Updated: Jun 19
When it comes to being invested in your looks, the scale from being sloppy to being shallow is extensive. Somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum lies the fabulous stage of being well put together. Sure, it is what's on the inside that counts, but let's face it, we all do make assumptions about others based on what they wear. We do have rules about appropriate clothing, and we do have to face the consequences when we don't follow them. Of course, you can go to a fancy job interview wearing your pyjama bottoms and a Slayer t-shirt, but good luck getting that job.
Your personal style is a part of your self-expression. It is also an important tool of survival. You do not want to show the world your vulnerability, so you try to look your best as much as it is possible. But in the end, what do we all really want? To be inspired, to be inspiring.
While looking for influences, it is easy to get lost in the mass of YouTube tutorials, Pinterest posts and incredible Instagram transformations. There's no shame in taking guilty pleasure in Kim Kardashian's make up videos either, but while you admire celebrities, it is hard to relate to them. Ordinary people who know how to be extraordinary are the best sources of inspiration.
You will see it, when you go on the Instagram page of @unrealkbeauty to meet Lauren. She is a 20-something girl from Virginia, sharing her everyday life on social media, like a lot of women her age do. At the first blink, she is not different from them. But Lauren has a hidden disease, called cholesteatoma, that caused her to lose her hearing. Through all the obstacles she has faced in her life, she managed to keep her positive attitude to inspire the people around her. She studied music and loves to sing, which helps her to stay motivated.
Lauren's openness about her journey of staying strong while going through a harder time is admirable. “I have bad self-esteem issues with standing out, but I've been trying to embrace that instead of letting it shame me. Being myself is the best way to be happy and expressing that through fashion and beauty helps me a lot”, she says wisely, making her followers feel a little less alone with their own insecurities.
The foundation of your appearance is the outfit you pick. Personal style is much like a formula. An equation with three outstanding parts. See Lauren's take on them:
The habit of randomly piling up clothes is your enemy. You may have a closet full of clothes, and still feel like you have nothing to wear.
Lauren's insight: “Just wear whatever you feel like wearing in the end.” She used to be bothered if something did not look perfect to her, or if the colors did not match, but now she has found a way to upgrade her closet. She has mostly interchangeable pieces and totals how much she spends to avoid buying unnecessary items. Her shopping routine is well thought-out, she takes the time to think about whether she has something to match at home.
Another substantial part of your looks is your hair. It is not a secret that everybody wants what they don't have; that is why hair dyes, straighteners, curling irons and all their friends sell so well. But before you get all your hair fallen out, ask yourself the question: where do the insecurities stem from? Having big, seductive hair is generally associated with common beauty standards. Don’t let that fool you though, whatever style makes you feel comfortable will always look the most beautiful on you.
Lauren's words of wisdom: “Work with what you have and be happy with what you've got.” Still, don't be afraid to experiment if you want. She tried several different hairstyles and colors as well. It made people happy watching her go through each color of the rainbow, but ultimately, she missed her old hair.
The third crucial component of your visual representation is your make up. Whether you chose to go natural or Barbie doll is a personal preference. However, in all honesty, you will most likely be at the receiving end of some criticism for whatever choice you make.
Lauren's perspective: “It is good not to compare yourself to anyone.” Not being as good in make up as others is no reason to be discouraged. It is nice to see your effort put into something and feeling good about yourself. Your face is your canvas, make up is a part of your artistic expression, but before you start feeling uneasy, remember that it is okay to do it just for fun.
Dressing up is essentially a performance art. You project the image as what you want the world to perceive you. You define yourself by the things you wear and associate with people who have similar definitions. Lauren sees her ability to grow and show people she is just like them as a privilege. She keeps up what she does to inspire those around her and does that with a positive attitude.