Did you catch Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globes last week? No? Head on over here. I’ll be right here waiting for you in nine minutes’ time.
I know everyone isn’t a card-carrying member of the Oprah fan club – and that’s ok – but I AM. I’ve been so since I was a young adult. She was offering me self-help advice long before I knew I needed helping.
I watched her Golden Globes acceptance speech last week on my phone, earphones in, sitting on the balcony, looking out over the beach.
“I want all of the girls watching here now to know, that a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘me too’ again.”
I think a little sea spray got in my eye. A LOT of sea spray in my eye.
There is a real shift happening in the world right now. And it’s not just the Oprahs of the world leading the way. There are a lot of incredible women making big and small stands that cumulatively add up to a whole lot of good.
You might come and visit me here at Styling You to find confidence in your style but you might have also noticed that there is a community of women here all doing a whole lot of good to ensure that all women are visible, no matter what their age, shape or size.
Every day, I witness women in this community lifting others up, with a comment, a helpful suggestion or a “like”. I see women sharing images of their outfits, safe in the knowledge they won’t be cut down for their choices. I see women get themselves into a swimsuit for the first time in many, many years. I see women not afraid to ask a style question because they know they will not be laughed at for asking for help. I see women who wouldn’t have known each other except for this community become friends. I see women blossom and grow as they feel they have found the support they need to unlock their style.
To outsiders, it might seem superficial … all this talk of clothes, shoes and accessories … but we know it goes deeper than that, don’t we?
At the core of all that I share is CONFIDENCE – things that help me feel a little more confident in my everyday life. Things I hope help you feel a little more confident too.
It might be sharing a new way to wear an old frock. It might be sharing a new accessory that immediately lifts an existing outfit. It might be sharing a new foundation that gives you an illuminated glow when you feel less than illuminated.
It might just be getting up every day, getting dressed and getting on with it.
I’m a big believer in that whatever it takes to help you get on with it, has to be a good thing. And that what helps me get up and go may be different from your motivators.
I started this blog 10 years ago this year (and yes, there will be a party – save the date – July 28 in Brisbane). Originally Styling You was a way to keep sharing my obsession for fashion and beauty after 20 years of being a journalist but it became something more meaningful once I started working one-on-one, styling women of all ages, shapes and sizes.
I haven’t worked one-on-one for six years because the blog enabled me to every day reach more women than I could every physically achieve in a lifetime. I’m grateful for those one-on-one sessions. More than 150 women let me into their wardrobes and it showed me that I was not alone in just how much of our psyche is connected to what we wear – in a good and (sometimes) a bad way.
It also showed me that no matter what size a woman was, we are seemingly hardwired to NOT love our bodies. This was a lightbulb moment for me. I’d always thought that if I were just a size or two smaller, I’d be happy with my body, but here were these women, up to three or four sizes smaller than me, unhappy with various aspects of their bodies.
This was a big turning point for me personally as well as how I shared ideas here at Styling You. It made me realise that EVERY woman is real. DERR. So, on the blog and in my online programs, I try to be as inclusive as possible, sharing options to suit ALL sizes, because our community is made up of women from petite to plus-size and everything in between.
I love that the Styling You community supports ALL women. What I’d love to see is more of this support and acceptance beyond our community because our own body confidence needs to start with dropping the judgement of others based on size and appearance. Our personal judgement comes from our own hardwired presets in regards to what we think our ideal body weight should be – or how a woman should look.
How we choose to dress as we age is another area of judgement that thankfully we’re also chipping away at. My motto is: dress for your attitude, not your age.
I started this blog in my early 40s and I turned 50 last year. I refuse to become the cliched “invisible woman”. Most of the women in this community are aged between 30-45 but we have women here in their 20s through to their 80s. We have daughters, mothers and grandmothers … women who will not put a use-by-date on their personal style. Amen to that.
Every day, each and every one of those women offer inspiration. They share their personal style, they’re not afraid to try something a little different and they dress to suit their personality and lifestyle.
This diversity in style is what women want to see. They don’t want to see the same fashion on the same models. Most women cannot picture themselves in a clothes featured in a fashion campaign, on a catwalk or an advertisement (that’s why I started my Model and Me series seven years ago). They CAN picture themselves in clothes on women of similar shape and size, living their daily life similar to theirs.
In recent years, it’s been refreshing and welcome to see new fashion labels realising this need for diversity in their marketing, particularly if they’re selling online. There is a long way to go but I know if I go to an online store and they have photographed what they’re selling on more than one model type, I’m more inclined to buy. We do this in our own store.
I’m also grateful that fashion brands have chosen to include me in their marketing as part of that diversity. It makes me laugh that as a 50-year-old, I have as many professional photoshoots each year as many younger models. Who’d have thunk it?! Whatever it takes to slowly chip away at the “old” way of fashion marketing, I say.
As we start another year here at Styling You, I thank YOU for making this community what it has become. Yes, Oprah, a new day has arrived and, rest assured, we’re doing our little bit in this corner of the world to be confident, visible women.
New to Styling You?
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I’ve got 5 spots in my upcoming “back-to-work” capsule wardrobe program (launching early February) to give away to 5 Styling You readers. To enter, leave an answer to the following questions in the comments’ section below:
1. Tell us how long you’ve been reading/following Styling You.
2. What has helped you the most during that time?
3. What’s your favourite thing in your wardrobe right now?
Entries open on Tuesday, January 16, 2017 at 3pm (AEST) and close on Tuesday, January 30, 2017 at 5pm (AEST). The winners of the “answer the question” competition will be judged on originality and creativity. The winners will be emailed and their name will be published here. Entrants must include an email address when the filling in the commenting system below to be eligible to enter. Full terms and conditions here.