When it comes to the warmer weather countdown, us folks in the north are scurrying to get our travel plans booked, our outdoor concert seats, and our patio drinks perfected. This all sounds heavenly, but are you summer ready. Do you ever hesitate about participating is summer activities because you feel a lot more exposed? Well if you do, you are not alone! I recently did a post that flooded my DM’s with a lot of raw feelings. I presented a stat that 90% of women are unhappy with their outward appearance. Most of these women are specifically unhappy with their current weight. I can not tell you how many women reached out to me expressing that they were at the top of the 90%. Many of them had a tone of desperation or embarrassment. It was astonishing, in the most painful way. I know that women struggling with their appearance is nothing new, but what I found shocking is how many people that were reaching out to me were women I considered to be strong, successful, confident, and beautiful. It was as though I pulled the bandaid off a wound that people were desperate to cover. “If they feel this way, then we are all doomed!”Read More
When it comes to the warmer weather countdown, us folks in the north are scurrying to get our travel plans booked, our outdoor concert seats, and our patio drinks perfected. This all sounds heavenly, but are you summer ready. Do you ever hesitate about participating is summer activities because you feel a lot more exposed? Well if you do, you are not alone! I recently did a post that flooded my DM’s with a lot of raw feelings. I presented a stat that 90% of women are unhappy with their outward appearance. Most of these women are specifically unhappy with their current weight. I can not tell you how many women reached out to me expressing that they were at the top of the 90%. Many of them had a tone of desperation or embarrassment. It was astonishing, in the most painful way. I know that women struggling with their appearance is nothing new, but what I found shocking is how many people that were reaching out to me were women I considered to be strong, successful, confident, and beautiful. It was as though I pulled the bandaid off a wound that people were desperate to cover. “If they feel this way, then we are all doomed!”
The dust has settled a bit on that post, but has since evolved into a worry about skin exposing summer wardrobe. Bathing suit shopping hell, short shorts that expose cellulite, and flabby arms flapping in the wind. How did we get here? These women run companies, have the highest levels of education, manage households with beautiful thriving children, and secretly they are counting their stretch marks in the mirror every morning. Should we play the blame game and yell at all the models from the 90’s waif era, or perhaps point fingers at the over-filtered, unrealistic, social media standard? Perhaps it’s a combination of all of the above, but I prefer to focus on the positive. What I am noticing is that social media outlets are now becoming just as saturated with body positive, no judgement, shame free vixens, that put the real in “realstagram”. So just as I recommend a good closet detox, do yourself a favor and detox your social media. Unfollow anyone that makes you feel like crap. If their “captured” life is preventing you from feeling good about yourself, then it is time to say goodbye.
So when I ask you if you are summer ready, sure I want to know if you have your SPF, broad rimmed Panama hat, extra large sunglasses and colourful kimono that can double as a beach cover. The real root of my question is, how is your mind and soul feeling about summer? Are you accepting you for you? Do you realize that your kids don’t count the dimples on the back of your legs, they just want you in the pool with them. Do you know that your husband, is in awe of you and doesn’t see the “flaws” that you see. Do you understand that you are the harshest critic of yourself, and there is a very strong possibility that the things you hate the most, other people don’t even notice? Oh, and if someone does notice your most embarrassing “flaw”, that “flaw” doesn’t define you. It makes you human, vulnerable, imperfect and beautiful. In true transparency, I type this fighting the hypocrisy. When it comes to my appearance, I have good days and bad. I have tried various diets, cellulite creams, self-tanners and “Spanx” to hide the bits that I am unhappy with. What I have learned is that when I am feeling too engulfed in these negative feelings, it shows on the outside. I am training my brain to stop negative self-talk, and it is getting easier everyday.
So here is the fun stuff. 10 things I can not live without this summer:
1. A lightweight Kimono. These are so versatile to have in your closet. They can be worn as a beach cover. Belted over a dress, or twisted into a scarf.
