This week’s secret to dressing like a European is one of the most important assets to any wardrobe – and that is attitude. “Attitude” can mean many things, but the all important area we’ll be speaking about today is the art of feeling comfortable in your own skin – something well-heeled Europeans seem to have down to an art.
When contemplating our continental cousin’s “savior faire” in putting an outfit together- what often stands out is something much less tangible than a specific item of clothing or an accessory. It is the unaffected ease in which which they move in their clothing. It isn’t necessarily their confidence in what they say or do, but more a sense of certainty and poise that no matter what they are wearing -it looks great- which can make even an old outfit from the Salvation Army look like a million bucks.
When Ruth was studying French one summer in Paris, she had an interesting experience which taught her first hand the power of this week’s Secret….
She had a rather heavy-set professor who shocked the entire class daily with her somewhat bizarre second hand shop ensembles which seemed to cling to her in all the wrong places.
Apparently, however, this woman never received the memo that she was anything less than Heidi Klum’s long lost identical twin sister. Throughout the course of the class, she moved around the room as if she were a model on a cat-walk. As she addressed the class, she would run her hands up and down the many curves of her over-sized frame, preening as if she were being coaxed on by a Vogue photographer.
Although ungainly, she was under the distinct impression that she was absolutely the most irresistible woman in the world. Not in a stuck-up or arrogant way -but because you could see that she truly was someone who was comfortable in her own skin.
The funny thing was, after a few days of watching this, the entire class began to think she really was a sexy, sultry woman. Ruth actually caught herself thinking, “what a beautiful woman; if only I could look that great”. Ruth’s female classmates echoed her sentiment and looked on in envy.
This teacher didn’t dress to impress or seem at all troubled by what others may have thought of her. She just possessed the one indispensable item for any wardrobe…attitude. She had the confidence of The Next top Model walking down the runway, and it was infectious. Ruth started to notice this was a common denominator of many well-dressed Parisians. In fact, she started to observe women on the street and in cafe’s and realized the right “attitude”could pretty much trump any fashion faux pas. In other words how a woman walked and carried her self was absolutely key to “dressing well”.
Whether we realize it or not, how we feel about ourselves is constantly being radiated out into the world, even without our uttering a word. We’ve all met beautiful people that didn’t seem all that attractive after talking to them for a few minutes. Conversely, we all know otherwise average looking people who are confident and classy and therefore emanate regal beauty.
Of course we would never tell you to simply don a glad bag and rely on that sparkling personality of yours to get you through a hot date or a big interview. However, we cannot emphasize enough that how you feel about yourself is a huge part of how you present yourself to the world.
So even if you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable in that sea-foam green bridesmaid dress your best friend picked out for you and her entire wedding party, throw those shoulders back and act like Oscar de la Renta dressed you himself. That inner voice in your head might be screaming, “I look like something from the aquarium”, but pay it no heed and “fake it ‘til you make it”, as they say. You’ll be surprised at not only how good you’ll start to feel, but also by the reaction you get from others.
Annie perhaps put it best when she said, “you’re never fully dressed without a smile”. Although we may not applaud her fashion sense, we wholeheartedly agree with her sage advice.
Looking forward to next week when we will bring you the last secret in the series “How to Dress Like a European”….
Have a great holiday weekend!