On Standing Out & Dressing Well: Less Can Be More

orange lace dress cropped light

Dress: Design Lab (old) | Shoes: Zara (old) | Clutch: The Shoe Company (old) | Bracelet: ASOS | Earrings: Amazon | Perfume (travel size): Burberry

This journey of wearing no makeup for a year has had some unexpected consequences. My appreciation for simplicity is spilling over into what it means for me to stand out.

I have learned to value standing out from a young age. As a child, I stood out with my puffy braids and tall height. As a teenager, I valued standing out as a way of creative expression. As a student, I value standing out academically. In employment, I value standing out due to hard work. I’m used to obvious ways of standing out–things that are hard to miss.

However, what I have been learning as I go through my days without makeup is that it is not necessary to be loud and noticeable to make a statement. Sometimes, letting things speak for themselves is enough.

Previously, standing out for me meant something like delivering a good performance and translated to a kind of stepping outside myself. Since I’ve not been wearing makeup, I’m finding that when it comes to standing out, it’s becoming increasingly important to me to highlight who I am in how I present myself to others.

When it comes to clothes, this is translating into an appreciation of the fact that less can be more. The first time I wore this Design Lab dress, I paired it with a big pair of hoop earrings because I felt that I needed to make a statement. In wearing this dress again, I’m learning that I don’t need to be so obvious.

Sometimes a piece of clothing speaks for itself. A statement isn’t necessarily twinkly, shiny, and covered in elaborate embellishments. Sometimes it’s the way it fits, the way the cut runs alongside the lines of the wearer’s body, or a magnificent yet small detail that takes the piece to a place beyond plain.

When it comes to pieces like this, I’m seeing that they can be valuable on their own, and that it’s important to let them shine, rather than distract from them with other things. Keeping my jewellery, shoes, bag, and colour scheme simple and neutral allows me to focus on the dress and its many unique details–the colour, the hem, the lace overlay, the racer front cut.

When I dress like this, I like that I can start with one piece. Everything, while beautiful in its own right, works to highlight one focal piece, rather than trying to compete with it for attention. It has a nice harmony. And I like that when I look at the dress, I gradually start appreciating all the details of the rest of the outfit. It’s not too different from how I’m interested in presenting  myself as a person these days: leading with the big thing–who I am–and letting people notice the smaller and equally wonderful details!

Please let me know in the comments: how is your style growing with you?

–C.

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5 thoughts on “On Standing Out & Dressing Well: Less Can Be More

  1. What a beautiful dress. Still haven’t found my style. Although I do love pieces from the 50-60 Era it’s finding those things that will look good with my shape.

    1. Thank you! 50-60 era…do you mean the full skirts and cinched waists? I love those too, they’re very feminine. I have a similar problem with my athletic shape. What’s yours?

        1. When I say athletic, what I mean is a shape that isn’t typically considered to be feminine lol. If you’d ever like any suggestions, I’d be happy to help!

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