Being good to oneself, style-wise, has a lot of layers (no pun intended!). Somehow, there’s guilt associated with it. I think it has to do with the underlying fear of being (or being perceived as) selfish.
For many of us women born in the 50’s and early 60’s, our programming included messages like:
Don’t be too flashy, noticeable, vain. Don’t call attention to yourself. What will other people say? Remember your place, and blah blah, blah.
So when it comes to our middle years, and dressing ourselves nicely, we sometimes hit a barrier about “deserving”. We’re not sure it’s OK to spend time, effort and money on looking good.
Oh yes, some of my generation have processed this issue differently and fallen into shopping addictions and plastic surgery over-load. I struggle more with, “May I have this, is this alright?”
I’m putting out a call to abandon our fashion fears and liberate our desires, to allow ourselves to break free of self-imposed rules. If not now, when? Being good to oneself in the realm of style is very personal. It could mean, for example:
- Acknowledging our body size and shape, and dressing to accentuate it, if we so choose. It’s not the law that hourglass shapes are the only good ones. Pears, apples and bananas are lovely too.
- Wearing the same beloved necklace, bracelet or ring every day, because it feels good.
- Red lipstick, even if those little lines around our lips are not so little any more.
- Getting a haircut and style at a very expensive salon, by a top-notch stylist.
- Wearing lovely flats everywhere because high heels hurt. Owning ten pair, if the budget permits.
- Enjoying navy blue nail polish on fingers and toes.
These don’t constitute style advice! Just some ways we can be good to ourselves and bask in the individual beauty we own.
Over to you: is this an issue you’ve pondered, the “deserving” of good things in your style-life? Are you comfortable treating yourself well? (I hope so). Anything you’d like to add to the list of How You’re Good To Yourself? I love to hear from you.
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I have thought for many, many years that if I don't treat myself well, no one else will either. It's up to me to be good to myself and I have no problem with that.
The biggest thing I do for myself is maintaining a healthy diet and exercising on a daily basis. I've been doing this for 30+ years; it makes a huge difference.Beautiful scarves from India–I get so many compliments on them.. Expensive perfume–the real thing from Chanel and Guerlain. As my wonderful husband has serious sinus problems, his sense of smell is minimal. I wear these for me.
Eileen Fisher clothing looks very good on me, so I have built my wardrobe around her separates.
My old classic Coach bags; I love them and get comments on them sometimes, especially a big tote that I have.
Thought provoking post with perfect cat photo! My major focus is my health and I think that is one of the ways I practice 'be good to myself.' As frosting, I enjoy outfits as art and hats as the ultimate accessory. I've been collecting vintage for years, so I don't need to shop to participate. I do enjoy manicures as self care and I love Joni's idea from the 'Artist's Way.'
Hi, I guess this is my first time commenting on your blog, but the topic was so good, I decided to add my comment too.
For a long time, I thought that this " deserving issue " is only my personal , maybe only our nation´s issue, as we are described as modest over here in Finland.
But now I read, that this really is a global issue, which has concerned several generations in different countries.
I really had a tough time before I learned to " allow " myself pleasures & delights, without feeling bad about it.
Well, I´m pretty well in balance with myself now, only to discover, that actually nowadays, I really wish far less pleasures and delights.
So very true! When we did consulting work in Connecticut we did frequent the Woodbury Common La Perla but now I only can check at Neiman Marcus Last Call… But it is worth it! Love your last sentence!
Wonderful post! Yes, I believe I am good to myself. I think with age, comes wisdom. Such experiences for me personally, I am far better to myself than when I was younger. Back then, I may have thought, "oh no, I could not wear this or that, it's too much." Now, I am more of a," I love this, I'm buying it and I don't care what people think" type of person! Yet, I'm still quite frugal in my style plate … considering! But, also living an enjoyable quality life with a few luxuries as an entree. 🙂
Being financial-oriented, I see "being good to myself" in two veins: 1) I will create a line in my budget for these things, be it a pedicure, very nice lingerie, or coffee at the good cafe; and 2) I deserve to not feel guilty because I spent too much, so I will stick to my budget. Financial peace and saving for glorious purchases — instead of making do with the "cheap" substitute — are the best way I treat myself.
I have purchased several items recently at the San Marcos La Perla outlet. Lingerie is the ultimate self-indulgence because only you (or your husband/partner) sees it, but it's really meant for you to feel your most feminine and luxurious. Kind of like the Queen Kitty in Patti's picture.
You are so right. This is exactly how I feel. Growing older is not easy. It is a very new field with new feelings and new fears and thoughts. I didn't expect this. It really feels like learning to live in a complete new way. And I am still at the beginning… It is sometimes hard to accept the physical changes (I can't read anything without my glasses, my weight seems to stick on my hips and sometimes I feel like 120!!). Your blog really helps me because you have so many thoughts and good advice. So today I will wear one of my prettiest skirts that is in my closet for months already. Why not? Maybe this is also a good way to make decisions. Just ask "why not" and if there aren't any reasons (mostly there aren't any) so just do it!
Have a nice day!
I have pondered this. I have been "better" to myself this year than in previous years–purchasing new shoes, a new dress, perfume–but somehow I doubt I'll have the Hermes scarf by the end of the year. It is not that I don't think I deserve it, but that there are other "more necessary" things to spend the money on. I suspect that I was too poor for too many years to abandon my approach.
