Is it an inside job?
It’s an attitude a woman learns to nurture within herself. It takes some time. It does not grow overnight. It usually develops with some help from a trusted advisor and/or a nurturing tribe.
It will start in the family of origin where the young girl is encouraged and acknowledged. Her opinion at the dinner table is valued and she is celebrated for her achievements, no matter how great or small.
It may also be stifled in the family of origin where she is ridiculed and laughed at, told to speak only when spoken to (if then) and closed off to conversation in the family.
What happens to the little girl can set her up as robust and strong, or battling insecurity, for the rest of her life.
I believe that powerful, magical confidence results from a little nature and a little nurture. If you didn’t get it from your own family, you sure can find it in your own tribe.
Confidence is not something that has come naturally in life to me. I struggled with self-esteem. I was not one of the cool kids, sporty or academic. I was never quite sure where I fitted in. Perhaps, as a result, one of the things I learned earlier than some was that how I chose to dress myself had an impact on my confidence and how I felt about myself.
I recall my mother setting me up to dress professionally for work via Fletcher Jones in Flinders Street Melbourne. She taught me about quality and suggested I didn’t need a lot, just the right pieces. I had a couple of aunts who knitted and sewed. One of them knitted clothes for my dolls. I was so excited to get those knits on my dollies! And then create new, strong, cheeky and stylish characters with them. From here grew my own confidence to play and discover new combinations for me. I made mistakes. I still do.
What I know for sure is that that little girl inside us loves to ‘play’ with new combinations in her wardrobe, even in her 50s. It literally clothes her in confidence. It gives her the confidence to bring a new look and express a part of her personality to the world. Let’s face it, if it didn’t matter, we would all be wearing a potato sack. We don’t.
It takes confidence to accessorise and make a statement in your work attire. There is a level of courage and vulnerability required to be brave enough to allow people to ‘see’ you.
A confident woman knows she is worthy of paying full price for the right piece and wearing quality labels. She has always been this way or she has had to work at it. I’ve had to work at it. I once ran a million miles from quality labels and fabrics. As a sole parent I just purchased the best I could afford until I dipped my toe into some beautiful quality. I had zero concept of how I could add to the confidence I could feel in a beautiful tailored pant and a jacket that fitted my shape so well.
The professional woman has nailed her career – or she’s on the way to doing so. She’s good at her craft. It may be time for a fresh approach to how her clothing is impacting her confidence and the example she sets for those she mentors or influences. It’s an inside job mostly, and what I know for sure is that our packaging impacts our insides too.
Our clothing is the armour we wear as we face up to our world day-to-day. The cut, fabric, quality and unique design are instrumental in the level of confidence we feel. Every year, I overhaul my own wardrobe. Timeless quality never dates. How I wear each piece does change. I continue to evolve and find that some pieces are no longer ‘me’. My trusted advisors are good. I am challenged by my nurturing tribe and I listen, not always with good grace mind you, but nevertheless I take the advice. Our packaging impacts our insides too.
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