Why “Style” is a Beautiful Thing
Jennifer Frey is an Ambassador Flourish Contributor from Virginia with a passion for graphic tees, statement necklaces, and helping women embrace their unique style. Today on the blog, Jennifer shares her style philosophy and her favorite tips for learning to own your style with confidence!
Noonday Ambassadors Brooke Van Groningen, Debby Jackson-Moore, Jennifer Frey, and Erin Rigsby at the annual Ambassador Conference in Austin, TX
Style. It can be a loaded word – a word that many of us struggle with as women. Style can become just one more way that we judge others (or more often, ourselves). It can become just another way that we keep score.
I don’t want to style to be just another one of those areas where we compare ourselves to others. Another arena where we battle…and fail. Another space where we think we aren’t good enough. But often, that’s just what our celebrity-obsessed culture tells us to think – we even have pages in magazines devoted to mocking fashion choices. What we don’t realize, in the thrill of sitting at home and dissecting the fashion slip-up of some far-away celeb, is that we actually like to do it. We like that moment of superiority. We buy into and are fed by this illusion that style is a game – and that some of us win and some of us end up losers.
Today, I want to turn that “style as a battle” mentality upside down. I want us – you and me – to become leaders of a style revolution. A revolution that says things like: style does not have winners and losers; it’s not only for the girls born with it; it does not depend on the size or color or price of your clothes.
So, confession – I love style. Obviously. I blog about it. I talk about it. I think about it. People say all-too-kind and lovely things to me about my style. And you know what? That is a lot of pressure. The more I think about “style,” the more I begin to buy into the competition of it. I start to second and third-guess my clothing and accessory choices. I start to feel deficient in my own abilities to put together a basic outfit. I start to move away from what I would naturally gravitate towards to what the “truly stylish” gal would choose. In my head I can hear things like, “She is a real natural. She looks so effortless. My style is so fussy to compared to her. I can’t pull this off because it was meant for someone much smaller than me.”
So what gets me out of that headspace? One: recognizing that I am, in fact, in that headspace, and that I don’t want to stay there. Two: remembering how much better I feel when I am wearing something I truly love. As I type this, I am in jeans and a men’s blue oxford shirt, and I love it. It is so me. This is what makes me feel stylish. And this is the feeling that drives out my fear that style is a competition to be won (or lost). It may sound corny or cliché, but being authentic to who I truly am and who God made me to be makes me feel so peaceful – and, in turn, “stylish.”
To be sure, I haven’t always had this confidence – it’s something that has evolved in me over time. Along with some cruddy things, age also brings a beautiful release from the long list of standards society has told me I must attain. It becomes easier and easier to live authentically and pursue my unique style.
In order to ever have fun with style, I ask you to let go of the list of trends and instead find the freedom to genuinely reflect on who you are. Who you are in the perfect and lovely and messy and stylish and style-challenged way you were made. No matter how many style blogs I publish or how many likes my OOTD posts get on Instagram, I firmly believe it is my attitude that makes me “stylish” — and it’s what makes you stylish too!
Jennifer and Jill having some fun with style in an Austin boutique.
My very stylish friend and fellow Noonday Ambassador Jill Edwards says, “Why does fashion matter? On the surface it seems shallow, but the reality is that it does matter. It’s fun, it makes us feel beautiful, and it’s changing lives. When we feel beautiful and confident, instead of using all of our energy focusing inward, we are free to use that confidence and strength to be world changers.”
Isn’t that the best?! When we feel stylish and lovely, we stop worrying about feeling stylish and lovely, and instead love on others and the whole wide world. And to feel stylish and lovely, we just need to embrace our unique style.
Being around my fellow Ambassadors and being part of Noonday in general has taught me some important style lessons worth sharing:
1. “If you are wearing it, you are pulling it off.” We say that a lot in the Noonday world. If you love it, try it, and let the compliments roll in. And congratulations, you just pulled it off.
2. Style and beauty are so much more than what a magazine or celebrity tries to push on me. By wearing a Noonday piece, I am connected with beauty in so many ways. I am representing other women from around the world by wearing their native craft techniques, and in the process supporting sustainable employment for them and improved lives for their families.
3. Style is an Attitude of Authenticity. If I am not my authentic self, or if I ever try to be someone else, I will only ever be a “less-than” version of myself. When I embrace my style, I am stylish. Did you hear that? Say it again: “I. Am. Stylish.”
I hope that today’s post encourages you and inspires you to listen to your own stylish voice, to try something new, and to think of beauty in new ways. I urge you to host or attend a Noonday Trunk Show, and let one of our amazing Ambassadors fuss over you. Go play dress up with your girlfriends. Already shopped or hosted a Trunk Show? Become an Ambassador too, and share all of this world changing beauty and style with women just like you that need to know that style is an attitude of authenticity!