A guest post by Sarah Barrett
My very first picture on Instagram was a photo of an ‘arm party’ that I did as part of The Fox in Flats Style Dares. I feel so special and fabulous when I play along with these, which is totally the point of the dares.
After participating in the Fox in Flats Style Dares, I recognised that it was improving my self-esteem. I could see that it was motivating myself to not only dress better, but to be better. Since this first picture I shared, I have learnt so much. Here are 10 things I have learnt from uploading selfies on Instagram while doing the Fox in Flats Style Dares. These ten lessons are big, big lessons. Doing the Fox in Flats Style Dares has greatly improved my well-being. And I am now far more content in my wardrobe.
My very first pic on Instagram – an ‘Arm Party’.
1. I am beautiful
Taking selfies everyday has helped me see my beauty in a way that was completely unforeseen. I pose in front of the mirror multiple times. I find good light and work out ways to flatter my shape. I take photo after photo after more photos and look for the one in which I look the best. In doing so, I worked out that I was the best looking girl in my photo. Every day I would eventually find a photo where I would look at myself and say, that’s good. Eventually I realised that this meant that I look good! The communities on Instagram that participate in these fashion challenges are extremely kind and generous. Everyday my picture would receive likes. Everyday I was told I looked great, that my outfit was cool, that I was beautiful. Everyday! This has incredible power. When you are told something repeatedly, you start to believe it. And I now believe it. I want to spread this belief to other women. I want you to feel as beautiful as I do. I want you to know that it is true.
2. I have value
The Style Dares have helped me see my own value. Talking selfies and sharing them online can be challenging. It was challenging! At the start I felt that my photo was not important, that it was meaningless. But, the lovely community of women who join the Fox in Flats Style Dares and take time out of their days to ‘like’ and comment on my pictures has meant so much. That community sees my value and have told me that I am valuable. I now love taking my daily selfie. Like I said above, if you hear something enough, that is what you come to be. Some may find it sad that I need this external approval to improve my self-esteem. Perhaps. But I think though, it is important to do what works. And if it works, keep doing it.
3. I have my own style
The Style Dares have forced me to find my style. I had to interpret the prompts to fit my wardrobe. Most women will fall into a style hole at some point. Just like so many others, I struggled to dress my different body shape and size after pregnancy. I was unsure of what a ‘mother’ wears. All I knew was that I didn’t want to look ‘motherly’! Living in Melbourne, I also fell into the trend of wearing all black. After my car accident, however, I could no longer surround myself with such darkness. But I didn’t know how to wear colour. I also suddenly put on 20 kilos so nothing fit any more. I did not own any flats before my injuries. I loved wearing heels. Heels were how I felt good leaving the house. Without wearing heels, how was this possible! Plus, have you noticed all the patterns that are in trend at the moment! I loved them, but I did know how to wear them. I did not feel brave enough to try. So I watched. I watched all the other girls playing along on Instagram. And then I was dared to do it. The Fox in Flats Style Dares dare you to try! So I jumped in. I mixed prints!! And I was praised for my attempts.
4. I’m brave enough to experiment
I learnt that ultimately fashion does not matter. What I wear does not really matter. By this I mean that I can experiment with my clothing. I learnt that I can wear clothes differently to the way they were intended. I can roll up sleeves on jackets, and hems on jeans. I can wear belts over jumpers. I can wear a head band intended for my daughter. I can wear five different bangles at once, on both wrists. I can wear a tie as a necklace. I can wear a hat because I think it is beautiful. I can wear an evening dress to do the groceries with the children. I can use a fancy clutch during the day. I learnt that there are more ways to do my hair than just shoved up out of the way. So, I gave myself permission to experiment. I haven’t liked everything. Not everything worked. But it is fun and liberating to play with the ‘rules’. By being brave enough to experiment with my clothing and accessories I now have fun with fashion, which is exactly what getting dressed should be. Your clothing should make you happy. The Style Dares challenge you to experiment.
5. I can compromise my values
I’m a little bit crunchy. I like to make my own deodorant and moisturiser. I wash my face with honey. I don’t like putting chemicals on my skin or in my body. This means that I have not worn make up for years, when all of a sudden I was dared to wear orange lipstick. Not one to back away from a dare, I brought one. I learnt that it is okay to break with my values occasionally. I can believe that killing animals for their skin is wrong and still love fur. I can be alternative and still enjoy a manicure. I have learnt to be gentle on myself. I have learnt to be honest and admit to what makes me happy despite my values. I love wearing a bold lipstick, despite the way it has been made. This has motivated me to find recipes to make more products myself and research into existing beauty brands. Life is full of compromises.
6. I do have something to wear
All this experimentation and compromise’s have shown me that I do actually have something to wear. I can go to my Instagram feed for outfit ideas, from previous pictures I’ve shared. I’ve learnt how to mix pieces of clothing that I previously believed could not be worn together. This means that my wardrobe has increased in size. I now look at my wardrobe with rational eyes. I want to wear this, that means this colour works best with it, so I’ve got theses choices. Previously, I looked at my wardrobe emotionally. I would only see clothes that didn’t fit, clothes that I looked horrible in, clothes that didn’t go together. I have learnt that none of these are true.
7. I can accessorise
I have learnt how a necklace takes my jeans and t-shirt to something so much more. I have learn to combine different jewellery pieces together to create a different look. I now almost always wear two or three necklaces. I love how putting on a collection of cocktail rings makes me feel so special, but doesn’t ‘overdress’ the basic jeans and t-shirt look. I have always admired other women when they wear a lot of bangles, but I would try it and feel stupid and then take it off before leaving the house. I am now confident to accessorise to the point of excess, and I love it.
8. I am foxy in flats
Learning this has been a mind shift, one that I’ve struggled with. Putting on a pair of high-heeled shoes is such an easy way to feel sassy, sexy and confident. But the height of your shoes does not equal the level of your sexiness. I’ve experimented with different types of flats. I now own runners, sneakers, brogues, ankle boots, knee-high boots, ballet flats, loafers and sandals in different colours, patterns and styles. They add so much to my outfits.
9. I know my wardrobe
I have learnt what ‘holes’ are in my wardrobe. I now look in shops for pieces to fill these holes, rather than randomly buying something to make me feel better. I have learnt not to emotionally shop! This is huge, peoples! Because I am looking for specific items, it has also helped to increase my wardrobe, as I am buying items that go with multiple pieces. A part of knowing my wardrobe has meant that I am now far more able to throw away and donate clothing. I am honest enough to admit when something isn’t working. I do not need to own five pairs of black pants. I have learnt that if I would not buy the piece today then it isn’t worth owning.
10. My size doesn’t matter
Did you know that you should buy boyfriend jeans one size larger to get the ‘look’? Did you know that a great way to get the boyfriend look whilst still looking feminine is to wear skinny jeans one or two sizes larger and cinch it in with a belt? Did you know that you should buy shirts a size bigger so that you have enough fabric for tucking in, and other random playing with fabric stuff? I learnt these amazing things from the incredible style, fashion and beauty bloggers that I follow. If all this is true, the size I wear is irrelevant as it is not the size I am. Plus, regardless of the size I am, I am beautiful.
What was the first ever selfie that you uploaded on Instagram?
And what have you learnt from doing the Fox in Flats Style Dares?