Thank you Mariette for your response and taking the time to read. It's what makes blogging so much richer. And thank you Patti for inspiring us!
Growing up, my parents preached that a "natural" look was best. But I think they took it to an extreme. Because when I look at pictures of myself as a teen, the first thing I notice is that I am extraordinarily unadorned, compared to my friends.
And I think some of that mindset has stuck, despite my rejection of it as an adult. Just this past weekend, I was getting ready for a social gathering and caught myself not wanting to "upstage" my friends. Luckily, I came to my senses and decided I deserved to look my best. And as a result, I felt comfortable and confident all evening. I'm so glad I didn't follow that first impulse to fade into the background.
How am I good to myself now? I wear really good bras that emphasize rather than minimize; I spend money on skin care; I buy clothes because they are flattering, and not just because they are on sale; I allow myself plenty of time to get ready for work in the morning; I allow myself to get rid of and replace clothes that are worn out or simply not my taste anymore.
Love your vision and it speaks volumes about your character. Wish that personal strength could be cloned… there are a lot out there that need it, like you said, mostly the very young.
Being good to myself means not wearing make-up, but remembering to moisturize. Eating healthy, but also eating the stuff I want – in moderation. It means wearing things that feel comfortable, even if they aren't what everyone else likes.
I do things occasionally – wear nailpolish, eye-liner, fitted stuff that maybe doesn't make me feel as comfortable as I normally do. I prefer to have maximum range of movement in anything I wear.
I don't mind being visually 'loud', but have a hard time finding my own voice. I'm a very anxious person, and really appreciate the feedback I receive through my blog because it's people responding to me in what is usually a positive way.
Not painting all ten fingers the same color. (I know my grandmother just rolled over – sorry!)
Wearing skinny jeans…in COLORS. (That took care of the other one – sorry!)
At the beginning of your post, in the italics part, I thought you were my mom!
One thing I took away after reading "The Artist's Way" was the simple act of taking ourselves out on a date. It just so happens that part of that ritual is buying myself a little something to brighten my day. Along with a nice lunch or coffee shop and treat, etc…I guess I learned the importance of picking a day just to nurture myself from that and I strive to continue it.
There's a line I draw where purchasing and adding to my wardrobe is concerned though. Because there comes a certain point where I feel I'm being foolish and I think that's a good thing. The ceiling of tolerance is there in order that I don't over spend and put the rest of my family in a position that I recklessly created. I do see many women, mostly the very young, do this.
I guess I don't let myself get too carried away mostly for what it could do to my character. I don't look at that as denying myself, I look at it as necessary constraint that builds personal strength.
Okay, I probably read way more in to this than I needed to. haha!!
Wonderful post Patti (LOVE Her Majesty the Cat)
Becoming visible through style blogging and linking up with Visible Monday (THANK YOU) has helped this formerly camera shy gal put it out there and am proud of it!!!
Indulge yourself in nice lingerie and nightgowns… Why not? If you are lucky enough to live near the San Marcos Premium Outlets in San Marcus, Texas or Woodbury Common Premium Outlets – Central Valley, NY, than by all means go visit La Perla! Having studied fashion and having lived and worked later in Italy, I'm 'addicted' to this Luxury Lingerie, Nightwear, Sleepwear and Loungewear. Also bathing suits! Check out Neiman Marcus Last Call at both locations as they too carry the brand. For a fraction you can afford to buy this line and it will do more for you than any cosmetic surgery. You will feel regal…
One warning: you will get hooked on it!
Learn from Mariette, Mariette's Back to Basics
I love that picture and I love this post. Being good to myself means wearing comfortable, flattering clothes and making an effort to look put together every day, even if I'm just staying home. And fragrance, every day.
Sometimes its as simple as just "bothering". Have you bothered to put on some nail polish, lipstick, pretty but comfortable shoes. Have you bothered to care how you look? In the region where I live there is a lot of just not bothering. The day I stop bothering they can haul me off….
Oh, yes, though I was born in the late 60s, I still got a lot of pressure to conform and not stand out. I'm kind of done with that. I'll wear as many pencil skirts on my unshapely hips as I please, and heels as high as I like (and can walk in).
I think you've really tapped into something. Being true to your personal style, simply because it makes you feel good, not because it follows some rule, is important
"It's not the law that hourglass shapes are the only good ones. Pears, apples and bananas are lovely too."
Hear hear! From a pear!
Every time I buy something I have to pass the "deserve" barrier! I'm getting better at it, especially after I started my blog. Then I've realized that I too deserve to look decent, and not settle for "that will do". I have yet to make my first appointment to have a facial and a manicure. Those things just seem so luxurious and self indulgent. Am I really worth it? I know I am in my head, but apparently my heart is a bit slow… I love the picture with the cat by the way!
The older I get, the more I accept myself as I am. But since I am blogging, I often feel I should not put me on a pedestral, that's just the way of thinking that you are describing, we were brought up with it. I think I should get over it gradually. it is so useless!
your post is exactly how I feel about it! have a nice day, patti!
'If not now, when?' is my new mantra.