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For as long as I can remember I have cared about the clothes I wear.  Before I even understood what the world “style” meant, I was carefully selecting which shoes should go with each outfit I put on my Barbies, and I had very specific rules for my own wardrobe choices.

And I have no idea where that obsession came from.

Neither of my parents spend much time thinking about clothes and accessories.  Especially my dad.  It has taken my mom years to try to rid his closet of items containing holes.  And not the cool kind that are meant to be there.  But the kind that occur only when you can no longer remember far back enough to recall when it was actually purchased.

Yet even my dad understands the power of style.  Even if he doesn’t know he understands.

Let me explain… Who remembers the old TLC show, What Not To Wear?  I absolutely LOVED that show!  I wanted Stacy London and Clinton Kelly to be my best friends.  I was also obsessed with all the cool NYC stores in which they would shop (before I moved to NYC) and loved watching the entire process.

For those who don’t know the concept, here goes.  The subject was an unsuspecting fashion-challenged person who was nominated for the show by his or her friends and family.  After those friends and family shared hidden home videos of this person rocking some very unflattering looks, Clinton and Stacy would surprise the person and invite them to NYC to buy a new wardrobe.  Over the course of a week we would watch this person’s fashion evolution, all leading to the final reveal in front of their friends and family.

I wasn’t the only person who loved this show.  My dad actually thoroughly enjoyed it as well.  I know, I was as shocked as anyone by this!

But here’s what the show really did, and why so many people—including my dad—connected with it: through an intervention that was based around fashion, people were actually transformed on the inside as well.  As the person went through his or her makeover you could see the confidence and self-assurance grow because suddenly, they would look in the mirror and see who they were capable of being.  By arming themselves with a style that worked for their life and body, they felt confident enough to go after something that had perhaps scared them before. Maybe it was finding a new job or career, or maybe it was asking someone out on a date.

By the end of the show my dad would always say how great the person looked and how their entire body language and attitude had changed.  And he was right.  The show wasn’t a magical therapy ride that made a person’s life absolutely perfect. But in many ways, it showed how feeling good about the way you look positively affects feeling good about who you are and what you are capable of doing.

This is why I believe style is so important.

That doesn’t mean you have to have the body of a supermodel, or spend all of your time shopping, or buy all the latest trends, or have your closet fill up an entire room.  That’s not style.  That’s just stuff.

Style is what you make of that stuff.  It’s finding the types of items that work best for your body and your lifestyle.  It’s taking pride in what you put on everyday because it’s the first impression you share with everyone you meet.  And it’s how you begin to show the world from the outside what you’re capable of on the inside.  

We all want to believe that it’s only what’s on the inside that counts.  We’ve been told this since we were children.  But in many ways it's total crap.  Yes, what’s on the inside is what makes us who we are and how we create a difference in our lives and in the world.  But too often what’s on the inside doesn’t even get a chance to shine because it is judged by what’s on the outside.  Both by others and ourselves.

Finding your personal style and taking pride in what you put on your body is often one of the keys to unlocking confidence and potential.  The rest is, obviously, up to you.  But it’s a good foundation with which to start.

So, how does one find her personal style?  I’m so glad you asked!  Click here for a FREE five-step guide to identifying your personal style.  The best part?  You can start with items that are already sitting in your closet!

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Why Style Matters

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Why Style Matters

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Why Style Matters

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Why Style Matters

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Why Style Matters

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Why Style Matters
DRESS ba&sh | BAG STAUD | HAT Janessa Leone | SUNGLASSES Celine | SANDALS Lucky Brand

Photos by Marc Fowler
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