Dressing for Success

Striking a pose in the dressing room

Lord knows I love to shop, but I don’t think I really have style. I have lots of stylish friends and an incredibly stylish mom … but when it comes to dressing myself, I rarely take risks and usually stick to the same things: jeans, cardigans, and wrap dresses, to name a few. Usually they are in solid colors and rarely any frills.

But recently, I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone. On a whim, I bought a wild (for me) printed strapless dress for Luis’s birthday/date night (which I ended up wearing in Chicago for girls weekend because it would not have been appropriate on a sunset cruise (too windy!) but was perfectly appropriate for dinner at RPM and hanging out on a fire truck with my girls).

Then this week at White House Black Market (during my “me” day) ended up purchasing this ensemble you see above (minus the shoes and necklace).

I’d always window shopped in there, but never actually tried anything on since it can be pretty pricey. Of course, I’m cursing myself for this now! Why? Well, first, I’m at the point now where I’d rather have a few good signature pieces that will last a long time vs. a bunch of cheaper stuff I would buy each season (hence, my new-found Lulu obsession). And secondly, staff at WHBM is amazing — they’re stylists who pick out a variety of things they think you’d look good in and put them in your dressing room so when you walk in with maybe a single dress (on sale!), you end up seeing a room full of potential … and end up dropping a small fortune because you love everything they picked out. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything … 😉

I’ve always loved the dress/belted cardi look but never thought I could pull it off. Since my waist — once my prized feature — has gone to the wayside, I have mostly avoided this trend like the plague. But with the right cardigan, the right belt, and the right dress … magic can be made! Truly, it’s about dressing for the body you HAVE … not the body you “want” or “had.”

I was pretty much sold on this ensemble (the belt was included; the strapless dress was on sale; and I opted out of the shoes and necklace), and then I found another dress I loved (also on sale!) which I put aside to purchase. While my friend was still trying her stuff on I came across this sweater and casually threw it on over my top. I was checking myself out in it in the mirror, silently hemming and hawing, when my wonderful stylist for the day came over with this belt.

And I was sold. I never would have thought to belt this type of sweater but you know what? It “took it up a notch” as she told me. She was right. It looked pulled together and chic. And I felt like a million bucks. It is the kind of sweater I’ll have for years to come, and can dress it down with jeans or sass it up with dress pants or a skirt/dress.

What I learned Wednesday is I might not have style, but I’m certainly willing to learn from others. And though I don’t have the “perfect body,” with the right clothes — or good tailoring — I can pull off looks I might have never considered before. This is really important because clothes really do make me feel good. If I have on something I LOVE … whether it’s a specific pair of shoes or a favorite top … I can’t really have a bad day. It’s like one of Newton’s undiscovered law of physics or something.

My wallet was feeling some residual pain yesterday (I think I’m done shopping for a while!), but I wore the safari dress to work with pride and really felt good in my own skin. I know it sounds superficial, but there’s something to be said for how clothes can really make a woman.

How about you? Do you have a specific dress/top/pair of jeans that you feel like a superstar in?

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