Subliminal Style
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Catching Rae

The Outfit as Self-Portraiture


I was talking with an artist friend over the weekend and, at some point, I interjected with a phrase along the lines of "outfits are my art!"

I said this a bit flippantly, just to be cute and make conversation. As I went about my day, though, my brain really got to riffing on this idea. Every outfit is like a work of art: a careful balancing act of light, shadow, color, shape, movement, and emotion - but more than that, I realized that every outfit is a self-portrait.

Self-portraits are some of the most interesting forms of artwork around, because they reveal so much about the artist - especially their insecurities. This recent Dove Real Beauty Sketches experiment demonstrates that self-portraits can often reveal an unkind view of ourselves! All too often, it's easy to be critical of ourselves as and exaggerate our perceived flaws.

It's no different with clothing. 

Every time we get dressed, we tell the world - and more importantly, ourselves! - who we are that day. And sometimes we announce (subtly or not) that we are rushed, timid, tired, bland, worried, uncomfortable, uninterested, angry, lonely, insecure, or any number of harsh self-criticisms. We don't mean to do this. We just do our best to cope amidst the turbulence of deadlines, stress, and responsibility - but in the process, we sometimes reinforce damaging narratives, like "everything else is more important right now" or "nobody's going to look at me, anyway."

The good news is that outfits can also create positive reinforcement. :)

What if you made the decision to start each day by manifesting your very best self? What would that look like? What features would you accentuate? What inner gifts would you celebrate? What colors would you use? 

These are the types of questions that build an uplifting, confidence-building wardrobe. When you consciously choose to embrace your authentic self, you start the day saying that you're worth your own attention. And when you start to acknowledge your own worth, other people do, too! 

What does your "self-portrait" look like today? Would you go back and change it if you could?