to where they are, their vision and goals for the future. It was truly an inspirational weekend filled with great opportunities for learning, professional development and of course amazing networking.

However, there was something that worried me quite a bit. So much so that I had to re-write this post a few times. I was supposed to be writing about the iconic white shirt but instead I’ll focus on an issue that I take very seriously and personally; self-confidence and how it can impact what we wear and ultimately, how others perceive us.

Many of the women participating in the panels were seasoned and well established professionals in their fields. Yet, most of them expressed a lack of confidence about wearing white or wearing colors in general. Some said that they only wore it very infrequently and only on days when they wanted or needed to be noticed. And most of them said that they preferred to wear black most of the time because they wanted to hide away from others. One panelist even said, “which for me is almost every day; I do not want to be seen.”  

This resonated well with me because that was me so many years ago.  I did not want to be noticed. I did not want to be seen. So I used to hide in my black clothes. It made me so sad to hear so many women say that, because I know how they feel. Today, I wear black from time to time because I want to, not because I have to, and understanding the difference between those two things is what finally set me free.

As I interview clients in order to help them create a new wardrobe, I often hear similar concerns. Most share with me that when wearing black they feel safe. Some also say that  wearing black allows them to hide and to avoid having any attention directed towards them. So I also wonder, what else is black hiding them from? For me, it was keeping me from moving forward from a very painful upbringing in which I could not wear colors because being the result of a bi-racial marriage, my mother was afraid that my sisters and I would look “too Black” in a community where they were no other kids who looked like us.

I truly wish I would have had an opportunity to speak with each and every woman that day who expressed so much fear over wearing white, or truly about wearing colors in general.

White is not only the color associated with purity, it also signifies, hope, light and cleanliness among other things. Who wouldn’t want to send a message of hope through their clothes? I know that I do!

I would have loved to do a color assessment with each and every one of them in order to empower them into wearing their true colors. They already have such unbelievable careers that wearing the colors to reflect their personalities and lifestyles would have been an incredible and powerful boost of cofidence. When we wear our true colors, we stand taller and prouder; we have more confidence. Confidence is not something we tell people we have, even without speaking, people can tell whether we have it or not.

And while I understand that wearing striking bright white next to the face is quite hard to do (it has the same effects as black; it ages you) there are other colors in the white family, such as cream & beige, that would beautifully complement most skin tones. 

So if you are reading this and any of this information resonates with you, take a moment to assess your wardrobe and see if you prefer wearing black or even gray over other colors that you like. Go through your wardrobe and determine the colors that you wear the most. Think about that one color that you know you love and look for it in your wardrobe. Don’t be surprised if is not in there, it happens quite often. Instead of dwelling on that, I encourage to buy at least one item in that color. Whether is an item that you wear close to your face, like a shirt, a camisole, a scarf or a jacket, or something that no one else can see like underwear. Wear it as much as you can and take notice of how you feel. Chances are you will feel more confident, powerful and just plain happier.

Have questions/comments or concerns? Email me at wellness@themonicamethod.com

 

Be healthy, be happy, be fabulous!

 

Monica

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The best 3 things about London Fashion Week!

It has taken me some time after my return from London to write this post. I came home to a packed schedule and with a nasty cold which in time turned into an infection that forced me to rest, something that I don’t often do.

 

In the past few days, once the antibiotics did their work, I finally started to feel back to normal and I could not wait to finally finish this post. I felt like the whole time I was participating in London Fashion Week I was in a dream. If did not have all those pictures and videos on my phone, I would still be pinching myself.

 

Let me start with the location, London. One of the most vibrant cities in the world.  With an abundance of beauty, fashion, classic elegance, wealth, history, diversity, an incredible gastronomy and most importantly; beautiful parks. My personal favorite is Hyde Park; a heaven for runners. This place provided me with an opportunity to reconnect with an activity I thought long lost given all my hip surgeries. No matter what brings me to London, running through Hyde Park is always a must. To all of you runners out there, I could not recommend this place enough!

 

Then of course we have the most important thing; the fashion! I am absolutely and madly in love with just about every piece I saw on the runway. From the seasoned Paul Costelloe, whose collection is the perfect combination of romance, innocence, exquisite textures, and classic elegance, to new comers like John Herrera, whose edgy, yet feminine line was full of dark and muted tones and well strategically placed pops of red throughout the show. The dramatic makeup on the models under veils along with the powerful music made his show one unforgettable moment. The collection by Mark Fast; a designer who pushes the boundaries of knitwear technology, was absolutely spectacular! And then there was the moment when Miss Fame came out with a dress so magical that the whole audience was silent in complete awe.  I was mesmerized! Rocky StarHouse of Mea and Zeynep Kartal's collections were filled with vibrant & colorful pieces along with intricate designs that reflected the heritage and culture of the designers. I truly wish I could list every moment and every design but these are the ones I can't stop obsessing about and need to have in my wardrobe. 

 

In addition to all the glamour and high-end fashion, the highlight of his wonderful experience, was the people I got to work with. When I decided to obtain my Personal Styling Diploma at the London College of Style, I did not know how much my life would change. As I was going through the training, I found myself surrounded by people who like me had such fascination for fashion and for helping others look their very best. I felt like I belonged there; something that I did not experience very often in my previous career (s).

 

I got to work with the amazing Fleur McCrone and Charlotte Broadbent. The 3 of us went through the training together and while we live thousands of miles away, we have stayed in touch. We support, encourage and help each other out all the time. I was also lucky to meet and work with Claire Mcnestrty during LFW. She is another graduate of the LCS and someone I immediately felt a great connection to. The 4 of us spent those 4 days working hard behind the scenes, reporting live from the shows and talking all things fashion. Most importantly we were in constant communication helping each other decide what to wear for such amazing shows. I truly loved every moment of it. Even the days when I hardly got any sleep because we had to report to the Head Stylist by 6:45 am dressed in black and wearing absolutely no makeup ( see pics below), I felt like I was in a beautiful dream. 

 

With LFW a few weeks behind me, I am still savoring and remembering every moment with such delight. The first time I walked on a runway I was 17 years old. I experienced something then that I never knew existed; total and complete elation. I knew that being in the fashion industry is what I wanted to do. Somehow I lost my sense of self once I moved to the United States and the circumstances of my life forced me into completely different fields. I am grateful that I made a change because Fashion has brought into my life more than beautiful clothes. It has brought me a new business filled with grateful and happy clients. It also brought me incredible support, mentorship opportunities not the mention the ability to work at fashion shows of such magnitude. But most importantly, it has brought me the most wonderful, amazing & terrific friends!