2. Large UV A and B sunglasses. I say large as a recommendation from my esthetician. Our cheeks and orbital bones take the heat when we sit in the sun. If you are a face toucher like me, then the sunscreen on your face is very likely to be the first to go. Good sunglasses are literally protecting our sensitive eye area.
3. Panama Hat. I love hats, but a lot of people feel like they can’t put them off. A Panama Hat is a classic that usually flatters every face shape.
4. Shimmer Bronzer. Now is the time to get your glow on. I love the shimmer bricks from Bobby Brown. They add colour and shine, making you radiate a goddess like glow.
5. Moisturizer or foundation with SPF. You should be wearing this all year long, but especially in the summer. My favourite day cream is from Khiels but there are so many amazing products to help protect your skin from those harmful rays.
6. Leather sandals. Note that I did not say flip flops. The sound alone of shlappa, shlappa sends me into a fury. You and your gait are worth more then $4 foam shoes. Did you know that in the summer months, people tend to increase their step count by 30%. Therefore you should purchase the best pair of sandals you can afford. Look for a neutral leather with a good amount of cushion. Check that the straps don’t cut into the sensitive skin in the tops of your feet or toes. If you like a little heel, make sure that it is wide enough that it won’t get stuck in grass, sand, or wooden planks on decks and boardwalks.
7. Lightweight button up. I prefer, a cotton-linen blend. It is breathable and versatile. Choose a light colour, like white, tan or a sky blue. Wear it with your homemade denim shorts or throw it over your shoulders that are getting a bit too much sun.
8. A LBD the summer edition. I recommend that everyone has a little black dress for every season. They are the perfect addition to any capsule wardrobe and will pair beautifully with #’s 1-7.
9. Beach bags have a purpose. They should breathe in the heat. be perforated to release sand or water, and should be big enough to hold your water, sunscreen, wallet, glasses, lip balm, towel, airpods, Panama hat, snacks, beach cover, and, and, and.
10. A bathing suit you feel like a goddess in. We have come a long way girls. Bathing suits are no longer disposable after one season and they are now available for every shape and size. It may take a few tries but if you are looking in the right places, you can find something that makes you feel pretty freaking great.
Are you a t-shirt and jeans girl? Excellent so am I. So many women have developed a misconception that they have to be wearing uncomfortable clothes, or high-end brands in order to look awesome. Here’s the reality, jeans and a T can work for you if it is occasion appropriate, the fit is right for you, and you make an effort to add a little something extra (we’ll get to that later). One of my favourite style bloggers “Fashion Jackson”, looks pristine all the time and I would guess that 90% of her outfits include various pairs of ripped denim paired with basic white and black t’s. She has mastered the art of “street style” that looks effortless, because with a bit of practice, it is. Beautiful knits, sunglasses and loafers paired with well fitting jeans is all a girl really needs to look chic from the neck down. If your interested in stepping up your game even more, practice your five minute face and a sleek low-neck pony.
So here are the key points of the lesson:
Buy a pair of jeans that as my loving mother would say, “fit you like a smack in the face”, yes thats a good thing. These do not have to be expensive, but you should look at the materials. Do you want jeans that stretch or a classic stiff denim? Personally I own about 6 pairs of Old Navy Rockstar jeans. I love the fit and get compliments all the time. I do also love my “Rag and Bone” denim which are about three times the price but I know that I will have them for life.
Buy a good quality basic t-shirt. I say good quality because sister no matter what we buy we have to calculate cost per wear. What other item in your closet takes more wear and tear than your t’s? I love the “Madewell” brand which is sold at Nordstoms. They are $26 which yes can be double or even triple you would pay for your Old Navy sale but they wash and wear really well offering you a longer life for the item. Plus they just look and feel awesome.
