Style Confidence: Elysha Lenkin
When did you first become self-conscious about how you looked?
For my client, Sarah, it was when she was eight years old. As a young girl, she loved to play dress-up and experiment with different styles. She wore her hair in wild braids, dressed in bright colors, and mismatched patterns. And felt like she could be anyone she wanted to be.
But in fourth grade, everything changed. Sarah started to notice the other girls in her class – how they styled their hair, what brands they wore – and she began to feel like she didn’t measure up. She started to wear the same clothes as everyone else, trying to blend in and avoid drawing attention to herself.
Her Perceived Flaws:
Sarah grew increasingly self-conscious as she got older, but she didn’t let it stop her from succeeding in her career. She became a partner at her law firm, handling major corporate deals.
At work, she displayed incredible bravery, being the only woman at the table surrounded by men. But her self-consciousness often crept back in, especially when she was getting ready for work. She would find herself reverting back to her adolescence, throwing piles of clothing on the bed in a fit of frustration, believing that nothing would ever look good on her. Her reflection in the mirror was a constant reminder of her perceived flaws.
“She represents an entire flock of women who even in midlife — still battle with self-doubt about their appearance..”
The weight of Sarah’s self-consciousness sat on her shoulders, as if a thousand eyes were scrutinizing her every move. Her mind echoed with the hurtful words she had internalized over the years, whispering that she was “too fat,””too short,” and “too pale.” Each outfit she tried on only seemed to confirm these thoughts, leaving her feeling defeated and unworthy.
Battle With Self-Doubt:
Sarah isn’t actually my client. She represents an entire flock of women who even in midlife — still battle with self-doubt about their appearance. Though the details may differ, whether they work in corporate or run their own businesses, they all bear the burden of insecurities that originated long ago. Throughout their lives, they have been haunted by comparisons to societal beauty standards, media portrayals, and unattainable ideals that often leave them feeling inadequate.
As a personal stylist who has spent decades working intimately with women, I’ve noticed that about 90% of my clients sought my services because they felt self-conscious about how they look. While typical styling services like wardrobe reviews and shopping support help them feel more certainty in their clothing choices, there’s another aspect that we focus on to help them overcome their self-consciousness — rebuilding their self-trust.
6 Ways To Restore Self-Trust With Your Wardrobe Choices:
If you can relate to “Sarah’s” situation, and you’re ready to be more confident about how you look, keep reading! I share six ways to restore self-trust so that you can cultivate a competent fashion sense along with a stronger sense of self.
1. Identify Negative Beliefs:
Take a moment to identify any negative beliefs or insecurities you have about your appearance and how they may be affecting your wardrobe choices. For example, do you often avoid wearing bright colors or bold patterns because you believe they draw attention to your perceived flaws? Reflect on why you feel this way and challenge yourself to try new things outside of your comfort zone.
“By being more accepting of your appearance, you create space for others to do the same.”
2. Challenge Unrealistic Standards:
Recognize that societal beauty standards can be unrealistic and that true beauty comes in various forms. A big part of my work with my styling clients involves expanding their perspective of what looks good by constantly providing evidence that anybody can be beautiful!
There’s still a long way to go in normalizing the cultural beauty standards, but change starts with the individual. By being more accepting of your appearance, you create space for others to do the same. It’s also important to remember that your worth is not solely determined by your appearance. You have unique qualities that make you special and valuable. So let’s celebrate and appreciate the beauty in diversity and individuality!
3. Focus on Your Strengths:
Shift your focus from perceived flaws to your strengths and attributes. Recognize what makes you special and let that confidence shine through your wardrobe choices. For instance, if you have always admired your strong shoulders and defined waistline, but tended to hide them under loose-fitting clothing due to concerns about other parts of your body, try selecting an outfit that highlights these features.
Choose a well-tailored dress or a top that accentuates your shoulders and waist. This shift in focus from perceived flaws to your assets will boost your self-confidence and allow you to make wardrobe choices that truly showcase your inner beauty and strengths
4. Learn From Mistakes:
It’s perfectly fine if you end up in a situation where you absolutely hate what you are wearing, to the point where you wish you could change immediately. View it as a learning opportunity rather than a failure, and use that experience to make better choices in the future.
“Treat yourself with the same compassion you would show a child or close friend.”
5. Practice Self-Kindness:
Be kind to yourself during this process. Don’t be too critical of your appearance or your choices. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would show a child or close friend.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help:
Sometimes we get so inside our heads that it’s beneficial to get another perspective to help see things in a new light. Be careful about who you bring in here. While friends and family may be well-intentioned and want you to be happy, their views may not align with your goals.
Also, expertise in one area, such as a career, doesn’t necessarily translate to proficiency in other areas like personal style. Many of my clients are highly successful in their careers, yet don’t have the same competency with their wardrobes which is why they hired me for help. This is normal!
Once you’ve set the foundation of self-trust in your personal style, you’ll find it’s easier to shop and get dressed because you won’t hem and haw over every decision and drown yourself in feelings of self-doubt.
Just remember, rebuilding self-trust is a gradual process, and it’s okay to take small steps. By approaching your wardrobe choices with self-awareness and self-acceptance, you can cultivate a positive relationship with your appearance and build lasting confidence in your style. And this will always give you the most radiant look!
For some wonderful resources, check out Elysha’s bio down below.
About the Author:
Elysha Lenkin is The Personal Stylist for women who like to get sh!t done, but keep getting stuck on what to wear. She got her start working on commercial shoots in NYC styling for big brands, magazines and celebrities including O, The Oprah Magazine, Tina Fey, Serena Williams and Carrie Underwood. Today her focus is to serve “real” women who are experiencing a significant change in their lives, such as divorce, starting a new job, transitioning to a new role, weight loss or weight gain. Her approach to styling is holistic which means that instead of focusing only on the clothes, she centers her attention on the woman wearing the clothes to help her move through life feeling comfortable, confident and free.
Learn more about Elysha’s holistic approach to personal style here: https://elyshalenkin.com
Follow her on Instagram here:https://www.instagram.com/elysha_nyc/
And take her free quiz to Find Your IT Factor and Discover Your On-Camera Style here: https://elyshalenkin.com/kuel-quiz