So Laura wore pajamas to her art opening.
A few years ago I began working with Laura. She’s fantastic. A successful fine artist, and mom to two beautiful kids. Laura wanted help with her post-baby wardrobe, along with what to wear to her annual art exhibits. Admittedly not fashion–conscious, Laura’s everyday wardrobe is casual. Yet once a year, she has to find a dressy, arty outfit for when all eyes are on her.
What pressure, right? It’s hard enough to dress as a guest for a special event, let alone when you’re the guest of honor, AND you’re not used to getting dolled up all the time. She told me how stressful it was to get dressed for this specific occasion every year– so much so that finally, last spring, she cracked.
And it was the best thing that could have happened to her (sartorially speaking, anyway).
Having had enough of the frustration, Laura grabbed her black pajama pants, added a decorative top, and walked out the door to her event.
And you know what? Something amazing happened.
Everyone close to her–husband, friends, agent–noticed a significant change in Laura’s demeanor throughout the evening. Whereas in years before she had been fidgety and uncomfortable, this time she was at ease, more in the moment, and not preoccupied with what she was wearing. The guest of honor actually began to enjoy herself!
When we have a role to play, and it’s not something we do on a regular basis, it can be daunting to have to ‘dress the part’. This is a tricky term, as it implies that we can no longer dress as ourselves. Which doesn’t have to be the case.
Now, I’m not encouraging you to burn your cocktail dresses and tuxedos and begin donning stretch pants to every evening affair. However, I do feel there’s an important lesson in this story.
Swagger is confidence. More specifically, it’s you behaving confidently. You can’t do that when you are pre-occupied with your clothing and what it’s supposed to say about you.
Is there anything you’re forcing yourself to wear because you think you have to? Do you find yourself annoyed and uncomfortable in certain outfits? You could be sacrificing your swagger.
Clothing can influence our behavior without us even knowing it. And if the clothing can influence us in a negative way, it can influence us in a really good way too.
So I leave you with this:
Pay attention to how you feel in something. If it’s not right, trust your gut.
Seek out clothes you feel comfortable in. The word comfortable doesn’t have to be literal. Sure, Laura’s pants were actually comfy (I mean, wouldn’t we all live in stretch pants if we could?), but they were also symbolic of the type of not too girly, not too structured style that makes Laura feel like herself.
This story was actually a big inspiration for me when starting Faites Simple. Because we should all be able to wear our pajamas to the party, right? Or at least feel like we are.