Confronting Common Style and Fashion Fears

You might be unable to enjoy your style because of some fear or phobia. This article lists the most common "fashion fears," which might be retarding your efforts to look good and feel good.

1. I'm ugly.

Steve Buscemi.

So what? You don't need a rarefied bone structure, or flawless skin, to look good. You also don't need it to succeed in your career or land a mate. It won't even make you happy. So don't worry about this one, okay?

Remember, ugliness is relative. Everyone is attractive to someone. Some percentage of people reading this looked at that picture of Steve Buscemi and grew outraged. And that's partly because, even if Buscemi didn't win the genetic lottery, he more than makes up for it in talent, charm and professionalism. In other words, he has style.

2. I'm nothing special.

Crowd on Election night, Wellington, NZ.

Let's assume for a second that you're right. You are Jane or Joe Average in every respect, from shoe size to finger length. You have no interests, no hobbies, outside of what is popular at any given moment. We both know that's not you, but pretend it is.

Now. On some level, your style doesn't reflect who you want to be. Maybe you own a fuschia boa that fills you with mortal dread. Or you want your khakis to be a little khaki-er. Or your hairstyle strikes you as a millimeter too edgy, and you don't want anyone to get the wrong impression.

So you go on a soulless-searching odyssey. You peruse the clothes at Old Navy like your life depends on it. You compare beige to beige, and then to more beige, only to find the beige-iest beige. Then you reach your goal. You blend into a crowd like nobody else. You get in touch with your inner void.

Is that really so terrifying?

You and I know that isn't you, of course. Maybe that fuschia boa terrifies you because it expresses something you want to share but are too scared to try. Otherwise, why would you own it?

3. I don't have the "knack."

The Knack.

You're only half right. There is a certain skill set involved in designing (or choosing) dress and personal grooming. Some people have a natural aptitude for it. A few of these people, like Coco Chanel and David Bowie, transform style as we know it.

But you don't have to have this level of aptitude. You don't have to be Lance Armstrong to be able to ride a bike. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, either. And there are plenty of resources to help you style yourself--from books to videos to...websites?

4. People will laugh at me.

People will laugh at anything that threatens them; it's a defense mechanism. It's also a form of social control, to keep people from deviating too far from the norm. A smart kid hanging out with stupid kids will probably get picked on until s/he pretends to be stupid. Someone with fashion fears of their own will ridicule you for not having them.

If this is you, and you're afraid that people you know will laugh at you, find some new people.

5. I'll go broke.

If you can barely afford to feed yourself and pay off your debts...your fashion fears might be founded. Now might not be the best time to develop your signature style.

However, personal style can be an investment--if you invest wisely. A pair of $100 boots, that lasts five years, is a better investment than a pair of $40 boots that breaks down in a year. A nice haircut can create a subconscious boost to how others see you, including possible employers.

View your style more as an investment--a way to improve your professional and personal life--an investment that should be taken wisely, after careful study.

6. Developing my personal style will be a lot of work.

This website is about "enjoying" your style, right? So how can I possibly enjoy it if it's so much work? I like some parts of the process--like choosing the right colors, looking at hair magazines, or dreaming up outfits. But other parts, like cleaning my closet, make me want to scream just thinking about them.

How you confront this fear depends on what part of the process is hard work to you. It also depends on what trouble you're having. My main advice is don't avoid hard work. More than nine times out of ten, it's not as hard as you think it is. If you're struggling with one specific issue, I recommend you peruse our tutorials section, to see if we have what you're looking for.

These are the most common fashion fears. Often they have some subconscious root which is much harder to address. Try to find the root of the problem before you start...otherwise, you might sabotage yourself. Not very enjoyable.

Related Reading

Ugliness and Style

Learned Ugliness

Style and Money

Against Skinny Jeans

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