A third piece is key. This is where you introduce jackets, cardigans, blazers, vests, kimonos, button ups, ponchos, hoodies and on and on...The third piece ties the outfit together. It takes you from basic to interesting. It is often where we can create texture, colour and shine. Beyond esthetics, the third piece in an outfit, is usually one of necessity. Insert a bright yellow raincoat on a dreary day or a sun-shielding kimono for a sunset walk along a beach. When working with clients I often tell them that this is one of the places they should invest their money. A great trench or moto will live with you for decades.
“The occasion dictates the accessories”, another Style Literacy tidbit. Accessories include your shoes, glasses, jewelry, hats, hair embellishments, belts, bags and scarves. Look at the t-shirt and jeans as the base to grow on. Will you be pairing them with a pair of colourful “Converse” runners and an awesome blazer or swanky Manolo’s with chunky pearls. Trust your gut and when in doubt always dress up more than down.
Face your image demons head on. What part of your appearance do you hate? Now for everyone item you write down, write something you love about yourself. This is hard for a lot of women so if you need to, recruit the help of your friends and family. It is so important that you find things to celebrate about yourself. Strive everyday to be the woman that is proud of who they see when they dressed in the morning.
Does that 14 year old (lets call her Tallula) that lives the back of my brain, ever pop to the front of my mind and wreak all kinds of havoc. Hells to the ya! Recently, I spent the whole day styling and doing makeup, telling other women they were all kinds of beautiful for branding photo shoots.
The photographer thought it would be a great idea to snap a few of me before we left. In walks Tallula making me want to hide behind the closest corner. No amount of contour or lighting could have saved me in that moment. I completely lost my mojo, and wanted to crawl under my makeup chair. So what’s a girl to do you ask? You go home, pour a glass of wine, and bust out your gratitude journal. You write down all the positives of that amazing day. The next day, you meditate on those horrible feelings, and make sure you’re being kind to that girl that you look at in the mirror. No one is you and that is your your super power!
I have freckles, my nannyʼs arms, my moms thighs, and my dadʼs nose. There I said it. My love affair with style and beauty didn’t evolve from some evolutionary place. It was birthed from a place of desperation and necessity. I was the 14 year old girl that would talk to the mirror, desperately asking the reflection to be something different. As my facial bones set in place, and my round face was determined to become a permanent feature, I knew I could either beat it, or join it. So I did just that, and learned to work with what my “mama” gave me, literally!
At the risk of aging myself, when I was 14 the internet was dial-up and there certainly wasnʼt Pinterest, Instagram, or style blogs for me to latch onto. Magazines became my textbooks, and Stacy and Clinton from “What Not to Wear” became my professors. I would hold onto their every word, clip articles, and make “vision boards” on my bedroom wall, only they werenʼt called vision boards back then.
With practice, I became really savvy at finding vintage pieces at thrift shops, and the back of my dadʼs closet. I learned how to sew just enough to make basic alterations. I would raid my momʼs cosmetic bag, and use every dollar of my allowance buying Cover Girl eye shadow pallets. I would toss our the little sponge and use my art supply paint brushes to blend like one of the pros I would see on tv.
What I started to notice is that I was getting attention. Not for my pale skin or the shape of my features, but because someone loved my customized jean jacket or the belt I paired with a vintage blazer. Eventually, this evolved in my being asked to do other peopleʼs makeup and help the, pick out their clothes for an upcoming date night. I didn’t know it at the time, but at 14 I found my gift. I was empowering other girls that struggled with their own batch of insecurities. I was helping people just like, me feel better about themselves.
Though, my journey with beauty and style didnʼt start in the most empowered of places. I have learned to embrace who I am because of it. When I feel put together and polished it’s like I am wearing a cape. In the beginning it was all about hiding but now, it is all about me shining. When my outside looks good, it makes my insides feel better. Call me shallow if you like, but Iʼll call your bluff. Appearance matters, its just that simple. It affects our posture, communication, and even how we walk. Iʼm not saying you need to dress like a Kardashian everyday. A five minute face, and a statement necklace, might be all you need to give you that little punch of confidence, to make you shine all freakinʼ day!
- XO Linsey