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Raise your hand if you’ve said this or any version of this before, “I can’t buy that (insert any item of clothing) before I’ve (insert goal you’re hoping to accomplish)”.

Basically, you can’t buy new clothes until you’ve lost those pesky 10 pounds you’ve been holding on to since the holidays, or until you get that new job, or until you have someone to wear it with on date night, or because aliens could come down from the sky and abduct you in their spaceship next week and you’ll never have had the chance to wear said clothes.  I don’t know, people have some really vivid imaginations.

You set a goal then hold yourself and your style hostage until that goal has been accomplished. And for many of us, it could take months to fully tackle any of them if we ever do it at all.  So, what is anyone supposed to do in the meantime?

The biggest area where I see this is in regard to weight and body image.  Recently a good friend of mine told me about her goals for finishing out 2019.  One included getting back to healthy habits so she could lose a few pounds and feel better both physically and mentally.  She is a total planner so she had everything worked out, from the types of food she would begin preparing for herself down to the personal trainer and workout buddy she had enlisted to help her make the most of her time at the gym.

Oh, she had it all figured out, alright, including the plan to not buy any new clothes until after she met her weight loss goal.  Not a shirt, not a dress, not a jacket.  Nothing. That could all wait. 

But could it?

You see, my friend also has a demanding job and about eighteen side hustles as she's in the process of building some amazing things in her life.  And if anyone could possibly make those dreams a reality, it’s her.  But it also means networking events, meetings, days in the office, and even potential dates in the evenings.  So, why should her style be compromised for any of that just because she isn’t where she ideally wants to be physically?

The easy answer?  It shouldn’t.  Not ever.  You are who you are at all times, not just on the other side of a goal.

My advice to her was simple, don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to express yourself and feel good about that self on the outside just because you aren’t where you think you should be just yet.  

Of course, we don’t want to spend a ton of money on items that may not fit in a few weeks or months, and I get that.  But what if we don’t make it to that goal position in the time we expect?  Or what if we end up somewhere different—not better or worse—just different?  And what if we held out on ourselves and our style that entire time just waiting for the outcome we expected instead?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the easiest ways to give ourselves a boost of confidence is to feel really good in the clothes we put on our bodies.  It’s not about how expensive they are or the name on the label, instead it’s about how those items speak to us.  It’s about how those clothes communicate our style and give the world an outward introduction to who we are on the inside.

I used to do this all the time when it came to my relationship status.  I’d see the cutest dress that I just loved and knew would be perfect for a romantic date.  But I was single.  So, nope, I couldn’t buy that dress.  Where and when would I wear it??  Instead I would keep looking for that boyfriend I’d had my eye on for about a decade and a half and when I finally found him then I could treat myself to that date dress.  Never mind that I could have worn it out with friends.  Or on a first or second date.  And never mind that I loved it and putting it on made me feel confident and happy. Sorry--no boyfriend, no dress.

It sounds silly even writing that, but it was definitely going through my mind at the time.  And I know I'm not alone. We all can get caught up in our own goals and what they mean for our lives both now and in the future.

I am someone who loves clothes.  I love shopping and putting together outfits and watching my style evolve.  So, I shouldn’t deprive myself of that joy just because my live isn’t exactly how I want it to be.  I can still have goals that I’m working toward while taking care of my current needs.

Let’s talk financials. Because this isn’t an article designed to tell you how to go into credit card debt.  If you can’t afford new clothes right now, then let’s start shopping your closet!  But if you have the budget don’t let the hope of a goal hold you back from showing off your style and who you are right now.

If you are in the process of changing your body and worry about spending money on something that soon won’t fit, try renting clothes.  Rent The Runway pioneered the concept of a rental wardrobe and now everyone from Ann Taylor to Bloomingdale’s has hopped on board that train.  You typically pay a monthly fee and can then swap out clothing items for what suits your needs.  And if your size is fluctuating then your wardrobe choices can fluctuate with it.

Goals are wonderful things. They motivate and inspire us to make our lives better.  But you deserve to look good and feel good about yourself at all times.  Your style doesn’t need to take a backseat until everything in your life is perfect.  

And in many ways, the better you feel about yourself on the outside, the more confidence you will have to continue to keep working on yourself on the inside and beyond.

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company (nude) Sweater jacket, Janessa Leone hat

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company (nude) Sweater jacket, Janessa Leone hat
Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company (nude) Sweater jacket, Janessa Leone hat

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company (nude) Sweater jacket, Janessa Leone hat

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company (nude) Sweater jacket, Janessa Leone hat
Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company (nude) Sweater jacket, Janessa Leone hat

SWEATER JACKET Nude Clothing | JEANS Agolde | T-SHIRT Old Navy | SHOES Steve Madden (old) | HAT Janessa Leone | NECKLACE Monica Vinader | SUNGLASSES Ray-Ban

Photos by Marc Fowler
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