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Style Therapy: Self-reflection through the lens of a selfie

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Confession time: “Fashion funk” is real, even if I invented the term to define the past two years.

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We have had limited reasons to dress well during this pandemic. Why bother when there were few places to go?

As we transition to the new normal, if you’re ready to do some style self-reflection, I recommend a week of taking full-length photos in a mirror. It might be just what you need to get your fashion groove on (or back) again.

Selfies aren’t new. They are the digital era’s self-portrait. Leonardo da Vinci painted himself — technically one of the first selfies. Few artists have not indulged in self-reflection. If Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne and Frida Kahlo eyed themselves critically and pictured what they saw, so can you.

Today, with cellphone cameras, it’s a whole lot easier. We can see if the photograph is good or not, all within seconds. If the lighting, angle, and expression are flattering, it’s a keeper. If not, it’s as easy as pose, click, groan, ugh, awful, delete and try again.

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Selfies seem casual, but they’re not. Millennials (1981-1996) have practised snapping themselves far more than we ever want to know. Generation X (1965-1980) accepts it’s the way of our culture. For reluctant Boomers (1946-1964), it’s an act of bravery, which begs the question: Is it about an unrealistic beauty standard or a counter-movement that’s geared towards self-acceptance?

If the thought of taking a picture of yourself every day for a week makes you groan, I assure you the process gets easier. Just take the photo for yourself. Nobody else needs to see it. Use it as a styling tool toward greater self-awareness. It will give you a true representation of what you look like in your clothes.

Caveat: You’re not shooting the cover of a fashion magazine. These photos don’t need to look perfect. Even the “beautiful” people can look bad in photographs. Be gentle with yourself because you’ll always find flaws if you look for them. You can’t hate your way into transformation; it doesn’t work that way.

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As a stylist, I work with women to enhance their unique beauty. I look for their full potential and I encourage you to style your mind to see yourself the way I would see you. And believe what the camera shows you.

The 7-Day Selfie Challenge:

This challenge can put some step back into your style. Each morning for a full week, dress and do your hair and makeup as you would normally for the demands of the day. Being a well-dressed woman doesn’t mean being gussied up 24/7 or trying to live your life as a fashion statement. Reality means wearing the most flattering clothing for the day’s activities. Take a selfie. At the end of the day, take time to reflect.

What did you see when you looked in the mirror?

Did you feel good in the outfit you wore today? What did you love about it? If not, why not? What do you wish you had to wear that’s already hanging in your fantasy closet? Did you have an “aha” moment?

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Maybe you noticed your clothing isn’t flattering because you’re wearing styles that don’t define who you are.

What about colour? Is all black on you boring? Do you look like a corpse in camel? Are your outfits uninspired because you wear the same old, same old? Would new makeup work wonders for you?

Are you hiding and holding yourself back in small ways (clothing) and big ways (life) without having realized it before? There are so many questions only you can answer. It’s astounding what you’ll see, once you start to look.

Most of us are fascinated with people watching and when we indulge our imagination we make up a narrative about them in our head. Others are doing the same about you when you don’t even know it. Even if you feel invisible, you’re not. What’s your story? How did people react to you today?

Did you notice people pay more attention to you if you pay attention to yourself? Are your life goals aligned with your style goals? In other words, do you look the part?

Strike a pose. Smile. Snap. There is only one person who can dream your dreams and live your life. You see her in the mirror every day.

Helene Oseen is a long-time fashion writer and sought-after stylist. She helps women find confidence and style as they make friends with themselves and fashion. What’s your closet identity? Take the quiz and find out at www.heleneoseen.com

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